The Golden Plates #1: Escape From Jerusalem

The Golden Plates 1 Adapted by Michael Allred

♦This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra, and I make a small commission.♦

♦Please see my Disclosure tab for more information.♦

Book Review of The Golden Plates #1 Escape From Jerusalem

I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We are sometimes known as Mormons. The reason for the nickname is that we believe The Book of Mormon to be a companion scripture to the Bible. We believe The Book of Mormon to be the word of God, and we believe that it is another testament of Jesus Christ. I’m not generally a comic book fan, but I had heard about the comic book adapted from The Book of Mormon, and I have to say that I was curious. When I was approached to write a book review of The Golden Plates #1 Escape From Jerusalem I agreed out of curiosity. What did I think? Keep reading to find out!

Blurb:

The Golden Plates is an illustrated adaptation of the fifth best selling book of all time, The Book of Mormon: Another Testament of Jesus Christ, which has sold over 120 million copies. This graphic novel/comic book adaptation was first created in 2005 by award winning artist Michael Allred. The Premium Edition has replaced the full text originally included in the first edition with simplified and edited text, making the story easier for younger readers to follow and also showcasing more of the stunning artwork. It has also been converted to digital form for enjoyment on phones, tablets, and desktop devices through Amazon, iTunes, and Kobo. New printed editions have also been released through Amazon.

​The first 6 issues cover the first 145 pages (27%) of the Book of Mormon, from 1st Nephi through the Words of Mormon. This adaptation is a fun and enthralling to way to help older children and teens understand and enjoy the Book of Mormon in a format more advanced than simplified children’s stories or scripture readers meant for young children.

My Book Review:

So what did I think? Well, my first impressions were definitely skeptical. As I said, I’m not a huge comic book fan. They’ve never interested me, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. At first glance, the cover art includes a picture of an angel, and I think the angel’s a little creepy looking. I think it’s consistent with the comic book art, but it is a little disconcerting. Other than that, the art is very well done. It’s well drawn and colored. I think it does a good job depicting the characters—except the angel, as I stated previously. I also liked the use of all the different colors.

The story is taken from scripture, and I know it quite well. For those who may not know the story, it’s laid out well and is easy to follow. Instead of quoting The Book of Mormon verbatim, it tells the story. It’s accurate in its depiction and adaptation. There is some made-up dialogue, but it follows what I think the people would say in those circumstances. There are different color text boxes or comment bubbles to help the reader figure out who is talking. This is just a small piece of the whole story; there are more comic books in the series to continue the story.

Overall, I was impressed. I worried beforehand that having scripture in comic book form would feel sacrilegious or not serious enough. We already have picture books for the small children that tell the story, and I think this fulfills that same purpose for the older children and YA. It is not intended to replace actual scripture study, but to help the older children and YA learn and connect with the story. They will then have an easier time reading and understanding The Book of Mormon later on.

Although you may miss out on many of the scriptural lessons and knowledge, reading The Golden Plates comic book will help you learn the story. For those older children who struggle to understand scriptural wording and language, I think this will help them a lot. I think I would just make sure to differentiate between fictional comics and this one, which tells a true story.

GP1-sm (1)

From My 10 Year-old:

It’s really good, but it just has a lot of extra details. The picture of Adam and Eve made me a little uncomfortable, and the angel is a little creepy. I already knew the story really well so it didn’t really help me understand it better. Toward the end when Laman and Lemuel are fighting with Nephi, I got confused with who was who.

GP3-sm

From my 12 Year-old:

The characters were all kind of creepy. Also I got confused on who was who. But it has good shading and color. I also liked the use of texture. Another thing I liked was the map on page five.

GP4-sm

(FYI: These are not my kiddos. However, I WANT this book shelf! Isn’t it amazing??)

From my 16 Year-old:

I thought that this comic book does a great job of simplifying the sometimes confusing Book of Mormon. This is a great tool that will help children learn to love and understand the Book of Mormon. Overall, I enjoyed this comic book. Peace and love.

Content Rating PGContent Rating: PG (There isn’t any profanity or “intimacy.” There’s some minor violence.)

  • I debated whether or not to even rate this. It’s scripture. Do you rate scripture? I don’t know really, but we’ll stick with this for now.

Recommendation: Everyone

  • I always try to explain the scripture stories to my kids in an age appropriate way.

My Rating: 4/5 (For the adaptation and the artwork.)

4 Star Review

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2OfGb6d

If you’d like to purchase the set of the first six books, click here: https://amzn.to/2LjUloW

Click HERE to find out more about The Golden Plates.

GPBlogTour.jpg

 

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Book of Mormon ChristCenteredHome  jesus the christ
 

[Book Review] Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage

Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage
Photo Credit: Amazon.com

Jesus the Christ
by
James E. Talmage

Blurb (Credit: Amazon.com):

Considered one of the all-time great classics of LDS literature, Jesus the Christ is a comprehensive look into the life and ministry of the Savior. Written at the request of the First Presidency by the Apostle James E. Talmage, and penned from an office inside the Salt Lake Temple, this volume is more than a simple outline of the Savior’s life. It presents a far-reaching view of the Savior-including His life in the flesh, His antemortal existence, and His activities across time as the world’s Redeemer. Allow this unparalleled work to enhance your knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as it magnifies your understanding of the scriptures.

My Review:

Every once in awhile a book comes along that changes your life. As you read it, the words influence you so much that you will never think the same way about the subject again; you will never be the same. A few books I’ve read in my lifetime have made me feel this way. Believing Christ by Stephen Robinson was one, Les Miserables by Victor Hugo was another. And today I add Jesus the Christ by James E. Talmage. It’s hefty, for sure! The edition I read has 793 pages, and it is not an easy read. It took me months to read. James E. Talmage was a very intelligent man, and his vocabulary is off the charts. I had to look up the definitions of many words. It’s strange, because at first it took me forever, but by the end I was in the groove, and his style and language became easier to understand. This is the most comprehensive book on the life and mission of Jesus Christ that I have ever seen. It’s incredible. It begins with why we need a Savior. Then it takes you through many of the prophets of the Old Testament that prophesied about the coming of a Savior. A Messiah. It delves into the lives of Mary and Joseph and the birth of Christ in Bethlehem. Talmage takes you step by step through the New Testament and the life of Jesus Christ here on earth. He is very comprehensive in his writing. He discusses Christ’s teachings and miracles. I loved learning about life in Jerusalem and the surrounding areas; who the different groups of people are and how they came to be. The events take on different meanings when you know more about the context in which they happened. Sometimes when I’m reading the parables of Christ I understand their meanings and sometimes I don’t. This book explains them all, and it helped me so much. He goes into detail about the symbolism in the writings of the New Testament, which, once again, is very helpful in finding new meaning in the words on the page. One thing in particular that helped me was learning about the difference between the Pharisees and the Sadducees and scribes, the Samaritans and the Jews. It was also extremely helpful to learn about the structure of the Roman government in Jerusalem, and who was in power over what. The detail Talmage puts into his description of Jesus Christ’s Atoning sacrifice helps you to understand the importance of this moment. 

 Christ’s agony in the garden is unfathomable by the finite mind, both as to intensity and cause. The thought that He suffered through fear of death is untenable. Death to Him was preliminary to resurrection and triumphal return to the Father from whom He had come, and to a state of glory even beyond what He had before possessed; and, moreover, it was within His power to lay down His life voluntarily. He struggled and groaned under a burden such as no other being who has lived on earth might even conceive as possible. It was not physical pain, nor mental anguish alone, that caused Him to suffer such torture as to produce an extrusion of blood from every pore; but a spiritual agony of soul such as only God was capable of experiencing. No other man, however great his powers of physical or mental endurance, could have suffered so; for his human organism would have succumbed, and syncope would have produced unconsciousness and welcome oblivion. In that hour of anguish Christ met and overcame all the horrors that Satan, ‘the prince of this world’ could inflict.

Next, Talmage takes you through Jesus’ arrest and trials before Herod and Pilate. Then he thoroughly discusses Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection. At the end, he goes into some detail into the lives of the eleven apostles and what occurred after they were all gone, and he even goes a little into the dark ages. 

This is an amazing book! It takes a long time to get through it, but it’s worth it. It was written by a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes known as Mormon or LDS), but anyone wanting a better understanding of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ will benefit from reading this book. I promise it is worth the effort. Your understanding and love for the Savior will grow tenfold. Reading this book changed my perceptions and increased my love and appreciation for my Savior, Jesus the Christ. 

Rating: PG (Clean)

Recommendation: 16 years-old and up. (A younger person could read it, as it is taken from the Bible, but Talmage’s language is difficult to understand because of his awesome vocabulary, so I think 16 and up are more likely to understand it.)

[Book Review] Getting To The Place Where You Can Trust God With Anything: Even This by Emily Belle Freeman

Getting To The Place Where You Can Trust God With Anything
Getting To The Place Where You Can Trust God With Anything:
Even This
by
Emily Belle Freeman

Blurb:
“In Even This Emily Belle Freeman shares her own deeply personal experiences of feeling forgotten by God–from the fear of abandonment in a dark hospital room to the desperation that followed months of unanswered prayers. In a moment of honesty, she found herself asking the question she had been afraid to consider: ‘Where is God in this?’ Through biblical insight, genuine realness, and beautiful prose, Emily will help you discover how to:
  • Diminish the power of doubt by coming to understand why the place of deepest asking is where the believing begins.
  • Stop letting fear dictate the depth of your belief through daily reflections that will restore your confidence in God.
  • Let go of your need to control by discovering what is holding you back from being completely vulnerable to God.
Trust that God may have something different in mind for you–something better.”
My Review:
This book could not have come at a better time! Many of my readers may know that my 15 year-old son has been very sick since last April. He’s been to two ERs, enjoyed a four day hospital stay, had a feeding tube for over a month, has been to countless doctor appointments, and tried way too many different kinds of medicines. Nothing has really helped, and everyone seems clueless as to what is going on. This past week we finally got a few results and think we may now be on the right track to getting him better. However, if it’s what we think it is then it will be a very long, slow process to recovery. The poor kid missed the last seven weeks of the last school year, and hasn’t been able to go this year, so luckily he has an amazing home and hospital teacher that comes and helps him with his school work twice a week. Honestly, this has been the most difficult 5 1/2 months of my entire life. We are all exhausted. Physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually exhausted. All the time. Watching your child suffer so much for so long is heartbreaking. Our other three children have been champions through all of this. They are amazing, and I’m so proud of them! They are patient, loving, empathetic, and resilient. This trial  has definitely humbled me, and I’ve spent hours on my knees in prayer. I have to admit that there have been some dark days where I have wondered where God is in all of this. I’ve been able to trust God with lots of things in my life, but this one–this one I have tried to control. I hate not being in control of this situation!! Why can’t I fix this? Well, after reading this book I know that I need to trust God with Even This situation. While my kids were fishing at a nearby lake yesterday, I was reading. There were several passages that I wanted to remember. I fished (haha!!) through my purse and found a post-it note. This is what my book looks like now:
I would have more, but I didn’t start actually bookmarking the parts I liked until I was half way through the book. When I first started reading, the different chapters seemed random and unconnected; I was a tad bit confused. However, as the book progressed it all kind of came together, and I loved how Ms. Freeman explained everything. Her insights and examples are very personal and touching. It’s easy to get caught up in your trials and think that everyone else has it good, but when you read her book you realize that everyone goes through difficult things. I thoroughly enjoyed learning from Ms. Freeman. She does a great job of breaking down well known biblical stories and helping you see the application from the story in your life. Here’s an example from the book. The biblical story she is referring to is Joseph. His brothers threw him into a pit and eventually he was taken to Egypt as a slave. He was thrown into prison and ended up interpreting the Pharaoh’s dream. Pharaoh was so impressed that he put Joseph in charge of storing the food during the good times in preparation for the upcoming times of famine. Joseph’s brothers came (not knowing who he was, of course) and asked for food. Joseph was able to provide for his long-lost family because of the experiences he had been through.  

Joseph being able to provide for his family after many years was the miracle. So “the truth of it is that the trials are what enabled Joseph to be in the exact place God needed him to be. To provide the rescue. To prepare for the deliverance. To orchestrate the miracle God had in mind from the very moment Joseph was thrown into the pit.” Looking at my (your) trial from this point of view puts it in a whole different perspective. I loved this book. It is a bit random at times, seemingly jumping from one experience to another, but in the end it gave me a better insight into the trial I’m going through, and it allowed me to realize that I’m not in control–thank goodness!!–God is in control, and he can see the whole picture. As a mom it’s hard to let go of that control, but if I (we) can, then I’ll (we’ll) be able to see the miracle at the end. Thank you Ms. Freeman, for helping me see this long ordeal in a better way, and for helping me to trust God with Even This. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is suffering or going through tough times. Have faith! God is good, and he will take care of us if we put our trust in Him. 
Rating: PG (It’s clean!)
Recommendation: YA and up
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. 
Also by Emily Belle Freeman:
     


An Unseen Angel

An Unseen Angel
by
Alissa Parker

Blurb:
“When Alissa Parker lost her daughter Emilie in the Sandy Hook Elementary mass shooting, she started a life-changing journey to answer soul-searching questions about faith, hope, and healing. As she sought for the peace and comfort that could help mend her broken heart, she learned, step by step, how to open her heart to God’s grace and will. One step brought her face to face with the shooter’s father, where in a pivotal and poignant meeting, she was given an opportunity to forgive. Another step brought her into the sheltering compassion of her community as family, friends, and even strangers reached out to buoy her up with their shared faith. And several miraculous manifestations of Emilie’s continued presence and influence lifted her heart and will validate the faith of every Christian. The story of Alissa and Emilie reminds us that the bonds of love continue beyond this life and that despite tragedy and heartache, we can find strength in our family and our faith.”
My Review:
I remember exactly where I was and what I was doing when I heard about the Sandy Hook mass shooting. I was driving around town running errands; I had the radio on when a breaking news story came on. Immediately I turned the station to my local news station, and listened in shock to the details. I was sobbing as I drove; tears streaming down my face. There had been shootings before, and they were horrible, but this, this was beyond that. This was pure evil. When I had the opportunity to review this book I accepted because I was so drawn to that story. I knew it would be difficult to read, but I wanted to hear Alissa’s story. Well, I was correct-this is not an easy book to read. I cried most of the way through it. However, it is well written, touching, and full of faith and hope. Alissa did a very good job of telling the story with all it’s ups and downs, and with its hard days and good days. I liked that she was very real in the book. There are darling pictures of Emilie throughout the book, and it just breaks your heart to recall the tragedy of her death. I think the real story in the book is how Alissa and her family were able to heal and find hope after Emilie’s passing. I loved that she opening spoke of her faith, and how it may have even wavered, but in the end it brought her comfort and peace. I truly believe that we will see our loved ones again, and that hope helped Alissa through the difficult days. Hearing about the small miracles brought me to tears. Even though this is a heartbreaking story to read, I was glad I did. Alissa and her family are truly an inspiration.

Rating: PG-13+ (Although there isn’t an profanity or “intimacy,” she does talk about and describe how her daughter was killed during the school shooting.)

Recommendation: 16-17 years old and up. This may even be too much for some 16 year-olds.

The Christ-Centered Home

The Christ-Centered Home by Emily Belle Freeman

Blurb: 
“Imagine Jesus came to your doorstep. How could you prepare to welcome Him in? In the hectic scramble of a world that asks us to do everything, be everyone, and make it all look easy, we often lose track of the experiences that really matter most–quiet moments in our homes with our families when we feel the peace of Jesus Christ. The lessons Jesus taught in the homes of His followers were simple. They were basic. And the were–and are–essential. In The Christ-Centered Home, you will discover how to fill your family’s hearts with the principles Jesus taught in the most sacred of classrooms: the home. There is a humility that comes when we invite the Lord into our most private spaces. Within the hush we hear the gentle whisper of His voice, we experience the touch of His hand, and we feel the prompting to rise. Invite Him in, and experience the added measure of peace, strength, courage, and hope that comes when Jesus Christ becomes the central focus of your home.”
My Review:
I’m always looking for ways to improve my family. As a mom, I want my children to be healthy and happy. I also want them to be good citizens, do well in school, and be kind and caring. Something else that is very important to me is that they have a strong foundation of faith built on Christian morals and principles. I want them to know and understand the scriptures, and live their lives knowing the Savior. When I was contacted by the publicist of this book I couldn’t refuse. I had to see if there was anything in this book that would help me achieve these goals; anything that would help me to do better. I am so thankful I agreed to review this book. I don’t often review spiritual books, but this one is definitely worth reviewing. This book is not written for any specific religion, it is based on principles found in the New Testament and in the teachings of Jesus Christ. It is written for Christian homes. I love the format of the book. I know that sounds strange, but I enjoyed looking at the different doors that accompany each chapter. They are beautiful. And very symbolic. The book is set up so that families can take one chapter a month and study the lesson. They’re not long, but they are packed full of insight and great ideas. There are questions you may ask yourself, and places to write your reflections. There’s a recipe with each chapter so that while your family studies they may have a yummy treat, which always helps with kids! The verses the stories are taken from are listed so that you may read the story straight from the Bible. On her website Ms. Freeman also has some beautiful printables that coincide with each chapter so that throughout the month you may hang the printable and remind your family what it is you’re working on. 
I loved this quote: “Perhaps our gratitude to God is best expressed through action rather than words. When our actions become the expression of our gratitude, then our time, our sacrifice, and our obedience become gifts rather than duties.” (pg. 145) And, “Maybe this month, we could focus on performing our assigned household duties as a gift rather than a chore.” (pg. 147) Wouldn’t that be great? Wouldn’t it be great if our children learned to help around the house by giving it as a gift of thankfulness rather than an unpleasant chore to whine and complain about? Hahaha…..we are far from that ideal, but it’s definitely something to work towards! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I didn’t stop and share with my family because I needed to finish it to review. However, we’re going to start this week! One lesson a month I can do, right? I’m excited to see what happens. Maybe I’ll report back in a few months to let you know. If my children start saying, “Mom, please give me more chores because I’m so thankful you’re my mom” or “Dad, you work so hard to provide us with a nice home! We’re so thankful! Please give us more weeding to do so we can show our gratitude” then I’ll let you know! 🙂 This book is easy to read and implement. It’s well written with stories that are easy to relate to, and with lots of examples. She has given it a lot of thought and has some wonderful ideas. I highly recommend this for any Christian family that would like to improve their faith, gratitude, and unity. 
Rating: G (Clean!)
Recommendation: Everyone
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
  

How Do I Know If I Know?

How Do I Know If I Know? by John Bytheway

Blurb:
“It’s spiritual gut-check time! The mission age has been lowered, and now more than ever, young people are asking themselves important questions:
  • How do I know if I really have a testimony?
  • Am I ready to serve a mission?
  • What does the Spirit feel like?
John Bytheway suggest that we “F.E.E.L.” the truthfulness of the gospel through our feelings, our experiences, the many evidences we encounter, and our logical conclusions about how a loving God interacts with His children on the earth. Like gradually turning up a dimmer switch, understanding all the ways we F.E.E.L. our testimony will help it grow brighter. As you read, you may discover that your testimony is stronger than you thought, and you’ll also become more excited and motivated to let your light shine!”
My Review:
I heard John Bytheway speak many years ago when I was a youth, and he captivated me! He does such a great job of relating to the youth with his humor and stories. This is the first book I have read by him, and I was interested to see if I would feel the same way about his writing as I did of his speaking. I have to say that I was impressed. His writing style is easy to follow and understand, and he uses simple examples to explain difficult things; which makes them easier to understand and follow. He puts things in an engaging and motivating way, and it makes you want to work harder to do better. I think the topic is so relevant too. I have a 14 year-old son, and he could go on a mission right out of high school. There isn’t the chance to spend a year figuring it all out before you go, it’s now! These kids need to be prepared, and it scares me as a mom! What if I haven’t prepared him? What if I haven’t done enough? This book helps the kids to prepare themselves, which is what really needs to happen. We moms can’t do it for them. They need to know–they don’t need to know that we know. This is a short, easy read, but it packs a big punch. I am going to have both my 14 year-old and 12 year-old sons read this book because I think it will help them to determine where they are and if they are doing enough to prepare themselves. I definitely recommend this book to parents and youth alike, those who want to serve missions and those who don’t, it benefits everyone.
Rating: G (It’s clean!)
Recommendation: 12 years-old and up (Younger kids could read it and understand it, but I think it will most benefit the youth rather than the children.)

Just Let Go

I know, I know!!! I take a little break from blogging because I’ve been working full-time at my kids’ school (My daughter’s teacher had a baby, and she asked me if I would teach her class during her three month maternity leave.), and I review a movie! Well……it’s a good one, what can I say?? I still have two weeks left to teach full-time, and then hopefully things will get back to normal around here. I’m a woosy. I don’t know how moms work full-time permanently. It’s insane! Kudos to you all, I have a huge appreciation for all you do!
Just Let Go (Movie Review)
Have you heard this story? It’s an amazing story. Be prepared to cry. Seriously. I heard about this story long before the movie came out; I remember hearing about it in the news, and I couldn’t believe it. What Chris Williams went through is heartbreaking. And yet, he found the courage and inner-strength to forgive. It’s a very powerful message! Instead of writing a quick blurb for you, I’m posting the movie trailer and then another movie that briefly sums up the entire story. 
Here’s the movie trailer:
And here’s the other brief movie about this story:

The focus of this movie is learning to forgive. It shows us that even when life is hard, and things happen to us that are unfair and awful, forgiveness will give us peace and allow us to move on in our lives. Forgiving those who hurt us allows us to be free. This movie is so inspirational. Whether you are a Christian or not, this movie will touch and inspire you to be better. I actually saw this movie the night of the Fathom Event, and I was amazed at the ability Chris had to forgive. The bonus features include the discussions by Delilah from that night, and the forgiveness challenge by Desmond Tutu. 
This movie is rated PG-13 for accident images and thematic material. I took my 14 year-old son with me when I saw it at the theater, and there were some parts that I thought were a little much for him. I was a little uncomfortable with him there, but at the same time, it’s such a good message, and I was glad that he was able to see that. I hope he can learn the lesson of forgiveness now. He was emotional as we left the theater, and I think even though some parts were difficult to watch, the benefit of the lesson outweighed that. The movie is 106 minutes long. I highly recommend this movie!

Will My Child Be Ready?

Will My Child Be Ready? by Emily Freeman and Merrilee Boyack

Blurb:
“A missionary’s training does not begin when he or she enters the doors of the MTC. Well before that, each missionary’s mother can begin laying the groundwork that will prepare her child to diligently and wholeheartedly serve the Lord and His children. Mothers have an immeasurable influence and a significant responsibility in raising up young men and women who are prepared to do the work of the Lord. The good news: that responsibility can begin wherever you and your child are on the path of preparation. Whether your child is two, eight, or eighteen, this unique resource written by mothers who have sent children on missions (and some who have also served as mission presidents’ wives) will help you build the foundation of faith, endurance, and hard work that every missionary needs.”
My Review:
I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (you may have heard of it as the Mormon Church or LDS Church). When our young men turn 18 they are encouraged to serve  a two year mission. When our young women turn 19 they may also serve a mission, but it is up to each young woman to decide if she would like to go. Young women serve for eighteen months. Missionaries go out across the world to teach people about our church. They pay their own way. Missionaries serve because they love God and His Son Jesus Christ, and they want to share the message of our church. I don’t always review church books because I don’t want it to seem like my blog is too churchy or preachy. However, I have two sons and two daughters, and some of them may choose to serve  missions someday, and I want them to be ready if they do. So, I decided to review this one. 
At first as I was reading this book I began to get overwhelmed and stressed over everything I wasn’t doing that they said I should be doing. I didn’t serve a mission when I was younger, so I sometimes feel like I don’t know what I need to prepare my children for. I talked to my husband about some of it, and he calmed my fears. He let me know that it’s okay. This is a great guideline, and can be a huge help, but not to get too worried about it because look at what we are doing. We are doing a lot of things right. It made me feel a lot better, and I enjoyed reading the rest of the book. It is written by different women who are mothers, mission presidents’ wives, and some who have served missions of their own. It’s well written, easy to understand, and is full of real-life examples. I loved reading their stories. When you think about it, a lot of what they suggest is stuff we should be doing anyway: saying daily individual and family prayers, family and individual scripture reading, weekly Family Home Evening (Monday nights are set aside as family time where we spend time as a family having fun and learning about the Gospel), church attendance, and teaching our children how to cook, do laundry, etc. A lot of what they say is to make sure our children know how to live on their own by knowing how to cook, how to do their own laundry, how to handle finances, how to work hard, and even how to ride a bike (a lot of missionaries ride bikes around). One of their main points is teaching our children how to live without their technology, which is difficult for many youth today. In the end, I found this to be a really good resource. If I try and check off every box I will make myself crazy, but I’m glad to have a framework and an idea of what I need to do. In some areas I could pat myself on the back, and then on others I have major work to do. This book is well written, with lots of personal stories and examples, and I enjoyed it. I may not be perfect (I know you’re all shocked, right…..I am not perfect??? What??), but at least I have an idea of what I need to work on. I would recommend this book to any mother who may someday have a child serve a mission. 
Rating: G (Clean!)
Recommendation: 13 and up. It’s written for mothers, but I don’t think it would hurt for future missionaries themselves to read it. 
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
*If you would like to learn more about the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon Church) then you may click the link on the left sidebar or visit: www.mormon.org.

[Book Review] Focused by Noelle Pikus Pace

Focused by Noelle Pikus Pace
Photo Credit: goodreads.com

Focused 

by 

Noelle Pikus Pace

Blurb:

“Where are your choices leading you? Regardless of our circumstances, each moment presents us with decisions to make. It doesn’t matter what question, trial, or success we experience–each traces back to a choice. At any given moment, we can choose to doubt, fear, worry; to be prideful, angry, depressed, or miserable–or we can choose to be a light. We can choose to be happy. The choice is always ours, and each choice can be a step forward on the path of life we want for ourselves. The life lessons learned by Olympic athlete Noelle Pikus Pace can equip each of us to turn daily choices and challenges into opportunities for growth. In her warm and relatable style, Noelle shares touching personal stories and teaches how these experiences can help us keep a healthy perspective on the things that matter most. She helps us to see that though all of our goals and trials are different, we each can choose to become the best versions of ourselves one day at a time.”

My Review:

What an inspiring woman! Wow! I loved this book! I love how positive her message is. Her writing style is fun and light, even when discussing some difficult situations. She has the ability to take hard things and make them better. I am always telling my children that they have the choice to make each day a great one or a miserable one, and I’m glad I finally have someone to back me up on this! I love her message and think it is so needed today. We don’t need to be victims. We don’t need to let what happens in the world or in our lives bring us down, we get to choose to make it better. I enjoyed reading about her life leading up to her Olympic dream, and thought that her goal setting suggestions were right on. I love that she says to dream big and then work hard to make that dream happen. Her message of having integrity hit home. Be yourself. Stand up for yourself and your standards or your values. Be honest. I liked this quote, 
I know who I am and what I stand for regardless of what others say or think. 
Skeleton is just a sport. My integrity is everything. 
There are a lot of great quotes in this book. I think I’m going to copy some of them and put them in my kids’ rooms. I am also going to have my boys (13 and 11) read this book. I know she’s a girl, but the message is fabulous for both boys and girls. And, the good thing is, it’s great for everyone, not just athletes. The message applies to every aspect of our lives. I highly recommend this book! Reading it makes you feel like you can conquer the world (or at least achieve your goals)!
There is a slightly religious undertone to this book, which didn’t bother me at all. She quotes some scripture and some religious leaders (she also quotes nonreligious leaders and has a bunch of nonreligious poems). It isn’t about religion, and it’s not preachy at all, she just uses the scriptures and quotes to emphasize her points. I don’t think it matters if you are religious or not, this book has such a positive and uplifting message that it’s great for everyone. I definitely recommend this book!

Rating: G (Clean!)

Age Recommendation: Fifth grade and up as a silent read. First grade and up as a read-aloud. I’m going to read it to my daughters (6 and 9), and I think they’ll understand it just fine. There are a few things I’ll need to explain to them (miscarriage is one thing that comes to mind), but I want them to hear the message.

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

I'm Possible by Jeff Griffin   The Power of Starting Something Stupid by Richie Norton   The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman



*This post was originally posted on 10/6/14, and was updated on 1/10/18.

Across a Harvested Field

.

Across a Harvested Field by Robert Goble

(Summary taken from the back of the book) “To Jordan Fairchild, the dark-haired girl renting his basement apartment seems somewhat quiet and reclusive. Just a business arrangement, he thinks, as he watches her sign the name “Nattie Hand” on the contract. Though two thousand miles away, Celeste Betancourt, an attractive Georgetown graduate student he met through a mutual friend, has captured his attention. A budding friendship with Nattie soon begins to bloom. Little does Jordan know his girl-next-door renter is none other than the world-famous pop star, a.k.a. Natalia Antonali, who recently disappeared from the public eye; little does he know how much his friendship will mean to her, how, for the first time, a love begins to grow, untainted by ‘Natalia,’ and how she hopes Jordan never discovers the truth.”

I need to begin by saying that this author, Mr. Goble, found me on Facebook and sent me this book to review. I thank him for the opportunity and hope that he still “Like”(s) my blog after reading my review.  Although I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon are other sometimes used names), LDS fiction has never been my favorite genre. Unfortunately for Mr. Goble, this book did not change my opinion of LDS fiction. One look at the cover and I knew I was in trouble. I would never have picked this book off the shelf. Having said that, I did read it. I liked the characters in the book, but the whole scenario just seemed too impossible. How would a superstar (comparable to Brittney Spears) end up in Magna, UT? It never explained why she chose to go there or how she even knew where it was. I thought Jordan was a nice guy, but the pieces didn’t really fit together for me. I felt bad that he had lost his family at such a young age, and I could have empathy for him, but I just could not see a widowed man in his mid-to-late twenties canning pumpkins, peaches, and pears. My husband does help me when I can fruit, but he would NEVER do it if I weren’t around. That just never felt right to me, but maybe other men would do it. And then the thought that “Nattie” and “Natalia” might be the same person never crossed his mind as he saw her on the news and in magazines, never? I don’t know.

Mr. Goble’s writing style is different. He uses a lot of parenthesis to explain little side-notes that add to the “cheesy” feeling in the book. I was also confused….was it LDS fiction or not? Let me explain: you would expect an LDS fiction book to have references to LDS buildings, church meetings, and standards (not smoking or drinking alcohol, or using profanity), but you would also expect the characters to follow those standards. There was a lot of profanity in this book. Not all the worst words, but a lot of little four-letter words. It drove me crazy. His writing feels forced. He tries in a few instances to have Jordan sound intellectual, but it comes across as someone trying to sound intellectual, not as someone who is actually intellectual.  I think Mr. Goble would have made the whole thing feel better if he had taken all the LDS references out and just made it a fictional love story. To all LDS fiction writers everywhere–that is what readers want, just good, clean reads. We are LDS and we consider ourselves normal, everyday people, not a group that needs special books written just for us. Besides, you will get a lot more readers if everyone can read it and not just one group.

Anyway, this happens to be one of my “soap-box” topics, so please forgive me for going on. Overall, the middle of the book was the best. It actually had me turning pages to see what happened with the paparazzi and with Jordan finding out the truth. Except that I hated how Jordan went into this mad rage and ruined everything in a split second. His rage was over-the-top. The ending was okay but unbelievable. I didn’t hate the book, but I would not recommend it to my friends because I know they feel the same way I do about LDS fiction. If you like the genre and are okay with profanity then I would recommend it.

Rating: PG-13 (Profanity, some kissing and some innuendos)

Recommendation: High school and up. I would recommend it if you enjoy LDS fiction and are okay with profanity.