Thursday, January 19, 2017

Daughter of Ishmael

Daughter of Ishmael

Promised Land, Broken Heart

From the back cover:
In one statement, Father Lehi and Ishmael had stripped away her gentle, girlish dreams and replaced them with stark reality.  
She was marrying a stranger.

When Hannah learns she will be given in marriage to a son of Lehi, she dreams of raising children in the paths of righteousness with a worthy priesthood holder. Instead, she is met with unimaginable hardship: an arduous journey, a cowardly husband, and possible infertility. Hannah had promised herself long ago that she would follow the Lord and His prophet, but when she thinks her journey is over, she is faced with an impossible choice between faith and family.

I absolutely loved this book!  For my friends that are not members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, (the Mormon church) some of my references my be confusing as this book is based off of people found in the Book of Mormon.  Feel free to ask me questions or you can always go to  and look up things as well.

Hannah is the daughter of Ishmael, who is a relative of Father Lehi.  The story starts when Hannah is a young child and follows her through her childhood and teenage years, her marriage to one of Lehi's sons and their travels to the Land of Promise.

As one reads the Book of Mormon, you are aware that there are people that are not mentioned because there is just not enough room to write it all down. Anyway, I have always wondered about the women that married Lehi's sons.  This story is one interpretation of who those women were.

The daughters of Ishmael:

Moriah, patient,kind Moriah.  Life does not go the way she thought it would. Does not go the way it was planned for her.  But ever patient and kind her reward is better than she could have ever planned or dreamed.

Uzziel, ever impatient and not always kind.  Life gives her the reward she asks for, the reward she takes for herself even though it was meant for someone else.  But in the end it is the reward meant for her. And the getting of the brass plates as outlined in 1st Nephi in The Book of Mormon ensures that the stolen reward is not taken at the expense of the one it was taken from.

The twins, Amanna and Anava, adventurous and learning. A ray of sunshine and light heartedness for their father and a help to Hannah, she who is the namesake of this book.

Hannah, loves her father, loves her family, loves the prophet Lehi, the scriptures and her God.  But as anyone that has lived life knows, while those things are promised to bring us happiness and reward, sometimes life has a way of testing us to make us prove that we are and will remain faithful.  

Hannah was named after she of the Old Testament,Samuel's mother.  And like Hannah of the Old Testament, our Hannah is tried and tested over and over again.  But she thinks deep, trusts in her Lord and uses her faith to help her when life is hardest.  

When the plans for her future are altered in a way that ensures even more hardship.

 When her husband turns out to have as little faith and character as it is possible to have and still be breathing.  

When all of her sisters and sisters in law are having children and she, like Hannah of old, is not.

When her beloved Father dies in the valley of  Nahom.

When the trip across the ocean proves almost more than she can bear, and then takes a turn for the worse when Nephi is tied up and the Liahonna stops working leaving everyone in despair that they will perish.

When her son begins to idolize his uncle Laman and act like him.

When she must decide, in the end, who and what she will trust. Who and what she will be. Even when it is hard.

I fell in love with Hannah.  I want her to be the actual daughter of Ishmael because I want to know her, to talk to her, to walk with her, to be her friend.

And I want her story to continue so there absolutely HAS to be a second book so I can be with her and get to know her some more.

Purchase it
Read it
Love it

You can get it here.

About the author
Diane Stringam Tolley was born and raised on the great Alberta prairies. Daughter of a ranching family of writers, she inherited her love of writing at a very early age. Diane was trained in journalism, and she has penned countless articles, short stories, novels, plays and songs and is the published author of two Christmas novels: Carving Angels  and Kris Kringle's Magic. She and her husband, Grant, live in Beaumont, Alberta, and are the parents of six and grandparents of seventeen.


Saturday, September 10, 2016

Book Review- Stuck in the Game by Christopher Keene

*Disclaimer, I was given an ARC (advanced reader copy) of this book by the publisher in return for my review

Stuck in the Game by Christopher Keene

I am not sure about this book.  I'll be honest.  It was well written mostly. The descriptions brought the pictures to life in my mind, but I spent most of the book confused.  I am not a gamer so part of my confusion came from not understanding the jargon of "the game".  However, I think my biggest confusion came from the beginning of the book.

 I understood that Noah was stuck in some kind of cyber game, but that came from the description of the book. The description in the book was inadequate for me to truly understand what was happening. I would have liked to see a better description of what happened.  I am not always a fan of prologues, but I think this story could use one to help us understand what is happening with Noah, how he got into the game and why he doesn't want to be there.  Or even to help us understand how the game even works, because that was the most confusing thing for me.

Once I decided to just ignore the reason, or not knowing the reason, Noah is stuck where he is and just read the story as if it were a fantasy adventure/mystery, I began to enjoy the story and the adventure.  The action scenes were fun to read and I enjoyed them. Until the ending. That is where I was pulled back out of the story and my questions of who, why, how, came back.  And then with a miracle all was revealed and it all made sense. Sort of.  Some of those things would have been better if they had been revealed in the beginning or even sprinkled throughout the book instead of all revealed at the end because that made it feel as if the author was not sure how to end the book and just pulled out a surprise ending so he could end the book.

I am not sure whether I would recommend this book or not. If you are wanting a casual read? Probably not. If you are a gamer and want to read a book about gamers? Yes, get this book and read it.

It is available on Amazon nor Kindle now. You can get it here 


Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Girl Who Heard Demons
Janette Rallison

A chance to review a book by Janette Rallison.  Yay!  I love, LOVE, LOVE her books.  The story, the humor, the laughing.  Yay me.  So I finish the day's chores, hunker down in bed, turn on my Kindle and pull up The Girl Who Heard Demons. Demons and Janette don't seem to belong in the same sentence so it would be fine to read it at night. Right?

The demons came again during the night. I was sleeping alone in my aunt's house, and their swishing whispers woke me.

I turned off my Kindle and vowed I would try again when it was light outside. There was no way I was going to read a scary, creepy book right before trying to go to sleep. On a school night. In a dark room. Alone.

I did look at the back liner again though, just to make sure:

Shy Adelle Hansen hears demons, but she’s determined to make friends at her new high school by keeping her ability secret.

When she overhears supernatural voices celebrating the impending death of the school quarterback, Levi Anderson, she knows she has to do something to prevent it. However, the demons aren’t the ones plotting; they’re just celebrating the chaos, and Adelle must contend with earthly forces as well if she wants to preserve Levi’s life.

Handsome, popular Levi doesn't appreciate Adelle’s self-appointed role of guardian angel. As Adelle battles to keep him safe, she’ll have to protect her heart, too. Can she do both?

A couple of days later I tried again.  And was so very happy I did. Janette does not disappoint and she definitely delivers an A+ story. Her demons are just scary enough to be creepy and scary, but not so ever present as to be overwhelming.  And I could have continued reading that first night. Her bad guys are really bad news and the hero should be awarded a white horse because he truly is valiant even if he doesn't know it yet.

Adelle just wants to be normal, liked, accepted and not judged but that is really hard when people can't understand why you want to help them. But she turns out to be a pretty good person anyway. And Levi needs help, even if his friends are jerks, maybe especially since his friends are jerks.  But they are teenagers, so maybe they aren't jerks but just unguided teenagers.

I work in a high school and the dialogue, the setting, the cliques all rang true. I often read YA lit and am turned off by how grown up, mature and reasonable the teens sound in their conversation. The students outside or inside my office never sound like that.  Janette channeled the conversations, thought process, angst, everything perfectly.

When I started reading I couldn't put it down. In fact, I had to rush around to finish getting ready for work and Brandi even finished getting ready before me because I kept reading "just one more page". And then the night I finished it Brandi had on a series we had been watching, a cooking show, and I didn't even watch because I just HAD to finish.

Character development gets an A as well. Levi grew the most in the story and it was fun to watch him grow and go through the doubts and acceptance and disbelief and the pain of growing into the person he is at the end of the book.  A much better version of himself.

Adelle did her own growing and learning and accepting. Janette has an amazing ability to let her characters grow at a natural pace and she doesn't force anything, she is ok with her characters being imperfect versions of people and then learning how to be a better, imperfect version. There is no forced learning or going from being imperfect to perfect in 3 pages.  Nope, her characters grow, and learn and have growing pains and I love it.

Oh, and did I mention the laughing out loud?  I did a lot of that.  Because Janette has a way of twisting words to find the humor in almost every situation. I don't want to ruin it for you because it is such a laugh out loud moment, and it has to do with beached whales and I am still chuckling over it weeks later. I think that was my favorite moment of the entire book.  My favorite among favorites.

The Girl Who Heard Demons by Janette Rallison was an Amazon Kindle Scout winner.  Get it. Read it Love it. 

Get it here:  Amazon 

A bit about Janette:
Janette Rallison/CJ Hill writes books because writing is much more fun than cleaning bathrooms.

Her avoidance of housework has led her to writing 24 novels that have sold over 1,000,000 print copies and have been on many reading and state lists.

Her books are fantasy, sci-fi, and romantic comedy because hey, there is enough angst in real life, but there’s a drastic shortage of humor, romance and hot guys who fight dragons.

She lives in Arizona with her husband, kids, and enough cats to classify her as eccentric.


Monday, April 4, 2016

 Conference this weekend brought new and renewed insights and hope.  I learned some things, had some confirmed and reaffirmed.  And I think I am ready to let go and move on.

This conference also brought many opportunities to see so many of my friends as they sang with the choir.  One of my friends, C. David Belt has gone viral as he shared his testimony of Jesus Christ and the atonement through song.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

Viking on a dime

Friend- I have an awesome idea for a photoshoot. Wanna do it?

Me-  Maaayyyybeeee what do you have in mind

Friend- Vikings

Me- after thinking about it-  When and where and what do I need?

Friend- just get the outfit I'll do the rest

OK, I was NOT going to wear one of those immodest viking costumes and was not going to show much skin so I went searching on the internet.

I asked if this was what she was looking for, to which she replied  YAAAASSSSS!!!!  Knowing her I knew this meant "Oh yes, yes, yes on so many levels yes". So this became my inspiration.

Then I looked at my budget/bank account.  Hmmm.  What is a poor, bankrupt educator supposed to do?  But I knew I could do it, I am creative and know how to do stuff.

Here is how I became a Viking on a Dime:

1. Remember that you put a skirt like this in the box to go to the thrift store because you hadn't worn it for 3 years.  But it is bright yellow.  Go to box and grab it. Go to store and purchase brown dye.
Dye skirt.

Go to thrift store and spend an hour trying on shirts that "might" work.  Head over to the men's department to see if there might be something over there.  Remember that you have a pattern at home for exactly what you are looking for AND enough white material in your cupboard.

Go home.  Find pattern.  You still don't know what you are going to do about armor.  Then, when you are looking at your different  white materials you find 
1) an old yellowed but supposed to be white sheet that will work great for the shirt.
2) faux leather that you had left over from when you recovered a chair

But you are still not sure how to actually MAKE the armor because you are not really great at eyeballing or hand drawing shapes.  Then as you are standing there thinking, your eyes fall on a pattern that for some reason is not where it belongs but just laying on the sewing table.  The bodice portion is PERFECT.

So you set to work cutting and sewing.  And try on the shirt and laugh uncontrollably because even though you measured and measured and measured it is ridiculously large.  So you take it in.  Again.  and yet again.  In the end the sleeves get 10" taken off because they are HUGE.

And this is what you have.  Now to try and replicate the rest of the inspiration look.

You go to your closet and your jewelry making supplies.


Bracers and head piece.  Though in the end we didn't use the head piece because it was too "nice" for the look she wanted.  If I ever wear the costume gain I'll use the head piece.   I grab a piece of fur, string a saber tooth on a piece of leather for my necklace, thread a strip of grey leather onto a wire for my earrings and hang an old house key to a piece of leather around my waist, to complete the look. Then have my daughter lace me into the armor and head to the meeting point where Natalie did my make-up and Jen did my hair.

Then I did the hair for the other 3 models while Natalie did their makeup.  Jen was also one of the models so she was getting makeup and getting dressed- that's why I did the rest of the hair.  Then we gathered all of our props and headed out to Spanish Fork Canyon.  We spent about 2 hours doing photos.  Individual and group and it was a blast.   I was totally out of my comfort zone.  I love dressing up, but don't think I am very photogenic and I am NOT a model so I didn't really know what I was doing and having others watch me was a bit uncomfortable.  But I have decided to start trying to stretch myself and stop saying "no" "I can't" or whatever.

The pictures below, my daughter took after I got home. I am really excited to see the ones that Natalie did.  She said she is going to frame the best one of me and hang it in my office.  I hope she does.  


Monday, September 15, 2014

The Watchers Book One Knight of Light

I absolutely loved this book and hate it that I will have to wait for book two because I want more of the story right now. The story is compelling and Auriella is someone that you want to meet and know and spend time with.  Deirdra Eden knows how to write a story that draws you in and holds you captive.  I was seriously upset that I had to put the book down and go to work and do grown up responsible things when all I wanted to do was keep reading.

I will admit that there were a couple of times that I was a little bit confused? or felt as if I had missed something somewhere almost as if I had entered the story in the middle of the action.  I quickly forgave Ms. Eden that, though, because Auriella feels that way throughout most of the story as she is just learning of who/what she is.  I think this is what helped to make me feel drawn to the story and to Auriella and made me want to continue the quest as if she was a real flesh and blood friend and I needed to help her understand as I came to understand Auriella's life, quest, mission.

I say purchase the book, read it, love it, beg for more.

The Watchers Book 1: Knight of Light

In England, 1270 A.D., Auriella (pronounced yurr-ee-ella) flees her village after being accused of witchcraft. Pursued by nightmarish creatures, she struggles to accept the truth about her humanity. Filled with fairies, dwarves, pixies, dragons, and monsters, Knight of Light is an enthralling tale that will capture the imaginations of readers young and old.

The Watchers Series has been described as Braveheart meets Supernatural.

The mythology for the series is based on many theological texts from dozens of sects with correlating themes. Ancient writings include The Dead Sea Scrolls, The Traditional Apocrypha, The Pearl of Great Price, and The Kabbalah.

“The Watchers” are supernatural beings in human form whose duty it is to protect and guard mankind from the armies of darkness.
Unfortunately, as the Book of Enoch mentions, some of these Watchers go bad. Although the mythology is based on these texts, Deirdra Eden’s The Watchers Series is written in a traditional fairytale style with a young girl’s discovery of incredible, but dangerous powers within herself, a cast of humorous side-kicks, a quest for greater self-discovery and purpose, and villains of epic proportions.

About the Author

"My goal in writing is to saturate my books with intrigue, mystery, romance, and plot twists that will keep my readers in suspense. I want to see fingerprints on the front and back covers where readers have gripped the novel with white knuckles!

Aside from writing, I enjoy jousting in arenas, planning invasions, horseback riding through open meadows, swimming in the ocean, hiking up mountains, camping in cool shady woods, climbing trees barefoot, and going on adventures."

-Deirdra Eden

Find Deirdra Eden and The Watchers Series online on AmazonDeirdra's websiteFacebook, Twitter, Goodreads, Wattpad, and Pinterest.

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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Random thought during lunch break

1. Feeling tired, no motivation and just a wee bit crabby. I just want this work day to end so I can go run on the treadmill and then take a bubble bath.

2.My child is mad at me, so I guess I am doing my job?  But I hate it when my kids are mad at me.

3.I realized that it is ok for me to have the beginnings of a crush on someone.
Do people my age even have crushes?
And it is just as scary to start a conversation with a member of the opposite sex as it was when I was 15.

4. I am almost finished with my apple and  almond butter and that has made the crabbiness factor go down. I am going to be able to make it through.

5.I am not looking forward to finding damage to the house from last night's wind.  The gate was open and the dogs were out when I left this morning and I had a hard time latching the gate. But if that is the only problem, I know how to fix that.  I think.

6. I love yard work and how it looks after you finish a project.  But I hate mowing and edging.  Maybe I should get a goat. Or a sheep. Think my neighbors would even notice?

7. End of year, get these seniors graduated, have you finished that make-up credit yet? season is here.  I have a love/hate relationship with that particular brand of crazy.  I hate hounding the students but I love it when the credit is finally done and I can clear them for graduation.

8. Should I replace the carpet or just rip it out and put in wood/pergo in my living room.

9. I collected a lot, A LOT of shells while in Corpus Christi.  They are soaking in a mix of bleach and water.  After I rinse them off today I think I will use some of them to make jewelry.

10. Right now I wish I was sitting on the beach again soaking up some vitamin D.

Back to work. Lunch time is over.