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Pioneer Girl: The Annotated Autobiography
Laura Ingalls Wilder
Beloved Enos
Denver C. Snuffer Jr.
The Allegory of the Olive Tree: The Olive, the Bible, and Jacob 5
John W. Welch, Stephen D. Ricks
When Organizing Isn't Enough: SHED Your Stuff, Change Your Life
Julie Morgenstern
The Second Comforter:: Conversing with the Lord Through the Veil
Denver C. Snuffer Jr.

Dragons Love Tacos

Dragons Love Tacos - Adam Rubin Delightful! A hit from the moment we opened the book, borrowed from the library. When I discovered a copy at the local thrift store, I snapped it right up.

The Last Leaf

The Last Leaf - O. Henry, Raymond Harris, Walter Pauk, Robert J. Pailthorpe Lovely.

The Gift of the Magi

The Gift of the Magi - Lisbeth Zwerger, O. Henry A re-read out loud with my husband as we drove to the city, as part of our conversation.

Life From Scratch

Life From Scratch - Melissa  Ford First fiction book in a couple of years - a pleasantly absorbing three-hour read. Better than going to a movie! Delightfully crafted word pictures. It was lovely to have a middle-aged, less than perfect Rachel. I didn't see the ending coming until it arrived, then the final few pages were predictable.

But the book is not much about food. Yes, she cooks, but that takes a back seat to the the drama of Rachel's life. One lovely character is Arianna... I liked her quite a bit. I must be getting old fashioned for I didn't care for the speed with which Rachel falls into bed for the next guy she dates. This probably rules out some bodice-busters from my reading list.

I would read this author again, and would read a sequel, if there were one. Melissa Ford, I will be perusing the fiction aisle of the library more often, thanks to you.

No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith

No Man Knows My History: The Life of Joseph Smith - Fawn M. Brodie I've read other LDS history, nothing new here. Skimmed.

Eliza, The Life and Faith of Eliza R. Snow

Eliza, The Life and Faith of Eliza R. Snow - Karen Lynn Davidson, Jill Mulvay Derr A lovely read. I looked over other reviews and I wanted to know more as well. Delve more deeply into who Eliza Snow really was. I think the problem is that Eliza didn't give us much to go on. She only kept a diary for a few short years following her sealing to Joseph Smith. How I wish there was so much more!

I enjoyed the book, not only from the way it was written and included some of her poetry, but photos of her possessions were an added bonus. What I didn't like was the lace print on every single page - it made the book feel less like a piece of literature and more like a doily visual aid in a Relief Society lesson.

I've been on an LDS history kick lately, and this has been my favorite so far. I didn't expect to like it much, and I did. There was an attempt to discover who Eliza really was from the clues she left behind.

Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self

Something More: Excavating Your Authentic Self - Sarah Ban Breathnach Essays of a woman discarded in later life by her husband. Sarah circles the drain of self-loathing and decides she needs Something More, in the form of Perfection, which can only be found in the perfect love of the perfect man. Until then she will become her Authentic Self, and ladles out substantial amounts of advice that proudly make her "the most self-centered woman in the world." (See page 325)

I read this book many years after "Simple Abundance", hoping to find additional vignettes for looking at life through delicate rose-colored glasses. Sadly, "Something More" advises me to demand more from my relationships, and if they don't shape up then I should pack up and ship out, because I deserve Something More.

Sarah does not seem to understand that gentleness of Spirit comes when we are malleable, open, and willing to see our portion of the blame in the demise of an important relationship. Reinventing the self does not correct the deficiencies we bring to the table, it only dresses them in different clothing.

The book gives some lovely quotes, and reminds the reader that being true to yourself is essential to happiness. But that truth does not come with searching for Something More. It is there all along, waiting for you to uncover it by discarding the layers of UN-truth that hide who we are meant to be.

Three stars for snippets of thoughtful prose that kept me going, albeit over several weeks, to the end of the book.

Beloved Emma - The Illustrated Life Story of Emma Smith

Beloved Emma - The Illustrated Life Story of Emma Smith - Lori E. Woodland The art in the book grabbed my attention at the library. You can take bigger chances on library books, and our local library is so small that there is very little selection at all. Being a lover of history, I allowed the art to persuade me.

I read the book in one sitting, and with some skimming, mostly because it's more a Joseph Smith history from Emma's point of view. I don't wish to be too critical because I know there isn't a lot of information out there, and what remains is contradictory or cannot be verified, or historically unreliable. Still, I hoped the book would focus on what details of Emma's life are available and allow her to be seen, rather than eclipsed by her husband's experiences.

Very little attention is given to the subject of polygamy. Chapter 25 is only three pages long and gives very little information. The author chose carefully the quotes and information to include, and remains quite neutral.

The more interesting portion of the book to me were the chapters describing Emma's life after the death of Joseph. I wished for more information; it seems the author is again attempting to remain gently neutral rather than discuss any of the controversial aspects of Emma's involvement with Church leaders in the chaotic years following the assassination.

Pleasantly and kindly written, Emma is presented as a generous and humble woman, courageous and patient. Worth reading.

The Second Rescue: The Story of the Spiritual Rescue of the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers

The Second Rescue: The Story of the Spiritual Rescue of the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers - Susan Arrington Madsen A chronicle of a stake president to involve the people in his area in temple work for the Willie and Martin handcart pioneers. This research and work expanded into obtaining historic landmark areas in key places along the route. Details are given about how improvements were made and plaques were created in honor of the struggle of these early pioneers.

I like history, and this book has a bit of that. But it also contains a spin that I often see in LDS non-fiction - the "faith-promoting and testimony-building" spin of the importance of Church leadership to the lowly member.

History is romanticized as the tireless Lorimer is prompted by the spirit. He obtains computers for researching the records of the pioneers by the members of his stake and then arranges for the temple work to be completed. Throughout the narrative, difficulties arise and things look grim and desolate, only to miraculously come together perfectly and conveniently before the arrival of top LDS leaders. These examples mirror the conditions of the pioneers in their last desperate weeks, and the winter rescue that occurred.

Lorimer convinces LDS Church leaders to purchase land related to the trek and make improvements so anyone who wishes to walk in the path of the fallen may do so.

Although five other handcart companies had previously safely traveled the same route to the Salt Lake Valley, all with few problems, the Willie and Martin companies have become poster children for LDS pioneers in general. This book is a saga of modern-day humility which desires the reader feel the spirit. The details are designed to evoke an emotional response to the efforts of today's generation building upon the foundation of the truly touching story of these courageous pioneers. The message includes the importance of family history and temple work.

The "Testimonials" section includes prints of line drawings created by young children in the stake. The book provides excerpts from pioneer journals, along with photos of past pioneers and... modern-day leaders. The Riverton Stake Presidency. The Ogden Temple Presidency and wives all dressed in white. President James Foust and President Thomas Monson - because they visited the area.

One particular latter-day memorial choice described in the book reveals the poignancy felt by the author about those who were involved in the project. Lorimer arranged, with difficulty, the purchase of land at Rock Creek Hollow. This was the location where the Willie company spent two days in harsh winter conditions, having completed their forced rescue march over the treacherous Rocky Ridge and down the western slope of South Pass. Those who were still alive were in bad shape. But the site was eventually obtained and improvements and beautification completed. President Gordon B Hinckley officially dedicated Rock Creek Hollow and the mass grave for 15 pioneers in 1992. As explained in "The Second Rescue":

"A new and imposing monument at Rock Creek Hollow was dedicated on July 26, 1997, as the culminating event at the Riverton stake Pioneer Day celebration held that year. It memorialized the Second Rescue and the blessings associated with it. The inscription on the six-foot-high, eight-ton granite stone reads:

To the People of The Second Rescue
Gordon B. Hinckley August 15, 1992
Thomas S. Monson July 15, 1997
James E. Faust July 25, 1992
Helaman 10:4-5

The names are those of the First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. On August 15, 1992, Pres. Hinckley dedicated the monuments at Martin's Cove, the Willie rescue site, and Rocky Ridge and pronounced a sacred blessing on the people of the stake. On July 15, 1997, Pres. Monson spoke to over 1,400 people in a meeting held in Riverton and gave them a special blessing. And on July 25, 1992, the youth and later the entire membership of the Riverton Wyoming Stake received powerful blessings from Elder James Faust. The monument at Rock Creek Hollow stands as a mighty reminder that urges the people of the Second Rescue to REMEMBER the words, promises, and blessings of the Lord through his apostles and prophets to them."

I leave it to you, dear reader, to decide the relevance.

Fire of the Covenant: The Story of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies

Fire of the Covenant: The Story of the Willie and Martin Handcart Companies - Gerald N. Lund Skimmed in one sitting, it's nearly 800 pages of historic fiction! But interesting material. I liked the notes at the end of each chapter giving historical insights.

Autobiography of a Yogi

Autobiography of a Yogi - Paramahansa Yogananda, W.Y. Evans-Wentz I tried to like this book, it came highly recommended. 2 stars for getting me to pull out the dictionary several times - the word choice is delicious! So I skipped about, reading here and there. The friend who loaned the volume had added prodigious areas of underlining, utterly distracting. After two sessions of attempts to find some part that grabbed my attention and didn't leave me wondering WHY, I decided I must not be ready for the wisdom of the pages. It will be returned to the owner.

The Results Book

The Results Book - Wally Minto Interesting thoughts. A bit repetitive but the author is trying to make sure the reader understands his points.

I Love You So... (Marianne Richmond)

I Love You So... (Marianne Richmond) - Marianne Richmond Fun pictures, lovely message. Odd rhymes that are not correct meter. The story lists many different ways to compare love from a child perspective. I would have rated 2.5

Monster Trucks

Monster Trucks - Anika Denise, Nate Wragg We love this book! Great illustrations, fun words, a catchy rhyme. A must-read bedtime favorite!

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day!

Hooray for Diffendoofer Day! - 'Dr Seuss',  'Jack Prelutsky',  'Lane Smith' Fantastic illustrations

Curious George Pat-A-Cake

Curious George Pat-A-Cake - H.A. Rey 5 stars for the puppet, 3 stars for the story, and 2 stars for the illustrations. But the puppet seems made nicely enough to withstand toddlers.