Monday, May 6, 2013

Three Book Reviews for Mother's Day

I've been a busy girl this week.  I read three books that would be perfect for Mother's Day gifts or for any of the women in your life just because.

The first one is One Drop At a Time by Russell M. Ballard.  I loved the idea of a honeybee only producing one twelfth of a teaspoon of honey their entire life and yet their contribution is vital to the whole.  I think mothers and women produce a lot of kind and compassionate acts that aren't noticed, just part of their one-twelfth, yet it is so vital to the health and well-being of those around them.  The book is short, has some illustrations and inspired me to look at my small acts of service in a different way.  And I definitely think our world and society could use more love and compassion to fill the world with sweetness.  For any woman in your life.

Here's the back copy:

Do you sometimes wonder if your little efforts could possibly make any difference at all? Consider a simple example from nature.

Honey is “one of the foods that includes all the substances— enzymes, vitamins, minerals, and water—necessary to sustain life,” writes Elder M. Russell Ballard. And yet, “Over its short lifetime of just a few weeks to four months, a single honeybee’s contribution of honey to its hive is a mere one-twelfth of one teaspoon. Though seemingly insignificant when compared to the total, each bee’s one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey is vital to the life of the hive.”

Your simple, daily acts of service matter, and this charmingly illustrated little book will lift your heart as it demonstrates the power of many righteous people working together to fill the world, one drop at a time, with the sweet truths of the gospel.

The second book is The Beginning of Better Days.  This book is definitely for the LDS woman in your life.  It includes the full Minutes of the first Relief Society meeting and Joseph Smith's sermons to them.  There were many things I'd heard quoted before but not seen in context.  I found it historically interesting and thought-provoking, especially in light of today's society and feelings about the roles of women.  I also loved it because I had ancestors who attended those meetings and it brought me a bit closer to them, I think, in imagining how it must have been to sit there and listen to what was being taught.  It made me think of the timeless issues women face and were counseled about then and their relevance to me now as an LDS woman.  On an aesthetic note, I also loved the beautiful pages with ragged edges and the fact that space is left for your own thoughts and notes.  I personally didn't want to write in something so beautiful, so I refrained and wrote in my ratty old notebook.  But the opportunity to add your own thoughts is there.

Virginia Pearce and Sheri Dew share their thoughts on the sermons in the minutes through essays and those were quite revealing as well.  Virginia Pearce seems so down-to-earth in her approach to learning and reading.  She applies things to her life in much the same way I do.  Sheri Dew is very intellectual and approaches it more in a teaching manner. She is very forthright and has a style to her writing that I enjoy.  Both essays were well-done and added to the book.  My only complaint was that I would have preferred the sermons to be first, so I could reference them when I read the essays by the two women.  A personal preference I'm sure.  

Here is the back copy:

How important are women in the restored church of Jesus Christ? We learn something about the answer to the question from a simple historic fact: In 1842, the Prophet Joseph Smith took time to attend several meetings of the Female Relief Society of Nauvoo and give personal instruction to the women there. He did this at a time of great personal turmoil, when persecutions were raging and his responsibilities were heavy. He did it at a time when society barely acknowledged women as having any kind of status at all. On six separate occasions, he taught the women personally about their privileges, their opportunities, their obligations, and the blessings the Lord had in store for them in His kingdom.

The Beginning of Better Days includes Joseph Smith's six timeless sermons to the women of Nauvoo, along with personal essays from Sheri Dew and Virginia H. Pearce that help us better understand the sermons and their relevance for Latter-day Saint women today. "We have attempted to share a little about our own processes of discovery regarding the sermons," writes the authors. "This is what worked for us. What works for you may be similar — or it may be completely different. The important thing is to dig in."

And you can watch a video about it here

The third book I read was the last book in the Aliso Creek series, One Chance.  I've loved this romance series by Heather Moore and I'm sad to see it end.  I hope she has second books for each couple so we can find out more about what happened to them.

This book is about Valentina who is in LA for her cousin Sasha's wedding.  She meets up with her middle-school crush, Cesar, and he's still as cute and infuriating as ever.  Valentina is attracted, but he always seems to be surrounded by women so she backs off.  But when she fills in as the maid of honor at the last minute, Cesar is there to help her through the stress.  Things heat up between her and Cesar and suddenly she's questioning her life choices and whether she can really give up everything she's worked for in order to have a chance at love.  We catch up a bit with two of the other Aliso Creek couples, and I was glad to see it, but wanted more.  Of course, by the last page I really wanted to see a bit more of Valentina and Cesar as well, but that's how it is with novellas.  It was a satisfying ending, overall, and very romantic.  For the woman in your life who loves romance.

Here's the back copy:

Welcome to the Aliso Creek Novella Series

Liz, Gemma, Arie, Jess, and Drew have been best friends since creating “the Five” at Aliso Creek High School. But that was over ten years ago, and each is still trying to find that perfect someone... if perfect is even possible.

Valentina is the odd-woman out. She’s part of “the Five” when she dates Drew for a couple of years, and remains friends with the women, but with her traveling schedule as a runway model, it’s impossible to maintain a real relationship. When Valentina attends her cousin’s wedding in LA, she runs into Cesar, who she was school friends with in her native country of Puerto Rico. Cesar is not the young skinny boy she remembers, but a grown man who seems interested in what’s beyond her model-appearance. Back in New York, Valentina can’t get him out of her mind, but she also can’t deny the fact that they’re separated by more than one country

1 comment:

Debra Erfert said...

They all sound great for different reasons. I've read Heather's other books in the Aliso Creek Novella Series, and, of course, I will need to read this one also. thanks for doing my foot work for me, Julie!