Monday, March 23, 2015

Double Book Review--This is Jesus and Loving Helen

Today I have two books I want to tell you about.  The first is to help us get ready for Easter and is called This is Jesus.  It has chosen scriptures from the events preceding the atonement and crucifixion and selected events immediately afterward.

It is simplistic in its approach, but the beautiful artwork in it by J. Kirk Richards makes this book special.  His artwork reminds me of art I've seen in museums before, where the subject's face is sketched in, but not really clear, leaving room for the viewer's imagination.  The thing that sets this apart for Mr. Richards, however, is that he clearly portrays the emotion of those near Jesus during this time, as well as the Savior Himself.

I was glad that I could read this book with my children and enjoy the artwork, answer their questions about a certain person in a picture, or talk about something the scripture brought up while we were reading.  Even my youngest child enjoyed the time we spent reading it.

This definitely added to our Easter preparation and is sure to become a treasured family book.

You can buy your own copy for $24.99 here

Here is the back copy:

The life of the Savior is portrayed in stunning fine art pieces by award-winning artist J. Kirk Richards. These striking new images were created by the artist exclusively for this book. Accompanied by a harmonized account of the Saviors ministry, Atonement, and Resurrection, these exquisite paintings reflect a deep reverence for Christs mission and sacrifice. Each page is beautifully designed to complement the unique style of the artist. A perfect reminder of the true reason we celebrate the Easter season, this handsome volume will be treasured by the entire family for years to come.

The second book I want to tell you about today is Loving Helen by Michele Paige Holmes.  This is the second book in the Hearthfire Romance series and is a companion novel to the first one, Saving Grace.  This is definitely not a stand-alone book and in order for it to make the most sense, you really have to read Saving Grace first since this one takes place at the same time.

That said, I really enjoyed the romance between the main characters in Loving Helen. There were just enough misunderstandings to build the tension and the addition of Helen's relationship with Beth really showed off the real Helen---the one who's not jumpy and afraid.  I loved that Helen is fleshed out as a real character who has overcome so much in her life to bring her to this point and that Mr. Preston doesn't feel an insta-love for her.  It made it very realistic, even through their faux-engagement when those tender feelings are beginning to take root. I loved Mr. Preston in the first book and loved him even more in this one.  This is a clean romance, of course, but I have to say there is one "kissing scene" that was totally sigh-worthy. Since I don't want to give away any spoilers, however, I'll stop there.  I also thought the author did a great job with the secondary characters and really made the entire cast relatable and believable. I'm excited to read the third book in the series!

You can download your copy for $3.99 here

Here's the back copy:

Eighteen-year-old Helen Thatcher grew up under the protection of her older siblings, Grace and Christopher. Living in their shadows and keeping to herself suited Helen just fine—until she met widower Samuel Preston. Watching Mr. Preston care for his young daughter and seeing his concern extend to her own family, Helen felt her reserve slipping away, as she learned first to trust him and then realized she had fallen in love with him. But instead of returning—or even noticing her affection—Mr. Preston developed his own tender, and unrequited feelings, for Grace.

In the midst of each silently nursing their broken hearts, Helen and Samuel are faced with a daunting task—reuniting Grace with her fiancé, Nicholas Sutherland. Now it is Helen who must look out for her sister and sacrifice her own fragile heart, as she and Samuel pretend to be engaged. Helen finds the role surprisingly easy to play, allowing herself to imagine that Samuel’s loving remarks are sincere. As the time for their charade to end draws near Helen must summon her courage and tell Samuel the truth of her feelings, or risk losing him forever.


Debra Erfert said...

Wow, two such different books. Thanks for bringing them to our attention.

Julie Coulter Bellon said...

You're welcome!