Oct 31, 2013

Pedal Forward

Book Details
Author: Trey Hall
Release Date: October 2013
Publisher: Cairn Publishing Denver LLC
Genre: Inspiration


You will be entertained, uplifted, and simply astounded at Trey's recovery and his life philosophy.

In 1991 Trey and his friend, Ken, were riding their bikes just like they did every morning when a car going 75 MPH hit them head-on.

They each sustained traumatic injuries.

Yet, they didn't let those injuries get them down.

They saw the miracles, worked hard to overcome, and gained insight in how to move forward.

Ken had:
*His helmet was in five pieces
*Two open compound fractures of the right lower arm
*Two fractures of the upper right arm
*Severe nerve damage to the right shoulder and arm that allowed no use of these extremities
*Lacerations and nerve damage around the right eye socket
*Compound fracture of the right leg (femur)
*Three compound and open fractures of the left leg (tibia/fibula) and one simple fracture
*Three fractures of the pelvis
*Significant blood loss
*Road rash literally from head to toe, with severe lacerations and open wounds requiring multiple skin grafts, hundreds of stitches, and staples
*PCL tear in the right knee

Trey had:
*Two fractures of the pelvis
*Six broken and dislocated vertebrae
*A nearly severed right foot held to his body by only the Achilles tendon
*A complete dislocation of the left knee that included an open compound fracture of the left patella and complete tears of the PCL, patella tendon, and both the medial and lateral collateral tendons
*ACL tear of the right knee
*Collapsed left lung, with the right one working on half volume
*A left hand split in two pieces
*An open compound fracture of the left elbow
*Significant blood loss
*Road rash, lacerations, and open wounds literally from head to toe

Here they are only 6 months from the time of the accident~
Their competitive nature with each other to heal the fastest pushed doctors and therapist to find new and better ways to help them overcome.

In 2002 Trey was elected to run the Olympic Torch for the Salt Lake City Winter Games...

I love how he tells about this:
My part of the relay was to be run in the small town of Kenilworth. The morning that I was to run, I met with the relay officials and other runners. As we waited, the runners were all asked to tell their stories of why they were there to runt the torch. heroes--folks who had saved people from burning buildings, individuals who helped the homeless, veterans who had been wounded serving our country--surrounded me. Then there was me, who was there because I fell off my bike.

Both Trey and Ken have "pedaled forward."

And Trey shares with us 10 Life and Business Lessons he has learned while riding his bike...and they are AMAZING!

A couple of my favorite quotes in the book are:

The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing~

Find a place inside where there's joy, and the joy will burn out the pain~ 

Come what may and love it~ 

Following their example we can each "pedal forward."

About the Author
Trey and Ken~ 21-years after the accident
Trey Hall is a twenty-eight-year business veteran who has worked at world-class organizations PepsiCo, Boston Market, Quiznos, Smashburger, Consumer Capital Partners, and TGI Friday's.

Trey is currently president of Denver-based Consumer Concept Group, a  restaurant-centric direct development firm that creates, opens, and operates modern signature restaurants.

He has also helped nonprofit organizations Millennium Promise (dedicated to ending extreme poverty in sub-Saharan Africa) and America's Road Home (dedicated to ending family homelessness in the United States) build their consumer infrastructure.

After earning his undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University, Trey went on for a master's degree from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism, where he was recently inducted into the Hall of Achievement.

He has shared his bike stories and the lessons he has learned from them in university, business, and church settings.

Trey lives with his wife of thirty ears in Denver, Colorado. He is dedicated to his family, his friends, and his bike.

(A review copy was provided for this review. However, all reviews are of my own opinion :)

Once Enchanted


Book Details
Author: Jaclyn M. Hawkes
Release Date: August 2013
Publisher: Spirit Dance Books
Genre: Romantic Suspense


Amazingly wonderful!
Adorably fun!
Sweetly romantic!

Filled with fun emotional twists that keep you wondering when the characters will finally stop being stubborn and realize that "once enchanted, always enchanted."

Alexis has it all! At least she thought she did!

Then Alexis is sent to find a rural Wyoming gifted architect who seems to be closely guarded by his friends and even his enemies...she is so unhappy about this assignment that she starts to re-evaluate her life and her goals.

To top it all off her car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and Sean Rockland is the tow truck driver that comes to her aid.

If only Sean was more than a tow truck driver...

And if only Sean could accept her as she is instead of trying her patience and forcing her to face her fears...

If only she wasn't so attracted to him...

If only she could find this elusive architect and get back to her real life...

If only she could stop picturing a new life in Wyoming with Sean and his family...

And then there is Sean's side of the story...

I couldn't put it down!
I so want more from this author!

About the Author
Jaclyn M. Hawkes grew up in Utah with 6 sisters, 4 brothers and any number of pets. (It was never boring!) She got a bachelor’s degree, had a career and traveled extensively before settling down to her life’s work of being the mother of four magnificent and sometimes challenging children. She loves shellfish, the out of doors, the youth and hearing her children laugh. She and her fine husband, their family, and their sometimes very large pets, now live in a mountain valley in northern Utah, where it smells like heaven and kids still move sprinkler pipe.

Click picture to see my reivew
Click picture to see my reivew

( A review copy was provided for this review, however all reviews are of my own opinion :)

Oct 30, 2013

Hexes and X's w/ eBook Giveaway


Book Details
Authors: Zoey & Claire Kane
Release Date: June 2013
Publisher: Breezy Reads
Genre: Mystery

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this series!
It continues to be fun and entertaining!

This book has pirates, legends, treasure maps, booby traps (hexes), hidden passages, kooky witches, mystery, murder, and hopefully a treasure chest full of pearls.

It also has a mother and daughter team, old friends, new friends, enemies, romance and ex (X)- boyfriends.

Fun, fun story line!

Zoey's old college friend has invited Zoey and Claire to come solve the mystery of the hidden treasure and to find out if the pirate tales from her family are really true.

Going only by a map with multiple X's on it Zoey and Claire must endure the town council, the mischievous villain who wants the old house and treasure to herself, the ex-boyfriend who shows up on the scene, and a storm that will keep all the players together in the old mansion.

Luckily they have a "handsome deputy, Riley Jones, and an endearing redneck named Slobber to help them along the way."

A little laughter.
A little mystery.
A little suspense.
A little romance.
A whole lot of FUN, FUN READING!

Zoey and Clair have graciously offered to do an eBOOK GIVEAWAY for MY readers :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Authors
Claire has a Masters in Journalism, was Editor for Eye Witness Magazine and can't make Irish Rum Cookies to save her life.

Claire Kane (Molly Snow)
Zoey has dabbled in modeling, is a licensed real-estate agent, seeks for treasures (great and small), and is often underestimated.

Together, Zoey and Claire are a mother-daughter mystery solving duo. During their downtime, they dream of island men whisking them away.

(Zoey and *Claire are also fictional, and their authors are a real life mother and daughter who use their names as pseudonyms. Don't tell them that, though.)

*Award-winning author, Molly Snow, writes under Claire Kane. To see her paranormal romantic comedies, visit mollysnowfiction.blogspot.com

The following is from Claire Kane (Molly Snow)~There are bits of each character that are true to life, when it comes to us. My mom is glamorous and has led a more wild life than me, for instance. I'm very business-minded like Claire. By the time my mom and I finish one of our adventures, we feel like we really just went through it together. It's a fun experience for the two of us. We also decided to use the characters' names as our pen names, so that explains that little anomaly. Anywho, check these stories out--they're plenty fun.

Other books in this series

Click on picture to see my review
Click on picture to see my review

(A review copy was provided for this review. However, all reviews are of my own opinion :)

Oct 29, 2013

A Christmas Journey

Book Details
Author: Various
Release Date: October 2013
Publisher: Deseret Book
Genre: Christmas


Four stories share the Christmas journey...with stunning illustrations!

Starting with the Christmas story told from the scriptures and beautifully illustrated with Joseph Brickey paintings.

Next you are delighted with Emily Freeman's God Bless Your Way, illustrated by Dan Burr about a man who travels along with Joseph and Mary to the town where he too had been born. This story is so heart-warming as he also goes from inn to inn only to find out there is no room.

Then you will be delighted to travel with Simon Dewey's painting through the wonderful song titled The Nativity Song...included are selections from Apostles, Prophets, and other Church leaders.

And finally you will read The Miracle of the Wooden Shoes where the tradition of leaving a gift at someone's house multiple days in a row will become so much more meaningful. Illustrations are by Dan Burr.

This book truly is a Christmas treasure!

Oct 28, 2013

Kissing Santa


Book Details
Author: Heather Horrocks
Release Date: May 2013
Publisher: Word Garden Press
Genre: Contemporary Romance

Is this not the cutest cover and title ever!
It really is about kissing a Santa!

FUN FUN FUN story!
I LOVE this series
(you can read about book 1
Bah, Humbug HERE)

When fireman Zeke is forced to be a Santa in a kissing booth he is not too happy.

And when Hannah's drama students pitch in to help buy her tickets for the kissing booth she is not to happy either...for she is trying to win back her high school sweetheart Jackson.

But that one kiss is pure fireworks and Zeke feels that Hannah is THE ONE.

So how does he end up volunteering to help make Hannah's ex jealous at a New Year's Eve party?

It could cost him...big time!


About the Author
Heather Horrocks writes Chick Flicks in a Book :)

She says "I love books that make me laugh out loud and that's what I mostly write. I hope you enjoy."

An avid reader of romances and mysteries since childhood, Heather Horrocks likes to also draw from experience: she was a romantic comedy buff who owned her own video store and she read tons of Agatha Christie and Nancy Drew mysteries growing up (but she only bumps people off on paper). Raised by her shop-til-you-drop mother (Heather’s only an amateur) and pay-for-the-purchases oilman father, Heather lived overseas for her first seventeen years, attending schools in Colombia, Venezuela, London, Kuwait, and Iran.

She’s been a pianist since her Kuwait branch, and has taught in both Primary and Relief Society.

After years of writing after long days of medical transcriptions, Heather is delighted to turn her attention fully to her craft, and she loves sharing what she’s learned about life and writing, both in her books and in classes she gives.

Divine Intervention

Book Deatils
Author: Gary W. Toyn
Release Date: October 2013
Publisher: Covenant Communications
Genre: Inspiration

Sometimes when we say we feel so blessed because ____________ happened....others feel that they must not be so blessed because it didn't happen that way for them.


I believe that we should always be grateful and share the miracles that happen in our lives...


They are powerful manifestation that God is there and that he does bless us...even if those blessings are not the ones we were looking for.

God has a plan and His plan is always the best one!

This books shares 17 times the Lord stepped in and gave "divine intervention."

These stories are uplifting and inspiring!

They give us lessons to learn from!

You will read about an attack by a bear, an attack by a lion, falls from a cliff, plane crashes, and drownings among other stories.

You will feel the love of family and friends and know that "the Lord extends his mercy to all of us and is always there waiting for us to come to Him."

These stories are SO WORTH READING!
LOVED each one of them!

About the Author
Growing up in Huntsville, Utah, Gary W. Toyn’s lone claim to fame was having regularly mowed David O. McKay’s lawn.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in communications from Weber State University and as a journalist went on to cover the National Basketball Association and the 2002 Winter Olympics. 

He has traveled the globe under contract for the Defense Department, having been launched off aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf and having survived a helicopter crash in the jungles of Honduras. He has interviewed world political leaders, dissidents, and heads of state. He has also organized humanitarian relief efforts for Romanian orphanages, for the first private university in the former Soviet Union, and for struggling libraries in postcommunist Eastern Europe. 

In all, he has worked and traveled in nearly fifty countries. He is the author of The Quiet Hero, the biography of WWII Medal of Honor recipient George Wahlen, and cocompiler of Life Lessons from Fathers of Faith and Life Lessons from Mothers of Faith.

(A review copy was provided for this review. However, all reviews are of my own opinion :)

Caribbean Cruise w/ signed Alex Boye' CD and signed PHOTO giveaway

Look where I've been and who I've been with :)

Remember back when I helped promote a Deseret Book
Summer of Giving giveaway for an
(You can read about it HERE)

NO...I was not the lucky winner...this is them

I was simply helping promote this cruise.

I had NO THOUGHTS of going. 


I received one of the mass emails that went out saying LAST CHANCE to get in on the group tour!

My husband had just received his bonus and we were planning on getting new carpet with it.  

When he walked through the door that evening I asked "so...do you want new carpet? OR do you want to go on a cruise?"

We raced to my work to get the time off...we raced to his work to get the time off..then we came home...called Wendy at Morris Murdock and said "book us!"

A BIG SHOUT OUT to Wendy and Morris Murdock Escourted Tours for planning a PHENOMENAL trip and to Deseret Book for the SUMMER OF GIVING and to the Royal Caribbean Cruise Line for their AMAZING service!

And a HUGE SHOUT OUT to Alex Boye' and his wife Julie for giving us many hours of FUN AMAZING ENTERTAINMENT!

We went to Coco Cay, St. Thomas, and St. Maarten...

I also spent MANY HOURS just sitting on the deck watching the ocean and reading books! I finished 8 books and will have 
reviews coming...so check back for those :)

for your patience while I was gone...

I am giving away 
a signed Alex Boye' Calling America CD 
and 4 signed photos

Enter this one for the CD and a PHOTO
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter this one for a PHOTO


My husband and I had SO MUCH FUN! 
Open the SmileBox slide show to see more pictures :)

Click to play this Smilebox slideshow

I gained only 3 POUNDS! (Normal weight gain on a cruise is 1 pound per day)
I walked 40 MILES in 9 days!
Our HONEYMOONERS. They had been married 2 weeks when we started the cruise :)
This couple celebrated their 35th wedding ANNIVERSARY with us!
This couple will be going on an LDS Mission to Papua, New Guinea at the end of November :)

I will be doing an Alex Boye' artist bio...
so watch for that to come :)

Oct 18, 2013

On Vacation

I am on vacation
with NO internet access~

I do have my books with me
So watch for more reviews when I get back :)

The Smurthwaites w/ BOOK GIVEAWAYS


I was at work the other day and in walked 
Shannon and Donald Smurthwaite!

How fun to have both husband AND wife as authors! 
They are both very delightful and fun to chat with.
Make sure to read to the very end to find out 10 FUN THINGS ABOUT THEM!

I LOVE both of their books!

Shannon Smurthwaite just wrote a cookbook...Mormon Mama Italian Cookbook: From my Nona Rosa's Table to Yours

Filled with wonderful Italian dishes (minus the alcohol :) hence the Mormon in the title. She has everything from meatballs to focaccia breads to truffles. 

She also has some really fun Italian facts and jokes with each recipe.
A couple of my favorites are:
You know you're Italian when you've been tapped with a wooden spoon or had a shoe thrown at you.

What do you call an Italian with his hands in his pocket? ~ A mute.

The average Italian is 43 years old. My great aunt has claimed this age for the last 30 years. 

Watch for my full review coming next month...

Donald S. Smurthwaite has written many novels.

Some you might recognize are: The Boxmaker's Son, Fine Old High Priest and Suprising Marcus.

His latest novel is Road to Bountiful...

A WONDERFUL, tender book filled with humorous moments and an AMAZING road trip between a nephew and his great-uncle.

Along the way lessons are learned...
Hearts are softened...
And life seems to slow down...

Read my full review HERE.

Shannon and Donald have graciously agreed to do an eBOOK/BOOK GIVEAWAY 
for MY readers :)

Enter this one for an eBOOK of Momon Mama Italian Cookbook
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enter this one for a paperback copy of Road to Bountiful
(US Address only please)
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About the Authors
Shannon McClary Smurthwaite grew up in Los Angeles, California. The oldest of three daughters, Shannon loved spending time at her Italian grandmother’s side. She attended Cal State Northridge and BYU, studying art and design. She is married to Donald Smurthwaite, and they are the parents of four wonderful children. Shannon’s family happily serve as her official food taste testers and share their mother’s love for cooking and creating in the kitchen. She resides in Meridian, Idaho, and serves as her stake’s Young Women president.

Donald Smurthwaite is a native of Portland, Oregon. He and his wife, Shannon, are the parents of four children, whom he always will consider his best works. He has written eight novels, a couple dozen short stories, and lots of magazine stories, some of which were actually pretty good. He writes splendidly about golf, although he has grown ambivalent about the game in his middle-aged years. He runs ten miles a week and makes killer chocolate chip cookies, and yes, there is a connection between the two. He answers every fan letter or e-mail he receives. Lately, that hasn’t been much of a workload.


1. The Smurthwaites met at a BYU student ward open house soon after Donald returned from his mission to the Gulf States. Shannon’s first words to him (“I’m from New York,”) were a boldfaced lie. She’s from California, he’s from Oregon. There’s more to the story, but that’s for another time.

2.They are proof that opposites attract, that oil and water can mix. Shannon is the Type A personality, outgoing, comfortable in groups, making friends everywhere she goes, and organized to a fault. Donald tends to be more reserved and reflective, “although once you get to know him, he’s really funny,” Shannon says.

3. She’s Italian and Scottish, which is a good mix for a writer and compiler of cookbooks; he’s a bit of everything, which probably has no bearing on his writing.

4. They dated, briefly, each other’s roommates until they got things sorted out and decided they were the best combination for each other.

5. Their first date was to a revival of the Disney film “Ol’ Yeller” in Murray, Utah. Somehow, their courtship survived this early test. “Ol’ Yeller” was Donald’s idea. His taste has improved through the years.

6. They both are comfortable in the kitchen. As you would guess, Shannon loves to prepare anything Italian, while Donald’s sweet tooth drives his culinary creations. His chocolate-chip cookies are so good that his High Priests’ group leader wrote a poem about them.

7. Donald’s favorite writers include Wendell Berry, Wallace Stegner, Ivan Doig, William Shakespeare, Ernest Hemingway and several others you’ve never heard of. Shannon, as you might guess, loves to pore through cookbooks.

8. They both love music. Shannon prefers anything from Beach Boys to classical music and everything in between. Donald’s tastes run toward the blues, jazz and rock from the 1970s, which he thinks is the last time good rock music was produced. Shannon plays the guitar a little; Donald is hoping to take up the bongo drums someday.

9. They have been married 36 years and lived in Oregon, Idaho and Montana. They’re the parents of four children, and their first grandchild (who certainly is destined to be spoiled beyond belief) is due in the spring. Shannon prefers Idaho; Donald still considers himself a Montanan.

10. The best times are when all of their children are around and everyone is talking, laughing, eating and being silly together.

Oct 17, 2013

Just Ella w/ $25 Amazon or PayPal Giveaway


Book Details
Author: Annette K. Larsen
Release Date: August 2013
Publisher: Hidden Falls Publishing
Genre: Medieval Romance


I LOVE how the author wrote in the back of the book:
My books are about women who face hard choices, who face pain and rejection and often have to face the reality of sacrificing what they want for what is right. The consequences are often difficult or unpleasant, but in the end, doing what's right will always be worth it.

And this book is just that! A woman who had to make hard choices, but in the end, it was so worth it!

Princess Ariella needs passion...needs direction...needs something more than just sitting around the palace all day.

One day, while exploring the garden maze, she comes across the gardener....Gavin.

As their friendship grows Ariella has to face some really hard decisions.

She finds her royalty a hardship to bear and tries to flee it by being with the people in the village.

But this gets her into more than one frightening situation...and Gavin is always there to help her.

That is until the King banishes Gavin from the palace grounds.

The story that unfold is so amazingly good!

Blog Tour Giveaway 
$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash 
Ends 11/5/13   
Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.   a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author
I was born in Utah, but grew up in Flagstaff Arizona and St. Louis Missouri, the fifth of seven children. I attended college at Southern Virginia University and Brigham Young University where I studied English and Theater. I now live in Idaho with my husband and four children.

I have Charlotte Bronte to thank for the courage to write novels. After being bombarded with assigned reading about women who justified abandoning either their families or their principles in the name of love, I had the great fortune of reading Jane Eyre. And that was it: finally a heroine who understood that being moral and making the right choice was hard, and sometimes it hurt, but it was still worth it. After rereading it several years later, I realized that if I wanted more books to exist with the kinds of heroines I admired, then I might as well write a few myself.

I believe there is no substitute for good writing or good chocolate. Fortunately, one often leads to the other.

(A review copy was provided for this review. However, all reviews are of my own opinion :)

Peace Be Still w/ eBook Giveaway


Book Details
Author: David S. Baxter
Release Date: October 2013
Publisher: Cedar Fort, Inc.
Genre: Inspiration

I LOVE the opening statement of this book

It seems to me that we have increasingly created life conditions in a world in which it is difficult to simply 'be still.' Instead, we have a world that is furiously fast, balefully busy, and numbingly noisy. We barely have a moment to spare; every minute has to be filled with something--anything.

And so it is!
Everyday we yearn for peace as we rush from one activity to another and from one noise to another.

We must learn to "be still" in order to find that peace we are so desperately seeking.

This book has some great, great counsel on how to find that peace we want.

You will learn how to listen to the still, small voice.

You will learn how to help achieve world, home and personal peace.

You will learn how to have peace through forgiveness.

You will learn how to have peace amidst adversities.

You will learn how to trust in the Prince of Peace.

Personal and scriptural stories help illustrate ways in which we can attain peace.

Beautifully written!
Much to ponder!
We CAN have peace in our lives!

Cedar Fort has graciously offered an
eBOOK GIVEAWAY for MY readers :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author
Elder Davis S. Baxter, who was born in Stirling, Scotland, was called in 2006 to the First Quorum of the Seventy of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has served in area presidencies in Europe and in the Pacific. Elder Baxter holds a bachelor of science degree in business and economics from the University of Wales. In 2009, he underwent surgery for a brain tumor. He and his wife, Dianne, are the parents of four children and grandparents of seven.

Consider the Blessings


Book Details
Author: Thomas S. Monson
Release Date: September 2013
Publisher: Deseret Book
Genre: Inspiration

One of the things I love most about hearing President Thomas S. Monson speak is the experiences he shares.

Now 50 of those beloved TRUE accounts have been brought together in this beautifully illustrated book.

True, personal experiences of love and devotion and faith.

Encounters that will warm your heart and give you a greater desire to be more like the Savior.

Some of these experiences you might be hearing for the first time and some you will remember hearing in a General Conference or other meetings.

But as you read you will definitely hear President Monson's voice in your head and rejoice in the spirit that each account brings.

Re-read the telling of the pigeons, or the baseballs, or the stick of gum.

Feel once again the love of President Monson and the love of the Lord in this truly treasurable book.

This book makes a perfect gift for any occasion!

Deseret Book has graciously offered 
a book GIVEAWAY for MY readers :)
(US Address only please)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

About the Author
President Thomas S. Monson was set apart as the sixteenth President of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February 2008. He had previously served for twenty-two years in the First Presidency of the Church, after having been a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles since October1963.

Five years after his call to the Twelve, he was given a special assignment for the work of the Church in Europe, requiring many visits with members behind the Iron Curtain. He was instrumental in the construction of the Freiberg Germany Temple and in advancing the Lord’s work in other eastern European countries that were part of the communist bloc. 

He also served as chairman of the Scriptures Publication Committee and supervised the process that resulted in the new editions of the scriptures. 

His ministry has been characterized by his compassion for the needs of individuals and his gift for one-on-one service. 

President Monson and his wife, Frances, are the parents of three children, grandparents of eight, and great-grandparents of eight.

President Monson knows how to share an experience to bring across a specific point. Now LDS Living Magazine has put together 5 ways in which you can bring experiences to life 
in your teaching methods:

1. Use a true experience. The spirit testifies of truth, so beginning with a true story is always best. True stories are more powerful and relevant to your audience. Remember that President Monson often tells stories from the lives of other people, so if you don’t have a relevant experience, look for another’s. One great resource is a collection of 50 stories President Monson himself has shared during his 50 years as an apostle, available September 27: Consider the Blessings: True Accounts of God’s Hand in Our Lives.

2. Ask, “How does this experience illustrate my main message?” If you’re speaking on tithing and the story you want to tell is about prayer, forcing a connection can confuse your listeners. The more on-point your story is, the easier it will be to explain and fit in to the rest of your talk. Never will you find an irrelevant or tangential story in any of President Monson’s addresses.

3. Keep it short and sweet. A single story should not comprise the majority of your talk. Even though most people are naturally interested in narratives, if a story’s too long, their attention will wander, and they will wonder what the point is. Remember your purpose and cut any details that don’t directly support that message. President Monson often does this by using phrases like, “tears were shed,” or even simply, “time passed,” to gloss over unnecessary details.

4. Specify and then repeat the moral. If you’re speaking to a room of 300 people, there will be 300 different interpretations about what your story meant. Specify your intended message very clearly. Do this often. Preface your story by stating what it is designed to illustrate, and end by restating this purpose. In one example, President Monson started by sharing, “We need God’s divine help. I testify that His help is but a prayer away.” A personal experience about the power of prayer followed, capped off by the moral, “Once more I felt the resolve to provide place for prayer.”

5. Connect your experience to scriptures. To really drive your message home, finish your story by relating it to scripture. This takes your story from a fun recollection to a doctrine-based example. To transition from a  story to a scripture, President Monson uses phrases like, “the words of the Savior come to mind,” or “I reflected on the message of the master, recorded in John 8:12.”

Try adding a story to your next talk. Don’t worry if you’re not master storyteller like President Monson; nobody expects brilliant oratory from a sacrament meeting talk. Instead, remember that a well-told story can illustrate your point and help the congregation remember what you’re teaching more easily. This makes you a more engaging speaker, and more importantly, a better conduit for the spirit.

(A review copy was provided for this review. However, all reviews are of my own opinion :)


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