Friday, December 7, 2012

"Good King Wenceslas" as read by Jane Seymour with illustrations by Omar Rayyan

I first read this book before sitting down with my family for family home evening.  I was intending to use this book as my lesson, and I had no idea what a treat we were in for.

I felt that this sweet story, with the help of the beautiful artwork, really brought to life for my kids, my husband, and myself the true spirit of Christmas.  My boys who are six and four and who usually have a difficult time sitting still and listening were caught up with all of us in the calm beauty of the moment as we read of a king who, like our Savior, put all others before himself.  It was wonderful.

I recommend this book to anyone, adult or child, as a gentle reminder that Christmas should be more about giving than receiving and that there are people out there who need a lot more than us and who could really benefit from what we have to give them.

Reviewer: Celeste Estes
(I received this book as an e-copy for review purposes.)

Thursday, November 15, 2012

"The Christmas Train" - President Thomas S. Monson

Summary from Beehive Books website:
In this children's picture book, President Thomas S. Monson recounts a Christmas memory from his childhood. As a boy, he yearned for an electric train. To his delight, on Christmas morning he got exactly that--a train that operated through the miracle of electricity. Then he noticed a second train that his mother had purchased for the boy down the street whose family was struggling. Although it was only a wind-up train, it had a beautiful oil tanker car, which little Tommy wanted for his own. Soon after, Tommy's mother invited him to accompany her to the neighbor's home to deliver the gift. Young Mark was thrilled with his new train and, of course, didn't notice the missing train car. However, a remorseful Tommy did. What happened next will bring the spirit of Christmas into every heart and home. Illustrated by renowned artist Dan Burr, The Christmas Train is sure to be a classic Christmas story and a beautiful addition to every Christmas library.
Our Review:
I think every home should have this book!  It is a classic Christmas tale of learning to love giving more than receiving.  These words of our beloved prophet will help you to teach your children the true meaning of Christmas.  Homes without children will also be blessed as we all make an effort to love giving more than receiving.
Reviewer: Vickie Ricks, the Queen Bee

Saints and Soldiers Airborne Creed DVD

Summary from Beehive Books website:

From the producers of the world-renowned hit film Saints and Soldiers and based on actual events, SAINTS & SOLDIERS: AIRBORNE CREED tells the action-packed story of three World War II U.S. Army paratroopers-Rossi (Corbin Allred), Jones (David Nibley), and Curtis (Jasen Wade)-fighting desperately to fulfill their mission against seemingly insurmountable odds.

Cut off behind enemy lines after parachuting into Southern France during Operation Dragoon, their commitment to the Airborne Creed urges them forward and proves that a few good men can change a war.

My Review:

I really enjoyed this movie.  I have not seen Saints and Soldiers in many years, so I was not bothered by the fact that this is not a real sequel.  It's a new story about saints and soldiers, and I thought it was touching and very well done!

I hope you take the time to watch this movie.  You will not be disappointed.

Reviewer: Celeste Estes

"The Rent Collector" by Camron Wright


Goodreads Summary:

Survival for Ki Lim and Sang Ly is a daily battle at Stung Meanchey, the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. They make their living scavenging recyclables from the trash. Life would be hard enough without the worry for their chronically ill child, Nisay, and the added expense of medicines that are not working. Just when things seem worst, Sang Ly learns a secret about the bad-tempered rent collector who comes demanding money--a secret that sets in motion a tide that will change the life of everyone it sweeps past. The Rent Collector is a story of hope, of one woman's journey to save her son and another woman's chance at redemption.

My Review:

I loved this book!  It has the feel of a long-time classic and is based in another culture, so it might take a little time to settle into the story, but once you are comfortable, you will love it!

I loved seeing the character development of the Rent Collector as her past is revealed and she grows to enjoy the time she spends with Sang Ly.  I felt this is really what makes the story great.

Give this story a try.  You will leave it edified.

Reviewer: Celeste Estes

Friday, March 23, 2012

Review of "The Undaunted" by Gerald N. Lund

Available in book on CD, paperback, and hardcover from Beehive Books

The Undaunted
by Gerald N. Lund

Reviewer: Celeste Estes, daughter of the Queen Bee

Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 804 pages

Goodreads Summary: When it comes to creating spellbinding historical fiction, nobody does it quite like Gerald N. Lund.  In The Undaunted, he transports readers first to the coal mines of Yorkshire, then across the ocean and the plains to the territory of Utah, where, even in 1879, there is pioneering to be done.  A little-known and perhaps even less-appreciated chapter in the Church's history comes to life in this gripping story of a stalwart group of Saints called to create a settlement to serve as a buffer between the established communities of Utah and the lawless frontier of the Four Corners area.  Their challenge will be enormous—but the biggest part of it just may be getting there in the first place.  Skillfully interweaving historical figures and events with fictional characters, Gerald Lund takes us through the Hole in the Rock and over miles of uncharted country that even today is impassable without all-terrain vehicles.  His account of the adventure, romance, and sacrifices of these undaunted pioneers will resonate with readers who love a good story as well as those who want to better understand the incomparable legacy and unconquerable faith of those valiant Saints.

My Thoughts: Okay, so I just realized that the Goodreads summary is actually pretty biased: "spellbinding historical fiction," "skillfully interweaving," "will resonate with," etc.  I agree that this book as history is great.  It educates and brings to life for us a part of history that we do not know much about.

However, as a story, I think it attempts to cover too much time, starting in Yorkshire and ending in the Four Corners area.  I can see why Lund does this.  He wants us to understand the main character and the main character's father with a depth that would be otherwise impossible.  However, because we start so far back, the story ends up having a long and dragged out feel to it.  I found myself liking parts of the story but having to force myself to keep reading when it would switch gears.  Also, although the love story added a fun touch, I felt it could have been executed much better, giving more attention to it and less to some of the other things.  The love development just was not there, and suddenly the story ends with a marriage, surprise!

Overall, I learned enough to make reading this worthwhile, but it was not my favorite historical fiction.

3 out of 5 stars.

Review of "Marian's Christmas Wish" by Carla Kelly

Available in e-book and paperback from Beehive Books

Marian's Christmas Wish
by Carla Kelly

Reviewer: Celeste Estes, daughter of the Queen Bee

Genre: Regency Romance
Length: 295 pages

This book was my Christmas present from Keepin' Up with LDS Bookstores blog.  (I won it in a blog giveaway right before Christmas and it arrived in the mail just in time to be under my tree.)

Goodreads Summary: Miss Marian Wynswich is a rather unconventional young lady.  She plays chess, reads Greek, and is as educated as any young man.  And she's certain falling in love is a ridiculous endeavor and vows never to do such a thing.  But everything changes when she receives a Christmas visit from someone unexpected, a young and handsome English lord.

My Thoughts: I just absolutely adored this book!  One of my favorite books in a long time, I loved the humor, romance, and adventure that this book carried me away on at every twist and turn.  Of course I loved the mid-1800's England feel, but I also appreciated that it stepped away from so many of the typical expected themes of a Jane Austen novel.  This book truly kept me guessing until the end, and I just fell in love with the male character in the story. 

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!

Review of "Gifted" by Karey White

Available in e-book and paperback from Beehive Books

by Karey White

This book is a 2011 Whitney Awards finalist in the General category.

Reviewer(s): Vickie Ricks, the Queen Bee; Celeste Estes, daughter of the Queen Bee

My Summary: After many years of hoping and praying for a child of their own, the Wellers decide that it just isn’t going to happen and try their hand at adoption.  They are given the opportunity to adopt a baby girl who has to be delivered when both of her parents are killed in a car accident.  After just one look, Susan Weller knows this is what she has been hoping for all her life.  But as the baby grows, Susan realizes that something is different with her baby girl.  The child is gifted in a most unusual way.  In trying to protect her child from undue notice, she creates more problems for their family.

My Thoughts: I loved this book.  It is among my favorites, maybe because I am the proud mother of six children who in each of his or her own ways is Gifted.  The storyline in this book will touch even the coldest of hearts.  It is a story that has a message of family, sacrifice, and hope for the future.

Celeste's Thoughts:  I really liked this book.  It had a profound message of love and service.  At first I was not sure how "supernatural" the story would be due to the special gifts of the daughter, but it turns out that it was meant to be something that could really happen.  I liked that.

However, this is somewhat of a touchy feely book.  If you want to be entertained instead of inspired, you will probably prefer suspense or science fiction.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Review of "Count Down to Love" by Julie N. Ford

Available at Beehive Books in e-book and paperback
Count Down to Love
by Julie N. Ford

This book is a 2011 Whitney Awards finalist in the Romance category.

Reviewer: Vickie Ricks, the Queen Bee

My Summary: On her way to what she thought was going to be an exciting country singing career, Kelly Grace Pickens is left jilted at the altar and finds out that the man she thought loved her only loved the thought of being married to a star; when that fell through, so did the wedding.  Now Kelly Grace Pickens is homeless and has lots of bills to pay, so she is persuaded to be a contestant on a reality show called Count Down to Love.  She is nothing like the long-legged, slender, and supermodel type contestants that are on the show too, but somehow her down-to-earth country ways are just the ticket she needs to pull off a win.  But, is that what she wants?  She thought all she wanted was the money and then to be sent packing.

My Thoughts: This is a fun book, cute, and well-written.  I liked it because it had its share of twists and turns, which make it interesting and of course make you wish you could fall in love all over again.

Review of "Invaluable" by Holly J. Wood

Available at Beehive Books

by Holly J. Wood

Reviewer: Vickie Ricks, the Queen Bee

My Summary: Eliza Moore is a sophomore in high school.  As with most kids her age she is facing many challenges, including a job that wants her to start working on Sundays, a bestfriend who she has had a falling out with because of boyfriend issues, a younger sister who is becoming distant, love notes that she suspects are being left her by a boy that is giving her unwanted attention, and feelings for his bestfriend who she is head-over-heels for.  All of these things combined would give most young people nightmares but, instead, Eliza gets visits from her great-grandmother.  Together they go back in time to see extraordinary women who help teach her about eight important values.  These values and the great example of these women help her with the challenges she faces.

My Thoughts: This book has a great storyline and message.  A little slow getting into it and not a really quick read but good nonetheless.

Review of "Not My Type" by Melanie Jacobson

Available at Beehive Books

Not My Type
by Melanie Jacobson

A 2011 Whitney Award finalist in the Romance category

Reviewer: Vickie Ricks, the Queen Bee

My Summary:  This is a story of a 23-year-old young woman who calls off her engagement to a man who has asked her to give up what she wants to do with her life to support him in his pursuits.  After the second time of almost making it to the wedding day, she calls it off for good and leaves herself with a huge wedding debt and is still living at home.  Unlike most of us, she has a live-in therapist--her dad.  He challenges her to count her blessings by acknowledging those around her who have blessed her life and to set career goals.  She accepts the challenge, but on the way to fulfilling her goals she manages to botch a job interview and inadvertently stumbles into love.

My Thoughts: This was a fast page turner for me.  I loved the funny way the author approaches situations that we all have found ourselves in at one time or another.  Great book for those who love to love!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

My Girlfriend's Boyfriend by Elodia Strain

Available in paperback and e-book
My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend
by Elodia Strain

Reviewer: Vickie, The Queen Bee

This book is based on a Major Motion Picture – which I haven’t seen!

Jesse has all but given up on love, when she decides to take one last chance at meeting the “right” guy.  Before she knows it, she meets two “right” guys.  Afraid to make a mistake this time around, she accepts advice from a wacky cousin who sends Jesse Do’s and Don’ts for dating, which add to the hilarity of the dating adventure.  Things seem to be going along just fine until she realizes that someone is keeping a secret, and she learns that things aren’t always what they seem.  Sound familiar……?

My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend has romantic comedy written all over it.  Fun and entertaining and lots of twists that keep the story-line fresh.  Great book for those who love to LOVE!

Other comments: Celeste, daughter of the Queen Bee

I have not read this book yet, but I have seen the movie!  Based on my mom's review, maybe the book takes different twists from the movie.  I'm not sure what the difference is, but I do know the movie is cute and it makes me want to give the book a try!  Here is the movie trailer:

Thanks for stopping by!  Tell us what you thought of this book and/or movie by commenting below.

You can find My Girlfriend's Boyfriend and other books sold by the Queen Bee at Beehive Books at the following website:  Happy reading!!!

Monday, February 13, 2012

Valentine's Day Thought: Strengthening Families and Homes

Dear Friends,

Valentine's Day is the perfect time to focus in on the quality of our marital relationship with our spouse. This Valentine's Day I thought it would be special and important to review the words stated by The First Presidency of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in The Family: A Proclamation to the World. Let us, together with our loved ones, choose one or more points presented within this Proclamation that we can better implement at home in order to increase the love and closeness in our marriage and family.

Celeste Estes
Beehive Books
This image is taken from Click here to visit link.

This post is taken from an Inspiring Thoughts e-mail by Beehive Books.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

"Janitors" by Tyler Whitesides

by new author, Tyler Whitesides

After reading this book you may think twice about sending your children to school. I know that I’m glad mine are almost all done.

Summary: Spencer washes his face with soap in the school bathroom, and all of a sudden he is seeing dust motes and sink sludge in a whole new light.  He can’t get anyone to believe him, though, and he finds himself the laughing-stock of his class.  This doesn’t keep him from trying to warn the teachers and other students of the creatures that lurk in the carpet, bathrooms, and everywhere dirt and grime exist.  While trying to follow one such creature, he finds out that janitors can see them too.  Along the way he makes a new friend, Daisy, and together they set out to clean up their school.

My Thoughts: This is an entertaining book, definitely geared for a younger audience, elementary school, but was cute enough for me to enjoy half-heartedly.  This is Tyler’s first novel but definitely shows good promise for future books.

Book Review by The Queen Bee of Beehive Books

What Shanda at LDS Women's Book Review Blog says,


"As soon as I received the Janitors ARC [Advanced Reading Copy], I knew I wanted to read it aloud to my 10-year-old daughter the first time through. I wanted to experience the events in the book for the first time along with her to get the perspective of the book’s intended audience. We read Janitors in just a few days, with many instances of 'Mom, are you busy? When can we read more of Janitors?'...I’ve heard it said that we don’t remember facts as much as feelings. While the details of Spencer and Daisy’s adventures will fade with time, I’ll always remember how I felt every time my daughter gasped and giggled as we read..." - Click here to read the full article

Monday, February 6, 2012

Rachel Ann Nunes, "Before I Say Goodbye"

This book is a 2011 Whitney Award finalist in the General category.

Before I Say Goodbye
by popular LDS Author, Rachel Ann Nunes

Published in 2011 by Deseret Book.
342 pages in length.
Genre, in my opinion, is LDS drama.

In my opinion, this is a story of growth and change.

I love the way the author utilizes a written format that encourages the reader to get to know each of the main characters on a very intimitate level.  As a result, we get to understand the trouble teen and the inactive mother.  We get to relate to the preocuppied Bishop and his unintentionally taken-for-granted wife. 
We also get to see how serving others truly helps us to love and understand them.

This was a very satisfying and uplifting book for me.  I couldn't put it down. 

You can find out more about this book and/or purchase by visiting the Queen Bee's book store website at
or at the following direct link to this item:

Thanks for visiting our blog!  Feel free to leave a comment and let us know what you thought of this book.