Tuesday, December 30, 2014

I Can Learn The Bible By Holly Hawkins Shivers

This little treasure of a book should be on every Christian parent’s bookshelf.  The book is divided into 52 scriptures.  Each week the focus is on one scripture.  It is meant to be an interactive book for parents and their children.  Each week focuses on a scripture that the child will memorize.  On the first day parents read the devotional with the child and the child repeats the scripture after the parent.  The second day the child will start to memorize the first part of the scripture.  Parents will take time to discuss the meaning of this phrase with their child.  On the third day the family moves on to the middle part of the verse.  The child will add the first and middle parts together and try reciting this portion of the scripture.  The family together explores understanding of the scripture.  The fourth day is for memorizing the last part of the scripture and for asking questions.  The fifth day the devotional should be reread and the child recite the entire scripture.  The sixth and seventh days is a review day.  This pattern repeats with each weekly scripture.  The devotionals are filled with down-to-earth, child friendly stories that help the scripture become meaningful to young children.  The endearing illustrations add kid-appeal to every page.  The lessons instilled through this book make it a value to every Christian home.

I received this book from the publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

If he has faith, I can too!

The power of Unstoppable Faith by NIck Vujicic

NIck Vujicic has written a wonderful little booklet that is perfect for giving away to others as a faith testament or for when a seasoned Christian just needs a boost of faith.  

He begins by laying a foundation to a faith filled life by recounting the story of his parents faith journey from the shock of his birth with no limbs to their unwavering faith that God had a plan for their son.  From there he goes on to recount his early childhood and teen years.  He tells the story of his anger at God with brutal honesty.  You will need kleenex handy as you read about his struggles, the bullies he encounter and how he eventually learned to trust God and give his heart and life fully to His service.

Vujicic uses personal accounts as well as Biblical stories to teach lessons on building dreams responsibly, financial security, taking risks God's way, finding purpose in your life and following God's plan.

 I received this book free from booklook and was not required to write a favorable review.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Furry Logic by Jane Seabrook

Furry Logic – 10th Anniversary Edition
By Jane Seabrook

Jane Seabrook has a delightful way of matching witticism with warm-fuzzy faces!  The expressions and details of her illustrations are absolutely fantastic!  She chose the perfect creature to portray each wisdom nugget in this book.

For people who are animal lovers this book is a must!  It is a perfect gift for any pet owner in your circle of family and friends.  As I turned each page I couldn’t wait to see what animal was next.  The life advice on each page was very clever.  Sometimes the words will bring you to tears and other times they will bring a deep belly laugh.  Either way, the wisdom contained in this book makes you pause and ponder.  You will definitely have “aha” moments as well.  Thought-provoking, challenging, intriguing, discussion starter, awakener of idea - from the first page to the last this treasure of a book is worth its weight in gold.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

The Chia Cookbook
By Janie Hoffman

This recipe book intrigued me because of its emphasis on chia.  I’d heard so much about it and wanted to know how to use it.  This recipe book was the perfect choice!  It is even better than I hoped.  The photographs of the finished recipes are exquisite!  This book is a feast for the eyes as well as for the stomach.

The book is divided into six parts:  juices/smoothies/shakes, healthy mornings, snacks/small bites, salads/soups, main dishes, and desserts/sweet nibbles/cocktails.

The introduction is a intriguing narrative by the author on her journey through several auto-immune diseases to health.  She credits the chia seed as one of the main reasons she regained her health.  She states that she has more energy now than she ever has in her life.  She is also free of any symptoms of her past disorders.

Hoffman then goes on to list the nutrients found in chia and the  benefits of consuming chia which include weight loss.  She gives detailed descriptions of the type of chia seeds, tips on choosing and using chia.  There are also instructions regarding using chia as a flour or egg substitute.

Then comes the most fun part when you dig into the recipes.  They look fantastic and taste even better.  It’s just a bonus really that chia seeds are so healthy for us!   What I like about this recipe book is that the recipes were not hard to understand.  They were simple and straightforward but using unusual   combinations of ingredients so that the recipes seem exotic and exciting!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

In This House We Will Giggle by Courtney DeFeo

This is the most fabulous book of faith and fun!  Courtney Defeo is down to earth, honest, witty and encouraging.  Her words are insightful and comforting; challenging and assuring!  This book gives hope!

I can't say enough about this book!  I am buying extra copies for my children as they raise our grandchildren.  And I plan to buy extra copies to give away as baby shower gifts.  Every Christian family should own this book!

I could not put this book down.  I read it in one sitting ~ eager to read the next page.  The spiritual insights are deep yet Defeo writes in a way that is easy to understand.  Her ideas, activities and plans are practical and yet packed with imagination, creativity and adventure.

Each chapter has one virtue such as patience that is highlighted.  Defeo has broken it down to 12 virtues, one for each month of the year.  In each chaper you will find specifically for that virtue:  a scripture to memorize, a Bible story, modern day applications, questions to discuss with your child, activities to do as a family, and loads of fun games, journaling ideas, and more.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Billy Joel – The Definitive Biography
By Fred Schruers

Schurers has made Billy Joel a down-to-earth person in this biography.  This book is a look into the life and mind and heart of a musical icon.  We see Billy Joel not just as the superstar but as a little boy with heroic ancestors, a painful childhood and struggles to achieve the American dream.  This book is not meant to make us love Billy Joel.  It instead shows us who he is, how his character was developed, decisions he made in personal relationships and in the music industry that made him who he is today.

However, fans of Billy Joel will love all the rich details of his personal life and the intimate stories behind his hit songs. This book carries many unknown facts about Joel’s early life.   Others who are interested in music or immigrants who came to America will also enjoy this book because it is rich in musical and American immigrant history.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Say YES to bread!

Bread Revolution by Peter Reinhart is fantastic!

In these days of confusion over what foods are truly healthy for us comes this revolutionary book on the art of bread making.  Reinhart combines common sense, artistry and nutritional facts to create a truly delight cookbook devoted to bread.

Sections in this cookbook include:  sourdough primer, sprouted flour breads, whole grain breads, whole milling, seed breads, fruit and vegetable breads and gluten free breads.  Included in the bread sections are cracker, cookie and biscotti recipes.

Each recipe has extremely detailed instructions with step-by-step photographs to enhance the understanding of the process for each type of bread.  Each recipe also has variations at the end so you can put your individual stamp on the bread you make for yourself and others.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014



The Woman Who Would Be King
Hatsheput’s Rise to Power in Ancient Egypt

By Kara Cooney

Cooney’s book gives detailed facts about Egyptian culture and the life of one of its rulers:  Hatsheput.  It begins with explaining how Egyptian history is recorded.  She explains how their religious beliefs, traditions and ceremonies shared their political structure.  This leads into the child-rearing practices and the training of royal offspring.  Royal children were taught leadership skills and expected duties of rulers.  Amongst royal siblings incest was a common practice to produce future male rulers.  Cooney sites incest as a possible reason that Hatsheput was unable to produce a biological heir.

The rest of the book tells of her rise to power, how it was possible for her to succeed in a male dominated society and how she maintained her power.  Suggestions for her success lie in her ability to connect herself with powerful rulers of her time including her own tutor.  Hatsheput also portrayed herself as masculine and strong and later as the wife of their god to authenticate her power and authority.

The book ends with photographs of building projects of Egypt and descriptions of the mummifying process.

While this book contained a lot of interesting facts I found it disturbing in its graphic description of sexually explicit religious practices.  I also found it a bit dry as there was not any emotional data such as diaries from which to draw an understanding of Hatsheput’s feelings or thoughts during her reign.

I received this book free from the publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

The Christmas Story for Children

By Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, and Karen Davis Hill

The illustrations of this book are gorgeous!  They are beautiful with tender feelings conveyed.  The cover caught my eye immediately and I was not disappointed by the art work in the book.  It was a treat for the eyes.

This is the best book I’ve read for young children to explain the incarnation of Christ.  Of all the ways I’ve heard it explained to young children about the miracle of Mary having a baby when she wasn’t married yet – this book’s words are the most precious, gentle and wonderful way I’ve ever heard to help a young child understand.  The story details the time before Christ’s birth up to his baptism and beginning ministry in words that children can relate to.  I liked the description of the special people God had prepared for the birth and ministry of His Son:  Mary, Joseph, the shepherds and John the Baptist.   It is interesting, engaging and emotionally touching.  It makes Jesus real.

I received this book from the publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Vegan Holiday Cooking from Candle Café

By Joy Pierson, Angel Ramos and Jorge Pineda

Who knew that plant-based recipes could be so utterly scrumptious and entirely irresistible?  While the authors will convince you of the health benefits of fitting these recipes into your diet – the tantalizing descriptions will tempt you to try out these recipes just for the fun of it!    This book contains complete menu ideas for ten major holidays, but these menu plans can be used for any celebratory holiday.  Just decide if you want a casual, relaxed meal or a more formal menu - mix and match appetizers, desserts, festive drinks, side dishes, salads and entrees.  Directions are clear, step-by-step and easy to follow.  Beautiful photos enhance the appeal of the recipes.  A handy resource guides lists places to find the more exotic ingredients.  There is even a measurement conversion chart in the back of the book for your convenience.  So why wait?  Get this book and dig in!  You won’t regret it!

I was given this book free by the publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Tacolicious by Sara Deseran

Tacolicious by Sara Deseran

This is fun, creative and very practical cookbook. What I liked is that while the recipes sounded and looked (gorgeous photographs throughout book) delicious and intriguing – none of the recipes were difficult to follow. Other cookbooks I’ve had grabbed my interest but I soon became disenchanted with them because of the level of difficulty in actually making the items. TACOLICIOUS is wonderful because it uses the taco, a well-loved food item and presents it in exotic ways. Things you may never have thought to put on a taco such as squash are presented.
Along with all the yummy taco recipes there are the side dishes that just make a taco meal a delight – such as salsas, pickles, quesos, various salads, quacamoles, empanadas, etc. And for added zing to your meal there is a section on infusions, frescas and syrups – many are non-alcoholic and suitable for the entire family.

I give this cookbook 2 thumbs up and I’d give it more, if I have more thumbs! 

I received this book by the publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

NIV Once-A-Day Bible for Women

What can I say about the NIV Once a Day Bible for Women? Everything good! I love this idea! This Bible has Scripture combined with devotionals specifically for women.If you read the 15 minute portion each day in a year you'll have read the entire Bible. This makes the reading of the entire Bible an attainable goal and not such a daunting task. It's a lovely way to help a woman fit Bible reading in her daily schedule. This format helps ease a person into the routine of a daily Bible reading, study and devotional time. It's something every Christian woman wants but perhaps doesn't know how to go about in a practical manner.

This Bible would make a perfect gift for a friend who is a new believer or a young mother who is trying to juggle caring for her children and having her alone time with God. It also is a great gift for a woman who just needs "pick me up" spiritually to help her get back on track with one-on-one time with God.

I received this book free from booklook bloggers and was not required to write a positive review.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

I Shall be Near You by Erin LIndsay McCabe

I Shall Be Near You  by Erin Lindsay McCabe

This is a superb historical fiction account of the civil war.  This story has a cast of interesting and complex characters.  The main character is a woman who disguises herself as a man to join her husband in the Union army.  It details historical fact while weaving in emotionally charged circumstances that she finds herself in.  She faces moral dilemnas such as like having to shoot another human being to save another, bringing water to a dying Confederate soldier, having mercy on a spy, lying about who she is to stay with the man she loves.  There is adventure, intrigue, romance and selflessness portrayed throughout this tale.  It is a definite, without a doubt a 5 star book!

I received this book free from booklook and was not required to write a favorable review.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Prelude for a Lord by Camille Elliott

Prelude for a Lord
By Camille Elliott
If you like Jane Austen books you will love this book.  The courtly manners and honorable ways of wooing will remind you of Austen characters.  The story is woven around a young woman who has a treasured violin.  The problem is that it is considered unseemly for women to play violins and there is a sinister character trying to steal this instrument.  The mystery surrounding the violin is not solved till the very end of the book and the author keeps you guessing at every turn. 
This book kept my attention but I felt that the plot could have moved a little faster.  This however, did not stop me from being intrigued by the charm of the heroine and her dilemma.
I received this book from the publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Vibrant Food by Kimberley Hasselbrink

I picked up this book because I found the beautiful cover irresistible!  The contents of this recipe book did not disappoint me.  The recipes are interesting, exciting, unusual, and yet have clear cut, simple directions to make. 

I found the accompanying photos breathtaking and tantalizing!  The fact that the author of the recipes also took the gorgeous photos just makes this recipe book a treasure.  I would own this book for the photographs alone but the recipes themselves are delightful.

The book is divided into sections by the four seasons.  Each recipe has a story either behind the finding of the recipe or how to select the ingredients in the recipe or why the ingredients are of benefit.  Ms Hasselbrink uses unusual ingredients such as flowers, bee pollen and rare vegetables but also lets you know where you can find them.  So while the recipes are unique she doesn’t make it difficult for you to reproduce her artistry in food.

I received this book free from the publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

Monday, July 14, 2014

The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

This book blended history, romance, intrigue and faith in a page turning, though provoking way.  I read a lot of history fiction regarding WWII but I learned things in this book that I never knew before.  I was also impressed with the way faith was woven naturally into the story by the characters' lives and conversations.  The thoughts expressed by the characters were real, down to earth, honest.  The story made me think about what I would have done had I lived during those hard times.  Although the book dealt with some distressing issues it was a joyful book because it clearly showed the hope we have in God in all circumstances.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher


The Heart's Pursuit by Robin Lee Hatcher

This book is a true Western with all the excitement of gunfights, saloon brawls, damsels in distress and chasing bandits. It characterizes the difference between letting God be the one to take revenge or taking revenge into our own hands. This story also demonstrates the fine line between justice - to make things right and revenge born out of hatred.

The characters are immediately likeable. There were pieces of each that I could relate to. Although I found the plot a bit predictable.

Overall it was a fun, fast read. A book that is hard to put down and has a happily-ever-after conclusion.

I was given this book by the publishers and was not required to write a favorable review.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Through the Deep Waters by Kim Vogel Sawyer

Sawyer takes a look at Christians’ attitudes towards each other and those who are new in the faith. Through a story with deep spiritual insights and clever dialogue between characters she shows us what it means when Jesus said, “Judge not that ye be not judged”. It is a lesson that is timeless and much needed in the Christian circle today. 

As the characters we see their struggle to not be envious, proud, spiteful and judgmental we are drawn into their thoughts and hearts. For me it showed me how easy it is to come to conclusions about others that are not only untrue but unkind. This story spoke to my heart about what it means to be merciful. It also helped me see God’s mercy for me and what His forgiveness really means in our lives. 

This book is an insightful view of life for a working woman in the 1880s, describing the few options open to women during that time period. But the bigger theme of this book is the power of forgiveness, the meaning of true friendship and the danger of judging others. 

This book was received free in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A Broken Kind of Beautiful

A Broken Kind of Beautiful
By Katie Ganshert

I loved this book from its perfect title to the last page!  Katie Ganshert is an awesome writer!  She brings the characters to life and your heart is touched with their struggles.  As she weaves the story of broken lives  – she explains deep spiritual truths about God’s total forgiveness and unconditional love.  Over and over I kept thinking of how profound this segment or that portion of the story was.  Yes, it was a page turner, I couldn’t stop reading it!  In fact I read it in one afternoon, but it was so much more than an unforgettable story.  This book reached deep into my heart and reminded me that God loves me!  Read this book!  Share it with everyone you know!  You won’t be disappointed.

I received this book free from the publishers and was not required to write a positive review.

The Queen's Handmaid

The Queen’s Handmaiden
By Tracy L. Higley

This book had a lot of historical information connecting Cleopatra, King Herod (who was King at the time of Jesus’ birth) and Octavian.  The story is told from the view of Herod’s wife’s handmaiden.  Through her eyes we learn a lot about the fragile threads of political loyalty and safety even among family members.  There is emphasis on Jewish traditions, the way treasured written history and prophecies were handed down through the generations or hidden for safety and different ways various factions waited for the Messiah.

The trouble I had with this book is there were detailed descriptions of torture, executions and murders.  I have read similar accounts in other historical novels.  However, since this is a Christian historical novel I felt that the mention of these did not have to be in such vivid, gruesome detail. 

Another problem area was that the transitions between time segments was not smooth or clear.  This happened at least 3 times in the book where suddenly you are thrust years ahead and there wasn’t anything to let you know that time has passed so the sequence of events was confusing.

I received this book free from the publishers and was not required to write a positive review.