Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey

Quilted by Christmas by Jodie Bailey is the newest book in the Quilts of Love series.

Taryn has felt a lot of hardship in her life. Abandoned by her parents as a young child, and left behind by her highschool sweetheart, she feels as if she's gotten over all of those things. But it's not until Taryn's first love returns to town, that she realizes that she really has not gotten over all of those heartaches. Seeing Justin again is like opening a fresh wound.

Taryn's grandmother, Jemma is like the parent she never had. She has always taken care of her. After all of these years, Jemma is in bad health, and Taryn worries that the secret that Jemma has held onto for so long will suddenly come to the surface.

I have read multiple Quilts of Love books and so far I have not read one that I didn't like! Quilted by Christmas is a heartwarming story of love, and forgiveness. The end of the book emphasizes that love is not something you earn but must be something that is freely given and accepted. If you are looking for a nice book to curl up with this winter season, Quilted by Christmas is a great choice! This book is sure to become a Christmas favorite!

I received this book for free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion. I rate it as 4 stars.

Expectant Parents by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin

When I saw Expectant Parents by Suzanne Hadley Gosselin was available for review, it sounded super interesting to me. There are thousands of books on the market for Expectant Parents, but most of those have more to do with the development and care of the baby before and after it is born. Expectant Parents does touch on that subject, but focuses more on the key issues related to the arrival of a new child in the home.

This book provides parents with a way to write their own practical instruction manual for their children. Gosselin explains the importance of strengthening your marriage relationship, setting expectations for parenthood, increasing communication and preparing for this new stage of life.

I thought this book was a refreshing change from most child care/parenting books. Considering I have three girls, I have read a lot of parenting books with subjects ranging from maternity care, to potty training, to building lasting relationships with your children. I think this is a wonderful book and is mostly aimed at first time parents (although I think there is something in it for any expecting parent).

I rate this book as 5 stars. I received thsi book for free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

"Willie's Redneck Time Machine" Giveaway!

I am very happy to announce the winner of my "Willie's Redneck Time Machine" Giveaway! 

The winner is Nicole H.! I will get your book to you soon! 

Thanks everyone for participating and keep checking back for more giveaways in the future!

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Tamales: Fast and Delicious Mexican Meals by Alice Guadalupe Tapp

In Tamales: Fast and Delicious Mexican Meals by Alice Guadalupe Tapp, there's a little something for everyone. Whether you're a expert chef or just a beginner, there are recipes for Masa, Sauces and Salsas, Inside-Out Tamales, Meat Tamales, Nose-to-Tail Tamales, Vegetarian and Vegan Tamales and Dessert Tamales.

I have enjoyed Mexican food for a majority of my life and I have always wanted to make Tamales. The task always seemed too daunting and time-consuming. I was sure I would mess something up it would turn out disgusting. This book gives me hope that I can actually create a delicious tamale that my family will love. Sure there are a few recipes included that take me out of my comfort zone, but I guess that's half the fun.

The beginning of the book gives a bit of an introduction to Tamales. It also includes a chart on how to save a little time on preparation, such as using canned foods and frozen ready-to-use condiments. The author thoroughly describes how to assemble, wrap and freeze tamales. Most of the recipes include a picture of the ready-made dish and they all look amazing! There are recipes for more traditional tamales, and some that are less common, but they all look equally appetizing and delicious. I think my first attempt will probably be the Chicken and Chorizo Tamales or the Red Chile Beef Tamales as they look fairly simple.

I would definitely recommend this book to other Mexican food lovers! I rate it as 5 stars! I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Willie's Redneck Time Machine by John Luke Robertson

If your family enjoys Duck Dynasty as much as mine, they will love this Duck Commander book series by John Luke Robertson and Travis Thrasher! It even has all of your favorite Duck Dynasty characters!

Willie finds a mysterious "outhouse" in the middle of the warehouse and thinks someone is playing a big joke on him. Little does he know, the "outhouse" is actually a time machine that can transport him to the past or future!

There are a myriad of different places Willie can visit because as the title of this book states, you can be your own Duck Commander! Once you reach the end of the chapter you have a choice. Whatever path you choose has a corresponding page number to go along with it. You go to that page number to find out what happens next. If you don't like the way the story ended, no problem! Go back and read it a different way!

I thought this book was pretty cute for a first try at writing. I wouldn't say that it is one of the best children's books I have read, but I am a fan of Duck Dynasty and I did enjoy it quite a bit.  I would say it is aimed at children from second to third grade depending on their reading level. I think younger audiences would also enjoy it if they were being read to. It's not a terribly long book. My third grader could probably read through one of the stories in a half hour or so, but I imagine she would probably want to go back and read other versions of this story.

I have no complaints about this book, and I look forward to reading more books by John Luke Robertson in the future! I rate this book as 4 stars!

I received two copies of this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

For your chance to win a copy of this book, comment below with your favorite  Duck Dynasty character! :)

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary: New and Enhanced Version by Ronald F. Youngblood, F.F. Bruce and R.K. Harrison is a wonderful new addition to my library! This Bible dictionary includes: Cross-References to Major Translations, More than 7,000 up-to-date entries, more than 500 enhanced full-color photographs and maps, and enlarged type size for ease of use.

I have wanted a Bible dictionary for a long time but to be honest, I didn't know exactly what to shop for. I didn't know what characteristics would be useful and beneficial to my family and I, so it was very hard to decide on one to purchase. Earlier this month, I saw that I was able to receive this Bible dictionary for free through Booklook bloggers, so of course I was ecstatic. I am one of those nerdy types who enjoys reading dictionaries for fun. I immediately flipped through the colorful pages of this Bible dictionary and found that I loved it!

The book itself is rather large, which I consider to be a great thing for a dictionary. It ensures that there are a variety of names, places and subjects described. The book begins with a visual survey of the Bible. This includes the number of years of history covered in both the Old Testament and New Testament, the number of books, the themes, key words, and how Jesus Christ is conveyed in each Testament. For example, in the Old Testament Jesus is seen in over 300 Prophesies, The Passover lamb, and The priesthood and sacrifice. In the New Testament, He is seen in Flesh and blood, The Teachings of the apostles, and His coming return.

The beginning of the book also describes the History of the Early World, Israel, The Early Church and lists the names and themes of The poetic and prophetic books of the Bible. It also gives a brief description of The life of Christ as well as a larger description in the entry of Jesus Christ.

In conclusion, there was nothing I disliked about this book! It was excellent in every way that I could see and I will definitely be using it often with my Bible studies and quiet time. I will highly recommend this Bible Dictionary to others and rate it as 5 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, October 13, 2014

Bend your Brain by Marbles: The Brain Store

"Bend Your Brain: 151 Puzzles, Tips and Tricks to Blow and Grow Your Mind" includes 151 puzzles to enhance memory, reduce stress and build problem-solving skills. The puzzles are divided into 5 brain categories: visual perception, word skills, critical thinking, coordination and memory. They range in difficulty from mind-warming to mind-blowing, and can take anywhere from 5 minutes to days to solve!

Being a big fan of puzzles and games, I really enjoyed this book! Beginning the book, I thought the puzzles were really easy, not taking much thought to solve them. But as I went farther into the book, each puzzle took longer and longer to solve. Sometimes I had to think it through for awhile and then go back later to solve it.

I really liked that there were so many different types of puzzles included in this book. I could easily enjoy the puzzles I am good at, and then slowly work on those than I am not as good with. I will be interested to see if this company creates more books like this. I will definitely be interested if they do.

I rate this book as 5 stars. I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Star for Jesus by Crystal Bowman

"A Star for Jesus" by Crystal Bowman and illustrated by Claudine Gevry is an adorable board book aimed at 2-5 year olds!

The book begins with present day children looking out at the night sky in wintertime. It then goes on to explain that long ago, a new star appeared in the sky. People wondered what it could be. Some men from the East figured out the answer because they were wise. They followed the star to find Jesus, the newborn King.

When they finally reached Jesus, He was already a little boy. They gave Him gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.

The book ends with present day children opening gifts on Christmas, explaining that next time you see the stars shining bright, remember the star that glowed in the night announcing the arrival of our Savior's birth.

I really enjoyed this Christmas story! I have many Christmas stories for my children, but I think "A Star for Jesus" is one of our new favorites! I especially enjoyed that this book was so short. Perfect for keeping a young child's attention, but still explaining an important part of the Christmas story. My 2 year old was actually next to me when I received this book in the mail, and was super excited to see it! We actually read through it 3 times before she got bored with it. The book itself is actually pretty short, as it is only 12 pages, with words on only 6 of those. We absolutely loved it! We rate it as 5 stars!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thunder by Bonnie S. Calhoun

"Thunder: A Stone Braide Chronicle" by Bonnie S. Calhoun is the newest up and coming Science Fiction series! If you are a fan of dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games or the Divergent Series, you will absolutely love these!

"Thunder" is a dystopian novel set in post-apocolyptic America. After the earth was ravaged by war, families had to be careful what they hunted as not all animals were safe to eat anymore, due to radiation. Selah has always lived in the shadow of her older brothers and has always been treated differently by her father, but never quite knew why. She longs to capture her own lander, the strange people who land on the beaches after their boats crash. These people are always in a sort of delirium and can't seem to remember much of their life before the crash. If she could capture a lander and turn him in, she would earn a valuable profit and her father's favor.

No one knows what happens to the landers after they are turned in, and not many people end up caring. That is, until Selah meets Bodie. She comes too close and makes contact, and the next morning wakes up with the same lander mark on her own skin. How could this happen? Selah is not a lander. Or is she?

The only thing I disliked about this book is that I felt that it lacked a certain depth. You could pretty much guess what was going to happen next. Also, the relationship between Selah and Bodie was an odd one. One minute she couldn't stand him, and the next she was in love with him. I guess I will suffice to say that Selah was young and somewhat naive, so she really didn't know what love was and that probably explains her flighty attitude.

The chapters alternated between many different characters, but yet it was never really confusing to me. I think it was nicely written, with just a hint of mystery. It is definitely written more for young adults and teens than for adults, which I really enjoy. I think this series has great potential and I can't wait to see what happens in the next book.

I received this book for free from Revell in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times by Kelly Pulley

"Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times" by Kelly Pulley is the new favorite Bible story book in our home. Our 2 year old absolutely enjoys the rhymes and colorful pictures, and the 352 pages definitely hold her interest!

According to Amazon, this book is aimed at 4-8 year old children, but I would say that it was more suited for 2 to 6 year olds. My 8 year old was a little beyond this type of book, but my 2 year old absolutely loved it. This book consists of 20 well known Bible stories, and as the name suggests, tells the stories in rhymes and poems. I was happy to see that certain not-so-pleasant details were omitted from the stories. The sizes of the stories were wonderful for preschoolers. My 2 year old could easily sit through a couple stories without getting bored.  I particularly enjoyed the idea of the rhyming, since that seems to grab my 2 year old's attention more than most story books.

"Rhythmical Rhymes of Biblical Times" would be an excellent resource in children's sunday school, homeschooling, or even just story time at home. I would highly recommend this book and I give it 5 stars.

I received this book for free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.   

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

The Mason Jar by James Russell Lingerfelt

"The Mason Jar" by James Russell Lingerfelt is truly a story of beauty. The author truly has a gift for words and I would say his writing is very reminiscient of Nicholas Sparks, but without the inappropriate content!

What if your old college roommate called to tell you about a book she just finished reading, saying it was the most beautiful thing she's ever read? There's one catch though. The book is about you, and the author is your college ex.

Clayton was heartbroken after his girlfriend, Eden left him to go to college. To help ease the pain of Eden's absence, Clayton's grandfather began exchanging letters with him in a simple mason jar. Later on, Clayton becomes a missionary and travels to Africa, but his mind is never far from Eden. During this time, Clayton continues to correspond to his grandfather through letters. Five years later, Clayton returns home to attend his grandfather's funeral, but finds himself asking questions about his first love. Little does he know, his answer is in the mason jar from so long ago.

"The Mason Jar" is a sweet love story that will tug at your heart strings. It is written more like a memoir, which I enjoyed very much! The story is written in kind of an old-fashioned type of way, which was refreshing from most books I have read lately!

I rate this book as 4 stars. I received this book for free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

The Sea House by Elisabeth Gifford

"The Sea House" by Elisabeth Gifford is the dual narrative story of Reverend Alexander Ferguson and Moira Gallies in 1860, and Ruth and her husband Michael in 1992, both of whom live in the Sea House, many years apart.

Alexander is a young Reverend in the Hebrides of Scotland. Despite the fact that Alexander is a supposed Christian, he is an Evolutionary Scientist who is obsessed with tales of "Selkies" (half human, half seal) and Mermaids. He has lived his entire life reading books and researching to prove that they do exist.

Moira is Alexander's maid, a woman who has faced severe hardships in her life because of one prominent man who controls much of their little town. He has taken away everything and everyone that Moira has ever loved, and she is determined to one day pay him back for his evil deeds.

Ruth is a 29 year old woman who recently moved into the Sea House with her husband, Michael. Together, they have plans to turn the old Sea House into a beautiful bed and breakfast, but it is in need of much work. But what Ruth refuses to talk about or even deal with is her past, and it's costing her her future. Ruth has very few memories left of her Mum and she never met her father at all. Her mother died when Ruth was about 10 years old, and she was left to go to a girls' home. Ever since, Ruth has suffered a tormented life. She suffers with depression and feelings of resentment towards her mother for leaving her.

There were parts of this book that I really enjoyed and then there were parts I disliked very much. At times, the book was very dark and dreary due to Ruth's upbringing, and I was not impressed with Alexander's character. I found it hard to fathom that he could be a Christian yet still believe in darwin's teachings. It seemed ridiculous to me.

I think the idea of the book was very nice. The storyline had a good plot, and there was quite a bit of suspense wondering what was going to happen next. Some people might be a little put off by Ruth's condition, but the fact is that people live like that every single day. And though it seems dark and dreary, it gives readers a good perspective on how life might be like for someone who was rejected their whole life.

I rate this book as 4 stars. I received this book for free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.