Friday, May 29, 2015

The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker

"The Choosing" by Rachelle Dekker, is a dystopian novel set in the future after the Ruining. Carrington Hale never imagined her Choosing would turn out this way. She spent her whole life practicing for nothing, and now she'll spend the rest of her life as a Lint, the lowest level of society.According to the Authority, she is worth nothing and has virtually no purpose. When Carrington is offered the chance of a lifetime and the opportunity to start a new life, will she be able to find her identity?

I absolutely loved "The Choosing!" I have always been a huge fan of her father, Ted Dekker. (I mean, I was even a member of the Forest Guard and yes, that is a real thing!). So naturally, I knew Rachelle's book would be great, but I never expected it to be just as good as her father's books. I was so wrong. Her writing is flawless and full of action, which made it nearly impossible to put down. I love how she developed the characters throughout the book so that you felt like you were actually a part of the story. "The Choosing" is the perfect mix of mystery, suspense and a little bit of romance. I would highly recommend this book!

I rate this book as 5 stars. I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest unbiased review.

About the Author . . . The oldest daughter of New York Times bestselling author Ted Dekker, Rachelle Dekker was inspired early on to discover truth through storytelling. She graduated with a degree in communications and spent several years in marketing and corporate recruiting before making the transition to write full-time. She lives in Nashville with her husband, Daniel, and their diva cat, Blair. Visit her online at rachelledekker.com.

1. How did you come up with the story for The Choosing? This is a hard question because it has many answers. I wanted to write a theme-based novel about identity. I wanted to write a dystopian novel. I wanted to write in a world that was familiar, but in a setting where I could change the way the world worked. It actually is several ideas I’d been toying with pulled into one story. Once I landed on Carrington’s core revelation and story arc, I simply fell in love with her as a character and drew the rest of the story around her. That’s usually how it works for me. I come up with a character, good or bad, and create the story from there.

2. You based your main character, Carrington, off of your younger sister. In what ways is Carrington like her? It’s more the beliefs that Carrington struggles with that remind me of my sister. The idea of worth, of not feeling like you’re enough, or questioning whether anyone would choose you. Carrington came about as I spent time with my sister and her college-age friends and saw that a large majority of them were searching for significance, searching for worth—none more than my sister at the time.

3. One of the story’s most significant lines is, “Life is a journey of remembering and forgetting.” What do you mean by this? It means exactly what you probably think. We have these flashes of clarity where we see so clearly who we are—and our connection to the Father—but then, in a single moment, something pulls our attention away and we forget who we are. This is the journey of life, remembering and forgetting. But I believe the more we remember, the more we set our gaze on the Father, the less often we forget.

4. What is it like being Ted Dekker’s daughter? Did your father help you with the writing process? Being Ted’s daughter is wonderful! He’s the best, but then I hope many daughters feel that way about their fathers. He is a bit of a mystery, though. Sometimes, even sitting at the dinner table, I can tell he’s lost in thought, and I wonder what it might be like to have his mind. It’s been a blessing to watch him write and struggle with writing, so that now when I struggle I have an understanding ear to talk off. He is always willing to talk me through the emotional and mental side of writing (which is where the biggest battles lie in wait) but as far as story, for the most part he lets me fend for myself. It’s always been important to me to write through my challenges on my own. To figure out scenes alone. In fact, he didn’t even read The Choosing until I was already in conversations with Tyndale about publication. I think that’s because he wanted me to believe I could do it on my own. But when I doubt my ability as a writer, and when I forget who I am, he is the one I call. And he reminds me that life is a journey of remembering and forgetting, and helps me in remembering once again.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Sand in My Sandwich by Sarah Parshall Perry

"Sand in My Sandwich: And other Motherhood Messes I'm learning to Love" by Sarah Parshall Perry is a true look into motherhood. As a mother of three children, two of whom are autistic, Sarah gives readers a small glimpse into "a day in the life." By combining humor and stories that will make you want to cry, Sarah learns what it truly means to give everything to God.

Being a mother is downright hard sometimes. And when your child is prone to puke everywhere or when they simply insist that there's sand in his sandwich....well, you'll learn to find the humor and love your life. And that's exactly what Sarah Parshall Perry has done!

It's really hard for me to pinpoint exactly what I liked about this book, because it's pretty much everything. I love the way the author shares her stories with humor, and yet I know that it must not always be easy to find the humor. I love that she is so real with what she writes. She's transparent- no holds barred. Her writing style is very easy to read and I feel that she can probably relate to a lot of parents of Autistic or Asperger's children.

I received this book for free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion. I rate this book as 5 stars.

Sarah Parshall Perry (JD, University of Virginia School of Law) is a wife and mother of three young children. She is the coauthor of When the Fairy Dust Settles (with her mother, Janet Parshall) and the author of numerous magazine articles, award-winning short stories, and poetry. Sarah has served in youth ministry for over ten years and is currently writing for www.chosenfamilies.org where she encourages other families living with disabilities. She lives in Maryland.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Princess Charity Sticker and Activity Book

"Princess Charity: Sticker and Activity Book" by Jeanna Young and Jaqueline Johnson, with illustrations by Omar Aranda, is an adorable addition to any little girl's library! Princess Charity is just one of the five Princesses in this book series. The others are briefly mentioned as Joy, Grace, Faith, and Hope.

This activity book comes packed with all kinds of puzzles, stickers and pictures to color even though the book itself is only 16 pages long. It is aimed at girls between the ages of 4 and 8, but I would probably recommend it to be 6 and older. I gave this book to my three and a half year old and many of the puzzles were just too difficult for her. The word searches and dot-to-dots are ideal for the 6-8 year age range of children, and some of the other activities such as coloring, mazes, and "Circle the things that don't belong" activies might be more appropriate for the 4-6 year age range.

I think the short story in this book is adorable and the illustrations are bright and eye-catching. The 50 reusable stickers are a great idea, although I imagine with the younger ages, they will probably get lost or thrown away. All in all though, I think it really is a cute book. It would be an ideal quiet activity perhaps for sitting in church or waiting in a doctor's office. I rate it as 4 stars.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Tox-Sick by Suzanne Somers

"Tox-Sick: From Toxic to not Sick" by Suzanne Somers, is a comprehensive look at all of the toxic pollutants,  additives, preservatives and genetically modified foods that bombard us every day. There are six major toxic threats that we as consumers should be concerned about: Plastics & other chemicals, the low-fat food movement & processed, sugar-filled foods, toxic mold, overuse of pills, GMO's (Genetically Modified Organisms), and EMF's (Electric and Magnetic Fields) and cell phones.

Eliminating a number of these threats can really have a tremendous effect on your health. You can avoid cancer, food allergies, ADHD and even unexplained weight gain. It's time for Americans to take their health much more seriously.

Part 1 of this book focuses mainly on what is making us so tox-sick. Part 2 describes how to "bulletproof"
your body and home, and Part 3 is instrumental in learning how to detox your life and body.

What I really enjoyed about this book is that I really feel that Suzanne did her research. Her book includes expert advice from six professionals who are environmental, cardiology, endocrine and oncology doctors. "Tox-Sick" has a wealth of information if you are looking to eliminate serious toxins from your everyday life. However, it is a lot to take in. This isn't a book you can just pick up to read. You really need to devote some time, and perhaps even take notes or highlight what you deem important.

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

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Behemoth Dinosaur in the land of Uz

"Behemoth Dinosaur in the Land of Uz" by Maryluz Guerrero Salas, is a story about Job as a little boy, and his pet dinosaur named Dippy. One of the key ideas to this story is how Job must teach his village a lesson about sharing the fruit and vegetation, although Dippy keeps eating all of it.

The idea behind this book is pretty cute, but I really felt that it fell short on a few different levels. First of all, I don't think this book was proofread for grammatical errors. I briefly wondered if part of the problem was because it appears that this book was initially written in Spanish and then later adapted to English, so perhaps the wording got messed up in translation. I will give the author the benefit if the doubt on this one.

Second, I didn't care for the way the story moved. It went very slowly and at times it didn't even make sense. The illustrations in this book appear to have been drawn by children, although I am not sure if that is intentional. In short, I did not care for this book and for the reasons stated above, I would not recommend it.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Monday, May 11, 2015

From Tablet to Table by Leonard Sweet

"From tablet to table" by Leonard Sweet is an interesting take on the idea and reasons behind communion and the gospel. Essentially, our kitchen table is the most sacred piece of furniture we own. It's where we gather with our families, and commune with one another and God. Some of the most memorable Bible stories occurred around food or the kitchen table, so what does that tell us? Food is not the only thing shared at the table.

"Table it", the first section of this book, focuses on the author's personal experience at the table, the role of the table in the history of the church, and Jesus' ministry including the table.

"Life's Three Tables", the second section of this book, focuses on the importance of the table in our home lives, the church, and the world.

I found this book to be an interesting read. The book itself contains 192 pages, but it's very easy to read as the print is fairly large and there are wide spaces between the pages. I rate this book as 4 stars.

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


Women are Scary by Melanie Dale

I have to admit...when I first requested this book, I thought the title was pretty hilarious. In no way was I prepared to read my new favorite book. "Women Are Scary" by Melanie Dale is a humorous yet serious look at mom friendships and why they are so vital to our lives.

Like the author so eloquently states, women are scary! They're judgmental, critical and it can be incredibly daunting to have a conversation with someone new. But there's also a another part of women that is quite beautiful. It's the part that makes them band together to encourage a friend, or maybe it's just calling you just to see how your day went. And that part is quite vital to the life and well being of every woman out there.

Melanie Dale's writing is easy to read, and quite often I felt like I was sitting down chatting with a good friend. She uses a lot of fun analogies to make her points. One of them was comparing mom friendships to dating, and how to get to first, second, third and fourth base with the moms you hang out with. I found myself laughing out loud throughout most of this book.

I would highly recommend this book to any and all women! I rate it as 5 stars! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers <http://booklookbloggers.com> 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 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Check out Melanie's bio! Even that will give you a good insight to just how funny she really is! ;)

Melanie Dale is a geek on a God-ride, a mini-van mama and total weirdo who stinks at small talk. Her laugh is a combination honk-snort, and it's so bad that people have moved away from her in the movie theater. She adores sci-fi and superheroes and is terrified of Pinterest. She's a lover of Jesus, her hubby Alex and all her kids. Living in the Atlanta area, she blogs at Unexpected.org about motherhood, orphan care, adoption and sometimes poo. She's passionate about the power of people partnering together to make a difference in the world and loves her work with Children's HopeChest on long-term development projects rooted in relationships. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Amazing Make-ahead Baby Food Book

The Amazing Make-ahead Baby Food Book by Lisa Barrangou, PhD is an absolute must-read if you enjoy cooking your own baby food. Not only is the author a food professional, but also a food scientist and the creator of a business called Green Baby Chef. Lisa Barrangou's goal was to create nutritional flavorful baby food that had no preservatives or fillers. What she found was that baby food didn't have to be bland. By creating exciting flavors for babies, toddlers are much more likely to eat a variety of fruits and vegetables as they get older.

This book includes six major steps to the make-ahead strategy, shopping lists, and a breakdown of how to prepare three months of homemade purees in just three hours. Also included is a section on mix-ins which is basically just extra flavors you can add into your baby food. I found this part to be a lot of fun because I never would have thought of some of them for my baby.

The next section of the book is a guide to what fruits are vegetables work best together, a meal planning guide and safe handling practices for cooking. The rest of the book is made up of recipes for different purees.

This book has a lot of positive qualities that I found to be beneficial for someone who wants to prepare their own baby food. Even if you just wanted to use it for a few of the  recipes, I think it's definitely worth the read. As a mother with food allergies, I can totally appreciate the idea of no preservatives or added fillers. I really like the idea of very minimal ingredients. I rate this book as 5 stars.

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