Wednesday, September 30, 2015

The Time Garden by Daria Song

When I requested to review "The Time Garden" by Daria Song I was just expecting an ordinary adult coloring book which seems to be all the rage these days. Instead, I received a beautifully illustrated, absolutely stunning book of art!

"The Time Garden" is actually a short story with beautiful pictures to color. It's about a little girl who has a very vivid imagination. She finds herself captivated by the antique grandfather clock her father brought home from Germany. The little girl is amazed to find that there is a tiny fairy living inside. Suddenly the little girl's house is transformed into something that looks like the grandfather clock! She soon gets lost in a world of fantasy and dreams.

The book itself is 80 pages long, with something to color on every page. Even the book jacket is a picture to color! This is a book I could sit and color with my girls. The pictures are fun and whimsical and include both fun and difficult patterns. I think the author had a wonderful idea creating this book. It feels like a story book that you get to help create. It's a great conversation starter with children as well. I like to go through the pictures with my girls and ask questions about what they are seeing.

This is my favorite coloring book I have seen yet. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys artsy activities! I rate it as 5 stars.

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

About the Author:
Daria Song is an author and artist from Seoul, Korea. Winner of the Kyung Hyang Arts Contest, Song has a master's degree in fiber arts and has exhibited at numerous galleries and museums in Korea, Singapore, Turkey and Hong Kong. She spent five years of her childhood in San Francisco, California, before returning to Korea.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Intersect by Rob Peabody and Cris Rogers

"Intersect: Where your Story and God's story converge" made by Rob Peabody and Cris Rogers is a 5 week study on starting spiritual conversations and sharing the Gospel with others. Sharing our faith can sometimes be a daunting and intimidating task.

Rob Peabody has designed this study in 5 sections. Each week focuses on a different topic, along with a personal story of someone who has dealt with the same problem. Topics are: Expectations, Rest, Disappointment, Trust and Control. The Dvd also includes a small 19 page booklet with handily fits right inside the dvd case. It has conversation prompts and discussions for your small group.

This study does not talk too heavily of Scripture or dive very deep into the Bible. I think the producer's main focus was not a Bible study per say, but a way to just get people talking and even examining their own lives and thought processes.

I wouldn't say that this is an incredibly deep study, but I do think it has a lot of positive food for thought. It might be a good study for teens, or perhaps new Christians just learning about their faith. I rate this dvd study as 4 stars.

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

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry

Roger Greene is a fighter pilot in World War II when his plane gets shot down. He ends up in the hands of his enemies as a POW, and finds himself the subject of experiments put on by the Germans. When Allied bombs destroy the prison, Roger miraculously survives and his wounds heal instantly. Roger finds that the Methuselah Project has worked.

Seventy years later, Roger has not aged a day, but has almost gone insane with what he has lived through. He soon finds out that the Bible and His faith are the only thing that will get him through this. Can he convince his new-found friend, Katherine Mueller the truth about himself?

I thought The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry was an interesting read. In some ways, this story reminded me of a superhero/Captain America kind of movie since it shared certain similarities. But  I do think this author put a pretty creative spin on it. It's super suspenseful which I absolutely loved! The best books are the kind that keep you on the edge of your seat trying to guess what will happen next, and I feel like this author accomplished that. I rate this book as 4 stars.

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

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Michael Symon's 5 in 5 for every Season

Michael Symon is probably best known for his role on ABC's popular culinary show, The Chew! His most recent book, "5 in 5 For every Season" is a collection of some of his best and most simple recipes!

As the name implies, each dish contains 5 fresh ingredients and 5 minutes of heat! Most of the recipes include 3 or 4 other ingredients which are generally pantry staples. The contents section narrows down the recipes for each season and also Holiday favorites. Spring recipes take advantage of fresh Grilled Salmon and Chicken and Couscous, whereas Fall enjoys the flavors of Apples, and Pan-Seared Scallops!

What I liked best about this book is that it contained quite a bit of diversity. There were a wide range of flavors, techniques and seasonal favorites used throughout the book. Interspersed throughout the recipes, Michael shares a little bit about himself to his readers.

I think this recipe book is a great one for anyone who enjoys cooking. I would say that it's probably geared more towards the more adventurous cook, but I think a lot of people could benefit from it. I rate this book as 4 stars.

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

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

A Flag for the Flying Dragon by Carole P. Roman

Captain No Beard loves being a pirate, and wants to do everything he can to make sure his ship is sailing smoothly. It was just a normal day on the Flying Dragon when Mongo the Monkey started creating a commotion! Zachary and Mongo were fighting over who got to watch for storms.

Captain No Beard decides it's time to give Zach a special job, so he takes him around to help the crew with their jobs. First they found Cayla stuffing the ship's holes and thought that might be a good fit for Zach but Cayla didn't want to share. Then they thought Zach could help break open the coconuts, but he just smashed them instead, letting all the milk leak out.

Captain No Beard didn't want to hurt anyone else's feelings but he needed his crew to get along. Zach was ruining everyone's fun! Captain No Beard had no idea being a captain could be this hard! Can the captain devise a plan for his crew members to stop fighting?

I thought "A Flag for the Flying Dragon: A Captain No Beard Story" by Carole P. Roman was super adorable! The illustrations were bright and cheery and there wasn't a huge amount of words on each page, making it easy for little ones to sit still through! I would probably recommend this book for children between the ages of 2 to 6. My 16 month old even enjoys looking at it and can sit still for quite a few pages. There are quite a few books in this series, which I will be reviewing later on this week! They teach values throughout their stories...just like this book discusses the importance of learning to get along with others! I rate this book as 5 stars!

I received this book for free from the author in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion!

Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of the Captain No Beard series. Both Captain No Beard-An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life and Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis have received the Kirkus Star of Exceptional Merit. The first book in the series was named to Kirkus Reviews Best 2012. Each of the books has received numerous awards, namely; NABE Pinnacle Awards, the ERIK Award for 2013, ForeWord Review Five Star, Rebecca Reads and Reader's Views Children's Book of the Year 2013. She has also just added the Marble Book Awards for Best Illustration in a series for Bonnie Lemaire's stunning illustrations.

Roman lives on the Flying Dragon with her hearty bunch of mates! To find out more about this extraordinary author, please visit her website: http://www.caroleproman.com/

Girl Meets Change by Kristen Strong

Change is inevitable. Whether it's a new baby, empty nest, a new medical diagnosis or a divorce- life keeps moving. A lot of times we look at change as a bad thing. We like things the way they are. We're comfortable with the same old, same old. Some changes are more easily welcomed than others, such as when we bring a new baby home. It's a change that we look forward to.

In Kristen Strong's new book "Girl Meets Change", she explains that change is a good thing, and absolutely vital to our lives as Christians. Kristen has learned that change is not something to be feared. but to be received as a blessing from God, because more often than not, God will use this change to work in our hearts.

Kristen encourages women to see change as a blessing from God, to use this experience to mold us into the person God intended for us to be. She also offers practical advice for coping with change.

I absolutely loved this book. Like so many other people, I have gone through changes which were very unpleasant at the time. I went through a divorce and much heartache from that. But God has a way of turning something beautiful out of something that's falling apart. At that time, I never could have dreamed how richly He would bless me. God really does have our best interests at heart. I could not have imagined the much better life He had in store for me or my daughter. I wish I had this book back then though!

I think women of all ages can relate to this book. I would highly recommend it. I rate this book as 5 stars. I received this book for free from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Kristen Strong is a popular blogger at Chasing Blue Skies and DaySpring's (in)courage, as well as a writer whose work has appeared in MOMSense and Family Fun Magazines. She and her husband, David have three children. Together this military family has zig-zagged across the country (and one ocean!) several times, and they currently live in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

God made all of Me by Justin S. Holcomb

Talking to little ones about their bodies can be an incredibly daunting task for parents. Most parents have no idea where to begin, what terminology to use, or at what age to even begin discussing it. Unfortunately, to keep our children safe from sexual predators, it is absolutely necessary to do the uncomfortable thing, and talk to children about it at their level. Justin S. Holcomb has made this uncomfortable talk so much easier with his brand new book, "God made all of Me: A book to Help Children Protect Their Bodies."

The beginning of the book starts with an introduction to parents, explaining why he decided to write this book. Did you know that one in four women and one in six men have been or will be assaulted at some point in their lives? 15% of those are under the age of 12, and 29% are between the ages of 12 and 17. Girls between the ages of 16 and 19 are FOUR times more likely than the general population to be victims of general assault.

Education is the best defense in protecting little ones from sexual predators! How will a child know what is appropriate or inappropriate if we as their parents, fail to speak with them about it?

The first page in the story is Genesis 1:31 in bright bold colors... "God saw everything He had made. And it was very good." The next page is a picture of a mom and dad sitting in the living room with their two children talking about how God is the One who created each of them. The story proceeds as Dad asks the children other questions such as "What else did God make?" and then they discuss the different body parts God created and that there are certain parts that are not for sharing. We can share a hug if we want, but we do not HAVE to if we don't want to. And that is okay. We don't even have to offer a high five if we don't want to, because our bodies are our own and no one else's.

Mom goes on to explain that if someone doesn't listen when you tell them no, you must go tell someone right away. You can tell your parents, a doctor, a teacher or anyone else who can help you. She then explains that private parts are the parts covered up by our underwear or bathing suits. (They use the proper names for body parts here.) Mom explains that sometimes kids need help in the tub, or a doctor needs to check your parts at a doctor visit, and that's just parents and doctors trying to keep kids healthy. There is also a special side note here that tells children that if they aren't sure what is a safe and healthy touch they can always ask, because touches are never secret! The rest of the book pretty much reiterates these important truths and it concludes with 9 ways to help protect your child from a sexual predator.

I loved this book! It seems to be geared towards children between the ages of 3 and 8, which seems like the perfect age to broach this subject. I know some parents may scoff at the idea of teaching their children the proper names of body parts, but I think it's important to remember that it may be difficult for a child to come to an adult regarding inappropriate touch if they do not not the proper names.

The illustrations were bright and colorful and didn't show any pictures that might be embarrassing to a child. Everything is covered up by an undershirt or underpants. This book is very tastefully done! I would HIGHLY recommend it to all parents. I rate it as 5 stars!

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

About the Author:

Justin Holcomb, PhD, is an Episcopal priest and professor of theology and Christian thought at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Reformed Theological Seminary. He is the author ofOn the Grace of GodKnow the Heretics, and Know the Creeds and Councils, as well as the coauthor of Is It My Fault? and Rid of My Disgrace. He also serves on the boards for REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade) and GRACE (Godly Response to Abuse in Christian Environments).Lindsey Holcomb, MPH, counsels victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and is the cofounder of REST (Real Escape from the Sex Trade). Lindsey has provided crisis intervention to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence and conducted a variety of training seminars to service providers. She is also the coauthor of Is It My Fault? and Rid of My Disgrace.

Purchase a copy: http://bit.ly/1j72kTN


Monday, September 21, 2015

Blessed, Blessed...Blessed by Missy Robertson

This week I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing "Blessed, Blessed...Blessed" by Missy Robertson with Beth Clark! One thing is for sure- I loved, loved, LOVED it!

Missy shares her blessing and trials throughout motherhood with her readers. The pregnancy difficulties and deliveries with her first two children, Reed and Cole, and the unexpected news that Mia was going to have some difficulties in her life. Upon inspection of the ultrasound, they knew that Mia would have a cleft lip, but did not realize just how severe her condition was. The day of Mia's birth, she was born via c-section and that's when they realized just how severe her cleft was. She ended up having both a cleft lip and cleft palate, which makes it extremely difficult to suck or eat.

Back then Jase and Missy were on a tight budget. Jase worked with Phil but Duck Commander was not popular yet and they had no intentions of ever being on tv. Despite this, they still wanted Mia to have the very best chance at life even if that meant they were paying off medical bills until they were old and grey.Through much research and talking to other families who had children with similar challenges as Mia, they decided to set up a consultation with some of the world's best doctors at a children's hospital in Dallas called ICI. They packed Mia up to go on her very first visit when she was only 17 days old.

Mia had many surgeries and difficulties ahead of her at such a young age but she never let that stop her. She ended up being an inspiration to her family and everyone else around her with her sunny disposition on life. I highly recommend this book to anyone who has a child with a cleft lip or palate. Missy is so down to earth with her writing...I feel like I am just sitting down with a good friend while I'm reading. The thing I love most about the Robertson's is that they are honest about their faith and they don't pretend they are these perfect people, because they know that is just not possible! God is using Mia's situation for His good and they are now able to help so many other families with similar difficulties from the platform that Duck Dynasty has given them. They even have a fund called Mia Moo which Jase and Missy set up to help other families! They are truly an inspiration to me.

I rate this book as 5 stars, but if I could, I'd give it 100! I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

To read more about Mia's story, please consider purchasing this book or visiting her website www.blessedblessedblessed.com


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Let''s Learn about the Lord's Prayer by Catherine DeVries

Meet Emma! She is teaching her stuffed bear all about the Lord's prayer! Emma goes throughout the entire day explaining different parts of the Lord's prayer and what it means.

There are a lot of questions throughout the book, making it a terrific conversation starter for little ones! I think it's a fun way to keep children involved and attentive.

"Let's Learn about the Lord's prayer" by Catherine DeVries actually includes the entire Lord's prayer, making it memorable with cute illustrations!

Overall, this book was pretty cute. It is recommended for children between the ages of 2-4 years, which I think is probably accurate. I do think that it might be written a bit too baby-ish for certain 4 year olds, so parents will want to take that into consideration. It would be perfect for younger toddlers and a Mini Church Sunday School Class for toddlers.

The illustrations were also very well done. My kids loved looking through the bright pictures. I rate this book as 4 stars.

I received this book for free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion. To purchase a copy, please visit:  http://bit.ly/1QGilLA

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Israel's Mission: A DVD Study

"Israel's Mission: A DVD study- 5 Lessons on Becoming a Kingdom of Priests in a Prodigal World" by Ray Vander Laan is volume 13 in the "That the World May Know" series.

What is our mission? God gave His people instructions to find the lost sheep thousands of years ago, and that still rings true for us as believers today. There are 5 sessions included in this book and DVD study: Abraham and Sarah and Three Strangers, Israel at Sinai: The First Great Commission, Jesus Renews the Mission: Seeking the Lost, The Lost Son: In a Far Country, and The Seeking Father: The Lost Son Returns.

This study also goes in-depth into the geographical, historical, and cultural contexts of people and events of the Bible. The author notes that once we know the who, what, and where of a Bible story, we will be able to understand the why. Each session includes a short story from the Bible, "Opening Thoughts," which is a Bible verse to reflect on, and a "Think about it"- some ideas to apply the Bible story to our own lives right now. Next is the dvd study which runs approximately 30 minutes for each lesson. Throughout the rest of the chapters is quite a bit of information including dvd study questions, historical photos, small group discussion questions, "Points to ponder", "Did you know?" and closing information. The remaining pages in each chapter are to follow up with each day for the rest of the week as a daily study. I would say that each of the daily readings take approximately 30-60 minutes to complete.

The dvd portion of this study was filmed in several different locations in Israel and Jordan, which I thought was pretty cool! I really enjoyed this book and dvd together. I feel like this study could definitely benefit old and new Christians alike. It easily kept my interest with all of the historical information provided. I love reading up on the backgrounds and histories of what I am learning about, so that was definitely a plus for me. There was a LOT of information packed into this book. It is a study that you will have to devote a lot of time into, but overall I feel like it is worth the effort! Ray Vander Laan shared a lot of information that I am eager to go back over again! I rate it as 5 stars!

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


Our task as Christians is to bring “lost sheep” back into the love and safety of His kingdom. How are you doing at welcoming the strangers and prodigals the Lord longs to embrace? Learn how to work on your task with Ray Vander Laan's Israel's Mission, volume thirteen in the That the World May Know® DVD series. Discover the mission that can give your life—and the lives of those around you—greater meaning than you ever imagined. Filmed on location in the Middle East and elsewhere, the series will transform your understanding of God and challenge you to be a true follower of Jesus.


Celebrate the release of Israel's Mission by entering to win the entire That the World May Know® series—perfect for working through with your family, Bible study, or Sunday school class!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • All 13 DVDs in the That the World May Know® series
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 18th. Winner will be announced September 21st on the Litfuse blog.

israels-enterbanner

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

God gave us Sleep by Lisa Tawn Bergren

"God gave us Sleep" by Lisa Tawn Bergren is an adorable bedtime book aimed at children 3-7 years of age. The story is centered around Little Cub and how she doesn't enjoy going to bed! There's so many more interesting things to do, like build an igloo! She doesn't want to go to sleep!

After a restless night of barely any sleep, and a day of short tempers and a case of the grumpies, Little Cub learns just how important bedtime is. She learns that God has made certain times for play, and certain times for rest, and that we need both to be happy and healthy.

"God gave us Sleep" is the perfect bedtime companion for little ones! I read it with my two youngest children tonight (they are 3 and 1) and they absolutely loved it! They happily sat throughout the entire story waiting to hear the ending when Little Cub had pleasant dreams and a good night's sleep. I also loved how Mama Bear and Papa Bear prayed with Little Cub every night before bed. I think that is such an important tradition to do with our children, and I think that is awesome that this author made a point to share that.

The illustrations in this book were absolutely adorable and the pages had just the right amount of words on each page. This is a book we will be reading together as a family for years to come! I rate it as 5 stars.

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

Saturday, September 12, 2015

It is Impossible to Spoil Grandchildren by Lynda Freeman

This week I had the opportunity of reading and reviewing "It is Impossible to Spoil Grandchildren: and Other Important Facts for Grandparents and Parents, too!" by Lynda Freeman.

Throughout her book, Lynda shares about one of her greatest joys in life: her grandchildren. But she realizes what an enormous responsibility we have as parents and grandparents, to instruct our little ones in the way of the Lord. God has put us in charge of these little blessings, and it is our job to train them to be followers of Jesus.

This may seem like a daunting task, but thankfully God has provided us with "instructions" in His Word. They are the blueprints for parenting a child.

I thought this book was absolutely adorable! Readers can't help but fall in love with Lynda's three grandsons as we read about the precious things they have said and done. This book is definitely heart warming and is sure to tug on your heart strings!

I rate this book as 5 stars and would highly recommend it to parents and grandparents alike! I received a copy of this e-book in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Lynda has provided me with an additional e-book version to give away! Please use the Rafflecopter below to enter! Winner will be announced on Wednesday, September 16! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 11, 2015

Stunning Braids by Monae Everett

"Stunning Braids: Gorgeous Hairstyles for Any Occasion from Work to Weddings" by Monae Everett is a braid how-to book with a wide variety of braids and difficulties!

The beginning of the book features different tools to be used throughout the how-to's. Numerous types of hair pins, brushes, combs, & hair sprays and gels are all featured. The very first how-to is a tutorial on how to do a simple braid. Each tutorial grows in difficulty until readers learn how to make a Knotted Updo, or my personal favorite: The Triple Mermaid Updo! I loved that the author took time to explain how to do certain methods such as backcombing or making flatiron curls.

The hairstyles are both graceful and functional. I could see myself using these for a day at the beach or an evening wedding! I plan to go through this book with my 9 year old daughter who LOVES styling hair. She has already mastered the basic braid and a few of the others,

but I think this is a book she would definitely benefit from. The instructions are easy to follow, and the illustrations are clear and concise and show what needs to be done. Some of the tutorials have as many as 26 steps, but I think that is a good thing because it shows exactly each step in detail.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys styling hair, or for someone who is just looking for a new hairstyle! I rate this book as 5 stars!

I received a copy of this book for free in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Gather Around the Amish Table by Lucy Leid

"Gather Around the Amish Table: Treasured Recipes and Stories from Plain Communities" by Lucy Leid is not your ordinary cookbook! If you're looking for complex, and new recipes, this book is not for you. But if you enjoy a good old fashioned homestyle meal, this is probably right up your alley!

The recipes in this book are a collection of recipes from Amish communities surrounding the author. She went on a quest to find the best of the best, and what she ended up with was a fantastic collection. There are main dishes, side dishes, desserts, drinks, and so much more offered in this book! It even includes a recipe for how to feed a crowd of men for a barn raising, which I think is pretty cool!

My favorite thing about this book was that I have most of these ingredients already in my freezer or pantry! Lucy Leid shows delicious ways to make ordinary into a new family favorite.

I also love the family stories throughout the book. Sometimes a story explaining how the recipe came to be, or how it was passed down through multiple generations of a family. It kept me intrigued, to say the least! I feel like this is a book I could sit down and use with my girls! Something they could follow along with and cook right alongside me!

I received this book for free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion. I rate this book as 5 stars. Incorporate Amish cooking traditions this fall in your kitchen with Lucy Leid's Gather Around the Amish Table. Straight from Amish kitchens to yours, this cookbook offers favorite family recipes and charming stories from Amish and Mennonite cooks. Gather your family around the table to sample the nourishing fare and trademark charm of the plain people. In the words of one cookbook contributor: “Bake someone happy!”

Get your fall baking underway with an Amish baking basket giveaway from Lucy and MennoMedia!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
gather-lasagna-recipe 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on September 29th. The winner will be announced September 30th on the Litfuse blog.

gather-enterbanner

Friday, September 4, 2015

Treat by Stephanie Banyas

"Treat" by Stephanie Banyas is a fun recipe book with over 50 No-Bake recipes!

These recipes are not like your average rice krispie treats! Choose from Salted Caramel, Dulce De Leche, Berry Cobbler, Strawberry Lemonade, Cookies and Cream and so much more. Perhaps the recipe that caught my attention first was the recipe for homemade marshmallows! There are recipes for original flavor, strawberry (and other fruit flavors) chocolate and cream cheese.

Each recipe tells how many it makes, what ingredients to use, and simplified instructions that even older kids will be able to understand.

This book is broken down into six contents to find the recipe you are looking for: Marshmallows, Updated Classics, Candy-Store Favorites, Fruity Sweets, Chocolate Delights, and Holiday and Celebration Treats. At first glance, I was surprised by the size of this book. I expected it to be somewhat bigger although I think this size works just fine too. It's approximately 7 x 7 inches.

The recipes are easy to follow and understand, and I think this book was just put together very nicely altogether. The pictures are pleasing to the eye and look delicious! I love that there is a picture for each recipe. I rate this book as 5 stars.

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