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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Doodletopia Fairies by Christopher Hart

"Doodletopia: Fairies" is the newest drawing book by Christopher Hart. Readers will learn how to draw Fairy heads and faces, Fairy bodies, Magical clothing and accessories, Fairy wings and flying poses, Fairy dwellings, as well as some miscellaneous items here and there.

The fairies you will learn to draw are actually pretty adorable! You will learn to draw fairies from all different angles and sides, and how to draw different shaped faces. Despite the fact that the fairies are all drawn in black and white, it is actually a pretty colorful book. It features 159 pages of many different types of fairies.

My only complaint is that it does not give step-by-step directions. So someone with little or no drawing experience may have a hard time following along with it. It might also be difficult for a child/tween to be able to follow along. Other than that, I thought it was a very fun book put together very nicely. 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, October 12, 2016

Shaken by Tim Tebow

It's not a matter of IF storms will come throughout your life. It's a matter of WHEN. When do they come, what kind of person are you? Are you secure in trusting God and knowing He is faithful? When you're Shaken to the very core, will you still praise God or let yourself sink?

Tim Tebow shares many examples throughout his life of times when he had to place his trust in God and have faith in God's plan for his life. Like the times he has unexpectedly gotten let go from a football team, or not getting an opportunity he was expecting. Life is full of ups and downs, but throughout it all, (for the most part) Tim has kept his eyes on Jesus. Tebow challenges readers to look beyond themselves and their own trials, and try to leave a legacy that will reach beyond themselves and ultimately show Jesus' love to others!

Although, I have always thought highly of Tim Tebow, football is not something I have ever really been interested in. So to be honest, I really didn't know all that much about him. I learned quite a bit about his upbringing, his life and his values through this book. I learned what an incredibly caring person he is, and how much work he puts into telling other people about Jesus.

Despite the fact that Tebow repeatedly tells readers that he is just an ordinary guy and not doing anything spectacular, I found him to be an immensely inspiring human being. Tim shares a little bit about how involved he is in the WI5H foundation, and how he takes time to reach out to those less fortunate. He also grew up as a child of missionaries, and learned early on how to put other people first. He has gone to prisons multiple times to share the gospel with inmates and people who might not have heard about Jesus otherwise.

I can't recommend this book enough. I would highly recommend it to parents, teachers, teenagers, sports fanatics, and even people who hate sports! I can guarantee you will feel inspired after reading "Shaken".

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

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Long Journey to Jake Palmer by James L. Rubart

Jake Palmer is a 30 something year old former Ironman racer who coaches people on finding out their true identities by trying to figure out what's in their bottle. But what a lot of people don't know is that Jake doesn't even know what's on his bottle.

Events that transpired 18 months ago keep him from trusting anyone or anything, and it's impossible for him to imagine that anyone could ever love him again. When his friends invite him on their annual summer vacation, Jake turns them down repeatedly until he hears a quiet nudge telling him to go.

While there, Jake is presented with the opportunity to face everything that has left him so scarred. He hears of a corridor that is rumored to be magical and able to restore lives back to what they previously were. Jake is skeptical but can't help but wonder if it's true. Will he risk everything to go back to the way things used to be?

Both the cover of this book and the synopsis intrigued me from the beginning! At first it appears to be a story of a young man who feels a little sorry for himself and can't cope with his current life and the past that goes with it, but it's so much more! There is a tremendous spiritual undertone that is involved. The author does not overtly mention God and spiritual matters but it is implied and written much the same way C.S, Lewis might have written it. In fact, the story even mentions Prince Rilian and The Silver Chair.

Beautifully written. I would highly 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.”


Thursday, September 15, 2016

With All Due Respect by Nina Roesner & Debbie Hitchcock

"With All Due Respect: 40 Days to a more fulfilling relationship with your teens and tweens" by Nina Roesner & Debbie Hitchcock is the newest book on how to have a better relationship with your kids!

It's created specifically for parents (ie moms) who might already be having difficulties relating to and talking to their teen or tween. Authors help show parents what a successful loving relationship looks like and includes easy to follow suggestions. Some of these have to do with communicating lovingly, enforcing rules, resetting relationships, overcoming fears and handling rebellion.

Each day features a different story for parents to relate to, questions to think about, and a prayer to launch an action plan.

When I first requested this book, I thought it would be great for preparing for my daughter's tween and teenage years. While that may be true, I got a strong feeling that this book was mainly for parents who were already having problems with their tweens and teens.

On another note, I feel as if these two authors have really done their research as they have offered excellent advice on issues that most teens deal with. I would definitely recommend it to other moms with children in the tween/teen age range. I rate this book 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.”

Wee Alphas: A to Z Postcards!

This week I was able to review "Wee Alphas: A to Z Postcards! This set includes 26 Postcards, each featuring a letter of the alphabet disguised as an animal! It is truly adorable with some common and some uncommon animals. For example, Fox is featured as the F, but Unicorn is featured for the U!

The back of each postcard has something fun to fill out about each letter. The Turtle postcard has boxes to check. It says "You Are:" and includes "Tremendous, Tough, Tops, Terrific, Talented and Ticklish. Each card is the standard postcard size making them super easy to mail!

My girls, who range in age from 10 to 2, loved the diversity of the animals included! It was a little difficult for my Kindergartener to try to find the letters in some of them as she is just learning to read, but still a fun tool to use! They had fun trying to figure out what each of the animals were, and it will be a fun exercise to try out letter writing skills!

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

Sunday, September 4, 2016

The Wired Soul by Tricia McCary Rhodes

Do you find yourself having to be constantly busy, not being able to be still and just enjoy the quiet? Are you constantly multitasking, trying to rush through your day?

In 2016 we are constantly moving, always on our phones, computers, tablets, televisions, and other electronic devices. What most people don't realize is that by simultaneously checking our email and responding to facebook messages, we are wiring our brains into being busy all the time. We're getting distracted more, and having a hard time falling asleep at night. We struggle to get into God's Word and to be still and listen to God speaking to us.

Tricia McCary Rhodes reintroduces us to classic disciplines of Scripture reading, meditation, prayer and contemplation.

This book teaches readers to slow down and just be still. To install practices into their life that will help them to daily be still and listen to God. To some people, I know meditation may seem a little "New Age" but the author is very careful to base her disciples on Biblical principals. It works almost as a devotional type book because there's different things to work on each day. It's not just a book to pick up and read. If you really want to take this book to heart, you must devote a little time each day to practicing these methods.

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Natural Color by Sasha Duerr

If you've ever considered using plants and natural resources to dye clothing, then this is the book for you! In "Natural Color" by Sasha Duerr, readers discover new and exciting ways to use dyes that won't leave you covered in chemicals!

Through research and experiments she has done herself, Sasha Duerr shows readers how to use Indigo, Blue Spruce, Mint, Pomegranate and many other natural resources to create the perfect color you're looking for. Using natural mordants, you can enhance any color to the desired shade.

Another amazing perk to dying naturally is it's medicinal use. Think of all of the chemicals used in traditional dyes. All of those chemicals seep into our pores when we wear clothing that's been dyed. When you dye naturally and medicinally, you are allowing amazing benefits into your body. Plants are beneficial for many different reasons.

This book was super exciting for me to go through! I would love to spend a Saturday experimenting with different plants and dye clothing and fabric! The author explained things very thoroughly and provided pictures of each process. There was a lot of information to go through including colors for each season. The cover is beautifully made and a durable hardcover. It certainly is a beautiful book!

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


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

(un)Natural Mom by Hettie Brittz

This mothering thing is hard, and it just doesn't come naturally to everyone. That's the message that Hettie Brittz, author of "(un)Natural Mom" wants you to know.

As much as we'd like to be, we're not Super mom and we can't do everything. Our culture's understanding of motherhood is very different from what it actually is.

One really neat thing this book includes is an online assessment test called Tall Trees Parenting Profile, which helps you determine what type of parenting style you have. Hettie Brittz helps moms understand their parenting type and realize that we don't have to fit in a single mold to be a mother. We're all unique with different traits!

I think mothers of all ages and walks of life can relate to this book. Hettie shares her motherhood experiences...her triumphs and downfalls. She wants readers to know that no matter what, you are the perfect momma to your kiddos. I would highly recommend this book to all mothers! It should be required reading to becoming a mom!

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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Miracle in Music City by Natalie Grant

"Miracle in Music City" by Natalie Grant is the third and most recent book released in the Glimmer Girls series!

Twins, Mia and Maddie and younger sister Lulu are hot on the case of another mystery! The girls' mom, who is famous singer, Gloria Glimmer, is setting up an auction at the Grand Ole Opry to help raise money for the homeless. When one of the priceless guitars goes missing, the Glimmer Girls immediately get to work gathering clues to solve the mystery.

There's a lot of positive messages going on in this book. First, I love how the author incorporated helping the less fortunate. She explains it in a way children can understand, and even gives some examples of how someone can help a person who is homeless.

Second, there's also a smaller story going on with the girls' friends from school. The girls must learn how to properly deal with jealousy and sensitivity to someone else's feelings.

Honestly, I hope Natalie Grant writes a dozen more books in the Glimmer Girls series. It's so refreshing to see a book for young girls that has role models my daughters can look up to.

This book is aimed for girls between the ages of 8 and 12. 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.”


The Naturalist by Darrin Lunde

"The Naturalist: A Lifetime of Exploration, and the Triumph of American Natural History" by Darrin Lunde is a look into the life of perhaps one of our most well known presidents, Theodore Roosevelt.

One facet that this book seems to focus on is Theodore Roosevelt's extensive work as a conservationist. Darrin Lunde has gathered facts from Roosevelt's diaries and travel journals so readers can really get a feel for our President's love for nature. It began when he was a young boy, looking up to John James Audubon and Spencer F. Baird...men who developed a taxonomy of the natural world. He even carried this love into his political career as a Statesman and President as he grew older.

I thought this was an interesting look into Theodore Roosevelt's life. A lot of the book was about our former President's hunting practices, and his life as a naturalist. It was very well written and descriptive. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history, the outdoors, and who considers themself a conservationist.

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

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Beauty Refined by Tracie Peterson

Over the past year or two, I've really begun to like historical fiction. "A Beauty Refined" by Tracie Peterson was no exception! This is the second book in the Sapphire Bride Series, but it is not necessary to read them in order since each book is about a different character.

Phoebe Von Bergen accompanies her father on his long business trip to America. First to the East Coast, then to Montana, and eventually onto the West Coast so her father can purchase Sapphires. However, she has no idea of what her father is actually doing with these Sapphires or his dishonesty in his business.

There is so much more going on in Helena, Montana that Phoebe is not aware of. Things that could cause danger to both her and other people she has grown close to.

In the meantime, she has also grown close to a young lapidary named Ian Harper. This, among other reasons makes her decide that she is going to stay in America regardless of the consequences.

I enjoyed this Historical Fiction so much! From the very beginning, it was a page turner that I just could not put down. The characters are well developed and the story didn't seem to lack anything! Going into the story, Phoebe didn't have any faith in God after growing up in her father's care. That all changes when she learns that God is truly the only one who can help her out of her situation and keep them all safe. I can't say enough positive comments about this book. I would highly recommend it! I rate it as 5 stars.

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


Little does Phoebe know that her father's plans—for the sapphires and his daughter—are not what they seem. If you love historical fiction, romance, and adventure, don't miss Tracie Peterson's A Beauty Refined. When Phoebe meets Ian, everything changes. Yet the more he gets to know her, the more he realizes that her family story is based on a lie—a lie she has no knowledge of. And Ian believes he knows the only path that will lead her to freedom.

Join Tracie in celebrating the release of A Beauty Refined by entering to win her Precious Gems giveaway (details below) and by attending her author chat party on August 9!

beauty refined - 400 

One grand prize winner will receive:
Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 8/9. The winner will be announced at A Beauty Refined Facebook party. RSVP for a chance to connect with Tracie and fellow fans of historical fiction, as well as for a chance to win other prizes!

beauty refined - enterbanner

RSVP today and spread the word—tell your friends about the giveaway via FACEBOOK, TWITTER, or PINTEREST and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 9th!

Friday, July 22, 2016

Pumpkin Patch Blessings by Kim Washburn

This week I had the privilege of reading and reviewing "Pumpkin Patch Blessings" written by Kim Washburn with illustrations by Jacqueline East!

I was pretty excited to receive this adorable little book in the mail. It's a board book approximately 5" x  8" in size. The front cover features two adorable bunny rabbits sitting on a pumpkin in preparation for fall. Each page includes an adorable little rhyme about Fall.

It includes the leaves changing colors, wearing warm sweaters, eating roast ears of corn, going on a hay ride, wandering through the pumpkin patch, and choosing the best pumpkin! The book is fairly repetitive, repeating certain phrases over and over again, but I think this is a fun way to get children involved! The book is aimed at children between the ages of 4-8 years, but my 2 year old eagerly sat on my lap listening to the story so I think it's definitely appropriate for younger audiences as well.

It's not a very long book, at 18 pages long. It takes only a few minutes to read through the entire book...perfect for a quick story before bedtime. The illustrations are absolutely adorable! You can't help but love them. My 2 year old and 4 year old daughters thoroughly enjoyed looking through the book while I read to them. I would definitely recommend this book to others. I rate this book 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.”

If my Husband Would Change, I'd be Happy by Rhonda Stoppe

I have to admit, I initially requested this book because the title made me giggle. It's one of the most common myths you hear from woman who are having marriage problems. Rhonda Stoppe shares with humor how to enrich your relationship with your husband even if he doesn't change.

Rhonda shares twelve common myths that wives believe about their marriage. She explains how to get past those common misconceptions and to truly show love to your husband even if you feel like you're the only one working on your marriage. Some examples of these myths are:
-"I'm Falling Out of Love with Him"
-"Happily-Ever-After is a Fairy Tale"
-"He Would love Me More if I Were Prettier"

Each chapter ends with a "Thinking it Through" which is a summary of the chapter just read and reading through some Bible verses. "Living it Out" includes a series of questions on how you can better yourself as a wife.

One thing I thought was neat about this book was the fact that Rhonda's husband Steve gave his point of view at the end of each chapter. I think this is interesting because then we see just how differently men and women perceive topics.

Rhonda Stoppe definitely has a way with words! She writes with humor and yet is very knowledgable in marriage topics that every woman should be reading. She seems like a very down to earth type of friend that I could relate to! I would definitely recommend this book to married women of all ages and in all walks of life. I rate this book as 5 stars!

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

Don't Go to Bed Angry by Deb DeArmond & Ron DeArmond

"Don't Go To Bed Angry: Stay Up and Fight" by Deb DeArmond & Ron DeArmond is a new book written to help couples resolve conflicts in their marriage. They say that of course conflicts are normal for a marriage, but the way that we respond to those conflicts can make or break our marriage.

Since everyone grows up in different types of households, we all bring our own baggage into our relationships. We must learn to leave that baggage behind to make conflict a learning experience about one another.

The authors dive a little into conflict styles and how to create a balanced playing field. It's important to remember that you are allies with your spouse and not adversaries. Once we've gotten rid of the baggage and built bridges, it's important to create some boundaries for fighting fair.

I think this book is very interesting. It lists many statistics and deep looks into how each couple functions. (Since every couple is vastly different.) Each chapter includes questions to discuss with your spouse, to get communication flowing and to understand one another better. It is encouraged to use a journal along with this study book, so as to keep track of thoughts and special notes readers found beneficial. The chapters then end with a prayer.

My husband and I have never really had a problem with conflict in our marriage. We tend to agree on most subjects and resolve issues quickly when they do arise. However, I think this book would be beneficial for any married couple at any stage of life. It's great to know the tools to use when and if you ever need them. I rate this book as 5 stars.

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

Thursday, July 14, 2016

I Believe in Jesus by John MacArthur

"I believe in Jesus: Leading Your Child to Christ" by John MacArthur is a beautifully illustrated hardcover book which helps parents lead their little ones to Christ.

The book begins with the creation of the world and how everything was perfect. Then God created Adam and Eve and sin entered the world. MacArthur goes on to explain that because sin is in the world and we are sinful people, our sins should keep us out of heaven. But instead, God invites everyone to come to Him and ask forgiveness for those sins so that we may live in Heaven someday too.

The book goes very in depth for little readers who have lots of questions. MacArthur explains why God forgives us, the Trinity, and what kind of life He lived while He was here on earth. We also read about Jesus dying on the cross, in the most terrible way just because He loves us so much. The end of the book includes 3 pages on how to accept Jesus as your Savior. Each page also includes a Bible verse which supports the message, and then a few other additional Bible references to look up.

I really enjoyed reading through this children's book. Two of our children have already accepted Jesus as their Savior but I still think this book is excellent for us to read together. I believe it helps refresh their decision in their mind, and makes it a topic they can easily share with their friends. I normally enjoy all of John MacArthur's books, and this is the first children's book I have seen of his, but I was especially impressed! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone with little ones. I think the aim of this book should be for ages 3 on up, but younger children will also enjoy looking through the beautiful pictures.

I rate this book 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.”

Saturday, July 2, 2016

Between us Girls by Trish Donohue

"Between Us Girls: Walks & Talks for Moms & Daughters" by Trish Donohue is a easy to follow guide on how to disciple your daughter. There are 26 chapters to read, which the book lists as "walks". The idea is to teach your daughter the importance of gospel truths, all while building a stronger bond with her.

In each chapter, the mom and daughter read a key Bible passage, ask each other questions about real and imaginary things, answer questions about struggles with sin, share how the two can better live out their faith, and build a better mother/daughter relationship.

Each chapter is fairly short, at approximately 5 pages each. I would recommend this book for Mothers with daughters who are at the tween age of around 9-13. The description of the books says that it is not necessary to prep for any of the chapters, but I would still recommend reading it ahead of time just to get a feel for what type of book it is.

The book itself is not very big, so reading it does not feel like a daunting task! As a mother of three girls, I would highly recommend it. I rate this book as 5 stars.

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

Friday, June 17, 2016

Becoming a Woman of Excellence: 30th Anniversary Edition

In this 30th Anniversary Edition, Cynthia Heald writes about what it means to become a Woman of Excellence. It's revised and updated from the previous version, with an important "Thoughts and Reflections from an Older Woman" tidbit in each chapter.

Each chapter begins with a key verse to memorize. Most of the Bible verses are common and somewhat short to make them easy to remember. It then leads to a short devotional about what it means to become a Woman of Excellence, whether it's putting your selfish ambitions aside, or just realizing that it's impossible to do these things on our own. God is the source of our strength and we must remember that He is the one who guides our steps.

The next part of the chapter includes a series of questions about the short devotional, and then some Bible verses to look up and explain the meaning of. She also features quotes and short paragraphs by famous people such as A. W. Tozer, C. H. Spurgeon, and Oswald Chambers that relate to each chapter.

Each chapter ends with "Thoughts and Reflections from an Older Woman."

I think this is an amazing book for anyone looking to deepen their relationship with God. Unfortunately, I have never read the first version of this book, but I did very much enjoy this one! Cynthia writes in such a way that is easy to understand and follow along. I think it would be appropriate for a Christian in any stage of life, whether they are a new Christian, or have been saved for a long time. It would be excellent as a Women's Bible Study but also just for an individual to do on her own. I think it would be equally great as a Bible Study to do with teenage girls.

I would highly recommend this book and rate it as 5 stars. I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

The Seed by Erik Guzman

"The Seed: A True Myth" by Erik Guzman reminds me of something C.S. Lewis would have written. It's a Christian fiction fantasy story that is based on Trinitarian theology and uses Biblical themes such as God's character and man's true identity and calling.

The book begins with Tatus, who is chasing the Shadow that took his wife and son from him. Wyrm, the serpentine dragon attacks Tatus, but then infects him with worms. When we next read about Tatus, he is healed and appears to be a Christian. He ends up meeting two other young people who plan to help him build a labyrinth to trap the shadow.

Initially it was difficult for me to get into this book. The very beginning (first chapter or two) don't explain much and leave readers guessing what they're reading. However, it gets much better as the book goes on. I love books that can take a story and turn it into a parallel of Biblical facts. This is why I feel like this book is much like something from C.S. Lewis. He mixes fantasy with Biblical truths.

The book itself is not very long. It's a short read good for an afternoon of reading. I would highly recommend it! I rate it as 5 stars.

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

Purchase a copy here! https://youtu.be/2Sw4kMOCX3A

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Jefferson's America by Julie M. Fenster

As America was nearing the beginning of the nineteenth century, there were numerous countries vying for the territory surrounding the Mississippi river. Britain, France, Spain and America all had explorers journeying out into the wild to gain what knowledge they could from the land.

We first read about Thomas Jefferson years before he's president. Back when he is Secretary of State, Vice President, a farmer for a short while, and then finally back in politics once again. Readers get to experience a bit of what he was like and his relationships with George Washington, George Clark, Meriwether Lewis and many other prominent figures from history.

Also interesting to me, is the mention of other explorers and their journeys following the Mississippi river meeting many of the Indian civilizations along the way.

Although I am not usually one to read a book on history, I decided to pick this book up to perhaps learn something new about our past. I found it to be very interesting and I learned quite a bit from reading it!

It's written in a way that's very easy to understand. It's not like reading a school history book full of dates and names. The author actually paints a very vivid picture of what life in America must have been like around the time Thomas Jefferson was elected President. The author definitely has done her research with this one and you can tell that she is highly invested in this story and her work. I would rate it as 5 stars!

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

My Father's House by Rose Chandler Johnson

Life in the South is just what you would expect for Lily Rose Cates. Her family had their share of problems but she knew with certainty that her daddy loved her more than anything. When life suddenly changes for her the summer she turns 16, she sort of loses a sense of her identity.

By the time she graduates college, she meets a handsome young man who offers her things she's always wanted. She immediately falls for him despite the warning flags and sirens going off to all of those around her. She ends up marrying Manny within a few short months, and quickly learns the secret of his ways on their honeymoon. She's devastated with the whole idea of Manny not being who he said he was, but she can't bring herself to leave him. She just knows he will change.

After nearly three years, she finally gets the courage to leave him. She heads back to the South, back to the life she always knew, and hopes to start over. Back in her hometown, she comes to find herself once again, remembering her purpose in life.

I found this book to be quite the inspiring read. I also found it to be very true to life in many ways, especially when it came down to Lily Rose having to leave Manny. He'd make her promises and beg her to stay, buying her some elaborate gift to try to make her forget about the abuse. You would think it would be simple to just get up and leave the relationship, but sadly I know from experience that it is not. Despite the abuse, Lily Rose obviously still loved him, and it was hard to grasp that someone you love could hurt you so much.

This book was full of southern charm and character, and I found it difficult to put down. The beginning of the book is a little slow moving, but it quickly picks up the pace after the first couple of chapters. I don't believe this book is inappropriate in any way, but it does contain sensitive material that may upset some people. I rate it as 5 stars.

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

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Beautiful Pretender by Melanie Dickerson

I've been a fan of Melanie Dickerson's books ever since I read "The Fairest Beauty" a few years ago! So of course I was super excited to read her newest book, "The Beautiful Pretender: A Medieval Fairy Tale."

It's the first book I have read of hers that wasn't considered young adult fiction, but it still had all the same mystery, suspense and romance that all of her other books have!

This book stars Avelina, a maidservant to the Lady Dorothea of Plimmwald. When Dorothea runs away with the stable help, the Earl of Plimmwald sends Avelina to The Margrave of Thornbeck's palace in Dorothea's place. She must keep her identity a secret or risk losing her family and everything she holds dear. The Margrave must find a bride immediately so he invites ten young ladies to be his guests at the Palace for two weeks. At the end of that time, he must choose one of them for his bride.

Being a poor peasant with her family back home, Avelina has no desire to marry the Margrave, so she tries to divert all of his attention to one of the sweet young ladies in their group. Unfortunately, the Margrave has already taken notice of Avelina despite her forward thinking and her tendency to speak openly and honestly. As much as she doesn't want to admit it, she begins having feelings for the Margrave as well.

When I get a Melanie Dickerson book, I better be ready to read the whole night long because I know I will not want to put that book down! ;) I thought the characters were very well developed and reading about them made me feel as if I already knew them. Melanie's writing style is very easy to read and understand, and she keeps you guessing up until the last second! I would highly recommend this book to anyone who loves romance, fiction, or even a good fairy tale now and then! I rate it as 5 stars!

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

Inheriting the new title of margrave means Reinhart has two weeks to find a noble bride. What will happen when he learns he has fallen for a lovely servant girl in disguise? Find out in the new medieval fairy tale, The Beautiful Pretender, by Melanie Dickerson. Despite Avelina’s best attempts at diverting attention from herself, the margrave has taken notice. And try as she might, she can’t deny her own growing feelings. But something else is afoot in the castle. Something sinister that could have far worse—far deadlier—consequences. Will Avelina be able to stop the evil plot? And at what cost?

Join Melanie in celebrating the release of The Beautiful Pretender by entering to win her Once Upon a Kindle giveaway!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • A copy of The Beautiful Pretender
  • A Kindle Fire tablet
  • A $25 Amazon gift card
  • The choice between a Funko POP Disney Beauty or Beast doll
beautiful pretender - prize collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on June 7th. The winner will be announced June 8th on Melanie's blog.

beautiful pretender - enter banner

"Long May She Wave" curated by Kit Hinrichs

When I received this amazing little box in the mail, I knew exactly who I was going to give it to! My mom was born on the 4th of July and has always loved flags and everything patriotic!

"Long May She Wave: 100 Stars and Stripes Collectible Postcards" curated by Kit Hinrichs is an amazing set of 100 postcards that represent America, the American flag and what it stands for! I was surprised by the diversity of the postcards. It includes everything from artwork, to a replica of a William Howard Taft Campaign postcard from 1909, to photographs of a hand-sewn Civil War-period flag with 38 stars from 1861. It really is quite an interesting set!

These 100 postcards are compiled from one of the largest collections of American Flag Art in the world. It features more than 200 years of art from history.

One thing I thought was really neat was that the set comes with two of each postcard. So buyers can keep one set for themselves, and give the other set away. Another element of this set I really loved was the way it was packaged. The 100 cards come in a box shaped like a book, and actually looks very much like a book. The front cover opens to reveal the postcard set, and includes a small dedication to the set on the front cover.

Overall, there was nothing about this set that I disliked! I love the classic american history included in the postcards. I've always been fascinated with vintage postcards and the things that inspire them. I would definitely recommend this set to others looking to expand their collection!

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

Monday, May 16, 2016

Saturate & Saturate Field Guide by Jeff Vanderstelt and Ben Connelly

This week I was able to read and review an interesting study on being a disciple of Jesus. It's called "Saturate" and it is written by Jeff Vanderstelt.

The main point that author Jeff Vanderstelt is trying to make is that Christianity is not a once a week thing. We don't just go to church every Sunday and think that we've done all that we can do. God is calling us to do so much more. He initially decided to write "Saturate" after thinking on Habakuk 2:14 "For the Earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." Every believer should practice discipleship in such a way that saturates the world they live in.

There are 5 main points to this book that are crucial to living a life of discipling. Part one mostly explains the premise of the book. Part two describes the life of Jesus. Part three builds on our faith in Christ. Part four explains how we shouldn't merely be doing discipleship, but that we need to live it. Part five gives everyday examples and stories about things on our daily journey of discipleship.

There is only one thing I disliked about this book, and it is pretty insignificant, but I feel it must be mentioned. The front cover is very hard to look at. It is bright orange and teal (almost neon) and is quite the visual illusion. It actually gave me a little bit of a headache looking at it.

Overall, I thought this was an excellent book! It has a lot of interesting information and really broadens the subject of discipling. It would be excellent to read through with a group of people, or even a Sunday school class or small group.

In addition to the "Saturate" book, I also received "Saturate Field Guide" by Jeff Vanderstelt and Ben Connelly to read and review! The field guide goes hand in hand with the book, and is meant to be done in a group setting, such as a Bible Study or small group, but can also be done on your own.

It's a spiral bound, 244 page book which demonstrates the principles and practices for living out the life of a disciple of Jesus in the everyday. It's an 8 week study which includes questions, activities, prayers, and exercises which will help you on your journey to becoming a disciple and helping you disciple others. The "Saturate Field Guide" is appropriate for new Christians, or people who have been Christians for a long time.

What I liked best about this study was that it was very simple to follow. It's not complicated in any sense and it's something that any Christian can do! It really makes you take a look at your life and try to change things for the better.

I received these books for free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.
Are you having difficulties translating the truths you believe in your mind about your Christian faith to the reality of your everyday life? Learn how to keep the gospel in the everyday stuff of your life with a new resource, Saturate Field Guide. This 8-week guide offers an all-of-life approach to being disciples who make disciples of Jesus. The questions, activities, prayers, and exercises will prompt you to do exactly that—put your thoughts and theology into hands-on practice. Designed for both group and individual use, each week will build on the next, aligning your heart with the will of God, examining your core identity beliefs, and launching you into mission.

Join Ben Connelly and Jeff Vanderstelt in celebrating the release of Saturate Field Guide with a small group bundle giveaway!

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One grand prize winner will receive:
  • 10 copies of Saturate Field Guide
  • A coffee kit in conjunction with Big House Beans
  • Moleskine journals
saturate fg - collage 

Enter today by clicking the icon below. But hurry! The giveaway ends on May 16th. The winner will be announced May 17th on the Litfuse blog.

saturate fg - enter

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Girls Slimline Holy Bible NLT

This week I was able to review a new Bible released by Tyndale Publishers! It's called the Girls Slimline Holy Bible NLT. It features a neon blue cover with neon pink and green letters! The cover itself is actually a fuzzy material with a silver edging. The page tips are all colored in purple, making this Bible something reminiscent of the 80's!

The inside of the front and back covers are hot pink and the first page includes Ephesians 3:12, and a place to put a dedication in as well as a short note.

As far as the Bible content goes, it is very much like every other Bible on the inside. It does include a 365 day reading plan, a dictionary concordance, an index for different topics in the Bible as well as great Bible verses to memorize, and eight pages of maps. It also includes a handy bookmark to keep your pages marked.

This Bible is also somewhat small in size which makes it easy for little hands to carry around, or to tuck in a backpack or bag. My 9 year old instantly fell in love with it when she saw it!

I think this is a fun little Bible. I like that it doesn't have to have a bunch of extra content to appeal to children. The cover seems very sturdy and appears to withhold a lot of wear and tear. I love the bright colors! When I received it, I was not aware that it would be a fuzzy material because it's kind of hard to tell just from the picture, but it doesn't affect use at all and my daughter loved that the most! I'm not sure I would want my kids memorizing Bible verses out of this version, because generally I prefer the NKJV or the NIV, but this is still a great Bible, especially if you have kids that are trying to find the meaning of some verses. It breaks it down a bit more than the other versions. I rate this Bible as 4 stars.

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

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Simply Calligraphy by Judy Detrick

"Simply Calligraphy: A Beginner's Guide to Elegant Lettering" by Judy Detrick is just what the name suggests, Simple Calligraphy! It's an introduction to the beautiful art of writing Calligraphy for handwritten notes and envelopes.

This book includes everything you need to know to get started on your new hobby. It's very thorough with instructions, teaching readers how to write in upper case and lower case letters, and giving samples of different types of fonts, numerals, flourishes, and project ideas. It also lets readers know what types of materials you can expect to buy to get started. Luckily for beginners, there are not many things to purchase to just try it out.

I think this is definitely a fun book to try out new skills! The directions are easy to understand, and there are plenty of photos demonstrating how to create the flourishes and letters.

There are so many different things you can do with your new found calligraphy skills. Personally, I'd love to make beautiful envelopes and invitations! It would also be beneficial for scrapbooking, creating signs, and writing handwritten notes. I would say this book is appropriate for tween ages on up to adult. I rate it as 5 stars.

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

I Can Read! Great Stories of the Bible

I was rather impressed with this "I Can Read! Adventure Bible: Great Stories of the Bible" book, illustrated by David Miles! I don't normally buy these kinds of books because they usually don't hold up very well with small children, but this book is excellent! It features 6 books in 1 in a beautiful bright red hardcover!

It is designed as a Reading Level 2, which means Reading with Help. I would say it would be appropriate for most children finishing Kindergarten and going into First Grade. The six books included are:

-God's Great Creation
-Facing the Blazing Furnace
-Ruth and Naomi
-Miracles of Jesus
-A Father's Love
-The Good Samaritan

The end of each story features a small tidbit about the main characters, the theme Bible verse and a few simple questions about the story just read.

I was really happy about the way this book was written. The words are easy to understand, and there's not too many words on each page. Each page has approximately 2 to 6 short sentences, making it simple enough for beginner readers! The pictures are bright and colorful and pleasing to the eye. The stories aren't super long so they hold the reader's attention. I can read the entire book to my 4 1/2 year old in one sitting and she was eager to hear more! I would highly recommend this book to parents of small children. It will be a nice book that I can take turns reading with my child, as she is just learning to sound out words. 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.”

The Mother Letters by Amber C. Haines and Seth Haines

"The Mother Letters: Sharing the Laughter, Joy, Struggles and Hope" by Amber C. Haines and Seth Haines is a collection of letters written by mothers of various backgrounds, and lives. Mothers who have dealt with hardships in pregnancy, children with disabilities, and just the day to day activities that make us moms who we are.

The whole idea for this book actually came from Seth Haines. He watched as his wife adjusted to her new role as a Mother and he watched as her doubts and fears slowly crept in, making her wonder if she was actually a good mother. For Christmas 2008, Seth and Amber decided to make homemade gifts for each other, and the idea for The Mother Letters was born. Seth wanted to give his wife a gift that would show encouragement and wisdom for those tough days. He collected letters from close friends and family, but then extended it to some of his wive's blogging and author friends. Letters poured in over the next few months, and the rest is history.

The back of the book features a list of the Contributing Mothers, which includes their names and websites/blogs if they have one.

I found these short letters to be such an encouragement and inspiring to read! These letters were written by Mothers of every walk of life struggling with all of the normal things we moms struggle with, as well as some things that we would never imagine. The letters aren't very long...they range in length from 2 to 5 pages. The book itself is actually somewhat small, at 5 x 6 inches. It's the perfect size for a small gift.

I didn't recognize all of the Mothers who contributed, but there were a few familiar names such as Lisa Jo Baker of www.lisajobaker.com and Kristen Welch of www.wearethatfamily.com. I loved these letters and I think other moms will as well! I rate this book as 5 stars.

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

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Can a Princess Be a Firefighter? by Carole P. Roman

"Can a Princess Be a Firefighter?" is one of the latest books written by Carole P. Roman. It's an adorable story about two little girls asking their parents if they can be a Princess and a Firefighter when they grow up. Their parents tell them they can be anything they want to be, and then proceed to list everything they think the girls would be good at. They mention many different professions including biologist, dancer, painter, mime, doctor, explorer, and pilot just to name a few! Their parents tell the girls not to let anybody limit their dreams because they are smart, talented, sweet and kind. They also tell the girls that it's important to like their jobs and it should make them happy every single day.

Each page is full of whimsical pictures of the two little girls dressed up as each profession, and playing dress up as princesses with fairy wings. One thing I thought was interesting is that the book never shows a picture of the grown up's face, so it's unclear whether the parent is a mother or father, but it doesn't affect the story at all. What is important is that the book makes it clear that the parent genuinely loves and cares for the child.

I think this is an adorable little book. It's soft covered, and 35 pages long, making it perfect for a bedtime story or just a fun book to flip through during the day. After receiving it in the mail, my 4 year old and almost 2 year immediately hopped up on my lap for me to read it to them. They loved the bright colors, and the rhyming story. I would definitely recommend this book to someone who has children ages 7 or younger. I rate it as 5 stars.

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

Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of both the Captain No Beard and If you Were Me and Lived in... 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. Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis has just been named to Kirkus Reviews Best of 2015. Each book in the series has won numerous awards including the NABE Pinnacle Award, ERIK Award for 2013, Foreword Review Five Star and Finalist in the Book of the Year, and Reader's Views Children's Book of the Year 2013. Her award-winning, non-fiction culture series If You Were Me and Lived in.... continues to explore countries all around the world and she is introducing a new series that travels through time to experience culture through the eyes of a child. She can now add traveling the stars as well!

Saturday, April 30, 2016

Kids' Quest Study Bible NIrV Review

This week I was able to read and review "Kids' Quest Study Bible NIrV" which includes answers to over 500 questions about the Bible!

I'm always super excited to do Bible reviews for kids! There's so many out there, it's so hard to know which ones are best for each child. I think this Bible was beautifully done. The cover is bright and colorful and pleasing to the eye. At first glance, the inside looks like any other kids Bible, but upon further inspection, the reader sees Questions and Answers on the bottoms of random pages. Questions include "Why can't we see God?" and "How do you get permission to get to Heaven?". Each answer is phrased in a way that a child would be able to understand it.

Before I had this Bible, I was not familiar with the NIrV Bible. I was used to using the NIV or KJV, so I was wondering what the difference was. In a lot of ways, the NIrV is much the same as the NIV, except that it's written more like a story. It uses words that are easier for a younger child to understand and read. It is recommended to be for children ages 6-10, and estimated to be written at a third grade reading level.

The beginning of each Book includes who wrote it, and a brief introduction to that book. The writing is in red and blue, which I thought was nice and bright.

I loved this Bible for many different reasons, but one of them being that it is a unisex Bible. Many Bibles I see in the stores are made for either a boy or a girl, so it's nice that I can use this one for multiple children. I also loved the diversity of the questions asked. They are actually asked by children, so I think many children will be able to relate to them. I also loved that it is a hardcover Bible, so it is extra durable! I would definitely recommend this Bible to anyone with children just learning to read and beyond. 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.”

God's Not Dead 2 by Travis Thrasher

After seeing the popular movie "God's Not Dead" 2 years ago, I was super excited to read and review the book "God's Not Dead 2" by Travis Thrasher.

This story follows Grace Wesley and her life as a high school teacher. In class, a student named Brooke Thawley, asks her a question about Jesus, which she truthfully answers. Grace ends up getting called out by Brook's parents and the principal of the high school, having a lawsuit brought against her as well as being suspended from her job.

Tom Endler is a lawyer with the teacher's union and gets assigned to Grace Wesley to represent her. He finds himself doing research on something he's not even sure he believes in. His research brings him to a reporter named Amy Ryan who we met in the first God's not Dead movie. She battled cancer, survived and is questioning everything she ever thought she believed. If you have not seen the first movie, Amy Ryan wrote a blog that basically criticized Christians and made fun of them. It wasn't until the end of the movie where she realizes she has been wrong all along.

Also mentioned in this second book, are a few other characters from the first book and movie: Martin Yip, Reverend Jude and Reverend Dave. Joshua Wheaton, star of the first book and movie was also briefly mentioned.

I have to say that I really loved the first God's not Dead movie and I wasn't sure the second movie/book could be made quite as well, but I loved it too! The characters were perfectly developed and the story was compelling. It had a story line that was very realistic considering this type of thing happens a lot now in schools. I loved how the author brought back characters from the first book, and tied their stories into this book as well. For me, it's definitely an inspiring read. I found it hard to put down. I rate it as 5 stars.

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

Friday, April 22, 2016

Wonderland by Amily Shen

"Wonderland: A Coloring Book Inspired By Alice's Adventures" by Amily Shen is an adorable coloring book suitable for adults and children alike!

It's a rather large book with more than 75 pages to color! Pages range from lots of detail, to pages with just a few things to color. What I thought was most interesting was that it tells a little story about Alice and her adventures. The beginning of the book begins with a small paragraph introducing Alice and her imagination. It goes on to ask the reader to help give Alice a new adventure.

It includes multiple chapters which include the most famous highlights of Alice's story... Chasing the White Rabbit, finding the small cakes and bottle of juice that make her grow and shrink, playing croquet in the Queen's garden, and even the tea party with famous Mad Hatter!

The book is somewhat interactive in a way. There are some small puzzles, and sometimes the reader will be asked to draw or write something to add to the picture. This is definitely a book that both my daughters and I will have fun with! The pictures are adorable and done very well! I would definitely recommend this book to people who enjoy coloring books or even if you just love the classic Alice in Wonderland! I rate this book as 5 stars.

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

The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder by Rachel McMillan

"The Bachelor Girl's Guide to Murder" by Rachel McMillan is the story of two young girls named Merinda and Jem, who start their own detective business. They aspire to be like the famous Sherlock Holmes and frequently find themselves in the middle of trouble.

When two young girls in a nearby neighborhood are suddenly murdered, Merinda is hot in the heels of the investigators trying to get her own investigation in. Of course since she and Jem are women in the early 1900's, they are not taken seriously as professionals, and quite nearly get themselves killed or injured too many times to count.

Jem never imagined they would acquire the help of Ray DeLuca, a popular reporter, and Jasper Forth, a police constable. They end up rescuing the poor girls on more than one occasion, after Merinda drags them into some kind of shenanigan. Jem also is quite surprised when she starts having feelings for Ray.

In a lot of ways, Merinda reminded me of Sherlock Holmes, and Jem was definitely like Watson. Merinda was the ringleader in most of the problems the girls got themselves into. I thought it was a nice spin on the traditional stories of Sherlock Holmes. Fans of mystery and suspense will probably enjoy this book very much. I didn't figure the mystery out until almost the end of the book, so the author definitely keeps you guessing.

There are many characters in this book that the chapters alternate between. At first I had a hard time keeping up with the story because chapters didn't specifically say who it was about. You just kind of figured it out as you went along. I don't consider this a bad thing necessarily. It was just one more little mystery to figure out. I rate this book as 4 stars.

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

Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater.

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Baby Wren and the Great Gift by Sally Lloyd-Jones

"Baby Wren and the Great Gift" by Sally Lloyd-Jones is an absolutely adorable fully illustrated story book for your favorite little ones!

Baby Wren meets a series of other animals doing amazing things. She meets a Kingfisher who swoops down and catches a fish, Ring Tail Cats who climb and do cartwheels, Sunfish who like to dive and swim, and many more animals. Each animal is doing something extraordinary and Baby Wren wonders why she can't do those things too. But each time she asks, no one answers. The breeze rustles, the monarchs keep playing in the milkweed and the glittering river runs on.

Finally at the end of the day, the sun sets and makes the entire canyon turn a beautiful hue of pink. Baby Wren sits very still and very quiet and she realizes that what she saw couldn't fit inside of her, so she created a beautiful song!

I loved this book! When I requested to review it, I didn't imagine that it would be such a beautiful book. It is fairly large in size, with a hardcover and a dust jacket. It would be perfect for bedtime stories or just quiet reading time. It is recommended for children ages 4-8 but I think it appeals to children of a younger age as well.

The illustrations are beautiful and the story itself is almost like poetry. It seems to have a rhythm about it, with some repetitive phrases. It is such a sweet story, which I think has a great lesson to it. Baby Wren wants so badly to be like everyone else, but she doesn't realize she is so special herself. She finally learns this at the end of the book.

I rate this book 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.”

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Jesus Called, He wants His church Back by Ray Johnston

Why is it that in an age when we need God most, it seems less and less people are going to church? In "Jesus Called: He wants His church back" Ray Johnston takes an honest look at his job as a pastor, and makes it a goal to find out what he can do to reach more people for Christ.

He found that most people who say they're Christians, really have no intentions of actually living like a Christian or being more Christ-like which is the ultimate goal. People say they love God, but they hate church. Ray explains why these two ideas can not coincide together. The church is a representation of Christ. You can't go to a church to simply remain a spectator. Get involved! Lead, teach, grow in your own faith by serving.

You can't pick and choose things out of the Bible that you want to believe. Ray calls this Cafeteria Christianity. People end up mixing their ideas with Biblical truths and end up with their own kind of religion which doesn't actually represent Jesus at all.

One of the most important things Jesus taught on was to care for the least of these. Ray mentions one weekend where they shut down all of their church services to minister to the community by cleaning up playgrounds, building things, repairing things, and just reaching out in a way that most churches do not do. You can just see Jesus in these actions. How much different would our communities view Jesus if we did these things?

I was first drawn to this book because of the title. I mean, how could you not be? The author does an amazing job of doing his research. He is the founding pastor of Bayside Church, which is one of the largest churches in the United States. His book makes me want to do more. To serve more than we already do, and to learn what it truly means to give until it hurts. I would highly recommend this book to everyone I know. Christians and non-Christians. I think Pastors and church leaders could really benefit from it as well. It seems that churches just don't do outreach like this anymore. So many churches are more concerned with preaching on tithing (Don't get me wrong. This is super important too), than actually teaching on serving. Hospitality is not a thing of the past. I am now eager to read other books written by this author! I rate this book as 5 stars and would highly 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.”

Friday, April 8, 2016

Little Felted Dogs by Saori Yamazaki

"Little Felted Dogs: Easy Projects for Making Adorable Pups" by Soari Yamazaki is an adorable little book that shows readers how to create their own little felted dogs!

It features 24 different types of dogs to felt, and a short introduction to Needle Felting Basics which includes instructions such as:

"What is Needle Felting?"
"Basic Materials and Tools"
"Felting Toolbox"
"Basic Techniques

The author explains what type of needle is needed and why it's important to get the right kind. She also gets into the different types of Wool and what types work best for each project.

The different projects range in difficulty. For example, the Golden Retriever puppies appear to be easier than the Pug Puppy. For each felted dog, there is a recipe for items needed. It lists the color of wool you will need for the body, ears and tail, as well as the colors you will need for the body. It also mentions any other supplies you might need such as glass eyes or pipe cleaners.

The instructions are pretty detailed, explaining how to construct the dog, what sizes to aim for, and sometimes listing small notes which give helpful tips on how to make the felted dog look more like an actual dog.

All in all, I thought this was a fantastic book for the price. It's hardcover makes it durable and easy to work with when creating a project, and it includes plenty of projects to stay busy for awhile! This book would be excellent for tweens on up to adults. I think it will be a fun project that my daughter and I can do together. Another aspect of this book that I really enjoyed was the fact that you don't need to buy a ton of supplies to get started. It is a pretty low priced hobby. I rate this book as 5 stars.

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