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

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

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

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.

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Max Lucado's Pocket Prayers

If you were here a few days ago, you saw my blog post on Max Lucado's Pocket Prayers books! You can check out my previous review here!

Today I want to talk about what amazing gifts these little books are! There's a lot of things I like about these books, but the number one thing is price. The books have a list price of $9.99, which I think is an affordable price for just about anyone! My second favorite thing is that the books fairly small, so they can easily be put in purses, backpacks, briefcases, or just to keep on a nightstand.

I was super excited to read and review these 6 little books because that means I have 6 books to give away as gifts!

I will be giving Pocket Prayers for Dads to my husband for Father's Day this June. It's filled with simple prayers and key Bible verses that relate to being the head of the household and being a God honoring parent. He does such a great job already, and I know he will be encouraged with this little book.

I have decided to give Pocket Prayers for Military Life to a sweet family I know who has spent the last few years moving around and sacrificing so much to defend our country. I know they will be blessed to receive this book of prayers and Bible verses.

And last but not least, I will be giving Pocket Prayers for Graduates to a young woman I know who refuses to give up on her dreams and will soon be graduating. I hope she finds this book to be an encouragement and strength on the days she needs it most!

As for the other books, I have not yet decided who they will be going to but with so many special days coming up, it won't be too hard to figure out!
Mother's Day is May 8th
Teacher's Appreciation Week begins May 3rd
June 8th is Best Friend Day and July 30th is the International Day of Friendship!

I received these books for free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.

Friday, April 1, 2016

Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen

Sometimes I think I should have born southern! This book is jam packed full of absolutely delicious southern food!

"Country Cooking from a Redneck Kitchen" by Francine Bryson contains 10 different chapters of amazing food. Redneck Whatnots (dips and salads), Yardbird (chicken dishes), Burgers & Bryson BBQ Favorites, Meat, Meat & a li'l Meat, Sunday Suppers, Enough to Feed a Crowd, Sides, Taters and Maters, Sweets and Treats, Holiday Baked Goods, and Breads and Rolls.

What I loved about this book is that the recipes are genuine southern home cooked food! I also loved that most of the ingredients in the recipes are real foods. Not canned or processed. I loved the recipes for Cream of Chicken Soup, Cream of Mushroom Soup, and Cream of Celery Soup. I love using natural foods any time possible! I think I'm most excited about trying out the recipe for BBQ rips and fried chicken.

The instructions are clear and concise. My only complaint is that there are not color photos for every single recipe, although many of them do have pictures. There are even some recipes for the more adventurous foodies, including Squirrel pot pie! I don't think I'll be trying that one. I really enjoyed this cookbook. I rate it 5 stars.

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

Pocket Prayers by Max Lucado

This week I was privileged to read and review these six pocket prayers by Max Lucado. This collection of small gift books includes:

Pocket Prayers for Graduates
Pocket Prayers for Friends
Pocket Prayers for Dads
Pocket Prayers for Military Life
Pocket Prayers for Moms
Pocket Prayers for Teachers

I'm always excited to read and review books by Max Lucado. He has more than 120 million readers worldwide and I personally own many of his wonderful books!

Pocket Prayers for Graduates:
Pocket Prayers for Graduates focuses on life after graduating high school. It includes "Prayers for My Relationship with God", "Prayers for my Future", "Prayers for Strength and Conviction",  "Prayers for Hope and Peace", "Prayers for my Work and Career", and "Prayers for Relationships". It contains 40 Bible verses and prayers in all. What I like about this book is that it is personalized to meet the needs of a young adult just starting out on their own. Bible verses include topics like Seeking the approval of God and not man, or how we shouldn't be anxious, but we need to rely on God.

Pocket Prayers for Friends:
Pocket Prayers for Friends is a book aimed for virtually anyone. It deals with issues that all of us have problems with, so it appeals to a wide range of people. It includes "Prayers for Grace and Wisdom", "Prayers for Joy and Companionship", "Prayers for Help and Protection", "Prayers for Peace and Problem-Solving", "Prayers for Longevity and the Future", and "Prayers for Love and Forgiveness." It includes 40 Bible verses and Prayers meant to bring joy and Serenity to the reader.

Pocket Prayers for Dads:
Pocket Prayers for Dads is created specifically for dads. It includes 40 simple Prayers and Bible verses that bring strength and faith to the reader's daily life. Topics included are: "Prayers for Faith and Family", "Prayers for Courage and Strength", "Prayers for Leadership and Wisdom", "Prayers for Patience and Balance", "Prayers for Holiness and Integrity", and "Prayers for Fatherhood and Joy." I loved this book because I found it to be a great encouragement to the leader of my household.

Pocket Prayers for Military Life:
Pocket Prayers for Military Life is created specifically for the individual who is involved in the Military. It includes 40 simple prayers that bring Faith and Courage. Topics include "Prayers for Home and Family", "Prayers for Duty and Courage", "Prayers for Protection and Guidance", "Prayers for Perseverance and Faith", "Prayers for Integrity and Honor", and "Prayers for Wisdom and Leadership." This would be an incredible blessing to someone who is currently deployed. The Bible verses and Prayers talk consistently of strength and courage, and having God with you.

Pocket Prayers for Moms:
Pocket Prayers for Moms is created for Moms, and it includes 40 simple prayers that bring peace and rest. Topics include "Prayers for Time and Peace", "Prayers for Protection and Surrender", "Prayers for Guidance and Clarity", "Prayers for Love and Marriage", "Prayers for Healing and Safety", and "Prayers for Grace and Strength." I could personally relate to this book most of all. The topics are just spot on for mothers of all ages. I really enjoyed it.

Pocket Prayers for Teachers:
Pocket Prayers for Teachers includes 40 simple prayers that bring peace and renewal. It includes "Prayers for Inspiration and Encouragement", "Prayers for Clarity and Creativity", "Prayers for Love and Patience", "Prayers for Peace and Protection", "Prayers for Integrity and Grace", and "Prayers for Strength and Endurance." I found this book to be perfect for teachers in any setting. Public school teachers, Christian school teachers, or even homeschooling moms.

What I liked about these books is that the books are so small, they can literally be taken anywhere. The Bible verses and Prayers are short, so they can be read at any time of day. I really appreciate the effort the author has made to do his research to find the best Bible verses for each subject. I would definitely recommend these 6 little Pocket Prayer books to everyone I know. I rate them as 5 stars.

I received these books for free from Litfuse in exchange for my honest unbiased opinion.