Tuesday, March 24, 2015

New Christian Fiction Author to Enjoy - Dani Pettrey

I just finished reading Sabotaged, book five in Dani Pettrey's Alaskan Courage series.  I'm thrilled to say that I have found another christian author that I enjoy!

This was a very unique novel, set in Alaska, and featuring the Iditarod race.  I enjoyed learning a little bit about the race, the culture and the terrain (though I wanted to learn more!).  I enjoyed meeting the characters and watching them work together to protect one another and solve a series of mysteries.  I enjoyed the lessons on faith, friendship, courage and love.  The romance was a bit sappy, but sweet as well.

I was afraid I might feel a bit behind on the storyline, since this is book #5 in the series, yet my first delving into the series, but it was fine to read as a stand-alone book.

I would recommend this book to any female reader age 16+.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Book Review: After a Fashion by Jen Turano

During the final week of pregnancy and the first week of baby #4's life, I read another book by Jen Turano, After a Fashion.  I love reading her books - they promise to be full of laughter and adventure, and they are always clean.  It's so hard to find good clean novels with positive messages!  By the way, if you have favorite 'clean' authors, I'd love to hear your favorites!

After a Fashion was not my favorite Turano novel, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.  I think the circumstances of giving birth to another child probably had me a bit distracted, so perhaps my view is jaded.  As always, her storyline was full of strong well-developed characters, a spirit of mystery, a bit of romance, and a lot of quirky humor.  I love the way she dealt with societal issues and prejudices at the same time she told her story.  This book

Any reader that enjoys light-hearted historical fiction will enjoy the twists, turns and adventures of this tale.  I would recommend this book to any female reader age 14+, though it might better suit the interests of 16+.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Soup Club!

I love ideas that make dinners easier, and I love ideas that promote community building.  So of course, I was intrigued when I heard about the idea of a soup club.  It's a group of 4 women who commit to preparing soup for all four families once each month.  That means if Soup Club is on Tuesday nights, then you only have to cook one Tuesday night per month!  The other 3 Tuesdays, lovely friends will bring soup to your door!

The soup club ladies have even published a Soup Club Cookbook with some of their favorite recipes and tips for how to run a soup club..  I was given the privilege to review it this week, and I think it's great!  It's a paperback book, but more the quality of a hardback book.  The pictures are crisp, clear and inviting.

The recipes in the cookbook sound great!  There are so many options beyond the traditional chili and tortilla soup!  Spiced pumpkin, winter minestrone, red lentil curry, cold soups, thai fish curry, italian wedding soup...  They also include recipes for their favorite soup garnishes and side dishes such as salads and breads.  They even sneak in a few recipes for "big food" - when they deliver wings, sandwiches, or lasagna instead of soup!

If you're intrigued, give the book a try - I would recommend it for any mama who likes to cook and share!

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Book Review: Terri Blackstock's "River's Edge"

I just finished reading Terri Blackstock's "River's Edge".  I loved it, and I would recommend it to anyone who's looking for a clean and easy read.  Great characters, great storyline, and lessons we can all relate to.  It's a tale of suspense revolving around a small town murder.  You'll be inspired by the mission of the Hanover House, a halfway house supporting people in life transition.  You'll cheer for the romance between the chief of police and the owner of the newspaper.  You'll long for the main characters to have children of their own.  You'll find yourself silently campaigning for mayoral candidates.  You'll get lost in the story.  This is a great book for any reader age 16+.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, February 12, 2015

Book Review: The Paleo Chef by Pete Evans

The Paleo Chef is a beautiful cookbook written by television chef Pete Evans.  He does a great job of explaining Paleo eating in a no nonsense,  everyday person kind of way.  The recipes look very yummy!  It's definitely not the kind of food my kids would want to eat (they like plain and simple),  but my hubby and I would enjoy must of the dishes. I did find a handful of recipes that I think the kids would eat willingly though.

I would only recommend buying this book if you are really going to pursue a new easy of eating and you're willing to invest in a new kind of recipe with non-traditional ingredients.  If that's your goal, you will totally enjoy this cookbook.  It's also great for gourmet cooks!  I lookforward to sharing the cookbook with friends!

 I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Motivating Children to Do the Right Thing without Being Told!

If you're looking for a new parenting tool to digest, you've gotta check out this book:  Motivate Your Child: A Christian Parent's Guide to Raising Kids Who Do What They Need to Do Without Being Told.  It is power-packed with advice for parents seeking to raise godly children that take the initiative to live with integrity.  I'm only halfway through the book, and I've already dog-eared several pages for future reference.  It's easy to read because it's filled with stories that parents will relate to - both everyday family stories and stories from the Bible.  It's filled with strategies to help change children's behavior by reaching their hearts.

They focus their teaching around 4 components of conscience:  doing the right thing, dealing with wrongs, being honest, and caring for others.  I appreciated the checklist they included for helping to measure your child's progress in the four areas.  I've been practicing their techniques for teaching kids to take initiative and reinforcing the importance of integrity. I can almost hear Turansky and Miller speaking into my life as I seek to nurture my 3 children. I'll post more as I finish the book.

Wanna know more?
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Pick up the book at your favorite bookseller, and read it with a friend.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Teaching Children God's Word

I'm always looking for creative ways to teach our children scripture.  We're not good about memorizing it, but we do talk about scripture a lot and we have scriptures in kid-friendly art throughout the house.  I'm also trying to introduce the kiddos to devotions through age-appropriate methods.  I was excited to get the opportunity to review the new "I Can Learn The Bible" by Holly Hawkins Shivers, because it seemed like a great fit for our family.  It's great!

It's a cute book - hardback, inviting graphics, and friendly fonts.  There are 52 studies in the book, one for each week in the year.  Each study starts out with a scripture page, then a short 2.5 page story devotional, then a prayer.  The stories are not Bible stories - they are stories and ideas to help explain the week's scriptures though child-friendly stories and definitions.  The cute pictures also help illustrate the points from the stories.  The forward and the appendix also have tips for memorizing the weekly scriptures.

I think this is a great devotional for elementary age kids, and I highly recommend it to other families.

I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Book Review: The Perfect Score

My son is preparing to take his first college entrance exam.  He's only in 7th grade, so it's the pre-version of the test.  Nevertheless, when I saw this book, The Perfect Score Project: One Mother's Journey to Uncover the Secrets of the SAT, I jumped at the opportunity to review it.

It probably is the perfect book for some people, (it gets great reviews on amazon!), it's just not for me.  I was bored.  I couldn't get into it.  I did appreciate some of the tips in the text boxes, but it was a much more tedious read than I expected it to be. 

Nevertheless, I'm going to pass the book along to our college counselor, to see if they will enjoy the book.  The content is good; it's just not for me.

Disclaimer:  I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Self care is not selfish

Visiting with friends today, I was reminded of the importance of moms reminding each other to take care of ourselves.  We need to encourage each other to take time to rest, exercise and fellowship with friends.  We need to remind ourselves to take care of our bodies - getting enough sleep (even if it means leaving the laundry unfolded) and eating well (even if we're grabbing veggies on the go).  We need to steal away to have time with out spouses without the munchkins around.

We need to give ourselves permission to say no to good things, so we have the energy to say YES to the tasks that God has designed for us to do.  We need to say no without feeling guilty, but instead, to be willing to give what we have the capacity to give (no, I can't make 100 cupcakes for the fundraiser this weekend, but I don't mind making a dozen or two) (no, I can't come help in the class every week, but I would love to come the first Tuesday of each month!). 

Self care is not selfish.  Self care is taking care of our hearts, minds and bodies, so we have the physical, mental, spiritual and emotional energy to take care of our hubbies, our kiddos, and the other important things that God wants us to do.

Pray that God would help you clearly see the mission he has on the horizon for you.  Pray that he would help you clearly see what tasks you need to do, what needs to go on the backburner, and what you need to say no to.  Pray that God would refresh your mind, body and soul, so you can do HIS good works and give him glory.  Pray that he would use these broken vessels of ours, fill them up with HIS strength, and use us to shine light in this dark world.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Bible Review: The Evangelism Study Bible

Sturdy hardback bible with a fishing net on the cover that matches the cover scripture, "follow me , and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19.
Open the bible and you will find a presentation page followed by a list of all the evangelism articles that are organized by books of the bible.  I'm  guessing that there are over 200 half page articles related to evangelism, such as:
  • How to explain the gospel clearly
  • How to overcome fear in evangelism
  • Humility and evangelism
  • Ministering to the poor
  • Your past-no problem
  • How to reach children who are rebellious
There are also cross references and footnotes that help readers recognize evangelism messages  throughout the old and New Testament.  Scrolling to the end of the bible, there is a 3 page glossary of evangelistic bible terms, and a very long concordance. Finally there is a 3 page outline of how to share the gospel, several pages for taking notes and an index to the 14 colorful pages of maps.
This would be a great resource for any teen or Adult that wants to know more about evangelism, and gather tools to help share the good news of Christ with others.
I received this book as a gift from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Book Review: Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden

I just finished reading Beyond All Dreams by Elizabeth Camden, and I miss it already.  I got lost in this 1897 historical fiction story of politics, mystery, romance and intrigue.  I loved struggling with the characters as they battled honesty, anger, jealousy, and fear.  And I loved enjoying their adventures in love, friendship, family and loyalty.  I loved the Christian messages of courage and forgiveness.  Camden does a great job whisking her readers into another century and drawing them into the daily lives of her characters.  I look forward to reading more Camden novels in the future!

More from the publisher:  "Anna O'Brien leads a predictable and quiet life as a map librarian at the illustrious Library of Congress until she stumbles across the baffling mystery of a ship disappeared at sea. Thwarted in her attempts to uncover information, her determination outweighs her shyness and she turns to a dashing congressman for help... Opposites in every way, Anna and Luke are unexpectedly drawn to each other despite the strict rules forbidding Anna from any romantic entanglements with members of Congress. From the gilded halls of the Capitol where powerful men shape the future of the nation, to the scholarly archives of the nation's finest library, Anna and Luke are soon embroiled in secrets much bigger and more perilous than they ever imagined. Is bringing the truth to light worth risking all they've ever dreamed for their futures?"

I would recommend this book to any reader age 14+.  The content is appropriate for younger readers, but I think it would better suit the interest of readers ages 14+.  I look forward to sharing the book with my reading friends.

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.