Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Deleted Emails of Hillary Clinton: A Parody by John Moe

I was looking forward to a little humor and found that "The Deleted Emails of Hillary Clinton" was pretty goofy.  This book dives into the world of pantsuits, gal-pals, Chelsea's wedding, and Bill's social life among other things.


Although I personally thought this quick "read" was corny and really didn't make me laugh out loud, I'm sure that many would find the book Hill-arious.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Einkorn: Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat by Carla Bartolucci

A few years ago, I heard about Einkorn for the first time.  A food blogger was "sold" on this grain and was singing the praises of the new-old type of wheat.  Although intrigued, I never tried it.  Now that my daughter has a gluten sensitivity and I have had the opportunity to read this book, einkorn is now on my shopping list.


In "Einkorn: Recipes for Nature's Original Wheat" by Carla Bartolucci, the author shares her daughter's severe sensitivity to current wheat and the positive differences changing to einkorn has made in her life.

In addition, this book give a ton of information how to use einkorn, the differences between it and current wheat, and lots of fabulous-looking recipes I can't wait to try including sourdough bread and slow-rise sticky buns.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

"The Bones will Speak" by Carrie Stuart Parks

"Forensic artist Gwen Marcey has become the target of a serial killer who believes he's been appointed God's executioner..."

Prior to receiving "The Bones will Speak" by Carrie Stuart Parks to review, I had not read anything by this author.  But after seeing the high reviews the first book in the Gwen Marcey series had received ("A Cry from the Dust"), I immediately got my hands on a copy. 

Like the first book, I found myself really wanting to like it.  The idea of the story is really very good.  What I found for me, though, was the dialogue was tedious (more suited to a screenplay, I thought) and all the detail made for a very slow-moving read.

Mrs. Parks, I really appreciate your efforts and hope that you will continue to write.  I hope that you accept my comments in the spirit they are intended...

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, August 21, 2015

The Underground Girls of Kabul In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan by Jenny Nordberg


"The Underground Girls of Kabul: In Search of a Hidden Resistance in Afghanistan" by Jenny Nordberg is an enlightening book into the role (singular) of women in Afghanistan. 

By interviewing Afghani women (as well as a few men), the author learned that women are thought by men to be solely for the purpose of bearing male children.  Women are subjected to violence by their husbands and mothers-in-law, are heavily scrutinized by all, and are basically held captive in their own homes. 

Because this mostly illiterate culture still conveniently believes that women determine the sex of a child, a woman who does not have any sons is thought to not be "trying hard enough".  Families that have no sons are looked down on in the general society so some have taken to dressing their young daughters as boys and calling them masculine names.   For some of these girls, they don't want to revert back to their birth gender and lose the freedoms they have enjoyed as being "male".

Although I had an idea how women were treated there, I really didn't.  It is heartbreaking that these women have really no control in their lives.  Other than some educated men that allow their daughters to learn and work, the majority of daughters are solely raised for helping to keep house and for the bride-price they could bring.

If you are interested at all in Afghani culture, I would encourage that this be a book added to your list. 


Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

"Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion" by Gary Chapman

"Anger: Taming a Powerful Emotion" by Gary Chapman is a powerful and enlightening book about avery volatile subject. 

Mr. Chapman clears up misconceptions about anger and forgiveness in an easy to read format.  He gives practical examples how to deal with anger that are Biblically sound and dispels incorrect ideas.  He teaches how to handle our own anger and to teach our children about theirs.

I really appreciated this information and learned a lot.  I realized that a considerable amount of the information I had been taught about anger (and forgiveness) actually wasn't right, and was relieved by what I learned.

Thank you, Mr. Chapman, for taking the time to research and teach about anger.  For me, this book is a valuable resource and my husband and I intend to use the tools you have shared in our own family.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Sunday, August 2, 2015

First Family Detail:Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents by Ronald Kessler

My family and I closely follow politics and I like to be "in the know".  So when I had the opportunity to read and review "The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents" by Ronald Kessler, I knew I had to read it.

First of all, this is the first book of its type that I have read.  I understand some say that the author's previous book is strikingly similar.  I cannot attest to that.

What I can say, though, is if these accounts are accurate, I am saddened by how the Secret Service has been treated by so many.  Yes, not all protectees have been rude, crude, or inconsiderate, but it is unfortunate that so many have reportedly been so.  I suppose if the book only included the good stories, it wouldn't have the same appeal.  I was surprised to see so many agents' names that added to the validity of the information  The book also includes a little about the Secret Service and what they must do to protect a traveling dignitary.

If you like politics or political gossip, I would recommend this book.  Adults only, though.
  • More Info

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

What Color Is Your Parachute? for Teens, Third Edition by Carol Christen and Richard N. Bolles

I'm a planner and my teenage daughter is a bit of a planner, too.  So the idea of getting a head start on dreaming, planning, and preparing for the future intrigued both of us.  "What Color Is Your Parachute? for Teens, Third Edition" by Carol Christen and Richard N. Bolles promised to help us with that.

First of all let me say this...I wonder what my life would be like now if this book had been around when I was a teen! 

This book includes great advice about choosing an education that will get you to the career that you love.  With the skyrocketing cost of education, it makes so much sense to choose a path that will get you to work that you love so much you'd do for free.  The book also shares how to market yourself, the basics of looking for a job, and creating a life you love.

One resource for a college education that the author didn't mention was the GI Bill.  I realize that military service isn't for everyone, but it may be a good place to start for those that don't know what they want out of life and want to serve their country.  Just an idea.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Be the Best Mom You Can Be by Marina Slayton

As a mom, I need all the help I can get.  Growing up, all the parents I knew seemed like they had the parenting thing down pat... or maybe they were just really good at faking it.  Regardless, when I saw "Be the Best Mom You Can Be" by Marina Slayton, I thought I could use this "Practical Guide to Raising Whole Children".

First of all, I have read tons of books on the subject of parenting.  Some have been good, some haven't, and some have just made me feel like I'm an awful mom.  This book, though, is really encouraging.  I loved the idea of creating a family vision, of viewing motherhood as a ministry and not a contest, taking the time to identify generational curses, and so much more.  

This book definitely falls in the category of "glad I read" vs. "should've left it on the shelf".

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Bedtime Devotions with Jesus

"Bedtime Devotions with Jesus" is a darling hardcover book, written by various pastors and church leaders.  It includes 52 weeks of devotions, 6 devotions per week.  The devotions are short (2-3 minutes or so) and are perfect for the 4-8 age range.  Each lesson also includes a bible verse and the key point reiterated in a simple sentence.  As I read these devotions, I could not help but think that they were a great conversation starters, too.

What a great way to close out the day with your child!  


Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Not Cool by Greg Gutfeld


Something I just really can't tolerate is how we have become a society of name-callers.  You know, if you don't agree with someone of a different race you are a racist, etc.  Well, I found "Not Cool" by Greg Gutfeld to be just that... not cool.  Just about every page included put-downs for someone the author did not agree with.

I am unclear as to the purpose of Mr. Gutfeld's book.  If it is to try to sway people of another mindset to his way of thinking, all he is going to do is alienate them.  If he is trying to "entertain" those of the same mindset, I'm sorry, that was lost on me as well.

I will say that the book was not a total loss for me, but pretty close. 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.    

Saturday, June 13, 2015

The River Cottage Curing & Smoking Handook by Steven Lamb

I have always been fascinated by the traditional preparation and storage of food, so when I had the opportunity to review "The River Cottage Curing & Smoking Handbook" by Steven Lamb I was intrigued.

This small hardcover book is filled with easy to understand information written in manner that is enjoyable to read.  It includes a wealth of information about the science of curing, equipment needed, bacteria and molds, methods and ingredients, and recipes.  But what, I believe, makes this book valuable in addition to the information are all the pictures, of which there are many.

In addition, this book was encouraging.  I really felt the author's passion for his subject and felt that he did a great job of demystifying the art of curing and smoking.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.   

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Believe Storybook: Think, Act, Be Like Jesus by Randy Frazee

"Believe Storybook: Think, Act, Be Like Jesus" by Randy Frazee is a wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated book.  Recommended for ages 4 and up, each chapter:
  • starts with a key question (e.g. How do I best use my resources to serve God and others?),
  • includes a paraphrased story from the Old Testament (e.g. Moses asking the Israelites to help build a tabernacle using whatever skills or resources they had)
  • relates that Old Testament story to Jesus, and ties that in with a paraphrased New Testament reading (e.g. the story of the Wise Men visiting Jesus),
  • shows how Jesus is the answer and how we can be more like Him.
  •  ends with a key idea and Bible verse.

As an adult, I appreciated the effort the author took to bring the Old Testament stories and associate them with the New Testament stories about Jesus.  Also, it is a large, hardcover book, perfect to be shared with your favorite little person on your lap or seated next to you.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, May 29, 2015

Setting Limits with your Strong-Willed Teen by Robert J. MacKenzie, Ed.D.



First of all, let me just say that I think that any parent would benefit from reading “Setting Limits with Your Strong-Willed Teen” by Robert J. MacKenzie, Ed. D.  The author shares a plethora of stories and ideas about communication, expectations, setting guidelines, and examples of consequences if your child makes the choice not to follow the rules. 

I must admit that I don’t buy in 100% with everything the author suggests, but I learned so much about being clear with expectations and communicating those with the good/bad consequences if they are/aren’t met.  Every child is different, but I believe that any parent will see their child in this book somewhere. 

Being a parent is far too important to just hope and guess.  I would highly recommend this book.


Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.   

Monday, May 25, 2015

Devotions from the Garden with Miriam Drennan

If you are like me, you love devotionals.  This one, "Devotions from the Garden: Finding Peace and Rest from Your Hurried Life" with Miriam Drennan is filled with gardening references that creatively parallel Biblical truths.  For the new gardener or an avid one, the readings are interesting.  Starting with a Bible verse and ending with a prayer, the devotions are short yet meaningful.  All this and beautiful photography, too.

I enjoyed this devotional and think it would be a wonderful gift, too.
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.

How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible by Keith Ferrin

When I had an opportunity to review "How to Enjoy Reading Your Bible" by Keith Ferrin, I felt like this book could be an answer to a prayer.  Honestly, I have been struggling with this and have been feeling badly about my luke-warm feelings about reading my Bible.  I appreciated that Mr. Ferrin meets this head-on without making you feel like a second-rate Christian, and logically explains why this is happening and the game plan to overcome it.

I am looking forward to using the suggestions, tools, and questions and am looking forward to the joy of reading my Bible.  The reason for 4 stars and not 5?  That would have to come with actually putting the 10 Tips into practice.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Only God Can Make a Kitten by Rhonda Gowler Greene, illustrated by Laura J. Bryant

Although my children are "too old" for books like this, I'm not!  I must admit, children's books make fabulous gifts and I normally adore books that have a faith-based message, too.

"Only God Can Make a Kitten" by Rhonda Gowler Green and beautifully illustrated by Laura J. Bryant are no exception.  This witty little book with its soft and delightful illustrations are sure to be a family favorite.  I really appreciated the overall theme of this book which is God made everything.  Length of book is good, too, for little attention spans.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

The Revolution that Changed the World by Dr. David Jeremiah

"The Revolution that Changed the World" by Dr. David Jeremiah is an easy-to-read and -understand account of the end of Jesus' ministry and the beginning of the Christian Church after Jesus' death, resurrection, and ascension. 

Dr. Jeremiah gives great insight to what the new believers faced at the time and focuses on Peter's ministry as well as briefly on Paul's. 

A great resource for new believers or those questioning the Christian faith, but would also be appreciated by life-long followers as well. 

Although I was unaware of the "television event", it it is half as good as the book, it would be well worth watching.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, April 24, 2015

All You Want to Know About the Bible in Pop Culture by Kevin Harvey

"All You Want to Know About the Bible in Pop Culture: Finding Our Creator in Superheroes, Prince Charming, and Other Modern Marvels" by Kevin Harvey is an interesting and entertaining book  filled with parallels in movies, television shows, and music to the Bible.

I must admit, I'm not much of a TV watcher (unlike Mr. Harvey), so a lot of his analogies were lost on me, but not entirely.  The author definitely has done his homework and the amount of effort and research put into this book must have been considerable.  For the reader, though, it was a fun and sometimes fascinating ride.

Not only are there similarities in pop culture to the Bible given, there are great Bible quizzes throughout the book (multiple choice... yet some tough questions) as well as the last 50 pages or so are mazes, crosswords and other puzzles that make you dive deeper into your Bible.  Very cool.



Great book for those who really enjoy movies and TV, like puzzles, and/or are fascinated by what is going on in pop culture today.
 
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Sex Matters by Jonathan McKee

"Sex Matters" by Jonathan McKee is a great read for both parents and teens.  It is honest and doesn't hold anything back, all backed by Scripture.

A great companion to "More than Just the Talk" by Jonathan McKee as well, this book gives answers and sound advice that we can share with our children.  I love how easy the author makes it and the priceless courage he imparts with his experience as a youth minister.

If you have kids, you need this book.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. 

"More than Just the Talk" by Jonathan McKee

"More than Just the Talk" by Jonathan McKee is an encouraging book that speaks directly and bluntly to parents about the importance of having open communication with our teens about sex.

How our kids feel about sex as adults will be directly influenced by how we talk about sex and/or react to the topic when "presented" via their friends, television, movies, music, etc.

Great book to help you get your head on straight about this important subject.  I enjoyed this easy-to-read book and yet felt the burden of the responsibility to get out of my own shell to help my children have healthy and accurate views about this wonderful gift from God.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

"Yogurt: Sweet & Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner" by Janet Fletcher

"Yogurt: Sweet & Savory Recipes for Breakfast, Lunch & Dinner" by Janet Fletcher explores this subject more than I could have ever imagined. 

To me, the best part of the book is the beginning where the author shares how to make your own yogurt at home to and tips how to make it the best it can be.  Next are a plethora of ethnic savory dishes, most of which, I must admit, would be a hard-sell in my home.  The book ends with a very few desserts and beverages.  

While the photography in the book makes every recipe pictured look beautiful and appetizing, Regrettably I must admit that if I had not received this book for free to review, I most likely would not purchase it myself.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Against the Grain by Nancy Cain


We recently found a connection between gluten and my teenage daughter's cystic acne.  During Lent, she gave up gluten and her complexion has so incredibly cleared, that there is no denying it.  What we have found, though, is a challenge finding quality gluten-free recipes that taste good that have real food ingredients.  To me, xanthum gum is not a real food ingredient.

Thanks to Blogging for Books, I had an opportunity to review "Against the Grain", a gluten-free cookbook written by Nancy Cain who is the owner of a gluten-free bakery. I was excited to receive the book because I knew that there would be great recipes in it... after all, the author bakes gluten-free foods for a living, right?  But what I was concerned about was how many of the ingredients were specialty ingredients that I wouldn't ever consider to use or could easily substitute with ingredients acceptable to me?

I was pleasantly surprised to find that Ms. Cain uses primarily light buckwheat flour and tapioca flour (aka tapioca starch) in her recipes... both of which I have no "philosophical" problem with.  She gives some great instruction on the fundamentals of gluten-free baking, and introduces us to concepts like sourdough starter made with buckwheat or quinoa flours which I find to be absolute genius.  And there are recipes for everything from breads and muffins, to cookies, cakes, and pies.

I am thrilled to have this cookbook in my collection and now have a way to make foods my daughter loves that literally won't scar her for life.  Thank you, Ms. Cain!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.   

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Inspiralized by Ali Maffucci

For the past few years, our family has been eating more healthfully, which includes minimizing wheat and other glutinous foods from our diet.  So when I had the opportunity to review "Inspiralized" by Ali Maffucci, I was a little more than intrigued.

First of all, the book includes beautiful pictures of almost every recipe, which I find incredibly helpful.  If you are already eating "clean", most of the ingredients you should easily find in your kitchen already.  This book is not gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, or pigeon-holed in any other way.  There are all types of different recipes, all packed with beautiful vegetables.  There is even a small section including a few dessert recipes. 

I have had a spiralizer in my Amazon.com wishlist for several months, but now do feel inspired to make that purchase.  If you already have one and don't know what to do with it, I would recommend this book.

On a quirky note, all through the book the author mentions her boyfriend, Lu.  In the Introduction, though, Ali mentions Lu and that he was her boyfriend at the time.  Ali, what happened to Lu? ;)


Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.  

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Efortless Healing by Dr. Joseph Mercola

I feel I must first disclose that I have followed Dr. Mercola's blog for a few years now.  I admire his common sense approach to health and his beliefs about how to heal and protect the body.

"Effortless Healing" takes Dr. Mercola's hundreds of blog posts and gives all that information in a concise manner.  It is easy to read, easy to understand, and.  The game plan he gives is reasonable and doable.  He advocates the age-old idea that food should be our medicine and medicine be our food, as well as practical advice on living a more healthful lifestyle to protect from illness.

Before you buy this book, though, you need to ask yourself if you are willing to take responsibility for your health, or if you'd rather just take a pill.  Although the suggestions and recommendations Dr. Mercola gives really aren't difficult or even expensive, it does require you to be willing to make a change.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Monday, March 9, 2015

Blessings for the Morning by Susie Larson

"Blessings for the Morning" by Susie Larson, is not only a beautiful book, but includes short yet powerfully positive "blessings" meant to be read at the beginning of your day.

I found that even with the very first reading, I was overcome with a sense of empowerment and encouragement.  I loved reading these blessings and Bible verses, and how these words left me feeling confident and optimistic about not only my day, but with my relationship with my heavenly Father.  What a fabulous reminder that the Creator of the universe cares so very much for each and every one of us!

My advice?  Get one for yourself and a few extra as gifts.  Thank you Susie Larson and Bethany House for this book.  It's one of the best "gifts" I've received in quite a while.  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, March 2, 2015

You Have a Brain, A Teen's Guide to Think BIG by Ben Carson, MD

We loved reading the children's version of "Gifted Hands" and all got so much from the life lessons Dr. Carson learned while growing up that we were excited to read his newest book for teens, "You Have a Brain: A Teen's Guide to Think Big".

This book, while similar to the above, is written for a more mature audience.  Dr. Carson includes stories of his childhood in Detroit and Boston to his career as a neurosurgeon, and sharing life lessons he learned along the way.  Dr. Carson does not make himself out to be a saint, and is refreshingly honest about the struggles he had with his temper and how he learned that if did not control it, his life story would be totally different then the life he wanted.

Another difference in this book is a personal talent assessment at the end of the book.  I think this is an excellent tool for teens (especially) to use to determine their strengths, and then plan a career that uses those natural gifts.

I admire Dr. Carson's common sense, can-do, no excuses attitude.  His life is truly an example of the American dream, and he has made me a believer that I, too, can do anything... if I T.H.I.N.K.B.I.G.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden by Karen Newcomb

When I first started to read "The Postage Stamp Vegetable Garden" by Karen Newcomb, I was wondering if this book was a clone of the "square foot gardening" book.  But after reading just a tiny bit further, I realized that this book is unique and worthwhile.

Some of the subjects the author covers is companion gardening, the use of fences and trellises, planting different types of crops to extend your growing season, composting and a lot more.

This is definitely a book I would recommend for anyone wanting to grow some of their own food.  It is easy to read and understand with a plethora of great information.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Finding Favor with the King by Tommy Tenney



“Finding Favor with the King” by Tommy Tenney is a different look at Esther’s story and how we, by our relationship with God (or lack of) can make all the difference in how He responds to us and how He can use us for His purpose.  Would you rather grant a petition from someone you have a close and personal relationship with or someone that only brings you their problems and needs?  Point made and taken.  God loves us like crazy and wants us to know Him. 

One of the unique ideas presented that the reason we all dream of being princes or princesses (no matter what age we are!) is that it is our destiny in heaven to be just that.  

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Adrenal Reset Diet by Alan Christianson, NMD


"Strategically cycle carbs and proteins to lose weigh, balance hormones, and move from stressed to thriving..."

Wow.  Sign me up!

Not being 30 any more, or even 40 for that matter, I have a challenge achieving and maintaining a slim, healthy weight.  I attribute that to an unhealthy diet until I reached my 40's and a high stress lifestyle until just a very few years ago.

"The Adrenal Reset Diet" by Alan Christianson, NMD addresses many of the issues I am facing.  I literally "devoured" the book with highlighter and notepad in hand and found some really great information that I am excited to give a try.  I appreciated the information about what to eat, how much, and when as well as techniques to improve sleep and detoxify the body.

I must admit, though, I found the recipe section to be a bit minimal and being a DIY kind of gal, it goes against my nature to purchase a protein powder for the recommend breakfast of protein shake.

All in all, I believe there is something to Dr. Christianson's plan and will give it a try.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Christ in the Sabbath by Rich Robinson

Recently, our pastor had challenged us to be more aware of the Sabbath and to make this a day of rest and meaningful reflection of God's grace and provision for our lives.  Reading "Christ in the Sabbath" written by Rich Robinson, a Jewish man who is a follower of Jesus, I hoped might give me a little more information and some ideas what that might really look like in practice. 

Although the final pages do discuss what putting the observation of the Sabbath might look like, I found the history of the Sabbath that the author shared to be very interesting.  Much of the book focuses on that. 

Mr. Robinson also talks about the differences in opinion about which day of the week the Sabbath actually should be observed, and then shared his opinion as well.  Also are the "forbidden" activities, but then the author tempers those forbidden things with the assurance that he (the author) does not want us to be burdened or obliged to follow all or any of them.

My take-away?  Just as Mr. Robinson states on page 208: "The weekly Sabbath was intended to look backward and forward".   It is a time for us to remember God's goodness and provision in our lives during the previous week and to ask for His blessings for the coming week. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Moody Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.


Sunday, February 1, 2015

Counter Culture by David Platt

A couple of years ago, my small group studied David Platt's book, "Radical".  "Counter Culture" is not unlike "Radical" in that it is a call to action, a call to conviction.  This is not a "feel good" book that leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy.  It is meant to make us uncomfortable so we get off our behinds and do something!

In "Counter Culture", Pastor Platt gives information about the application of the gospel to social issues, not information about the gospel and social issues.  Even though each of us cannot fix it all, there is something that each of us can do.  Together we can make a difference... even if it is just one life that is positively impacted. 

This book is not a finger-pointing session at all, unless the finger is pointing in our own direction.  I appreciated Pastor Platt's candor and transparency. 

I highly recommend this book and pray that the action brought about because of it is monumental.

Counter Culture trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=klvlzLs-LQw&feature=youtu.be

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France by Miranda Richmond Mouillot

"A Fifty-Year Silence: Love, War, and a Ruined House in France" by Miranda Richmond Mouillot is a touching story of a granddaughter desperately trying to understand the relationship of her grandparents who had not spoken in 50 years.

Miranda tells the story of her Holocaust-surviving grandparents, each of who were successful in their own right (she a doctor, he an interpreter during the Nuremberg Trials), and their indifference/hatred of the other.  The author wants to know the reason for their silence, yet both grandparents speak "around it"... until the end of the book.

During this hellish time of our world history, I found myself wishing that this couple could have somehow had a different outcome to their relationship when they had lost so very much already.  This was not their story, though, and this book brought to light that those that had lived through that awful time did not go on to live fairytale lives. 

My favorite quote toward the end of the book happens when Miranda asks her grandmother if she is upset that Miranda married a Catholic, not a Jew.  Her grandmother's response?  "...You have to live your life forward..."

Good advice.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know by Kari Kampakis

As the mother of a young teenage daughter, I want to help her to be the best person she can be.  There are a lot of good books out there on this topic, many which I've already read.  So, I was curious if "10 Ultimate Truths Girls Should Know" by Kari Kampakis had anything of value to add.

First of all, I think Mrs. Kampakis has a great style of writing.  I felt like she was sitting with me, having a conversation.  She's not "preachy" at all and gives some really valuable advice on mean girls, boys, self-esteem and self-talk, patience, and perseverance.  Included in each section are discussion questions with a place in the book to write your answers, Biblical quotes, and quick quizzes.  The printed format is pretty, youthful, and current.

I would definitely recommend adding this book to your/your daughter's reading list. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Esther: Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt

Esther: Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt is written in the first person by two individuals, Hadassah (aka Esther) and a eunuch named Harbonah.  This is their account of Queen Esther's life.

This story was a fresh look at the classic Bible story and brought new insight to how Esther may have felt about her situation.  I appreciated the "humanness"  of her character and how this was not a fairy tale romance or a story of her charmed life as the chosen second Queen of King Xerxes of Persia.  Believably, Esther was portrayed as a humble, yet beautiful young woman whose wisdom was uncommon with someone of her age.

Harbonah, the eunuch, shed light on what it may have been like working in the court of the King.  He made me think about what his life might have been like as a captured and castrated young boy, and the challenges of having his life's most basic choices taken from him.  He was a trusted friend of both Esther and her uncle, Mordecai.

Although I really enjoyed this book, I do wish that the author had included the personal stories of at least the King and Haman.  Although it would have made for a longer read, I think it would have made for a more well-rounded story.

All in all, I would highly recommend it and appreciated that the author kept true to the Biblical account.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a free copy of this book by Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my honest opinion.