Friday, January 29, 2010

Feed Me Books Friday {1/29/10}

Feed Me Books Friday

I am so excited about this new blog fest created and hosted by Janna over at The Adventure Of Motherhood.  It is a simple way of promoting wholesome books to read to our children, and as you all know…I am ALL about that!

Here is my pick for this week:


Can Brown Eyes Be Made Blue?

This book is a biography for young kids about Amy Carmichael.  It’s very short (22 pages short) and talks mostly about her childhood years.  It is a perfect way to introduce your little ones to the heroes of the faith.  The illustrations are very nice and will attract your children while you read aloud.  You can read my review of this book here.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory

The Daniel Fast My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Daniel Fast is based on the scripture found in Daniel 1 and 10 in the Bible. This fast is a partial fast where you drink only water and eat only food that comes from seeds.

Susan Gregory has written a practical guide that will help and support you through your Daniel Fast. She also gives great advice on how to enhance the fast to get the most benefits from the experience both physically and spiritually. This book is full of the nutritional and menu tools you will need, including recipes.

I appreciated Susan's urging to listen to the Holy Spirit's prompting on your fast. While it is of great importance to consider all medical conditions, I think that too many times we let them be our excuse for not listening to the Holy Spirit. I was also impressed with the immense information and application that Susan offers in this valuable resource. So much of what she presents are things I have wondered about, but never found a comprehensive guide such as this. The balance of dealing with the physical aspects and the spiritual aspects are as close to perfect as I think a person may find in a book.

The Daniel Fast should be on the bookshelf of all who want to fast, and all of us should try the discipline of fasting.

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This review copy was provided courtesy of Tyndale House Publishing.

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You can browse more Christian Living Reviews here, too!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

God’s Little Princess Devotional Bible by Sheila Walsh

God's Little Princess Devotional Bible: Bible Storybook My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What girls doesn't like to be a princess at least at some point in her life? Now little girls can read how to be a princess in Sheila Walsh's God's Little Princess Devotional Bible. Little girls - specifically 4 through 7 - will love this book and moms will enjoy reading it to their little princesses!

It's jeweled cover makes a little girl gravitate toward it and inside each page is filled with either a devotional thought or one of the neat little features.

My daughters loved the Bible stories, the fun illustrations, and easy-to-do activities. We especially enjoyed the sections titled beauty tips and how it creatively teaches little girls to be beautiful in God's eyes over outer beauty.

This devotional Bible is a great addition to the bookshelf of any little girl and would be a great birthday gift.

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This review copy was provided courtesy of

A Christmas Carol (through the magical window version)

A Christmas Carol (Through the Magic Window Series) A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

This is a library book that Abby brought home to read together and while the overall story is a dear classic, this book is not a good one to read to kids. My personal opinion is that I don't want to talk or read about ghosts for "the fun of it" to my young children. But that wouldn't have been so bad if the pictures had not been so scary for a 4 & 6 year old. While this book is written for younger children, I don't think it's the best choice to be making for bedtime reading.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

50 Ways To Feel Great Today

50 Ways to Feel Great Today: Keys to Beating Stress, Worry, and the Blues 50 Ways to Feel Great Today: Keys to Beating Stress, Worry, and the Blues by David Biebel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

We live in a fast paced society where stress seems to be the normal. However, just because it may be normal does not mean that it is good for you. So how do you beat it? How do you slow down and de-stress?

50 Ways To Feel Great Today is full of easy tips to minimize the stress and blues in your life. It is an easy-reading book with short, stand-alone chapters. Each chapter covers one way to feel great today and offers explanation, a personal example or two, and information or resources to help you further. Rather than just tell you to "free your inner artist", the book includes a link to an easy way you can do it from the comfort of your own home.

This book would be a great one to use as a spring board to doing new things this year. Why not buy the book and do one thing each week? You would even have two grace weeks!

I enjoyed the randomness of the book and the creativity it sparked in my own mind. While, there were several things that the authors said that I do not agree with 100%, I appreciate very much the overall idea of this book. This is not a book to cure depression or the fix that will make you feel better, but rather a good book for those who are looking to add spice to their day that has been forgotten in life's busy routine.

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Available December 2009 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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Want more Christian Living books to read?  Check these out!

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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Hermie and Friends: Antonio Meets His Match


My Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

While books are my favorite form of media and entertainment for both myself and my children, I also find that Biblically based movies can have a place in teaching, too.  This newest release from Thomas Nelson does a fine job of teaching children – and even some adults – about loving others. 

When some new Ants move into town it looks like Antonio may be loosing his spot as top ant.  However, through love – even when he doesn’t feel like it – he wins some friends instead of enemies.  Just as in real life, some of his friends don’t understand why he is choosing love. 

While this movie ends good, unlike some of real life’s experiences, it proves to be a great source of encouragement, Biblically based teaching, and wholesome entertainment for the whole family.  It teaches lessons on a topic that all kids will face at one point in time and gives parents a great way to begin some discussion or refer to as an example in conversations with their children.

Don’t turn off the T.V. when the credits roll or you will miss the short film of “Caterpilla” which my daughters thought was so much fun!

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This review copy was courtesy of and this opinion is my own.

The Hour That Changes The World by Dick Eastman

The Hour That Changes the World The Hour That Changes the World by Dick Eastman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The tag line of this book is A Practical Plan for Personal Prayer and that it is - a practical plan. The Hour That Changes The World does not just preach about the importance of prayer and give lists of why we should pray, but rather addresses the how of praying.

Dick Eastman gives a practical plan for breaking down an hour of time into twelve five-minute segments. In each chapter he walks you through a segment (i.e. Praise, Waiting, Confession, Intercession...etc...)and shares how to do it, why to do it, and in what ways this impacts your life.

I appreciated this book and the way it makes praying for an hour seem much more feasible than just sitting down to pray with no plan of action. I learned what areas that I need to strengthen and what areas that I need to stop overusing.

While this plan may not work for everyone, Eastman is quick to share that this is a guide, not a rule, and gives gives the frame work for making a customized plan for prayer. This is a great book for anyone wanting to grow in their prayer life, both in knowledge and in application.

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For more great books on prayer check out these reviews!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Just Where Does God Live? by Scott J. Brown

Just Where Does God Live? Just Where Does God Live? by Scott J. Brown

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Just Where Does God Live? is based on the question of a first grader wondering where God lives. The author, Scott Brown, takes this question and turns it into a story for to help more kids understand where God lives.

The story is that Nate and Parker ask various people where God lives and they get a variety of answers. Some are silly and funny and others just don't quite make sense. So one night they decide to ask God Himself. The answer they get is "...inside of your hearts."

I read this book to my 4-year-old and 6-year-old who really enjoyed the bright pictures and the fun storyline while dealing with a serious question in their little minds. That part that we (I) did not like was when the book said: "...I live in all spaces. I live in all people, I live in all places."

I disagree with this. God lives in the hearts of those who believe in Him...not all people. The next page has another line that I feel is misleading.

While the concept of this book is great, and the majority of the story line is great for young children, in the end I have to say it is a book I think is best not read unless you plan on following each reading with some in-depth conversation with the little minds that soak it all up.

This review copy was courtesy of WinePress Publishing.

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For some good reading for you children, try this book instead!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Helen Roseveare: What’s in the Parcel? by Catherine Mackenzie

Helen Roseveare: What's in the parcel? (Little Lights) Helen Roseveare: What's in the parcel? by Catherine Mackenzie

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the story of Helen Roseveare who was a missionary in Africa. One time there was a new born baby who needed a hot water bottle to keep it warm since it's mother had died. God used the prayer of a little girl to show how God cares about even the little things.

I love how the Little Lights series bring the stories down to the level of young children and hold their attention with colorful illustrations and simple wording. It makes the men and woman of faith come alive in their young minds. The story of Helen Roseveare is the amazing example of the power of prayer and will be sure to help your children understand how God answers prayer.

ISBN: 978-1-84550-383-3
Details: Hardcover / 22 Pages
Published by: Christian Focus Publications

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Jolly Barnyard by Annie North Bedford

The Jolly Barnyard (Little Golden Book) The Jolly Barnyard by Annie North Bedford

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's Farmer Brown's birthday and he is taking care of all his farm animals. The animals later share what they each will give Farmer Brown for his birthday.

This cute and colorfully illustrated book which is written in rhyme is a charming short story for little children to enjoy. It is a good book for the children who love farm stories or for those who want to introduce their children to farm animals.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Choice (Lancaster County Secrets, Book 1) The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Choice is not your typical Amish novel. It's better.

A young Amish girl, Carrie Weaver, has a choice to make that will change her life: run away and become English or become a member of the Amish church. Among the twisting and turning story line are two steady characters who are firmly rooted in their relationship with God and shine brightly to those around them. Meanwhile, the lives of others are being tossed around as they search for purpose in the trials of life.

Suzanne Woods Fisher has authored a book that will draw you into the world of the Amish and the simple, yet hard life they live. The Choice is surprisingly filled with much humor and the ending is nothing like what you expect as you begin the chapters of the book. Yet despite the disappointment and grief, you witness through the pages of print the incredible plans of God and His overwhelming provision.

After living among the Amish just two counties away from Lancaster, I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It was more than just nicely packaged fiction, the story seemed real and the characters came alive on the pages. It touched my heart and had me crying; but it also had me celebrating and laughing. The Choice was encouraging and in many ways a gave good reminders for my own life. I look forward to reading more in the Lancaster County Secrets series.

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Available January 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group

The review copy was provided by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

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Click here to read more reviews on fiction that is worth your time!

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Hudson Taylor: Could Somebody Pass the Salt? by Catherine Mackenzie

Hudson Taylor: Could Somebody Pass the Salt? (Little Lights) Hudson Taylor: Could Somebody Pass the Salt? by Catherine Mackenzie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the story of young Hudson Taylor and what he does when his lunch is forgotten and he's not allowed to ask for it. But as he wonders when someone will notice his empty bowl, he hears his father talk about China and the people's need to know about the Lord. It was a simple meal that made a big change in the lives of many in China.

This book is the second in the Little Lights series but each book stands alone. This is a great way to introduce the life of Hudson Taylor to your young children.

I enjoy the way that this book lets the children learn about this man of faith as he was as a child. The story is simple, yet very clearly portrays the importance of a life sold out for God even at a young age. The pictures help the words come to life for young ears.

ISBN: 978-1-84550-111-2
Details: Hardcover / 22 pages
Published by: Christian Focus Publications

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For more great children's books, please browse my “Bible Based Kids” section.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Oops! I Forgot…

I posted on Thursday about the Daniel Fast.  I said that today was going to be the day that I kicked off my own 3 week Daniel Fast.

However, I forgot. 

I forgot, until this afternoon when I got my mail, that I had already scheduled a few reviews that required me to eat some not so Daniel Fast foods. 

Not a big deal…right?  Just post pone for a few days?

Well, it’s not quite that simple.  We have a conference we are going to attending and I can’t do it during that time frame.  So stay tuned for a month – or so! – until I am able to find a 3 week stretch in which to do this.

Until then…keep reading!

Faith Path Workbook by Mark Mittelberg

Faith Path Workbook: Helping Friends Find Their Way to Christ Faith Path Workbook: Helping Friends Find Their Way to Christ by Mark Mittelberg

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Faith Path Workbook is the companion to the book titled Choosing Your Faith and goes hand in hand with the DVD curriculum titled Faith Path. This 140 page study guide will help you work through the various paths of faith that Mark Mittelberg presents in the book and on the DVD's. While this is a wonderful resource to use along with the DVD's, it is fairly hard to use as a stand-alone book.

By using all 3 resources together, Mark really helps you work through and come to a basic understanding of the various paths people take in finding faith. Not only will you understand these paths better, but you will be able to witness in a more effective manner.

I enjoyed how the workbook really made me think through some paths to faith that we may all have characteristics of. It addressed my thinking and made me think about my thinking in light of the truth of God's Word.

Workbook-ISBN: 978-1-4347-6513-0
DVD-ISBN: 978-1-4347-6514-7/$24.99
Details: softcover/141 pages/$12.99
Published by: David C Cook/October 2009

This review copy was provided by David C. Cook.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Reading Together by Diane W. Frankenstein

Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read Reading Together: Everything You Need to Know to Raise a Child Who Loves to Read by Diane W. Frankenstein

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Do you want to raise a child who not only reads, but likes to read? Maybe even loves to read? Reading Together is a wonderful book to help you with "everything you need to know to raise a child who loves to read".

Diane writes about 101 books that kids will want to read and talk about. Each two-page spread features a book and gives a short synopsis, interactive questions to talk through with your children, a list of other books to read, and several other informative helps. In the back of the book she lists more books by a fun variety of categories and also includes a discussion list by topic.

For me personally, I am not sure that all of the listed books will be books I choose to read to my kids, but it definitely helps me more discerning choices and then make the most of them through interaction. I found this book to be very easy to use and a great resource to have on hand and even take to the library, too!

ISBN: 978-0-399-53524-6
Details: Soft cover, 279 pages
Published by: Penguin

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Daniel Fast: Who Will Join Me?

The Daniel Fast I am going to be reviewing the book The Daniel Fast and I not only want to read the book, but experience the fast as well.

While I will blog about it – of course! – I would also enjoy having company for the journey.  I know it’s rather spur-of-the-moment, but what do you say?  Are you up for an adventure?!

I would love to have you join me in this journey, or at least follow along.  I will be starting on Friday, January 15th and it will end on Thursday, February 4th.

If you want to join me, I would encourage you to purchase the book – follow the link below.  I know that most likely you won’t have the book by Friday – unless you go buy it from your local bookstore – so until you have the book in hand you can begin by visiting the Daniel fast website and blog.

Please leave a comment or join me in my community forum to talk about and share info on this topic.

Green Gravy by Beverly Lewis

Green Gravy (Cul-de-sac Kids, #14) Green Gravy by Beverly Lewis

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The 14th book in the Cul-De-Sac kids story is about how Carly get's chosen to be the "Student of the Week" at school. When she gets to make a special wish things begin to get a little green around the cul-de-sac. Will she and Jimmy learn to get along? Who's side will Dee Dee Hunter be on?

This book is another good book for younger readers or one to be read aloud to young ears. Kids will learn about getting along through this silly story about St. Patrick's Day.

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For more in this series, read these reviews.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

No Room At The Inn by Hungry Planet Media

No Room at the Inn (The Hungry Planet Bible Project) No Room at the Inn by Hungry Planet Media

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

James 1:27 says "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for the orphans and widows in their distress..." and this is the verse that this whole DVD resources is built upon. The DiMarco family has created a tool to help you understand better and reach out in a more affective way to the homeless among us. They also explain how the homeless do not always fit the stereotype we commonly use to describe this group of people.

The DVD and CD in this packet include an inspiring documentary and multiple resources for you to use in reaching out as an individual, family, small group, or church. You will also be blessed by the reading of the Christmas story by a group of people to whom Christ Jesus can relate to more than we want to admit.

While the "No Room At The Inn" campaign targets the holiday season, it is very appropriate for any time of the year. I would challenge you to use it at other holidays or times through out the year when many might not be thinking of the needs of the homeless.

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This review copy was provided by Tyndale House Publishers.

What’s in My Food? by Deborah Lynn Flores

What's in My Food? What's in My Food? by Deborah Lynn Flores

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What's in My Food? is an illustrated storybook for kids about eating healthy.

Book recap: "Gummy worms for breakfast? Anything goes in a fast-paced, fast-food society, right? But when Michael finds himself sloshing through the day he quickly learns that “anything goes” isn’t always the best plan. His body needs more than wiggly worms to function at its best."

As a Mom of three, I give this book 4 stars for being a great way to teach my children about what food is good and what food is not good. Almost each page has a little box with interesting facts to share with your kids or questions to ask. I found it very interesting how much both my 4 and 6 year-old learned from this book and how much they already knew. In the back of the book there is a brief page of helpful questions and information to keep the learning going. This brightly illustrated book is one that will keep a child's attention while they enjoy a fun story and soak up some healthy knowledge all at the same time.

ISBN: 978-1-57921-953-6 Published by Wine Press Publishing Description: 8 x 8, soft cover, 29 pages

Review copy provided courtesy of Wine Press Publishing.

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Be sure to stop by the author’s website for great health information!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Quick Scripture Reference Books for Counseling

Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling Youth Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling Youth by Patricia A. Miller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling Youth should be in the "tool box" of every person who works with teens and/or their parents. The subject index lists over 130 topics relevant to teens. Turn to the page listed and you will find various aspects of that topic with a brief thought pertaining to it followed by multiple scripture references with the verses written out for you. Each topic also refers you to the title of other topics that may be of help as well.

If you teach, counsel, or work with teens in any arena this book is a great resource to have to quickly find scripture that will relate and address their problems.

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Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling Women Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling Women by Patricia A. Miller

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This easy-to-use, quick reference guide is a perfect resource for anyone who works with woman in a counseling or mentoring setting. The subject index is a well rounded list of topics pertaining to women and their struggles. Each topic provides a brief thought, scripture verses written out, and recommendations for other topics that may also be of help.

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Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling, Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling, by John G. Kruis

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Quick Scripture Reference for Counseling is a necessary tool for any counselor, pastor, deacon, teacher, or person serving people in a church or ministry setting.

The subject guide contains a list of topics that are relevant and most struggled with in people's lives. From adultery to youth, this book has a balanced list of subjects that will come up as you minister to other people.

Each topic presents multiple and brief thoughts on the topic with verses that follow. The verses are written out for quick reading. There is also a reference to other topics that may be of help in addressing the problem or situation at hand.

At the beginning of this book it also includes a short introduction on how to use this book and also and easy reference tool in leading someone to salvation in Christ.

If you work with people, you need this book. If you are a person who struggles with things in life, you need this book.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The One Year Bible of Praying through the Bible by Cheri Fuller

The One Year Book of Praying through the Bible The One Year Book of Praying through the Bible by Cheri Fuller

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Cheri Fuller has written and compiled a wonderful resource for those who want to read through the Bible and grow in their self-discipline of prayer.

The One Year Book of Praying through the Bible has a dated page for each day of the year that contains the Bible passages to be read, a selected verse from those passages, a short devotional, a prayer starter, and a thoughtful quote. The Bible plan includes an Old Testament passage, a New Testament passage, a few verses from Psalms, and a few verses from Proverbs for each day.

This book provides a well rounded plan for reading through the Bible in a year while offering focus on application and prayer. I would recommend this book to anyone who has not yet read through the Bible because it is simple to use, and also for the veteran of Bible reading because of the attention to application.

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I recommend more good devotionals for both kids and adults here!

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury

Let Me Hold You Longer Let Me Hold You Longer by Karen Kingsbury

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Let Me Hold You Longer is the thoughts of a Mom as she watches her little boy grow and thinks ahead to the future. It's sweet and a little bit sappy, too. The illustrations are simply adorable and may even bring a tear to you eye as you read.

While it is a lovely book, I think the Mother may enjoy it more than the child. However, it's written in poem and an enjoyable read no matter what. I personally think it is a good bedtime story since it has a more somber and calming tone to it along with gentle, yet eye-capturing pictures.

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Published by Tyndale
ISBN: 1-4143-0055-7
Listed Price: $14.99

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More bedtime reading suggestions can be found here!

Friday, January 08, 2010

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco

The Velveteen Rabbit The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

The Velveteen Rabbit is a classic story about a stuffed Rabbit who desperately wants to be real. He believes he is real when he is loved so much by his little boy. But when scarlet fever hits and all the toys and book have to be burned, the Rabbit finds out he is not real. But all is not lost...a fairy saves the day!

While The Velveteen Rabbit is a sweet children's story, it is hard for younger children (six and younger) to grasp that it is not real and only a fairy tale.

It is a good story for those with well-loved stuffed animals, but at the same time a bit of discretion is needed by parents to know if this book is for your child or not.

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Click here to read  reviews on good bedtime stories!

Thursday, January 07, 2010

My Little Girl by Tim McGraw

My Little Girl My Little Girl by Tim McGraw

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Katie is looking forward to a spectacular day with her Dad. When her Dad announces that they aren't going to do anything in particular, Katie thinks the day is ruined. But is it really?

This short story for girls, ages 4 to 8, is all about a Father/Daughter day and the fun of just being together. The illustrations are adorable and make it all the more fun to read.

It was created to be read by a Dad to his daughter, but it can be read any old time just as well. However, I would not give this book to a girl who does not have a father present in her life.

The special dedication page and the closing page where you can write about your own special Father/Daughter time is a nice touch to make this a very sweet book to give to very sweet girl in your life.

I do have one question about this book…who names their dog Palio?

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Horses by Laura Driscoll

Horses (All Aboard Books) Horses by Laura Driscoll

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

There is a fascination among many children about horses and this is a wonderful book to help answer their many questions. It is short, full of pictures and information about horses, and shares what life is like for a little girl who owns a horse named Bambi.

Horses covers breeds of horses to what jobs horses do with and for us. The pictures are wonderful and will keep your child browsing this book for a length of time.

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More good books on horses can be found here, too!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Busy Couple’s Guide to Sharing the Work and the Joy by Kathy Peel

The Busy Couple's Guide to Sharing the Work and the Joy The Busy Couple's Guide to Sharing the Work and the Joy by Kathy Peel

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Busy Couple's Guide to Sharing the Work and the Joy was not at all what I expected. I did expect tips on how to manage the household as a married couple, but this went beyond that in a very helpful and practical way. This book was better than I expected!

Kathy, along with some tips from her husband, Bill, has written an easy-to-read and an easy-to-use book that will help any couple think through seven areas of every day life. It is packed full of tips, and advice, along with recommendations for resources, and simple worksheets to aid in organizing your life.

The seven areas of management are:
-Your Time and Schedule
-Your Home and Property
-Menus and Meals
-Relationships with Family and Friends
-Finances -Special Events

This book is great to read by yourself or with your spouse. If you have a spouse that does not like to read you may still be able to get them to look at a section or two. Kathy has broken the content down into fun sections within the chapters which can be read in a minute or two. The Busy Couple's Guide can be read by any couple - newlyweds or couples ready to celebrate 20 years, and by those with kids or without kids. There is help in here for whatever stage of marriage you are in. It would also be a good book for engaged couples to read through before marriage. Kathy and Bill bring up topics and questions that most couples would not think of until it becomes the focus of an argument!

While organization and household management can be weighty topics for some, this book will have your relaxing while reading about it all. The sidebars offer quick and catchy tips of various kinds through out the book and the layout is smooth and refreshing. The Busy Couple's Guid to Sharing the Work and the Joy should be in every couple's marriage toolbox.

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This review copy was courtesy of Tyndale House Publishers.

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For more books about organization, check these out!

Monday, January 04, 2010

The Sweet By And By, by Sara Evans & Rachel Hauck

The Sweet By and By The Sweet By and By by Rachel Hauck

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This is the story of a girl named Jade who is getting ready to be married in only weeks while at the same time sorting through her very painful past. Her mother is free spirit, her father has been out of her life since she was 8, and she was forced to grow up way to fast and face heartache after heartache.

I enjoyed the story for the simple pleasure of reading. The story line was believable due to the craziness of today's world. It also has it's touching side of reconciliation and healing.

However, despite the feel-good message and charming characters, along with the not-so-charming ones, this book was overall shallow. It pains me to say this...but even with a cute cover and a well-known celebrity as the author, this book leaves much to be desired.

It's a fun story line to follow if you have nothing else to read and it's a lazy day (or sick day as was in my case) but if you have a list of books to read, save this one for last.

I would NOT recommend this for teen girls and would prefer you use your time to read something that will leave you with thoughts to "chew on" rather than just purely entertain...although this sad story is anything but "entertaining".

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This review copy was courtesy of Thomas Nelson.

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For some really good books, browse these reviews.

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The Last Word by Kathy Herman

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The Last Word: A Novel (Sophie Trace Trilogy) The Last Word: A Novel by Kathy Herman

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was the first book I have read by Kathy Herman and now I understand why she is a best selling suspense novelist. I normally do not enjoy suspense, but this one was different. I actually enjoyed it.

While it is a suspense novel, it is also threaded with several other story lines. One being the current situation with Brill's daughter, Vanessa, and the second being from the past, which I assume is delt with in book one of this trilogy series. I was still able to understand and enjoy this book without having previously read book one, but it may be even more meaningful if you read them in order.

The plot is believable and has twists and turns that I didn't expect along with the ones that I did. They story challenges the way we view our circumstances showing us that God can use both good and bad in our eyes to bring glory to Himself. The characters face common, real life problems and emotions and you can find yourself relating to them and their struggles.

Overall this is a great book and one I would recommend to older teens or adults to enjoy for the sake of reading. However, I only gave it 3 out of 5 stars because I felt that the spiritual emphasis was on the weak side. If you want suspense, this is a very good book to read, but if you want more spiritual depth to your fiction, I would suggest something by Karen Kingsbury or Francine Rivers.

This review book was courtesy of TBB Media & David C. Cook

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Kathey Author Interview:

Why do you consider your novels to be Bible studies without the homework?

I guess because my characters ask the hard questions that we all ask—and struggle until they find answers. Even though my books are exciting and entertaining, I weave the morality struggles through the storyline right along with the suspense elements to keep the reader turning the pages. I like to think of my books as “no guilt” reading. It’s fiction, but with a biblical, inspirational message that is relevant to everyday life.

For those who didn’t catch the first installment in the series, can you give us a little background about Sophie Trace and its main characters?

Sophie Trace is a fictional town in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains (not far from Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge). It’s pretty town of 13,000 and tourism is big. Many people who grew up here believe that a history of unexplained crimes is the work of the red shadows—the spirits of the departed Cherokee who roam the countryside seeking to do wreak havoc on the descendants of those who took their land.

In the first book, The Real Enemy, the main character, Brill Jessup, is the first female police chief in Sophie Trace. She took the position after a stellar eighteen-year career on the Memphis police force—mostly to escape some painful memories.

Brill and her husband, Kurt, are struggling through marital problems and are staying together to raise their youngest child, nine-year-old Emily. Their two oldest children, Ryan and Vanessa away at college.

While Brill is trying to cope with her unrelenting bitterness and un-forgiveness, she is faced with a series of bizarre disappearances in Sophie Trace—the biggest crime in the town’s history. She has to come to grips with the superstition around the red shadows legend and how it affects the community’s thinking—and figure out the truth of what’s going on.

Meanwhile, Kurt commits to winning her back by taking seriously the words of Romans 12:21, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” He strives to overcome the very evil he has created and put his family back together.

Tell us about the Scripture verse upon which The Last Word is based.  Why is this theme so important to you?

The Last Word, the second book in the series, is based on Romans 1:16, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes…” 

I chose Romans 1:16 and built a story around it because there’s never been a time in history when believers have had a greater chance to make an impact on  lost and dying world. With the Internet all the social networking venues, each of us has a chance to share our faith in ways never before possible. But so often, we don’t speak up. In fact, we don’t look or sound any different than the world. It’s as though we’ve lost our zeal for the Great Commission or simply don’t feel comfortable acting on it. My hope is that this riveting story will inspire believers to be ambassadors of the faith as we’ve been empowered to be.

Full of suspense, The Last Word follows Police Chief Brill Jessup as she tries to catch a killer on the loose.  Can you describe Brill for us?

To quote her detective captain, “She’s a redheaded spitfire.” Brill’s intuition has served her well, and she can crack open a case faster than almost anyone. She’s an honest cop who brings a lot of experience to this town that is starting to experience big city crime. She’s principled. Fair. Tough. And prayerful. Her faith has been tested many times, not just on the job, but in her marriage. For Brill, law enforcement is much more than a job—it’s a calling. Though she doesn’t wear it on her sleeve, Brill strives hard to honor God in the way she treats her officers and the way she protects the community.

What dilemmas does Brill’s daughter, Vanessa, encounter during the book?

Vanessa has to decide whether or not to keep the baby she’s carrying or give him up for adoption. She’s single and still in college. The baby’s father is her psychology professor. And after she told him she was pregnant and then refused his ultimatum that she get an abortion, he disappeared without a trace. Vanessa is heartbroken but is crazy about the baby. She has no way to support him.

As if that weren’t enough, Vanessa is also friends with an old man who is dying—and she’s forced out of her comfort zone by some of his taunting spiritual questions and must decide whether she’s willing to stand up for her faith and tell him he needs Jesus. Especially when she knows she’s not a shining example of what a Christian should be.

Ultimately, Vanessa must confront the affair she had with her professor and admit to herself that it was sinful—and allow God to take away the guilt she doesn’t realize has crippled her relationship with God.

What we can expect from the last book in the trilogy?

More of the same fast-paced suspense! The final book, The Right Call, is based on 2 Peter 2:19, “For a man is a slave to whatever has mastered him.” It features a character from book two that everyone is going to be wondering about, and who will be a prominent character in my Langley Manor Trilogy coming in 2011. This is a story about choosing whom we will serve—and it’s serious business!

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Amy Carmichael: Can Brown Eyes Be Made Blue? by Catherine Mackenzie

Amy Carmichael: Can Brown Eyes Be Made Blue? (Little Lights) Amy Carmichael: Can Brown Eyes Be Made Blue? by Catherine Mackenzie

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

At some point in time every child wonders why God made them they way they are. Maybe like me, they dislike their nose or maybe like Amy Carmichael, they long for blue eyes rather than brown.

In this short biography kids can learn about the adventures of Amy's childhood and how she prayed for blue eyes. It was not until later in her life, and the end of this book, that we find out why God gave her brown eyes: so she could do something big for Him.

This little book for young children ages 3 to 7 is a great way to introduce them to heroes of the faith whom they should model their own lives after. maybe not Amy's childhood adventures...but definitely her willingness to join God's adventures for her life!

Parents and children alike will enjoy being introduced to her in this nicely written and illustrated book that is the first of 6 in the Little Lights series.

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For more biographies for kids and adults alike, please read these reviews.

Friday, January 01, 2010

Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching, & Appreciating Boys by Hal & Melanie Young

Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching and Appreciating Boys by Hal Young

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Biblical, amazing, real, fresh, practical, helpful, encouraging...

These are just a few of the words I would use to describe this newly released book for parents of boys. Raising Real Men is written by Hal and Melanie Young who are parents of 8 children, the oldest 6 being boys. The daunting task of raising little boys into God-fearing men is more of an exciting adventure than a frustrating duty as shown in the pages of this book.

Hal and Melanie talk about the difference between boys and girls and give practical tips of how parents, Moms in particular, can raise boys to be strong and real men with out going crazy through the process. They address such issues as:

  • boys and their play,
  • the need for good heroes,
  • when to comfort and when to encourage boys,
  • responsibility and freedom,
  • guns and weapons,
  • obedience and authority,
  • healthy competition,
  • manners,
  • finances,
  • education and college,
  • and the topic we like to avoid and blushingly call "the birds and the bees".

All the issues and topics in this book are approached with a Biblical mindset and their thoughts and convictions are well written out and shared with the reader in a kind and friend-to-friend manner. While Raising Real Men is also written from the view of a homeschooling family, I found all the concepts still applicable to those of us not homeschooling our children and those of us with smaller families or fewer boys. I know that not everyone who reads this book will agree with all of what the Youngs share, but I do think it is a book well worth any parent's time due to the thoughtful and thorough nature of the contents.

I personally give this book 5 stars, not because it is the most well written book I have ever read, but because it is one of the very few Biblical, honest, and refreshing parenting books I have ever read. While Hal and Melanie share openly about where they stand, they do not come across as forcing their beliefs down the throats of their readers nor do they overdose on tips and how-to's that can differ so much from family to family. Instead, I felt as if I were sitting in their living room, chatting with them as a couple about the journey of parenting boys.

My book is well highlighted, underlined, starred, and dog-eared. I appreciated much about each chapter, but my favorite chapter was titled "Love and War". In this chapter the did a tremendous job of talking about raising boys to be pure - from birth to marriage. They handled this topic with such dignity and respect all the while being open and honest. I was impressed with their approach in teaching their boys about the differences between boys and girls and how to handle specific situations dealing with this general subject.

As a parent of three children, wife of a pastor, and an avid reader and learner, I want to encourage all parents to read this book. Even if your husband won't read it, I still highly suggest mothers read it to get a better understanding on boys in general that Hal and Melanie so wonderfully explain. And if you happen to be a homeschooling parent, I recommend this book to you even more highly!

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I want to thank Hal & Melanie Young for the copies to review and giveaway.

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Fresh from a state tax audit to prove that yes, they're all ours, Hal and Melanie Young are parents of six real boys and two real girls. They have homeschooled through seven high-risk pregnancies, three re-locations, two decades, and 181 degrees of longitude. Hal and Melanie have published articles with Homeschooling Today, Homeschool Digest, the N.C. Family Policy Council, the John Locke Foundation, and the Heartland Institute. The Youngs live in noisy familial bliss in North Carolina.  You can visit their website/blog at

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Bibliographic Information:

Title: Raising Real Men: Surviving, Teaching, And Appreciating Boys
Authors: Hal & Melanie Young
Publisher: Great Waters Press
Format: 256 pages, 6x9 inches, trade paperback
Publication Date: January 29, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9841443-0-3
LCCN: 2009908989
Retail Price: $15.00

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Please visit my personal blog – From The Trenches Of Motherhood – on January 4th through 6th to enter a drawing to win a copy of this book.

If you have a boy, THIS is a book you NEED!

The Wisdom of Solomon Lapp by Wanda E. Brunstetter

The Wisdom of Solomon Lapp The Wisdom of Solomon Lapp by Wanda E. Brunstetter

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As a mother of three I am always on the look out for creative ways to teach the verses of Proverbs to my children. Wanda E. Brunstetter has written a lovely little book full of short stories that are just right for teaching some Proverbs to young ears and hearts.

Illustrated by Phil A Smouse in cute pictures of amish kids, it will catch your child's attention while you read the story to them. Each story is several pages long and begins with a verse from Proverbs. They are easy to follow with simple discussion to get your kids talking about the lesson they can learn from the story.

Sharing and praying before you give advice are just the start to 12 practical and funny stories that teach Biblical truth. This is the perfect book for 3 to 8-year-olds.

You can watch the video below for an introduction to the book and then check out the Solomon Lapp Website at

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