Monday, May 2, 2016

Cave Kiddos is a book specifically designed for children with learning difficulties. Beautifully illustrated, the book introduces the child to the characters, Alk, Haha, Lala, and Zee.  The entire book is a vehicle to teach the child the word, Water.  Some of the characters say Wa and some say Ter until the end when it fits together for Water.


Erik Jay Cash became interested in speech development while working with his children, both delayed speakers. I don’t even pretend to know anything about learning disabilities, so I will trust that this is an effective way to teach words to a PreK or K aged child.  The only thing I would have liked is that there would be several words or a complete sentence included in the book. 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Bearing Witness, Edited by Charles E. Moore and Timothy Keiderling

Throughout the years men and women have suffered persecution for their witness of Christ. Bearing Witness is a look at 36 men and women ready to give their all, including their very lives to witness for Christ. Most tragic are the stories of brave souls standing for Christ only to be slain by others claiming to be Christians.

The book begins with the stoning of Stephen, the first to give his all for Christ, and the bystander, Saul who held the coats of those who stoned him. There are stories from around the world up to the most recent, the stories of those who died at the hands of Boko Haram.


These are important stories for us to remember and teach our children. Although we have had in the past an easy life of religious freedom in the United States, those days are gradually coming to a close. We need to be cautious as our country sets out to work against those of faith and we experience a political movement disguised as a religion creeping into the U.S.

Thursday, March 31, 2016

The Newsmakers by Lis Wiehl

The book started out very good and I thought that it might be her best yet, but it didn’t last long. Unfortunately, once again the author’s politics is displayed in an odd way. Through the character of Greg Underwood she describes the actions of American soldiers in the Iraq war as “wanton killing of civilians, the rapes” and goes on and on about how they slaughtered children and babies.

Written in the annoying present tense, the storyline is far from believable. Erica is a young alcoholic mother trying to get her life in order and starting a new career. She immediately becomes a media star because someone is setting her up with great news stories. The story is more like a teenager’s fantasy, but if you don’t mine lack of realism, it is a light, fast read. Some of the situations and the famous name-dropping is cringe-worthy.

I am not sure why this is published by a Christian publisher. There was nothing in it that dealt with faith, modesty, purity, or other themes expected from a Christian book.


 I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers book review bloggers program

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer

Jamie Piper is a twelve-year-old foster child that has an unusual ability to sense evil.  She turns to Crockett for help but things spiral out of control.

The beginning of the book was interesting but it slowed down and dragged a bit. I was frustrated with the character of Crockett Grey. He found himself in situations beyond his control, but he seemed to just stumble through them. His life events just kept getting worse and worse, but he reacted to them as a simpleton.  

Overall it was an interesting subject and was worth the read. It was just not my favorite book by Sigmund Brouwer. 



Saturday, February 20, 2016

United States of Jihad by Peter Bergen

From the back cover: “Since 9/11, more than three hundred Americans—born and raised in Minnesota, Alabama, New Jersey, and elsewhere—have been indicted or convicted of terrorism charges. 

Page 23: “Jihad was already being waged in America many years before 9/11. Most Americans just weren’t aware of it.

Peter Bergen comprehensively examines the lives of American jihadists.  It is a frightening and sometimes infuriating look at those who are being radicalized here in the United States, some even traveling to join ISIS. It is well researched and extensively footnoted.  

Late in the book it becomes somewhat of an attack on the political “right” or “paranoid right” as Mr. Bergen calls it. He claims that the fear of Sharia law defies common sense and uses terms like endemic paranoia. It is an interesting book, but personal political views tarnish it.

There will be a companion HBO documentary, Homegrown, which will air in the spring of 2016.


Wednesday, February 17, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived in…Italy by Carole P. Roman

The next stop on our round the world trip is Italy. This international series is a wonderful way to Italy are included.  Because of the language, I think the words in this book are a little more difficult, but there is a 2 ½ page Pronunciation Guide with explanations for each.
teach children about cultures around the world.  The answers to all of the answers a child would ask about for names, foods, games, school, places to go, history, and celebrations life in


Once again I highly recommend this and the entire series for young children. The are entertaining, informational with a little history included.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The History Major by Michael Phillip Cash

Amanda wakes up in a fog after a long hard night of partying. Nothing is the way it should be, and she becomes more and more confused as she struggles to determine what is going on. The people she meets, the class she never wanted, and the situations that surround her seem more and more puzzling. This novella is another masterpiece by Michael Philip Cash.


Mr. Cash always weaves a thought-provoking and well developed tale, and The History Major is no exception. I was often just as confused as the character of Amanda as to whether I was in her reality or her dreams.  Very seldom does a book keep me guessing as to the outcome, but this one did just that.  It gives the reader a little history, a little horror, a little paranormal, and a lot of heart. 

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Parables by John Macarthur

Parables The Mysteries of God’s Kingdom Revealed Through the Stories Jesus Told.
John Macarthur’s book, Parables, is an interesting and comprehensive look at the parables of Jesus. He explains to whom they were directed and the purpose of these stories in his overall teachings.  He presents the parables as lessons told not to make his stories easier to understand, but instead to keep the message hidden and only for those accepting his teaching.


Had it been better organized, Parables would have been a good reference book to use in your daily readings, but I found it difficult to find specific topics or references. It is a useful for those who teach and could also be used as a daily devotional. 

I received a copy of Parables from the Booklook blogger program.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook By Pearl Barrett and Serene Allison

Trim Healthy Mama Cookbook - Eat Up and Slim down is a large 350-recipe cookbook. Every page is printed on glossy paper. It is helpful in keeping your cookbook clean, but also makes the book quite heavy –very heavy. 

That was the good; unfortunately the glossy paper is all I really liked about the cookbook.   It is obviously an attempt to sell their own “Happy Mama” brand of food items, which is fine if they are readily available.  Almost every recipe has some specialty ingredient that is not available unless you live in an area with “health food” stores.

I am a little concerned when someone with no nutritional training writes a diet book and these two ladies were recording artists, no nutrition or medical training.


My first thought upon opening it was that the cookbook is written with pretentious ingredients: Pristine Whey Protein, Integral Collagen, MCT oil, Pressed Peanut Flour, Mineral Salt.  Folks, salt is salt, and all salt is sea salt. If you like Stevia, you may like this cookbook, but I personally don’t like it. While Stevia may be indicated for certain health conditions, the FDA has concerns about side effects on other conditions. Stevia and sugar are BOTH natural sweeteners. If you cut down slowly on how much sugar you use in recipes and you will quickly become accustomed to much less sweet tasting foods.  

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Searching for Jesus by Robert J. Hutchinson


Searching for Jesus is an enjoyable and interesting book on the historical Jesus of Nazareth. This
book is well-researched and has 51 pages of reference notes.

Robert Hutchinson’s writing is very engaging. He brings you into the room with Jesus at the Last Supper and brings to life the steps Jesus walked to reach the Garden of Gethsemane.  You get a true sense of place as the events unfold.  

While many books on the historical Jesus try to make him less than He was, Searching for Jesus shows that new research and archeological finds align with the Gospels.  Of course, I did not agree with some of the conclusions the author presents, but just use a little discernment and you will enjoy the book.


I received a copy of Searching for Jesus as part of the BookLook Blog program in exchange for an honest review.




Book Description

For more than a century, Bible scholars and university researchers have been systematically debunking what ordinary Christians believed about Jesus of Nazareth. But what if the most recent Biblical scholarship actually affirmed the New Testament? What if Jesus was not a Zealot revolutionary, or a Greek Cynic philosopher, or a proto-feminist Gnostic, but precisely what he claimed to be: the divine Son of Man prophesied in the Book of Daniel who gave his life as a ransom for many? What if everything the Gospels say about Jesus of Nazareth—his words, his deeds, his plans—turned out to be true? Searching for Jesus changes “what if?” to “what is,” debunking the debunkers and showing how the latest scholarship supports orthodox Christian belief.
About the Author
Robert J. Hutchinson is an award-winning writer and author who studied philosophy as an undergraduate, moved to Israel to learn Hebrew, and earned a graduate degree in New Testament studies.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Ashley Bell by Dean Koontz


For full disclosure, I am a long-time Dean Koontz fan. I enjoy his writing so much that I read this very long book even though I can’t say it was my favorite Koontz book. The story unfolds as we meet Bibi, her illness, her mission, and then the “wrong people”. Who are they and will she survive something more dangerous than her illness? I had no idea where the story was going when it first started, but page by page it branched out, came back together, and then twisted as it increased in intensity. While I like the way the short chapter style gives me the opportunity to mull over the story and take it all in, I thought the way the chapters were presented were too interruptive of the story. I liked the characters and think they were well-developed. The surfer dude dialog was a little odd for this Midwesterner, but all of the terms used were explained. As much as I do love reading his books, I do think this one was too long. I also think that there were too many unanswered questions left hanging. Or perhaps by the time I got to the end, I forgot what happened at the beginning!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash


The hottest tickets in town are for the opening of the new amusement park, Monsterland. The new park has real vampires, zombies, and werewolves, all properly contained in this massive new project.  An eclectic group of local teens score tickets to the opening night which turns out a little more exciting than they expected.

Of course things went a little crazy or it would not have been such an exciting read. I was especially impressed with the way the characters were crafted. Each was unique and the teens dialog was true to their ages.  The step-dad trying to relate with the children was a nice addition.

Although it was written for a younger audience, I thoroughly enjoyed Monsterland.  I think it may be my favorite from this author so far!

I received a copy of Monsterland from the author in exchange for an honest review.

This is Camino by Russell Moore, Allison Hopelain, with Chris Colin


I have to admit that this is of the oddest cookbooks I have reviewed yet.  The recipe chapters are
broken down into The Basics, Vegetables, Fish, Chicken and Egg, Duck, Lamb, Pork, Dessert, and Cocktails. The book consists of recipes with many unusual ingredients that are not readily available outside of areas with specialty stores.

If you regularly visit Camino, then you may be interested in the people described and recipes included in this book. Chapter 3, A Week at Camino, is diary of the daily chores and duties involved with the running of Camino. For example, Wednesday 4:18 p.m., Becca the hostess, works a feather duster around the room.  Thursday, 5:32 p.m. Allison readjusts the lights. It isn’t very interesting unless you are familiar with the people and restaurant.

I was excited to find one recipe “Fried Hen-of-the-Woods Mushrooms, Scallions, and Herbs with Yogurt and green Garlic, although it contains ingredients I have yet to find.  I was a little less excited to find the Pig’s Head and Trotter Fritters. I did learn quite a bit searching for the definition of ingredients like Trotters, Jaggery, Korean Perilla and Shiso.  Just in case I decide to build an outdoor kitchen, there is a lesson on cooking over a wood fire.

I suspect that restaurant insiders will love this book, but I didn’t find it interesting or useful.

I received a copy of this book from Blogging For Books in exchange for an honest review.


Monday, November 2, 2015

How the Grandmas and Grandpas Saved Christmas by Richard J. Gausselin



Santa’s elves catch a cold a week before Christmas and can’t work on the toys! Joe, an elder elf, was listening to Santa talk about his grandfather when he came up with the perfect solution – Grandparents.

How the Grandmas and Grandpas Saved Christmas is an absolutely delightful Christmas tale.  The story is beautifully written and illustrated.   The story emphasizes love, friendship, family and does it brilliantly. It is a perfect book to read on Christmas Eve, or to break up into sections to read each day leading up to Christmas. 

It also has very nice full-page illustrations. Some of them are very detailed, and younger children would have fun picking out toys and tools in the pictures. I highly recommend this thoughtfully written book. Reading this book with your children or grandchildren could be a fun yearly tradition.
 

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Let's Go to theMarket by Dullingham, Hertzog, and Honeck



This is not your ordinary child’s book. There is not story in this book, but a series of questions to inspire creative, critical, and mathematical thinking.  On one page is a photograph of a child in a food market, and on the next page are questions about the photo or about a market.

While I like the concept of creating discussion and creative thinking, some of the questions just did not seem to go with the age group recommended for the book (3-5). For example, one of the questions was: “Create a story in which you are a type of bread (for example, baguette, ciabatta, Challah, pita, focaccia).   Is a 3-5 year-old going to understand different types of bread?

The photos were at times a distraction to the questions. One of the pages had a photo of two girls in a bakery case with questions about the desserts. The girls are blocking the view of the case and the desserts on the case so blurry that it was difficult to get an answer to the questions about the desserts in the photo.  

It also should also be noted that this was not about a child’s trip to a supermarket visit. The photographs appear to have been taken at open-air markets and a fish market.
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