Sunday, June 28, 2015

Hiding in the Light by Rifqa Bary

This was a book that was hard to put down. Uplifting and challenging, Rifqa details her life as a child of a Muslim family called by God at an early age to follow Jesus.  I knew some of the story from when it hit the news, but much of it was new or made much clearer by her explanations. I also had no idea of the health challenges she faced following her freedom.


I was a little put off by some of her statements and behavior but then I realized that even though she was a Christian, she was also a typical teenager.  I was disappointed to see what was left out of the book and that left me with more questions than answers, especially about the senior pastor that lost his church because of the events surrounding this event. My hope is that she has a peaceful life now and has been able to reconcile with her family.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Princess charity Sticker & Activity Book

This is part 5 of a series of activity books for young children. Princesses Joy, Grace, Faith Hope, and Charity live in a castle on a high hill. This 16 page book comes with 2 full pages of stickers to place throughout the book. There is a word-find puzzle, a dot-to dot, color by numbers, a maze, what doesn’t belong puzzle, spot the differences, coloring, and drawing. The book is very nice with glossy print pages and colorful stickers. Your child or grandchild will love the adventures and activities featuring Princess Charity and her special animal friend Daisy the Horse.  A very nice activity book that tells each little girl that she, too, is a princess as a child of the King.


I received a copy of this book through the BookLook Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, June 12, 2015

A Flag for The Flying Dragon by Carole P. Roman

Captain No Beard and his crew are back, but this time there is a new crew member, Zachary.  Zachary is eager to help, but what can he do when everyone thinks he is too young?

This is another fun story with all of our favorite characters acting out their imaginary pirate adventure. The story adds a new character, young child trying to fit in and play with the children. While the story is about creating a flag for the Flying Dragon, it is really about learning that everyone has talents and abilities. It emphasizes the importance of making the new member feel welcome in the group.


The Captain No Beard books never disappoint me or my granddaughter. They are fun and always have a subtle message of kindness and working together as a team.  One thing I especially like is the way the stories change from imagination to reality as their pretend journey comes to an end in Alexander’s room.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Not Cool by Greg Gutfeld

Not Cool, by Greg Gutfeld, is a refreshing exposé on everything that is considered cool in the progressive world. He reflects on a number of topics both personal and professional, and while the book may seem scattered at times, it gives an interesting look into the author’s creative mind.  Gutfeld has an edgy. dry wit with more than a little taste of sarcasm.  He takes on social agendas that cause people to follow instead of lead. 


The book is entertaining and insightful as the author explores political and social issues, the entertainment industry, and general issues in the news today.  He concludes with a chapter that lists the people, places, and things that are truly cool and why he chose them.

I received a copy of Not Cool as part of the Blogging for Books program.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

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

Next stop on Carole P. Roman’s around the world trip is Scotland.  This series introduces children to cultural exploration and answers the questions that children would most likely ask. What would children in Scotland call their mom and dad? What games would they play, and what do they celebrate? What kinds of foods are common? Where are the fun places to visit?


Each book in the series has a pronunciation guide and definitions for more complicated or unfamiliar words. It has colorful illustrations and easy to read text. I highly recommend not only Scotland, but all of the books in this series. What a wonderful way to teach children about their peers around the world without any politics involved. I also think they would be wonderful for elementary age Sunday Schools to spark an interest in missions around the world.

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Myster Writers of America Cookbook, edited by Kate White

This cookbook is a collection of the favorite recipes of some well-known mystery writers.  The hardbound book is very nice and even has a ribbon bookmark.  The photo doesn't do it justice! Each recipe begins with a short note from the author that explains the origin of the recipe or just some personal information.

The recipes are a wonderful variety of recipes from gourmet to family fare.  The first recipe I tried was Gillian Flynn’s Beef Skillet Fiesta. She started her paragraph with “Be warned: I am no gourmet.”  Her recipe was certainly not gourmet, but it was just what I was looking for that night.  It was a good, easy, fast, and delicious family meal.  This cookbook is now filled with bits of paper making all of the recipes I want to try. Not ever recipe has a photo, but quite a few have nice full-page photos. This one has earned a place on my permanent cookbook shelf.


Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Breaker's Reef by Terri Blackstock

I wish I had known that this was book 4 of a series. I found the characters confusing because I did not know the history behind them. 

The story was too predictable. The more the finger pointed to a suspect the more sure I was that it was a false lead.   

The relationships were nice, but I just couldn’t connect with any of the characters. Not a bad read, just not her best.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Fribbet the Frog and the Tadpoles by Carole P. Roman

In this Captain No Beard story my favorite character, Fribbet the Frog, has a problem. He is crying his eyes out, and he has the weight of the world on his shoulders. The rest of the crew tries to understand his problem and help him through it.  Fribbet feels left out because Mom and Dad are busy with all of the new tadpoles, but the crew helps him learn all about being a big brother.

The Captain No Beard stories are the imaginary adventures of Alexander and his friends. They are fun, educational and teach children about friendships and caring relationships. This is another great addition to the series.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Lighten Up Y'all by Virginia Willis

This is an attractive book with large color photos of many of the recipes. Most of the recipes are of light fair, but I found some of the recipes odd. In one recipe you add canned no-salt tomatoes, but then later in the recipe you are told to add coarse kosher salt. Salt is Salt. The Makeover Broccoli Mac and cheese calls for 1 cup shredded 50 percent reduced fat extra sharp Cheddar cheese and ¾ cup shredded 75 percent reduced fat Cheddar cheese. I would not bother, for a recipe that serves 10 people, to buy cheeses of different fat content. There were a couple of ingredients that were unfamiliar to me and I have been cooking for many years. Living in a rural area, I want a cookbook that has recipes with readily available ingredients. Unfortunately, if you don’t live near a Whole Foods or a comparable food store, you may find these recipes difficult to make. You also need to have a large family because most of the recipes are for 6-10 people.

Friday, March 20, 2015

If You Were Me And Lived In Hungary by Carole P. Roman

Next stop is – Hungary. Take your children or students on a trip around the world with Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived In. series of interesting books that introduce children to cultures around the world.

The books begin with information about Hungary’s location, cities, and rivers.  There is a pronunciation guide in the back of the book, but also next to each word that may be confusing for young readers.  What I like about the books is that they describe things that children are most interested in and answer those questions that children would ask. What do you call your parents? Where do you go for fun? What kind of toys do you play with? What kind of foods do you eat?  The book also describes holidays, local events, schools, and much more. 


These books make learning about other people around the world a fun experience.  This is a very informative and entertaining series of books.  I highly recommend them for parents, grandparents, preschools and early educators.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Pewsitters, Skits & Devotions for Church and Home by Katherine Hussmann Klemp

This is the perfect book for anyone involved with a church women’s group, youth group, or special events in the church.  It can be a challenge to come up with an appropriate devotional message to present, but this book has a wide variety of appropriate devotions.  Each chapter contains a short skit, followed by scripture and a devotional. 

A wide variety of topics are covered such as the peace of forgiveness, following the call of God, and special devotions for holidays.  There are messages for a variety of interests and ages. The skits have a list of suggested props, costumes, sound, lighting, setting, and director’s tip.  They are not, however, overly complicated and usually only need a few of people. The devotions are meaningful and just the right length to hold the attention of your audience.

While designed for groups, this is also a wonderful book of devotions for individual use.  I highly recommend The Pewsitters, Skits & Devotions for individuals, church groups and church libraries.


I received a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Trigger Warning by Neil Gaiman

This was my first introduction to Neil Gaiman’s stories.  The book is a collection of short stories that are a mixture of strange, edgy, frightening, absurd, and confusing.  My favorites were The Truth Is a Cave in the Black Mountains, February Tale, and Black Dog.


I wondered as I was reading if some of the stories were the beginning of a novel that was then abandoned. The stories were all so different that I really would not know what to expect next and left me confused about the author.  While some of the stories were interesting, some just left me shaking my head.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

The Great Grammar Book by Marsha Sramek



The Great Grammar Book is an essential tool for students and writers.  The book begins with a one-hundred question diagnostic test to allow the reader to assess their strengths and weaknesses.  It is written in traditional text book style with brief explanations of the rules, followed by an exercise to put what is learned into practice. I thought the chapter on Successful Writing Strategies to be especially helpful.  My only criticism is with the way it is advertised as entertaining.   Some of the sentences given for editing were statements of trivial facts, but I did not read anything that added interest or entertainment value to the book.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Knitting Block by Block by Ncky Epstein

Afghans, scarves, sweaters, vests and more all made one block at a time. There are instructions for a variety of basic blocks using different stitch patterns, but then it goes one step beyond the basics. There are also instructions for a variety of embellishments, such as frames, bobbles, designs using i-cord, and even embroidery. Also included are fair-isle, embossed and other special stitches to offer a variety of ideas. The projects in the book are beautifully classic. They are neither old fashioned nor too modern. The instructions are clear and concise with both charts and written instructions. There very simple blocks for beginners, challenging blocks for advanced knitters, and more patterns for every skill level in-between. I was a little disappointed with the single page on “joinings”. Since this was a book to make things out of blocks, I expected more information on how to put the blocks together.

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Die Again (Rizzoli & Isles) by Tess Gerritsen

This was my first book in the Rizzoli and Isle series. Although there were some back stories, this was very much a stand alone book. It was quite gory with detailed descriptions of blood and guts – literally – at the crime scenes.  I genuinely liked the characters. I have seen the TV show, but did not expect them to be the same in the book. Maura was the closest and I could picture her similar to the TV version. Either way the book stood on its own.

It was an interesting mystery with crimes in the US and in Africa. The author did a wonderful job creating the mental images of the safari and the conditions in the jungle.  The jumping back and forth in time and place was done very well and I did not find it confusing at all. Perhaps the change to first person narrative helped make the transition clear.


It was a little confusing at the end but it certainly kept me guessing. This is a well-written story with a good mystery and culminates to a satisfying conclusion.
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