Monday, November 24, 2014

God Gave Us Angels by Lisa Tawn Bergren

God Gave us Angels by Lisa Tawn Bergren is another wonderful addition to the God Gave Us series.  The story is just wonderful with an honest Biblical view of angels. This is a sweet loving bear family, and Little Bear has many questions for Papa Bear after the bunnies tell her that there are angels everywhere.

I am truly impressed with the way solid scriptural lessons were made so clear for very small children in this little book.  The questions that Little Bear asks sound exactly like the questions a child would ask.


The illustrations by Laura J. Bryant are beautiful with soft colors very nice details.  This is a beautiful 40 page book with a wonderful message about God’s love and protection.

Suicide Pact by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty is a chilling look at the erosion of our freedom and constitutional rights, lost not suddenly, but slowly over time. A Former Judge and law professor, Judge Andrew Napolitano spells out clearly and concisely how our country's leaders have eroded the freedoms that were established by our founding fathers. 

The book covers from the very beginning of the United States, through the major wars, 9/11 and the global war on terror, to our present day events. I learned so much about events I thought I knew all about, including when the US began spying on its own citizens and how the implementation of Executive Order 9066 with the imprisonment of US Citizens without trial came about.


I highly recommend this book as a must-read.  

Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs

Bones never lie by Kathy Reichs was just an OK read. It is not a bad book, just not exactly a page turner. While it did hold my interest enough to finish it, I found the writing style odd with her use of short, choppy sentences. I could understand using that method for the dialog, but not for the narration.

Another issue I had was keeping track of large number of characters.  With all of the police, criminals, victims, victim’s families, and odd other added characters, I was quite frequently lost in the weeds.   I though the character of Tempe’s mother was entertaining, and kept wondering the department didn't hire her and fire Tempe.



Friday, November 14, 2014

Death Never Lies David Grace

After suffering a head wound in the same incident that killed his partner, Kane finds his investigative skills are improved, but his interpersonal skills have suffered.  I always expect interesting characters from David Grace, and Death Never Lies did not disappoint.

In the beginning, the character of Kane is difficult to like. He has had a change in temperament following a head wound, and he seems unable to work with others. His character unfolds slowly, and he becomes much more likeable. Two plots are intertwined, and one with a family connection for Kane. There was also a little romance that links two fractured people.

The entire book is good, but Chapter 23 was so entertaining, I read it twice. Kane decided to use his skill in reading people during a conversation with Senator Denning only to get the same in return from the Senator.


This is another great book by David Grace.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis by Carole P. Roman


In this Captain No Beard the crew is ready for a new adventure.  They are heading north, and it is getting cold. Icebergs are floating by, but the crew decides they don’t like Captain’s new mission.  He wants to take something that doesn’t belong to him. 

This one may be my favorite Captain No Beard adventure yet.  In this adventure they learn about the North Star and the Aurora Borealis. There is also a good message about not taking something that isn’t yours.  The children all know it is wrong and reinforce that message with Captain No Beard.  The story also reinforces the idea that using your imagination is a fun way to spend the day.


Once again, the illustrations are colorful and even take on the icy feel of the story.  This is another great Captain No Beard adventure!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Kitchn Cookbook by Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand

The Kitchn Cookbook by Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand is a two part cookbook.  The first part covers setting up the perfect kitchen, tools you will need, and caring for the kitchen. I liked the way they do not describe a perfect kitchen, but instead gave ideas so that you can create what you think is the perfect kitchen.  This section explains the work triangle, storage ideas, and budget kitchen renovation. They also introduced with photos different styles of kitchens. I really didn’t like any of them, and not once did I see a style feature I would like to use. 

The second part of the book is on stocking the pantry, essential skills, and the recipes.  One of the first things I look at in a cookbook is how available are the ingredients going to be for those who do not live in the city. Not every town or rural area has a Whole Foods within a reasonable driving distance, and there were a few recipes that had ingredients not readily available. I was also amused by the recipe for Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce because it called for canned tomatoes.

Although it might be fun to thumb through once or twice for a beginning urban cook, it is not really enough to be considered a reference cookbook.   While it is a pretty book with nice pictures, it doesn’t have enough to earn a spot on my permanent cookbook shelf.

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Monday, October 27, 2014

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

This book was a bit disappointing.  The illustrations are very old fashioned, which is quaint, but rather unappealing and comes off a bit odd.  The story tries to ascribe religious meaning to the shape and colors of the candy cane.

 The story explains that the shape J is for Jesus and flipped the other way, for the shepherd’s staff.  They then assign the colors to give them a religious meaning. The assign red for the beating that made Jesus blood run down like red stripes and white for being washed clean from Jesus’ forgiveness. It appears that this has been toned down in words and illustrations from previous versions, but it still is a concept that small children will not understand.  The thing that concerned me the most is that while the book is labeled for ages 4-8, this is a board book which is usually given to younger children 1-4.

I do not recommend this book for below age 4 and probably would raise that age up a little.  I would recommend the parent read the book first, and decide if your child is ready for the content.


I received this book from the BookLook blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Yuletide Ice Cube Fair by Karen Poth

Usually the VeggieTales begin with a Bible verse, but this one begins and ends with one.  It is a story of the Yuletide Ice Cube Fair and Mayor Bob’s ice carving contest.  It is a wonderful story with the message that Christmas isn’t about the big, the bright or the new. The story brings the true meaning of Christmas and ends with the Bible verse Luke 2:10-12.  The illustrations by Ron Eddy and Robert Vann are beautiful and colorful with that icy feel of winter. 


This book is appealing to a wide age range. It is recommended for 4-8 years or early readers, but I would extend that to include reading to 2 and 3 year old children. I received this book from the BookLook blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Guess Who - Noah’s Boat by Matt Mitter and illustrated by Ela Jarzabek

Noah’s Boat is a page flap fold out book especially designed for very young children.  Each page has a descriptive riddle that asks “Guess who” and when you fold out the flap there is an answer. Even the front cover has a fold-out flap.  The illustrations are very colorful and very cute.  The book is hard cover and each page is coated cardboard for an easy wipe clean finish.   This is a very nice book that tells the basic story of Noah to small children.  This would make a nice gift book for a child or an addition to a church nursery/pre-school library.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Risen by Michael Phillip Cash

This is the third of the trilogy and I have also read and reviewed the first two, Schism and Collision.  While this is a standalone book, I recommend reading the three in order.  It will help to understand the growth of the characters and will keep the flow of the story.  This isn't the genre I usually read, but Michael Phillip Cash writes books that are easily readable with a style that crosses genre.


All three books present stories of adventure, mystery, and interesting characters.  Risen is no different, and the book this trilogy concludes with a satisfying ending. Through all of the struggles, war, and captivity, there is a message of hope and encouragement.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Big-Flavor Grill by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby

This is strictly for those who charcoal grill. There is “A Word About Gas Grills” which declares that
gas grills are not their thing. The theme of the book is simplicity with an easy prep with a spice rub, grill, and toss with a sauce or with herbs.

The recipes are presented in a unique flow chart form that follows the theme of prep, grill and toss. There are recipes for steak, lamb, pork, chicken, shrimp and fish, vegetables, and drinks. I have several recipes marked to try. Grilled Pork Skerwers with Mangoes, Chipolte, and Lime, and Grilled Chicken Breasts with Cilantro-lime Vinaigrette. 

This is a great book for simplified grilling, without a lot of complicated preparation.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Southern Foodie's Guide tot he Pig by Chris Chamberlain

This is not your ordinary cookbook.  The first section of the book is about the pig and its parts, with an explanation of selecting and cooking a whole pig, belly and bacon, roasts, hams, ribs and chops. Sauces, rubs and brines are also covered in this first section.

This is a “Southern” book so the second section covers the top restaurants throughout the south that specialize in pork and BBQ.  A profile is presented with a brief history, menu specialties, an “insider tip”  and contact information. A recipe from each restaurant follows in the following section – Recipes.

The recipes included are down-home, southern-style, hearty food. I have several marked to try, such as Momma Mia’s Mac Salad from the Shed, Chicken Fried Pork Chops from Delta Bistro, and Fried Green Tomato BLT from Stella’s Kentucky Deli, but there are many more that vary in ingredients and complexity. If you are looking for something a little different, this is it!

I received a copy of The Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig as part of the BookLook blogger program in exchange for an honest review.


Author Chris Chamberlain
Chris Chamberlain is a food and drink writer based in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has lived his entire life except for four years in California where he studied liberal arts at Stanford University and learned how to manipulate chopsticks. He is a regular writer for the Nashville Scene and their "Bites" food blog. He has also contributed to the Nashville City Paper, Nashville Lifestyles magazine, 2001 Edgehill and at www.geardiary.com.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition Published by Zondervan

The NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition  is a softcover version designed for reading through the Bible in one year. Because this is a Chronological Bible, the daily readings seem well-organized as the story unfolds in the order that they happened.  
The daily readings are numbered instead of by dates so that your journey into the Bible can begin at any time. The portions are manageable, and I enjoy the reading style of the NIV version. I didn't stumble over archaic words or need a thesaurus to get through the readings. There is a devotional at the end of each daily section that are direct, to the point, and very encouraging. These devotions are a wonderful addition to this Bible.
Although a softcover, the book is sturdy and lays flat in your hands. It has the quality I expect, and have always received, from Zondervan products. I highly recommend this Bible, especially if you have never read through the entire Bible. or are looking for a quality Bible for reading and devotionals combined.

I was provided a copy of this Bible from the BookLook Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sheerluck Holmes and the Case of the Missing Friend by Karen Poth

A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes. Proverbs 17:17

Sheerluck Holmes and the Case of the Missing Friend is another wonderful VeggieTales book for early readers based on Proverbs 17:17.  Hurt feelings, forgiveness, and the fellowship of friends are the lessons taught in this cute little book by Karen Poth.  

This is a book 1 level for beginning reading in the I Can Read! Zonderkidz series and is described as “Simple Sentences for eager new readers.”  A soft-cover book, but it has a good binding and the pages are a nice weight paper.  The illustrations are colorful and cover the full page. This is another great book for VeggieTales fans.


Fire & Smoke by Chris Lilly

Fire and Smoke by Chris Lilly starts out by comparing different BBQ grills and smokers, and gives instructions on cooking with wood.  This is a recipe book for those who really want to move to the next level of BBQ. Yes, there is a recipe for The Perfect Burger, but there really is so much more here. 

Just pulling up a few random pages, there are recipes for Smoked Pork Belly with Shock Top Honey Mustard Glaze, Grilled Brick Panini, Barbecue Gumbo, Pan-seared New York Strip with Bourbon Cream Sauce. There are some unusual recipes, especially the grilled cocktails.  Additionally, there are recipes for side dishes and desserts.  My favorite section is the Sauces and Dry Rubs, and the recipe for Sweet Crisp Bacon Rub alone makes the book worth buying!

I like that the book is printed on heavy glossy paper and has some beautiful full-page photos.  This is a wonderful addition to my cookbook shelf.


CHRIS LILLY is vice president, executive chef, and partner of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q. The Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Competition Cooking Team has won more than ten World BBQ titles in pork, chicken, ribs, and beef, and four World Grand Championships at “
Memphis in May.” Lilly is married to the great-granddaughter of BBQ legend Big Bob Gibson and is the author of Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book.
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