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
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