Monday, November 23, 2015

Book Review: Andi Unstoppable

Andi Unstoppable; an Andi Boggs Series by Amanda Flower is the third book in the Andi Boggs series.  Andi is at it again with her best friend Colin.  Andi and Colin were teamed with Andi’s classroom rival, Ava, to get a picture of rare bird that was recently seen in the town.  As the class races to be the first group to find the bird, they all worry about the legend of the ghost that haunts the woods.

I really enjoyed this book.  I chose to read with my 9 year old daughter. I first read it to make sure it was appropriate.  What I got was a great age appropriate mystery novel we will all enjoy.  I had not heard of this series before but now we plan to start from the beginning and read all of them.

I plan on putting this book on my gift list for nieces and nephews for Christmas this year. 

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.  For more information about the review program please visit

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Life is _____: 40 day devotional

I pre released received a copy of this book to review.  I love it.  The devotionals are insightful, funny, easy to read, and full of great messages.  This is meant for a quick devotional.  You will not spend hours translating from the original Greek or Hebrew.  You will read a story and how it relates to Jesus and our lives.  You will read scripture and see how it weaves into our lives and how we act.
I was looking for something like this.  Something I could read quickly in the morning or evening to help get my mind on the right path.  This is perfect.  I have enjoyed all the devotions and had the anecdotes or little phrases from them pop up in my mind all week.  This is a good sign of how the Spirit can use these words to impact your life.
I would recommend this to anyone who is looking for the same.  Again this is not digging into the bible something that will take hours.  Each devotional is about 3 pages to read and then followed by 3-5 questions that you can think about, journal, or spend time in if you choose.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Book Review: NIrV Faith Builders Bible

The Faith Builders Bible by Zondervan is a children's complete New International Reader's Version bible.  This book includes 24 full color photos of bible stories made out of Legos.  It also includes "brick building" verses it encourages the readers to read.

I have reviewed NIrV bibles in the past.  I enjoy the translation that makes it easier for moderate readers to understand.  This bible is no different.  What separates this bible from the others is the fun cover and included pictures.  In the front of the bible it also includes a Lego diagram of the books of the bible and how they are grouped.  This bible is great for any Lego loving kid out there.  The size is also nice so it can fit in a bag or easier carried with growing hands.

I do have to say I was a bit disappointed in this bible.  Maybe I didn't read the description closely enough but I was expecting a lot more Lego pictures then are included.  This is not a Bricks picture story book.  This is a bible with a few pictures.  That's not bad,  just not what I was expecting.

All in all I have many nephews and a son who will love this book.

Note: I was given a copy of this bible for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Book Review: Spent Matches

For my next book review I chose Spent Matches by Roy Moran.  I really really wanted to like this book and be fired up by its message. The publisher, Thomas Nelson, explains the book as

Spent Matches explores the possibility that a few small paradigm shifts within the church might make the difference between extinction and effectiveness. In fact, taking a clue from the automobile industry, the church might be able to not only halt the rapid decay in attendance but also become an effective tool in achieving Jesus' final command. For instance, the Hybrid car has become the answer to Detroit's environmental and oil crisis issues. Finding the synergy between two technologies, gas and electric has created a new day for the auto industry. Likewise, Spent Matches explores how the church can find synergy between two seemingly competing thoughts: an invitation to come and a command to go. The Hybrid metaphor brings energy to the church's mission and an explanation to the age-old argument of Missional versus Attractional methods.
After waiting excitedly I decided to take this book on a trip to read.  Two 2 hour flights would be the perfect time to spend on it.  But I couldn’t.  I could not get into this book.  From the start I wasn’t engaged.  I tried skipping to what I thought was the good stuff but still I found myself forcing my eyes to stay on the page.

I think part of the problem is I may not have been the key audience for this book but I thought my enthusiasm for the topic would make up for some of that.  Sadly it did not.  I will be passing this book onto my friends who may appreciate the message a bit more than I did. 

I’m sorry Roy Moran.  I really really wanted to Love you book.  

Friday, September 18, 2015

The Prince who was just himself

This book reminds me of the stories my mother would make up and tell me while trying to teach a great lesson.  And that exactly what the author did.  Silke Schnee used her experience of her children, one with down syndrome, to highlight the good attributes in all.  And even though the youngest prince is a little different, he can do amazing things too.  Everyone has their own perspective on life. Just because he has down syndrome doesn't make his just as important and unique.

I enjoyed this book.  It was filled with love towards the little prince. I think it is a great way to start discussions with my kids about how to interact, treat, and think of children who are different then themselves. The book itself never says the little boy had down syndrom

Friday, August 28, 2015

Book Review: The Bones will Speak

The Bones Will Speak by Carrie Stuart Parks is the second book in the crime solving series of Gwen Marcey. This time, while Gwen after Gwen’s dog finds human remains in the woods behind her house she stumbles upon a girl clinging to life in the woods.  Gwen is most startled by the find because of the uncanny similarities of the injured girl and her daughter.  As the search for the torturer continues Gwen and her daughter get sucked into the mystery.

This book had me in the first chapter.  I had not read the first book but instantly knew what was going on and who the characters were.  This book was hard to put down once I started reading.  I also enjoyed such a well written mystery/forensic anthropology book without the language or vulgarity that can sometimes be found in them.

I am a fan of Carrie Stuart Parks and Gwen Marcey Mystery novels. I can’t wait till the next installation.  I will definitely be reading the first book soon.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Book Review: Blueprint for life

The Blueprint for Life;  How to align your passions, gifts, and calling with eternity in mind by Michael Kendrick is a book to help the reader exam their lives and find the passions and talents in the lives and them apply them to their daily lives and ministry.

So many people assume the use of their talents in ministry is limited to pastors, choir directors, and other people who work for the church.  How could a businessman, a scientist, a garbage man use their job as a ministry?  The author does an amazing job walking the reader through the book, searching their lives to find out what they are passionate for and then applying that passion for Christ. 

Michael Kendrick is a successful businessman who loves stock markets, number crunching, and making a deal.  After retiring at an early age and getting bored really fast he realized that God had made him unique with these passions and talents and they he could apply them to his Christian walk.  He went back to business and started applying these gifts to helping people and showing Jesus in everything that they do.

I think before reading this book I was on the cusp of this idea.  I am a scientist and I love showing people how amazing God is for creating science.  I see my husband use is passion and gift of carpentry to help out so many people in our community and abroad.  But these are special occasional things.  How do we apply it to our every day?  And that is where this book comes in.

I really enjoyed this book.  I found it hard to put down and every easy to read.  I am excited to reread this book and pass it on to my friends and family.  I hope that they all apply his applications to their lives as I am starting to do the same in mine.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Book Review: Giant Killers

Giant Killers; Overcoming obstacles and seizing opportunity by Steve Lawson uses the story of David and Goliath to guide the reader through a discussion on how we should look at, evaluate, and handle obstacles in our lives.  By using the different involved (David, Saul, Israelites, Goliath, etc.) he can show the different ways of handling a situation and their outcome, both good and bad.

I really enjoyed this book. I wasn’t expecting such a well written and throughout book.  The author did an amazing job leading the reader through the story with the eyes of the different characters.  From those characters strengths and/or flaws we saw how they handled the situation and made decisions.  Ultimately the book leads the reader to understand how faith and conviction helped David be able to tackle the most formidable foe.

I am excited to have this book in my library.  I plan on reading it again as well as giving it to friends and family.  I am excited to use this application in my life and future projects.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Book Review: Soul Friends

Soul Friends by Dr. Leslie Parrott discusses the necessity of close, honest, real, God-given relationships in our lives. 
The publisher sums it up well with
Dr. Leslie Parrott is speaking the heart-language of women in her new book that shares how friendships are essential for spiritual formation - for women of all ages.
In Soul Friends, Dr. Leslie Parrott brings you into an intimate and vulnerable conversation about the life-changing value of deep-spirited friendships and soul-altering relationships.
Whether it’s a new friend, a member of a small group, or a friend we’ve had for years, these soul-friends embody the grace that enables us to take a next step in the unfolding journey of our lives. God has great purpose, intention, and fulfillment in the give-and-take of deep-spirited friendships. If we purposely cultivate them, God will bring us soul-friends to help us along our spiritual journey.
Leslie reveals how every woman traverses four stages of growth—quest, calling, crisis, and communion – again and again. And whatever stage you find yourself traveling right now, you need soul friends to help you move forward.
With courageous honesty and heart-felt revelation and reflection, Leslie reminds every woman of the incredibly intimate, intricate, faith-forming work God does in her through the gift of soul friends he places in her life.
I enjoyed this book a lot. I found the messages easy to understand, practical, and relatable.  I also like the setup of the book.  The chapters are fairly small making it easy to pick up and read a chapter or two when I had time.   I hope to pass this book on to some friends in my life and see if we can foster a deeper relationship like she discusses.  It has also challenged me to be more open about my faith and my struggles with those who are already close to me.  If I am not real with them, how can I expect them to ever be real with me?

Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Book review: Companion Guide to the Old Testament

Companion to the Old Testament by Ted Leach is exactly as it sounds.  It is the companion guides to help a reader better understand the history, culture, languages of the Old Testament with other religions.  The publisher describes it as “This book helps Christians understand how the Old Testament is “community property” shared by Jews, Christians and Muslims. It is a constructive resource for interfaith discussion, particularly for people of different faiths (or no faith) who are seeking to identify some shared principles of our common humanity.”
I think this book would be great for a religions scholar to have on their shelf but I found most of it too difficult to understand.  Not necessarily the concepts but the way it was written.  I felt like I was in a lecture hall with a professor that knew he was smarter than all of us teaching his pupils how ignorant they were on the subject.  It I don’t think that’s how the author meant it but that’s how I felt.  I felt wrong for having different opinions on subjects he discussed.
All in all I do not think I will be recommending this book to any of my friends and family.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Book Review: Savor

Savor: Living Abundantly Where You Are, As You Are: 365 day devotion by Shauna Niequist is a January through December quick devotion filled with half page thoughts by the author on how to better look at what God has given you that day and where he has placed you.  It’s about living in the present, not looking to the past or future of what could be or should have been.  She tries to help lead the reader through enjoying life and seeing how God provides for us daily.  When we open our eyes to it we will be amazed at all that God does for us in a single day, let alone the entire year.

I enjoyed this devotional.  Each day is a verse and then her telling a story or anecdote with a point.  Each devotion is a page or less.  She also gives a question or thing to do for that day.  Each devotional is insightful.  You can tell each one means a lot to her as we go on this journey with her to stop over analyzing and planning and to thank God for what you have today.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Book Review: Undone

Undone; A Memoir, A story of making peace with an unexpected life by Michelle Cushatt is the memoir of Michelle and her battle to balance  controlling her life to normalcy and giving it u to God in all the chaos, crisis, and miracles.  Michelle in less than a year battled cancer, had a full house to empty nest, and had the house filled again with children in need.  As she tried to balance all this she found God’s presence and comfort around every bend.
First, I chose this book solely on the cover.  So whoever designed it good job.  I thought this book was going to fiction after I quickly skimmed the back summary.  Who could even think about throwing all those obstacles together except for an author with a wild imagination?  Then in the first few pages I realized this was a true story told for the author of what she had gone through and I was hook. 
I really enjoyed the author’s story telling ability and her flow of writing. I found this book very easy to read and very hard to put down.  This book is so full of faith and struggle I think any mom, wife, woman could relate with all her struggles, feelings of inadequacy, anxiety over the future and the unknown and how to protect your children, and the feeling of grace and peace when you truly know God is there in your midst comforting you. 

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review by the publisher.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Book Review: Regain Your Spiritual Poise

Regain Your Spiritual Poise by Rob Wingerter is a book outlining the importance of a spiritual retreat to block out any distraction and focus on God and your relationship.  The author takes your through many benefits of it, its outline in the bible, and how historically it was a common practice.

I have to say I really struggled reading this book.  I do not think I was the correct audience.  I think it was made for older pastors who are really looking to dig into the subject.  But as a layperson who love to read, this was not the book for me.

I think the hardest thing about this book is the way it was written.  I felt like I was being lectured by a really boring (albeit very knowledgeable) professor who likes to kind of speak above the audience. 

Sadly I will not be passing on this book or recommending it to other readers.  I think this book was written with the best intentions but fell short for me.  I do with the author and the audience readers the best.  I hope the find the peace and rest they were searching for.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Book Review: Miracle on Voodoo Mountain

Miracle on Voodoo Mountain by Megan Boudreaux is an amazing story about a 24 year old girl that head the call of God for her to move from her home town on Louisiana, leave everything and everyone she knew, to go live in Haiti.  She didn’t know what she would be doing or how she would support herself, but she went.  In her first few days there she was scared, confused, and lonely and slowly God placed people into her life so she could accomplish great things for Him.  In less than a year she had helped close down a corrupt orphanage, adopted two girls, start the non-profit organization Respire Haiti, fed thousands of children, open a school, built a new larger school, educated hundreds of children who wouldn’t have been able to afford or attend any other school, found love, and got married. 

Through all her struggles she has seen many miracles from God and provisions given to her by prayer and faith.  This book is one that left me not wanting to put it down.  I love the flow of the stories and have they come together. This book has encouraged me and inspired me.  I really enjoyed reading it.  It also makes me want to go to Haiti and help.

 Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Book Review: Time to Choose

Time to Choose by Dawn Kazmierzak is the story about her mother as a child living through world war two under Nazi regime. 

This book leads the reader through the story of the occupations and how the Nazi government and the war drastically changed their lives.  At the end of each chapter she gives an insight on what the reader should think about to ensure that similar circumstances to do not happen again.

This book for the publishing synopsis interested me but I found the story of the author’s family life very interesting.  What I did have a problem was some of the “Connecting the dots” thoughts at the end of each chapter.  She is very judgmental in some of her comments.  I understand the background she is coming from but just because you choose something like public school or day care does not mean you don’t care about your child’s education.

I don’t know if I would recommend this book to anyone although I did find the story and some of the “connecting the dots” interesting.  If I did tell someone about this book it would come with a lot of cautions about the content and the single-minded judgmental mindset on many touchy topics.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Book Review: Think Act Believe like Jesus

Think Act Believe Like Jesus; becoming a new person in Christ is a companion 40-day devotion to the move Believe by Randy Frazee and Robert Noland.  This book takes you through he basic concepts of faith and how to be more like Jesus as seen in the movie.

I really enjoyed this devotional.  I saw the movie at a conference I attended.  It was wonderful, emotional, insightful, and convicting.  I really enjoyed the movie and was excited when I saw there was an accompanying devotional.  I found this devotional to hold all the same emotions as the movie.

This book would be great book for individuals or groups, for people who have seen the movie and those who haven’t.  Even if you haven’t seen the movie the devotional does a great job describing the accompanying scenes of the movie and how they correspond to the theme of each devotional.

I am excited to have this book in my library.  I can’t wait to get the movie and have them as a group. 

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Book Review: Rasmus and the Vagabond

Rasmus and the Vagabond by Astrid Lindgren is a story about Rasmus, an orphan boy, who runs away from the orphanage to try and find a family.  Soon after cold and hungry he runs into a tramp that claims to be God best friend.  As they travel together Rasmus and the vagabond have many adventures and slowly learns what it means to be part of a family.

The author of this book also wrote Pippy Longstocking.  It has a very similar feel and writing style.  I enjoyed Pippy when I was a kid and was excited to read this book.  I enjoyed it.  It is meant for children, but as an adult I found it a fun quick read.  I would think some kids younger than 10 or so would have trouble reading this book.  Its sentence structure makes some of it hard to understand without slowing down and really paying attention.

I’m am excited to have a copy of this book in my family library.  We will read and reread this book with all our children.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Book Review: Wrestling for my Life

Wrestling for my Life; the legend, the reality, and the faith of a WWE superstar by Shawn Michaels is a book about Shawn “The Heartbreak Kid” Michaels life and conversion to a strong Christian faith.  Michaels uses this book to discuss how becoming a Christian changed his life and purpose in and out of the wrestling ring, his family and his self worth.

I must say I know nothing about wrestling.  I know a very few names of the more famous wrestlers and I only recognized Michaels by the pictures inside as “maybe a wrestler Ive seen while flipping channels.”  But with all that I found this book really interesting and easy to read.  I enjoyed reading about how his faith drastically changed his life yet he was still able to use his gifts as a wrestler and his fame as a platform for his new faith. 

I also enjoyed how he stood up for the WWE and wresting in general.  He admits that there are some bad parts of wrestling but as a whole defends the organization as fun, entertaining, and make believe.  I like this about him.  I was one of those people that assumed wrestling was a bad company with horrible messages and images.  I enjoyed his insight and viewpoint on the organization.  I may have to try watching wrestling soon.

Note:  There are a few topics that he discusses that might not be appropriate for younger kids.  For instance he uses terms like “chasing women”, he discusses porn, and he discusses what he calls the “damn” instance (where he said the word damn after being saved in a WWE commercial). 

Note: I did receive a free copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a  positive review.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Book Review: The Plague of Unicorns

A plague of Unicorns by Jane Yolen is a fun youth novel about young boy James who is full of questions and wonder.  In the orchard of a abbey where the golden apples grow, the unicorns gather every season to eat the special golden apples not letting the monks get more than a few that stay on the top of the trees.  As the monks are exhausted from trying to stop the unicorns, James is sent to the abbey to be taught from the monks.  But how could a young boy change their dire situation.

I really enjoyed reading this book as an adult.   I can’t wait to see how my 8-year-old daughter likes it.   I am huge fan of Jane Yolens book for kids.  We have many of them in our kids library.

I am excited to have this book in our collection.  I think we will read and reread this book with our kids.  It is 185 pages long so it will be take multiple nights to read and be better for kids 7 and above that can stay with a longer story line.

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  I was not compensated for a positive review and the opinions above are my own.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Book Review: Motivated your Child

Motivate your child by Scott Turansky and Joanne Miller is a parent’s guide for how to get kids to motivate themselves.  Their solution is to teach kids to not look at each situation and what they can get out of it (reward or lack of punishment) but to develop a world outlook on how their actions affect others and then even God’s kingdom. 

I really enjoyed this book.  It has a lot of applicable advice and suggestions on how to talk to your kids and how to get out of the routine of punishment and rewards.  I plan on having my husband reading this book and then us using these tactics to better help our children grow into well behaved, motivated adults.

I would recommend this book to any parent with kids.  Any age.  Any situation.  This book helps kids become aware of their part in the world.  It teaches them to think like an adult in their actions.  This book does have a faith based application in it which I also really enjoy. 

Note: I was given a copy of this book to read and review.  The opinions said above are my own and I was not compensated for positive review.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Book Review: Living Well, Spending Less

Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup is a wonderful book that lists 12 secrets of the good life.  In in she discusses 6 secrets that help you live better and 6 secrets about spending less.
I really enjoyed this book.  At first I picked it because one, I liked the title, and two; I liked the look of the cover.  After I opened it her personality and ability to weave personal stories with good common sense with scripture had me hooked.  Although I have done most things she suggests in the past, it makes me want to reevaluate my life and make better long term goals, work on a more available lifestyle for my family and friends, and spend less because things will not bring me happiness.
I would recommend this book to anyone who is overwhelmed with life, kids, cooking, cleaning, money, spending, time management, in other words life.
Ruth also runs a successful blog with the same name ( I was not familiar with this blog before but now I plan on being a daily follower.

 Note: I was given a copy of this book for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Book Review: Keep it Shut

Keep It Shut; what to say, when to say it, and when to say nothing at all by Kathy Ehman is a book that using biblical examples about how, when, and what we should say (or not say).  Through stories and people in the bible, along with some personal stories, she weaves together a picture about the importance of our words and how they can hurt or heal, mend or tear apart, encourage or destroy so many things.  She uses examples of David, Joseph,   ____ to show biblical examples of using words correctly, using words incorrectly, and how silence used correctly is stronger than anything you could have said.

I enjoyed this book.  I found it easy to read and her style of writing very conversational.  I have learned a lot about this book and how to guard my words more closely.  I hope her words and verses quoted help tame my tongue and my heart.

I would recommend this book to all of my friends and family.  Words are something everyone needs to work on.  Such a small piece of the body has so much power.  But more importantly it connects to the heart and show it to everyone who hears.

Note: I was given a copy of this book for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own an I was not compensated for a positive review.