Sunday, November 27, 2011
“Hermie, a Common Caterpilllar” by, Max Lucado is about two caterpillar friends, Hermie and Wormie, who embark on an adventure and see many different types of insects that God made. It makes them wonder why God made them the way that they are and why he made them so common. They want to know why they don’t have a house like a snail, strength of an ant, wings like a butterfly, different colors like other caterpillars, or spots like a ladybug. Every time they start to doubt God’s response to them is always that he loves them very much and that he is not finished with them yet. As Hermie begins to get very tired he is wrapped into a cocoon and emerges as a very unique and beautiful butterfly. He now finally sees God’s purpose for him and finds his friend, Wormie, to explain that God is not finished with him yet.
This is a cute book about how God has a purpose for each and every person even though we sometimes can’t see it at the time. It addresses our human concern of feeling ordinary and not special. Preschool and elementary aged students will find this book to be fun, entertaining, and educational of God’s purpose for their lives. This book has wonderful colorful pictures and a good message. I would recommend this to any child that is having a difficulty with feeling ordinary or any other young child. I received a free e-book copy of this book for an honest review through the publishers at BookSneeze.com.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 5:49 PM
Indelible by Kristen Heitzmann is a story with action, adventure, mystery, suspense, and love. This story is about a man, Trevor MacDaniel who is searching for love and trying to find himself in his new role. Trevor is always seeking danger, adventure, and rescuing. Natalie is a sculptor with eidetic memory just trying to make it in their world with her inability to conform to normal society because of her awkwardness and “gift”. Trevor and Natalie seem like totally separate people but somehow find a way to help each other in ways that they didn’t even know they needed help. After a series of strange photos start coming to Trevor it brings up all kinds of past baggage and makes him search for the person sending them. Will they ever be the same after the events that unfold?
I actually picked up this book a few times and didn’t get into it. It started out exciting from the very first page, but for some reason it took me until the third time to actually commit to the book and finish it. Once I got into the book, about half way through, I did start to enjoy reading it and wanted to continue reading. I think that I had a hard time relating to any of the characters and so it made it more difficult for me to start reading. Anyways, after my third attempt at the book I did finish and enjoyed it. I wouldn’t recommend this book to everyone but someone that likes and action, adventure, mystery, suspense, love story wrapped into one will find this to be an interesting book. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 5:17 PM
Monday, September 12, 2011
“Smack Dab in the Middle of God’s Love” is a children’s book written by Brennan Manning and John Blase. This is a cute book that relates everything to being smack dab in the middle. You will love the characters Willie Juan and his wife Ana who makes the best sopapillas in the little Mexican village called Hopi. I have never had a sopapilla before but it makes me want to look up the recipe and make them the next time I read this book. I can’t wait until my daughter is old enough to understand this book because it will be a fun read aloud. Not only is the story wonderful but the illustrations by Nicole Tadgell are very colorful, lively, and help to tell the story of God’s love. When the kids in the book are asked questions they are answered in a way in which children will understand and in a way that real children would respond. The authors and the illustrator have done a marvelous job and I would highly recommend this book to anyone with children or just have a love for picture books. I received a free e-book copy of this book for an honest review through the publishers at BookSneeze.com.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 8:50 PM
Sunday, August 21, 2011
"The Seraph Seal” by Leonard Sweet and Lori Wagner is a fictional novel about the end times. In a world of technology Paul Binder is an average USAmerican historian, and unbeliever, born on December 21, 2012 at 2100. Or is he really just average? Paul embarks on a very important mission after strange events start happening that symbolize the end of the world. As more hidden clues are revealed and people brought to his attention he slowly sees his purpose for living and the role in which God has called him.
This book was fantastic!! I would have to say that this book is like the “Left Behind Series” meets “Divinci Code”. I loved how the authors were able to take the end times prophecies and turn it into a very well thought out story that was condensed enough to fit into one book. This book had mystery, history, theology, and friendship all rolled into one. It always kept me guessing and was a book that I just wanted to keep reading.
My only criticism of the book is that it did take a while at the beginning to get into the book because it kept jumping around to a lot of different characters and I was having a difficult time keeping track of all of them. But, as characters started to interact with each other it got much easier to read. So if anyone is discouraged at the beginning just keep with it and you won’t be disappointed.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone who likes end times fictional novels. I received a free e-book copy of this book for an honest review through the publishers at BookSneeze.com.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 9:37 PM
Monday, August 15, 2011
I just finished reading the book entitled “The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck” by Kathleen Y’Barbo. This book takes place in the late 1800 – early 1900s when America was young. This is a historical fiction/romance book. Charlotte Beck is a young girl who is quite outspoken and mischievous. She is ready to be introduced to society with all of the parties and frills, although is that what she really wants. Alex Hambly is a young man who has had his fair share of problems in his family with being the spare, not the heir to the dwindling family fortune. When a strange turn of events finds Charlotte falling into the arms of Alex they immediately despise each other. With a proposition from Daniel Beck, Charlotte’s father, that neither Alex nor Charlotte can refuse they go after their own dreams only to find that maybe they aren’t so different after all.
This book was a very easy and fun read. I enjoyed this and look forward to reading the two books that preceded this novel in the series. Although, I thought that this book could stand fine by itself without having read the previous books. Although this is classified under Christian Fiction I did not feel that it was integrated very well. It seemed as if that aspect of the book was merely thrown in there last minute instead of an integrated part of the story. It however was a very fun, uplifting, romance book that had cute and loveable characters. I would recommend this to a friend to read. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 1:44 PM
Friday, June 3, 2011
“Lillies in the Moonlight”, by Allison Pittman is a fictional novel that takes place during the flapper’s roaring 20’s era. Lilly Margolis is a young flapper trying to make it on her own as a sales girl selling beauty products. After stumbling across a woman named Betty Ruth, who is a wealthy widow that has dementia, Lilly finds the meaning of true motherly love. Once attending a party Lilly falls into Betty Ruth’s backyard and is discovered by her son, Cullen Burnside, who has had a difficult time after coming back from war having survived mustard gas. Lilly begins living with the family and her and Cullen begin their deep healing process from their past.
This book was a fun read. I liked how all of the characters had their quirks about them but still parts of them were relatable. I would recommend this book to someone that likes love stories and enjoy books about people who overcome obstacles. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 9:41 PM
Monday, May 23, 2011
I finished reading the book “Nick of Time: A Bug Man Novel” by Tim Downs. This is a fiction book that is a murder mystery. Nick Polchak is a Forensic Entomologist, a.k.a bug man, that helps to find clues during suspected murder cases. He has always been shunned by society as being weird and isn’t an easy guy to get along with but he happened to find a woman that liked all of his quirks and has a few of her own as well. Alena Savard is also shunned by society because she chooses to live on a mountain cut off from people where she rescues and trains dogs. Nick and Alena meet through a cold case and end up hitting it off and getting engaged.
One week before the wedding Nick decides to attend a conference where a friend has personally asked him to help in one of the cold cases. When Nick’s friend doesn’t show up at the conference he sets out to find out what happened to him. He gets caught up in the murder case involving his friend while Alena is worried that he may not make it back in time for the wedding.
This book was great because it had me guessing at every turn. I love how unpredictable the book was and as soon as I thought I had it figured out there was more to the story and new evidence was uncovered. I would recommend this book to someone who likes love stories and murder mysteries. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through the publishers at BookSneeze.com.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 12:41 PM
I read the book entitled “Max On Life” by Max Lucado. I have mostly known Max Lucado for his wonderful children’s books but also know that he writes many study books on the Bible too. I am very familiar, as I said, with his kid’s book and absolutely love the detail and perspective that he writes into them, so I was excited to get to read this book and experience a study of the Bible type book.
This book is about Max answering theologically the questions that may people have asked him over the years. The book is segmented into seven “H” categories of hope, hurt, help, him/her, home, haves/have-nots, and hereafter. Under each of these categories there are questions pertaining to each. In total there are 172 questions that he answers in this book. This book is very insightful and answers many of those questions that we wonder about. It is very easy to read because each of the questions is answered in no longer than a page in a half, with most being less than a page long. That was especially nice for me being a mom, because it is sometimes difficult to find large chunks of time to devote to anything, and this book allowed me to easily start and stop when I needed to.
I would highly recommend for everyone to read this book because it inspires and answers questions that we have about life and the Bible. Anyone, from anywhere, and at any walk of life could find something useful and pertaining to their individual situation. It is a book that I will come back to and read segments over again when they relate to a specific situation that I am facing to give me strength, hope, and motivate me to move forward. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through the publishers at BookSneeze.com.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 12:21 PM
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
"God Gave Us You" by, Lisa Tawn Bergren is an adorable children's book that is beautifully illustrated by Laura J. Bryant. This book is about a bear family with a young, inquisitive cub. Little cub asks her mother where she came from? Mama bear responds by telling her that she was given to them by God. This book follows the little bear's other "why" questions and her mom reassures her every time that she is loved and that God gave her to her parents.
I have read one other book by Lisa Tawn Bergren called, “God Gave Us So Much,” and had enjoyed it so I was very excited to get to read another. This was a cute children's book and I will be reading it to my daughter a lot as she continues to get older and asking questions. I absolutely love the message that the mother bear reiterates over and over, "God gave us you." It follows the path from conception to birth with the perfect words for a young child. I would recommend this book to any parent that has a young child. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 4:02 PM
Thursday, April 14, 2011
I just finished reading Andy Andrews book entitled “The Final Summit”. This book is about finding out the one answer that will help to save all of humanity. With the sand of time slowly running out, a man named David Ponder is summoned to help in answering a question along with other “Travelers” from history. In this book you learn new insight into true happenings of some famous and should-have-been famous people in history. The end message will inspire and motivate you in your own life.
This was a great book and left me wanting to know more. I must admit that this is the first of Andy Andrew’s books that I have read and want to go back and read the other two books that preceded this one just so I can find out more about David Ponder and what happened to him before this book. Although I hadn’t read the previous books, I didn’t feel that I lacked the ability to comprehend this book; it was its own unique storyline and lent itself to being read by itself, although I am sure that I still would have gotten even more out of it if I had gone in knowing the back story behind David Ponder. This book was a very quick read and when I got to the end I was a bit sad that I couldn’t find out how David Ponder used this answer to help the world; I really hope that there is a sequel to this book.
I almost didn’t read this book because I was unsure if it was a self-help book, historical novel, business book, fiction book, etc. but am so glad that I did. I learned a lot about history as well as it being inspirational and a great fiction novel. All-in-all I would recommend this to anyone because it has something in it for any type of reader. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through the publishers at BookSneeze.com.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 12:02 PM
I just finished reading the book “How To Be God’s Little Princess”, by Sheila Walsh. This is a how-to book designed most likely for lower elementary age girls and discusses the topics of how to dress like a princess, wear a tiara, be poised, be a good friend, have table manners, groom yourself, party, be media savvy, be polite, address behavior at home, be a good sport, and knowing if you need an inner beauty makeover. It contains quizzes and craft ideas along with small written discussions.
This book was a lot different than I had expected it to be. I was not very impressed and felt that a lot of the focus was on the appropriate look of a princess instead of the focus being on God. I did however like the concept of the book because it is important for everyone to know that no matter what that they are always God’s princess. My daughter is only one year old right now so maybe I am just not able to see its relevancy until she is older and we are in the “princess” phase of life. I think that the chapters that I had the most difficult time reading and relating it to a biblical message were those that were about princess attire and beauty, the outward view of oneself. The first few chapters seemed to be focused a lot on this outward appearance and didn’t seem to put God into the picture thoroughly enough. I did however begin to like the book more towards the end chapters when it began to discuss good character traits instead of fashion.
All-in-all I would probably only recommend this book to a parent that has a young elementary daughter that is obsessed with princesses and is struggling with her ability to lover herself or love others. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through the publishers at BookSneeze.com.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 11:36 AM
Wednesday, April 6, 2011
I just finished reading “When Sparrows Fall” by Meg Moseley. This book is about a mother, Miranda Handord, whose husband died two years earlier and is now raising and home schooling six children by guidelines that she doesn’t fully believe in. After Miranda takes a serious dive off of a cliff her brother-in-law, Jack Hanford, comes to take temporary custody of the children until Miranda recovers. Jack knows not a thing about the family, having only met them once before his brother had died. Jack realizes that the church that Miranda and her children attend is very restrictive and dictated by their pastor Mason Chandler. The strict ideals of what the family should and shouldn’t wear, eat, and the rules that they should adhere to aren’t something that Jack is accustomed to and seeks to change their ways of life and break Miranda and the children free from Mason Chandler’s reign.
This book was wonderful. It had a sense of mystery the whole way through the book where you knew some of the story behind each of the characters but were surprised to learn deeper seeded truths about each. The book was wonderfully written and was one that I didn’t want to put down. It allowed me to see a little more into the difficulties that the women and children face when in a cult-like church and how hard it would be to get out of a situation like that. I absolutely loved this book and will look forward to reading any future books that Meg Moseley authors. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 10:26 AM
Monday, March 14, 2011
I had a chance to review the book “Plain Proposal” by Beth Wiseman. This book follows the life of a teenage Amish girl named Miriam Raber living in Lancaster County. She has always had her eyes set on Saul Fisher, a teenage Amish boy in her same community, but is torn when she must decide whether to continue with the dream of marrying Saul and possibly leaving the only life that she has ever known, or staying in the community and perhaps losing Saul forever. Her cousin, Shelby, is sent to stay at her family’s house for the summer and she helps her to renew her faith in God and family. This is a wonderful love story full of hope and insight into the lives of the Amish community.
This was a great book that allowed me to understand more about the ways of the Amish and their strong sense of community. I am very interested in reading more of Beth Wiseman’s books and would highly recommend this book to anyone that likes a good Christian romance novel and wants to learn more about the Amish community. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through the publishers at BookSneeze.com.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 1:27 PM
Friday, March 11, 2011
This novel entitled “When the Heart Cries” is a fictional story by Cindy Woodsmall. This is the first book in the “Sisters of the Quilt” book series of three. This story is about the life of an Old Order Amish teenage girl, Hannah, who faces many overwhelmingly difficult trials yet even through the trials she learns to trust God and comes into a personal relationship with him, in which she never realized was possible.
This book was excellent! It did teach me a lot about the Old Order Amish culture that I was unaware of. This book focuses on seeing the good things even in difficult and bad situations which is always a good lesson for me to remember. It left me wanting to jump up and get the next book in the series to find out what happens to Hannah. I would highly recommend this book to any avid fiction reader. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 9:04 PM
Friday, February 25, 2011
This book entitled “The Promises She Keeps” by Erin Healy is a very creative book. It weaves together the lives of five very interesting characters; an autistic artist named Chase, Chase’s caregiver and twin sister Chelsea, a singer named Promise that has cystic fibrosis, a witch named Porta, and Porta’s substance abusing son and aspiring artist named Zack. This book shows the struggles of following the things of the flesh and that everlasting life is only given because of Jesus Christ.
When reading the description of this book I didn’t think that I was going to particularly like it because there were too many “interesting” characters involved but, I ended up really liking this book and not wanting to put it down. Although the characters in this book are extreme, you can also find that you relate with one or several of them. Chase sees life for what it really is, Chelsea is career oriented, Promise is always looking for greatness and fame, Porta is seeking lasting youth, and Zack is trying to avoid life. It had enough quirkiness to be very interesting and to make you think about and re-evaluate your own life and goals.
The one and only critique that I would give is that the author didn’t know enough about cystic fibrosis (CF) to know that there would not be two friends with CF living together. Although individuals with CF can sometimes be around other people, it is deadly for them to be around another person with CF because of the harmful bacteria that is likely to be passed back and forth to each other. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through the publishers at BookSneeze.com.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 9:29 PM
Tuesday, February 22, 2011
This book was cute and showed a different interpretation than the typical Christmas stories, from the eyes of the star. It was a very creative idea but, I didn’t necessarily like all of the book’s wording. Although it did tell the story of Jesus’ birth, it also said that the star was meant to warm Jesus when really it was a sign that he was born and allowed a way for people to find him and worship him. All in all, this book was just alright. I am sure that I will read it to my daughter when she gets older but I don’t think that it will necessarily be a favorite Christmas story. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 4:42 PM
Wednesday, February 9, 2011
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 4:10 PM
Friday, January 28, 2011
This book entitled "SoulPrint" is written by Mark Batterson. This book implores you to take a look at your own life to find what you are truly destined to be; find your soul print. Mark does an excellent job explaining and describing how to find your unique soul print. He expresses the need of past experience, integrity, embarrassment, and acknowledgment of sins as helping you to define your unique skills and self discovery. He does this through following David as he goes through joyous times, times of battle, and difficult times all as part of God’s divine plan for him.
He explains thoroughly throughout the book that each of our soul prints are as unique as our fingerprints and that God’s plan for our life is not the same as his plan for anyone else. He expresses that each of us needs to strive to find ourselves and not be defined by others but to be defined solely by God. This book was excellent and I would highly recommend it to anyone. In my life, as I am sure it is in most lives, I tend to define myself by what others expect or what is socially acceptable. This book can help anyone from any walk of life to navigate your way back to the path that God intends you to be on. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 10:12 PM
The dvd entitled Adventures in BoogaBooga Land: Squid Sushi Loses His Marble is a children’s dvd that teaches three parables. The dvd contains three episodes, one for each of the parables and each episode is about 15 minutes in length. The three parables that it portrays are: the lost pearl (Matthew 13:45-46), the soil and the seeds (Matthew 13:24-30), and the wedding banquet (Matthew 22:2-14). Although I was looking for a great new Christian dvd for my daughter this one was a bit of a disappointment to me. I was expecting to see a show that was different than most other cartoons because it was based on the Bible. The only way that I could tell that it was a Christian dvd was the fact that it told the Bible verse that the parable came from before each of the segments began.
The first parable portrayed on the dvd was the parable of the lost pearl. I did not feel that it had a very good story line and that it didn’t relate anything to the kingdom of heaven or even hint at it. The second parable portrayed was the soil and the seed and had nothing to do with the parable at all. The third parable portrayed was the wedding banquet and by far, out of the three, this one made the most sense and had a good enough cartoon storyline to go along with it.
The characters of this series are just average but lack a bit of energy. The Christian values don’t seem to be represented much in these movies because there are a lot of characters getting hurt (splatted, sling-shotted, catapulted, etc.) with no apologies or asking if they are alright. I wouldn’t really recommend this dvd to anyone with the vision of helping their child learn about the Bible stories but if you would like just a typical cartoon then this dvd would be fine for that. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through the publishers at BookSneeze.com.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 2:43 PM
Thursday, January 13, 2011
I just got finished reading Lady in Waiting by Susan Meissner, and I absolutely loved it! I have to admit that I like history but do not spend much time studying it nor do I know a lot of history, especially when it comes to English history. Even with that said I could not put this historical fiction novel down. I only read it in the evening when my daughter went to bed and still managed to finish it in just three days. This book had the perfect amount of history and fiction mixed together to create a beautiful story. This novel is about two Janes of different times; one of the present day United States (Jane Lindsay) and one of the 16th Century England (Lady Jane Grey). The two stories intertwine when Jane Lindsay is intrigued when she finds and old ring with an inscription and her first name. Both present day Jane and 16th Century Jane have trials with their marriages and struggle to find who they truly are and want to be. I would highly recommend this book to anyone that is interested in history and/or just enjoys a really well written fiction novel. This book entices you to keep reading to find out the story of the two Janes. I received a free copy of this book for an honest review through Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers.
Posted by Toby and Shanelle at 12:56 PM