Friday, October 24, 2014

My Perfect Pantry

"My Perfect Pantry" by Geoffrey Zakarian is a cookbook that focuses on delicious home made recipes from items that are commonly stocked in a home pantry. This book begins with a list of "foundation" items that Geoffrey considers to be most essential to a home pantry. These items are some of the common ingredients that are found in the recipes that follow. Most of these items you will most likely already find in your home, such as bay leaves, cinnamon, salt, and vanilla extract.

The recipes that are in this book are centered around specific ingredients, and Zakarian offers helpful tips and tricks about that specific ingredient. For example, the first three recipes of this book use almonds as an ingredient. On the first page of every new section of recipes, we are introduced to the ingredient that is in the recipes, as well as tips in working with that ingredient.

There is a good variety of recipes in this book. You can find everything from chicken wings and salmon to tarts and yogurts. The selection is vast, and with 50 recipes to choose from, you can easily find something that will satisfy. Zakarian does a great job of understanding his audience, and these recipes are geared toward the home cook in the simplicity of the ingredients, directions, etc.

Overall, I would give this book a 5/5. I liked the concept of the book, and appreciated that the recipes use commonly found items. I also liked that there were many pictures of the foods in the book, as well. Lots of delicious recipes to choose from! Great variety, and delicious taste!!

FTC DISCLAIMER: I received this book for free from the BloggingforBooks program in exchange for my review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

"Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary" is edited by Ronald F. Youngblood, F.F. Bruce, and R.K. Harrison. This book is, as you can guess, a dictionary of key words, people, events, and locations that appear throughout the Bible. Although, I think that this particular dictionary is much more in-depth than any other dictionary I've seen.

This dictionary is prefaced with several informative articles, such as "History of the Early World", "The Poetic Books: The Heart of the Jews", "The Life of Christ", and "The Writings of the Early Church". This dictionary also features articles and outlines on every book of the Bible, appearing where they belong, alphabetically, within the dictionary's pages.

There are also many charts, tables, and maps that appear in this dictionary, to help you understand some of the events, times, and history of Biblical events. Study tools, such as "The Parables of Jesus", "Pagan Gods Mentioned in the Bible", and "The Exodus" appear throughout this book, and reinforce and explain the Biblical events they summarize.

I would rate this book at a 5/5. I think that they did a very thorough job putting this dictionary together, and I think that it will be extremely helpful to anyone. Whether you're curious about a term, or want to know more about a specific location or person, you'll find plenty of information in this book. Awesome tool.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free through the BookLookBlogger program in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

NKJV Study Bible

The "NKJV Study Bible" by Thomas Nelson is a really neat tool that can definitely help you get the most out of your Bible reading. The cover advertises that the Bible is "full color", but the actual text of the Bible is black and white - however, there are colorful boxes with interesting facts about the culture and times, colorful photographs, colorful maps, and colored boxes with important vocabulary words and their meanings.

Like any other Bible, the "NKJV Study Bible" offers footnotes, to further explain Bible teaching. The footnotes in this Bible, however, are extensive. Nearly one-third of every page is devoted to footnotes, which I enjoyed. I think that it's so helpful to have that helpful explanation of Bible verses.

There is a Chapter Introduction for every chapter in this Bible, giving you background information about the chapter, and any themes that are going to appear in what you are about to read. I always find this information helpful, as a pre-reading summary before I start reading the chapter. It's helpful to understand what is going on at the time the book was written, and who wrote it, etc.

I thought this Bible was a really great study tool, with lots of neat tools and extra information to help me really understand everything I read, in context of the times and culture of the Bible. I would definitely recommend this Bible to others, and think that it'd be a great investment for those looking for a way to get more out of their Bible study time.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this Bible for free through the BookLookBlogger program in exchange for my review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014


"Draw-A-Saurus" by James Silvani is a tutorial in drawing dinosaurs. This is a pretty inclusive book, with 150 pages of tips, tricks, and tutorials in the art of drawing dinos. This book definitely breaks down the shape, size, and technique of bringing some of the most famous dinosaurs to life on paper.

What I liked about this book is that it breaks down, step by step, how to draw a variety of different dinosaurs. This isn't just a general overview of drawing them, it really gets into the specifics of each different kind of dinosaur and their distinctive characteristics.

This book makes it look much easier than it really is to put pencil to paper and draw dinosaurs, but I found a lot of the tips that Silvani offers to be really helpful. Also, he really breaks a long and complicated process down into manageable steps that you can follow. My dinosaurs didn't look as awesome as his, but I know they looked much better than they would have without following his steps.

Overall I would say that this book is a great way to develop art skills, as it does offer a lot of helpful tips for drawing dinosaurs, and I'm sure that some of those tips can translate into drawing other items as well. I would definitely give this book a 5/5, because it made it seem simple by breaking down the drawing into smaller steps and describing the steps in a simple way.

This would be a great gift for the art lover, or for the young child that enjoys drawing as well.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

Weird & Wonderful Creations

Zonderkidz has published an amazing new book all about the amazing creatures that share our planet. "Weird & Wonderful Creations (Made by God)" is a super neat book that has hundreds of cool facts all about the animals on our planet. Did you know that sea turtles love to eat jellyfish? Or that bats can live up to twenty years? These are just a few of the fun facts that your child will learn in this book.

This book uses very simple language and easy to understand sentences so that it can be read easily by early readers. The text is large, and each page of this book only contains two or three sentences, in most cases. The majority of the page is images of animals where the live, as well as captions in the margins with even more fun facts.

What makes this book unique is that it is Biblical based, so instead of making the scientific approach to these amazing animals, this book ties these creatures in to God's creation. For example, the book reads, "God made of 1,000 kinds of bats", and "God blessed butterflies with colorful wings". I really liked this connection between what I have taught my children.

I would say this book would be a great read for children 5 and up, although younger children will most likely enjoy looking through this book and checking out all the pictures in it. There are lots of amazing photographs of whales, bees, bats, jellyfish, whales, and more that are sure to grab the attention of your little one. I would highly recommend this book. Very neat!

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, September 25, 2014


The Food Network Magazine editors have put together the MOST amazing dessert cookbook, entitled, "Sweet: Our Best Cupcakes, Cookies, Candy and More". This dessert cookbook features classic dessert dishes such as peach pie, pineapple upside down cake, and whoopie pies, as well as the most uncommon dishes, such as mini bacon cheesecakes, s'mores cake, banana-marshmallow meringue pie.

With over 300 pages of delicious recipes (as evidenced by the full page photos that will have your mouth watering), and a photo table of contents, it's easy to find something to bake. With so many different recipes, it's easy to find a recipe that has ingredients that I already have on hand. Most of the recipes are simple, which I appreciated.

As a busy mom of two young children, I really loved that I could flip through this book and find a recipe that I could make easily with whatever time I had. There are such a huge variety of flavors in this book, and I loved it. I am super excited to test out the "holiday desserts" chapter of this book soon, as well!

Amazing recipes, easy to follow directions, and photographic proof of the results! I would give this cook book a 5/5, easily, and HIGHLY recommend it to anyone who loves to bake!

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from's blogger program in exchange for this review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Riley Mae and the Sole Fire Safari

"Riley Mae and the Sole Fire Safari" is the third book in the series that features shoe model, Riley Mae. In this adventure Riley Mae and her crew are headed to Africa for an advertisement campaign for the Sole Fire running shoes. Riley Mae heads to Kenya with her mom, and friends in tow. Almost immediately after arriving in Africa, Riley Mae wishes she was ANYWHERE except Africa.

This book does a good job of highlighting the vast differences between what most teenagers here in the U.S. would consider to be "normal", versus what life is really like for teenagers in another country. Riley Mae encounters strange new foods and a lot of hard work, which less than excites her. Riley Mae leans on her faith throughout her experiences in Africa, and even shares her faith with a young orphan that she meets.

I think that this book is a great book for the pre-teen age group, as it does highlight some Christian ideals and shows them being put into action, but without being too preachy, which will usually turn most teens off. Katrina Cassel does a great job of developing Riley Mae's character, making the shoe model a character that is easy to love.

There is a little bit of a language barrier with some of the African terms that are used in this book - it took me several times of having to look back to remember what the terms meant before I could keep track of them. The terms aren't overwhelming in number, but there are some.

Overall I would give this book a 5/5, and highly recommend it for pre-teens. It's a lengthy read, with over 200 pages, and the African vocabulary making the read slightly more difficult, I think ages 10 and up would be appropriate.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookLook Blogger's program in exchange for my review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Adventure Bible for Toddlers

The "Adventure Bible for Toddlers" by Catherine DeVries is a new Bible storybook for the very young child, published by Zonderkidz. This storybook features ten Bible stories, bringing Bible characters like Jonah, Daniel, Moses, and Jesus to life for young kids. The Bible states on the back cover that it is for ages 4-8, but I would recommend for ages 3 and under. The board pages make it easy for little fingers to turn the pages on their own, and the beautiful illustrations by Jim Madsen will attract little eyes. I have a 1 year old and a 6 year old, and while this book is great for my 1 year old, it is nowhere near appropriate for my 6 year old.

The stories are told in a concise way, with each page of the book having only a few sentences on it. DeVries uses simple language so it is very easy for little ones to understand what is happening. The pictures in this book coincide with the events. It's easy for little ones to see the illustrations and understand what is going on.

Overall I would definitely recommend this book to those with children under the age of three. I think this book would be an ideal first Bible storybook for this age group. The board book naturally lends itself to younger hands, making it easy for toddlers to independently look at this book. I would give this book a 5/5.

As I mentioned, the only issue I had with this book was the recommended age group. Definitely appropriate for much younger children than the book recommends. Would make a great birthday or Christmas present!

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from in exchange for my review.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Berenstain Bears - "Blessed are the Peacemakers"

"Blessed are the Peacemakers" by Mike Berenstain is another adorable and lesson-teaching story from Bear Country. It's time for the All School Play, and Brother and Sister and nearly all the other cubs have landed parts in "Romeo and Grizzliet". Except that Queenie, who is part of Too-Tall's gang has the role of Grizzliet, and Ferdy Factual got the part of Romeo.

Too-Tall does not like Ferdy, and does not like that Ferdy and Queenie are "in love" in the play. This causes a lot of tension, and even a few arguments that have to be broken up by Brother and Sister, and the other cubs. There are several times in this story where there is a Biblical reference to making peace, which I liked. Brother and Sister remind Too-Tall and Ferdy that "peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness".

On the night of the big play, everyone in Bear Country comes to see "Romeo and Grizzliet", even Mayor and Mrs. Honeypot. The play is going wonderfully until Too-Tall thinks that Ferdy is playing his role a little too convincingly. An all out brawl nearly erupts on stage! Squire Grizzly and the Pastor have to break up the fight and restore order to the play! Preacher Brown tells the cubs, "turn from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it".

In the end, the cubs learn a valuable lesson about seeking peace, and I thought that the story was really great in conveying the message. The illustrations and story are typical of the Berenstain Bears series, and I loved that this story referenced the Bible in solving the cubs' problems.

I would give this book a 5/5. Recommended for ages 4 and up - my 6 year old loved it!

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Your Family In Pictures

"Your Family in Pictures" by Me Ra Koh is an easy to understand crash course in photographing family events, holidays, and other everyday events. This book is a simple tutorial on how to get the most out of photos that you are taking. I loved the simplicity of this book - I'm definitely an amateur photographer, but this book kept the technical lingo to a minimum, and really had tons of helpful tips for getting much better photos in less time.

One of the things I really liked about this book is that it offers tips for both point and shoot cameras as well as DSLR cameras. I thought that this was helpful for any user, and gives camera specific help, so truly anyone could use this book and get something helpful out of it. There are tons of photos in this book, to show you how the shot turned out, as well as aperture settings and shutter speed for the DLSR camera.

I thought that this book gave a lot of prompts for photo taking, such as Saturday mornings, when kids are just being kids, or bedtime rituals. These are everyday occurrences, but sometimes are overlooked, and having photos of some of these times are definitely must haves for me.

I would give this book a 5/5. I thought it offered TONS of tips for taking photos, and did so in a way that was easy to understand, even if you aren't a professional photographer. I am definitely going to be using some of these ideas to create even more family memories. Great book.

The Mess Detectives and the Case of the Lost Temper

"The Mess Detectives and the Case of the Lost Temper" is a children's book, written by Karen Poth, and published by Zonderkidz. This book is a beginning reader book that uses simple sentences for new readers. After reading this book,  I would say that there may be a few challenging words for early readers, and they may need a little help reading this book on their own.

In this book, "Veggie Tales" characters Bob the tomato and Larry the cucumber are detectives and hot on the trail of a door slamming suspect. Larry, acting as his usual silly self, makes Bob more and more aggravated as they stake out the Carrot house, trying to catch the door slammer. As Bob gets increasingly frustrated with Larry, he eventually loses his temper. Larry points out that Bob has lost his cool, and Bob agrees, and that's pretty much the end of it.

I really thought that this lesson could have been much more of a teaching children to lean on God when they are feeling frustrated, overwhelmed, or aggravated. I think that this book missed the opportunity to make that point. My children, even though they are young, struggle with their tempers, and I really feel like Larry and Bob could have gone into how Bob could calm down, and pray or lean on God in order to calm down. Instead, Larry just points out that Bob has lost his temper, and Bob basically says, "Yeah, you're right".

I thought the story was cute, but really think they missed the mark on the one thing that "Veggie Tales" always does - tying the moral of the story into Biblical examples. I would give this book a 2.5/5. Cute, but not the quality I would expect from the "Veggie Tales" characters.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I Received this book for free through the Book Look Blogger Program in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Spiritual Renewal Study Bible

Zondervan Bibles' "ECPA Medallion of Excellence Bible of the Year" is the "Spiritual Renewal Study Bible : Experience New Growth and Transformation in Your Spiritual Walk". This Bible offers a lot of the commonly featured study tools that appear in several various study Bibles that I have seen in the last few years. It offers a chapter introduction page, character profiles, and extensive footnotes. This Bible does feature a couple of study tools that I have not yet seen.

This Bible has a feature that simplifies the process of spiritual renewal into a series of seven "keys", and they are highlighted throughout the Bible where the principle is put into action. These seven keys include "seek God and surrender to him", "see the truth", "speak the truth", "accept responsibility", "grieve, forgive and let go", "transform your life", and "preserve spiritual gains". This is the first time that I have seen this particular connection and study tool, and I thought it was really useful in the process of renewing the spirit.

Other study tools in this Bible include a devotional reading plan based on the spiritual keys, spiritual disciplines devotionals, spiritual discipline profiles, and character profiles. I thought that this Bible truly offers something new and different from others that also claim to be study Bibles. There are a lot of notes and study tools inserted into the text that I felt like there was literally some connection to be made in everything that I read.

Overall I would definitely give this Bible a 5/5. It is a great tool for anyone looking for a new study Bible, but especially those who feel that they could use a renewing of their spirit. Great Bible.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this Bible for free from Book Look Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mickey & Willie (Allen Barra)

"Mickey and Willie" by Allen Barra is a biography of two of the most famous men in baseball, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. This book is subtitled, "Mantle and Mays, the Parallel Lives of Baseball's Golden Age", and what Barra does is shine light on the personal and professional lives of both Mickey and Willie, and points out how similar the two men were, in many different aspects of their lives.

I appreciated that Barra took the time to research the pre-baseball lives of Mantle and Mays, and give the reader an understanding of their childhood and why they chose baseball. I think that this is as important of a detail as any, considering that both Mickey and Willie's fathers were employed in manual labor, and without the intervention of baseball, most likely would have followed in their footsteps.

Barra follows both Willie and Mickey in their professional careers, highlight both the ups and downs. I liked the fact that this book really details the personal side of these men, how they were feeling, the struggles they were facing, and the disappointments they had. I think that this book really humanizes these two men, who have become legends in the game.

I would highly recommend this book to any baseball lover. I thought it was a great read, full of interesting and entertaining stories about Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. I would give this book a 5/5, for sure. Easy to read, and Barra does a great job of telling the story of their lives without making it overcomplicated.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Family Project

Glenn T. Stanton and Leon C. Wirth have put together a book entitled, "The Family Project: How God's Design Reveals His Best for You". This is a "Focus on the Family" book, and intended to be a companion to the Focus on the Family's DVD series, "The Family Project". The book talks about the way that God designed the family unit, as well as documented research from a variety of other sources as well.

What I liked about this book was the emphasis that it placed in the importance of family. There were entire chapters devoted to the divine design of marriage, as well as the need for both a mother and a father for the success of the family. These notions were rooted in Biblical text, and reiterated by a variety of social science experts. I think that this book really helped me find some ways to relay my opinions, and back up what I believe with a cohesive and accurate argument.

What I did not like about this book was that it seemed like there were times where the argument became too complicated, and overly scientific. I really enjoyed the Biblical aspect of these topics, and the Scripture that was given to back up the thesis. However, I felt like once the book switched over to a more scientific approach, it was difficult to follow and to stay interested.

Overall I would give this book a 3/5. I enjoyed the Biblical points/arguments for the importance of the family and felt that they really held a lot of value. However, the difficulty in maintaining interest in the more scientific approach to the argument was pretty significant.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Goodnight Ark

Laura Sassi's children's book, "Goodnight Ark" is an adorable story filled with beautiful, vivid illustrations courtesy of Jane Chapman. In this adorable story, the animals board the ark, and Noah sets sail. But the animals become scared by all of the noises from the storm!

What happens next is a humorous and lighthearted story of animal by animal piling into Noah's bed. Elephants, boars, snakes, and even skunks join Noah in his room! Eventually Noah finally comforts all of the animals and restores order by singing the animals a lullaby.

I would give this book a 5/5 - the artwork is amazing, bright and colorful; Sassi's story is fun and made my kids laugh out loud. It was fun to imagine what life would have been like living with a boatload of animals! I thought the way that Sassi rhymed the book was cute, and almost made it easier for kids to read on their own.

I would recommend this book to anyone with young children - ages 3 and up, although I think that even younger than 3 would probably enjoy the pictures if they wouldn't sit still for the actual story.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookLookBloggers in exchange for my honest review.

First Family Detail

Investigative journalist Ronald Kessler's newest book, "The First Family Detail" promises to reveal the hidden lives of the Presidents, and it doesn't disappoint. It is easy for most of the public to see only what the Commander in Chief chooses to let us see, but in this book we get an inside peek into the more private lives of the President and the first family.

Kessler gives accounts from Secret Service agents about the Clinton family, particularly Hillary, as well as Vice President Joe Biden, President Obama, Richard Nixon, Gerald Ford, George Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Jimmy Carter. Personal, first hand observations and interactions with these Presidents and their families abound in these pages, and it's truly fascinating.

For example, Kessler talks about Jimmy Carter in Chapter Ten of this book, peeling back the layers of Carter's outwardly friendly appearance to reveal someone who was almost hostile to the men of the Secret Service who were sworn to protect him. I found it to be very interesting the differences in the public persona Carter created for himself and the actual accounts from Secret Service agents of him coming in to work early in the Oval Office, only to close his curtains a half hour later and take a nap.

Overall I found this book to be full of unknown information, and a real inside look at the lives, attitudes, and personalities of the President and his family. Most of the stories I read in this book were ones that I had never heard before, and I think that makes it a must read for any history buff. I would rate this book a 5/5, and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys history or politics. Great read.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from in exchange for my honest review. I was under no obligation to write a positive review.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

The Blessings of Friendship Treasury (Mary Engelbreit)

Mary Engelbreit's newest children's book is entitled, "The Blessings of Friendship Treasury". Published by ZonderKidz, this book is going to be available in the beginning of August, 2014. I wasn't too sure what to expect from a "treasury" about friendship, but I was blown away by the thoughtfulness that Englebreit put into this particular book.

This book isn't a typical book with a beginning, middle, and end - this book is an adorable collection of very short stories, quotes, Bible verses, and poetry - all with the topic of friendship. The actual text of this book covers things like what a friend should be, how a friend should act, and how we should treat our friends. I thought this was an adorable and creative way to really explain to our young children the concept of friendship.

Featuring quotes from the likes of William Shakespeare, Oscar Wilde, Shel Silverstein, William Butler Yeats, and Rebecca West, this book puts into example the entire concept of friendship. My favorite quote from this book is, "Two people are better than one. They can help each other in everything they do" (Ecclesiastes 4:9).

Mary Engelbreit has outdone herself in the illustration of this book. The artwork is bright, fun, and so uplifting. I thought that the images in this book did a great job of showing a variety of children playing, enjoying their friends, and having fun.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone with young, school-aged children, as it really helps to encompass how we should approach friendships, and being able to understand that to have friends we must also be a good friend. I loved it, and would give this book a 5/5, easily!

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free through the BookLookBlogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Great American Slow Cooker Book

If you are looking for a great slow cooker cookbook, with tons of recipes, this book for definitely for you! "The Great American Slow Cooker Book" is a collection of amazing (and simple!) recipes that you can make in your slow cooker. What is really cool about this particular cookbook is that each recipe gives you the ingredients for three different sized slow cookers, which I really liked. Each recipe includes the ingredients for a 2-3.5 qt slow cooker, a 4-5.5 qt slow cooker, and a 6-8 qt slow cooker. This way, even if you have a smaller slow cooker, you can still make every delicious recipe in this book.

Each recipe also features "testers' notes", which are helpful tips for each recipe. For example, the testers' notes for french onion soup (page 59) tell us not to use frozen chopped onions for this dish because they will be too soft and wet and will not caramelize well. These are super helpful notes that can help make sure the recipe turns out as delicious as intended.

The directions for these recipes are all very simple, and easy to follow. Most ingredients I came across were easy to find, or items I already had on hand in my pantry or refrigerator. There are a wide variety of recipes in this cookbook, as well. Delicious recipes for breakfast, Soups, Beef, Pork, Lamb, Veal/Rabbit, Poultry, Fish/Shellfish, Vegetables, Side Dishes, and Desserts are all included in this cookbook. So there is easily plenty of variety to use the slow cooker daily without repeating recipes!

I would highly recommend this cookbook to anyone. I am a mom of two and find that the slow cooker helps me to prepare healthy and delicious meals for my family without having to sacrifice time with my children. This would also be a great cookbook for busy working moms (and dads!), or even singles or couples who don't have any children. Who doesn't want to come home at the end of the day to a delicious meal, ready to eat?!

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from as part of their blogger program, in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Berenstain Bears "God Shows The Way"

Stan & Jan Berenstain, with Mike Berenstain have a new book coming out, entitled, "Berenstain Bears - God Shows The Way". This is a Zonderkids "I Can Read!" for beginning readers book, which means that it is specifically written for young children who are new readers. The book uses simple sentences and easy to understand language that makes it easy for early readers to independently read.

"God Shows The Way" is actually a combination of three books, each with a focus on a particular Biblical principle. The stories included in this collection are: "Faith Gets Us Through", "Do Not Fear, God Is Near", and "Piggy Bank Blessings". Each story starts off with a Bible verse that is the foundational principle for the story that follows.

Each story is interesting, and keeps the young reader interested in the story while teaching them important Biblical lessons. "Faith Gets Us Through" encourages the young reader to remember that no matter where they are or what they are going through, God will always be with them. "Do Not Fear, God Is Near" reassures children that when they are scared, God is there for them, and watching over them. "Piggy Bank Blessings" discusses the importance of saving money for a special or important occassion.

All three of these stories feature traditional and wonderful Berenstain Bears illustrations. I would highly recommend this book for anyone with young readers in their home. My six year old read all three stories in a row, and loved them! Great stories, strong Biblical messages, and awesome illustrations.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free through the BookLook Blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review in exchange for this book.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Jonah and the Great Big Fish

I am a big fan of reviewing children's books. I have two young children myself, and find that their reactions to books designed for them are sometimes much different from my own opinion of the books they read. Just recently we received "Jonah and the Great Big Fish" by Rhonda Gowler Greene, and illustrated by Margaret Spengler.

This story tells the traditional, Bible story of Jonah and the big fish. We learn about Jonah's disobedience to God in his refusal to go to Nineveh, and the unique punishment that God has in store for Jonah. This book brings to life the story of Jonah for young children, and illustrates the importance of listening to God and following his direction.

The book is beautifully illustrated, and the pictures are so bright and colorful. Both my children really loved looking at the images of Jonah and the big fish. Both my toddler and my big kid loved sitting on the couch and looking at this book together. When I read this story to my kids, I found that the book was really easy for them to understand. I thought this book was a big hit with my children, and I think that it will be a winner with nearly any young child.

I would highly recommend this book for children ages 3 and up. Wonderfully written, beautifully illustrated, and a wholesome Biblical message. What more could you ask for?

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookLookBloggers in exchange for an honest review. I was not under any obligation to write a positive review.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Celebrate Recovery Bible (NIV)

"Celebrate Recovery Bible" is a Bible designed to support those who are in recovery after struggling with addiction. The Bible itself is a New International Version translation of the Bible text. This Bible uses eight principles, based on the Beatitudes, to connect the reader to the Biblical text through their addiction. Each principle is listed and explained in depth at the beginning of the Bible, and then throughout the text of the Bible, when a particular principle is supported by Scripture, there will be a small number next to the text, corresponding to the principle it references.

Each chapter begins with a brief introduction to the chapter, including themes, author, date of writing, encouragement from the chapter, challenge from the chapter, reflection from the chapter, as well as an explanation of recovery themes in the chapter.

There are many additional lessons that appear randomly throughout this Bible, as well, with a Bible verse, explanation, and link to one of the principles. These help connect the Biblical teaching to the life that most addicts are living before they embrace sobriety. Also, there are recovery stories that appear throughout the Bible, as well. These are stories of one person and their personal struggles with addiction - I think this is a great addition to this Bible. Because of their habits, addicts tend to feel alone, and this helps them to relate to others, and to realize that they aren't alone at all.

Overall I would give this Bible a 4.5/5. I think the features were all incredibly helpful for this specific set of people, and I would highly recommend it to anyone who is struggling with addiction, or who has embraced sobriety after addiction. The only complaint I have about this Bible is that I wish it were hardcover. The paperback cover tends to wear much worse than a hardcover, but other than that, I loved everything about this Bible.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this Bible for free from's blogger program in exchange for my honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Monday, June 30, 2014

The Chopped Cookbook

"The Chopped Cookbook" from The Food Network is easily my favorite cookbook. I can't even count the number of times I stare into the refrigerator or pantry wondering, "What can I make for dinner with these ingredients?" With "The Chopped Cookbook", I have an answer! This cookbook is filled with delicious recipes for every meal, with a variety of ingredients that in most cases I already have in my home.

Recipes in this cookbook are relatively simple, and even the ingredient lists are usually very simple with herbs and spices that I already have in my spice rack. I was impressed with the recipes in this book, and how beautifully the foods turn out - many of these recipes look like they were created by a chef in a restaurant. I never knew such delicious foods could be created with such simple ingredients and basic ingredients!!

One other neat feature of this cookbook is that there is a variety in the recipes that are in this cookbook. It doesn't just reflect American food/Italian food/Asian food, but it balances many different genres of food so that there is a huge variety in the meals! I seriously am so excited to try almost every recipe in this book - this cookbook has recipes for everything - chicken, beef, fish, salads, vegetables, and even desserts!

I love this cookbook, and I would highly recommend it to any home cook who might be looking for some new and delicious ideas for meal time.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from's Blogger Program in exchange for my review. I was not obligated to write a positive review, and all of the above opinions are my own.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Teen Study Bible, NIV

The Teen Study Bible (Lawrence O. Richards, Sue W. Richards) is a New International Version Bible with additional teen friendly study features. The Bible itself is a traditional translation, with modern day English verbage, so it is easy to understand. 

The study tools that have been included in this Bible include features such as the "Bible Promises" tool, which highlights verses from Scripture for memorization. These verses are helpful verses that can inspire and are easy for teens to relate to. The "Q and A" feature challenges Bible knowledge with a fun trivia question that relates to the reading. The answer is easily found on the following page.

The "We Believe" feature breaks down the Apostles' Creed. There are also in depth chapter introductions preceeding each chapter of the Bible which set the scene for the events to come. There is also a fairly lengthy index to help find specific topics in this Bible.

Overall i would give this Bible a 5/5. I think it is a helpful tool in getting more out of the Bible foor teenagers. Well thought out and plenty if study features. 

FTC DISCLOSURE - I received this book for free from in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014


The New Spirit-Filled Life Bible (New International Version), published by Thomas Nelson is an awesome study bible. There are tons of study tools packed within the text of this traditional translation of the Bible. There are chapter introductions, which are awesome for helping the reader really understand what is going on at the time that each book was written, as well as pertinent information such as the time frame of the writing, and the author of the text. There are tons of little boxes that appear with key terms in them, as well as their definition, to help you get more out of your reading.

There are also plenty of graphics, mostly in the form of maps that also add to your understanding of the geography of Biblical times. I find this especially useful, particularly in the New Testament when we follow Jesus as he travels. This Bible also offers an end of chapter overview, which is unique. This feature uses a chart to highlight the truths that were revealed in the chapter, and also offers up practical examples, and ways to incorporate these truths into daily life.

Overall, I would say that this Bible is a wonderful study tool, and I would highly recommend it to anyone in the market for a study Bible. Lots of extra features to really help you understand the Word. Love this Bible.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookLook Blogger's Program in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Bible Stories for His Beautiful Princess - Sheri Rose Shepherd

Sheri Rose Shepherd's newest book, "Bible Stories for His Beautiful Princess" is an adorable book for young girls. This book features many Bible Stories, both Old and New Testament. Within this book, the story of Daniel and the Lion's Den, David and Goliath, Ruth, Moses and the Ten Commandments, Creation, David and his Sheep, Samson all spring to life through Shepherd's brilliant writing, and the accompanying artwork by Shelley Dieterichs.

My own daughter quite often pretends to be a princess, and this book was right up her alley. Really, what makes this storybook a "Princess" storybook is that the end of each story summarizes the Bible story that you just read, with a "Princess Prayer", which is a suggested prayer based on what was just taught in that story. Also featured, is a "Princess Jewel", which is the lesson that the particular Bible story taught. Outside of those two features, this is really just a well put together Bible storybook. I also really liked that each story had a one page summary at the beginning, that helped children understand what they were learning.

I would give this book a 5/5. Highly recommended for all the little princesses out there ages 3 and up. Loved it.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookLook Blogging Program in exchange for my review.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Chronological Study Bible

Thomas Nelson's newest addition is the Chronological Study Bible. This Bible is one that I found to be a very useful tool in addition to my regular Bible. The Chronological Study Bible is an NIV version, which is an easy to read translation. This Bible reorganizes the books of the traditional Bible so that they are in chronological order, which makes it easy to read page by page, as if reading a story. The events flow together in a way that is hard to do with a traditional Bible, and I feel that it really does help gel together important events of the Bible.

In addition to this chronological text, this Bible also offers many study features that I also found helpful. First, the beginning of every "epoch" of this Bible offers insight into the time period in which the books were written. This really helps put you into the mindset of the culture and times of the events that are unfolding. I also liked that there are tons of colorful boxes that give you tips, definitions, and additional information about what you are reading. This Bible has a lot more color on the pages than any other Bible I've seen. Images, maps, and informational boxes are plentiful, and I loved this part of this Bible.

Overall, I would give this Bible a 5/5. I think it is a great study tool, and also really helps me comprehend the events of the Bible as they occurred, rather than the way they were written in original texts. I will definitely be using this as a companion to my traditional Bible.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. I was NOT obligated to write a positive review.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Take Flight

"Take Flight! : A Sisterchicks Devotional" by Robin Jones Gunn and Cindy Hannan is a devotional written for women. Be warned: These devotionals are a little bit longer than what most others are, and with my stop and start reading, I felt like I was always forgetting what I was reading, when I'd pick it up again. If these readings had been just a little bit shorter, I think I would have liked it a lot more. Robin and Cindy really spoke to the heart of a woman, though, and their messages were really relevant to what I think a lot of women deal with.

My favorite part of this book was that each devotion ends with the "Take A Closer Look" section that gives offers additional readings, note taking space, and a Bible verse that is relevant to what you just read. Each devotion focuses on one theme, and begins with Robin's part of the devotion, "From Robin's Nest", where she shares a personal story or experience that she ties into a Biblical message. This is followed by Cindy's portion of the devotion, "From Cindy's Perch", which expands on Robin's theme, and sometimes gives another personal story and Biblical wisdom.

Overall I think that the message of each devotion was relevant to the audience. As a woman, I felt like these women were kindred spirits, and I enjoyed their personal stories, and felt as if I was listening to my own friends share life stories. I didn't like that the devotions were long, though. When you have kids, and a crazy house like I do, it's hard to set something down in the middle of a chapter and then remember exactly what you were reading hours (or days) later when you pick it back up. I loved the space for notes, though, and overall I would give this book a 4/5.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BloggingforBooks in exchange for an honest review. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014


"101 Bible Stories, From Creation to Revelation" is a great storybook for young children who are just starting to read on their own, or for a bedtime storybook for moms or dads to read to their young children. Bible stories are very short, so one or two can easily be read in a short amount of time, and the stories themselves are very simple in the language used, which makes stopping to explain what a word means happens much less with this book.

There are lots of great stories in this book, and many I've never seen in a children's Bible storybook in the past. Stories about Joseph, Jacob, Moses, Ruth, Jericho, Elijah, Danial, Jonah, David, Lazarus, and many more are told in this book. The illustrations are also a big plus in this book, as they are done so beautifully. Most of them picture a main character from the story, on the page after the actual reading.

I loved that this book was simple enough for my 5 year old to sit down and read to herself easily. This is a great way to get kids started on reading their own "Bible" and having a little bit of that quiet time with God on a daily basis. Loved this book, and honestly can't think of anything I would change about it.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book from Zondervan Kids through the BookLook Blogging program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Young Women of Faith Bible (NIV)

Zondervan's newest Bible for young girls, "Young Women of Faith Bible" is an awesome way to introduce the special young woman in your life to a traditional Biblical text. This Bible is a NIV translation, so the text is a traditional text, but the pages are filled with information, explanation, insight, and context to help the young reader understand and be able to related to the Scriptures.

I thought this Bible was a great tool for the younger readers, as it offers so many ways to help the reader connect to the message of the verses. Bright pink boxes on the pages break up the black and white space of the text and talk about life during Biblical times, why certain things are significant, historical events, and use modern day language and times to help tie in the message of the Bible to the life of a young girl.

This Bible offers a weekly Bible Study, that is only about one full page of reading, that offers a made up scenario that poses questions to make the reader think about the different aspects of their spiritual life. It then offers a "Read About It" feature that directs them to a specific chapter or verse to read that expands on the scenario and questions. It concludes with an "Experience It" challenge, asking the reader to follow through and experience what they have read about in some way.

Overall I would give this Bible a 5/5. I thought it was a great way to begin teaching my daughter how to navigate a traditional Bible. I also love that now she is able to find her favorite Bible stories, in more depth, than her Bible books.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher, Zondervan, in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Compass Bible

"Compass: The Study Bible for Navigating Your Life" is a new Bible from the creators of "The Voice" Bible. "Compass" sticks with the same presentation style as "The Voice", in which the text is written in more of a conversation style. Bold print indicates who is speaking, and is followed by their words, making it easy to know who is saying what.

The text of this Bible is standard size, and for me, easy to read. However, for an elderly person it may be difficult to see. This Bible also offers a modern translation of the Biblical text, which makes it simple to read and understand. This would be a really great Bible for young adults, in my opinion, as the translation and the format almost make you feel like you are reading a play, and it draws you in.

This Bible offers some study tools, such as notes within the text that offer insight into culture, history, and traditions. This Bible also has book introductions, maps, and reading plans to help you get the most out of your Bible.

I would give this Bible a 5/5. I thought it was unique in its style and formatting and really offers a fresh perspective on a traditional text.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookLook Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

One God, One Plan, One Life

"One God, One Plan, One Life" is a 365 day devotional designed for teenagers. Max Lucado carefully crafted a daily reminder to young people of God's love, faithfulness, and sacrifice. This devotional is a great way for young people to get into the habit of a daily devotion, and spending that time with God every day. What I loved about this particular devotional is that Lucado knew the audience he was writing for. The readings are short, catering to the teenager's short attention span - each devotion is on page, and can literally be read through in a matter of minutes.

The messages that Lucado shared are relevant to the life of a young adult, using the teenager's environment to relate Biblical principles, events, and messages. Lucado does a wonderful job of really making the Bible relevant to the 21st century teenager. The devotions consist of a Bible verse, followed by a short explanation or further examination of that verse, and a way that it ties into your teenager's life. Simple!

I would recommend this book for teenagers, ages 13 and up. I think it's the perfect way to get young adults thinking about God on a daily basis. Wonderfully written. I love that it's an entire year of devotions! Plenty of awesome readings, verses, and thoughts.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from's blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Devotions for Women

"The One Year Devotions for Women: Becoming a Woman at Peace" by Ann Spangler is a wonderful devotional that really caters to women. This devotional offers a daily devotion for each day of the year, concisely written and relevant to the lives of women. The devotions are dated, which is the only thing I didn't particularly like - if I miss a day I feel like I am getting behind, or missing out on something, whereas in non-dated devotion, you can just pick up where you left off.

The central theme of this devotional is peace, and how to find peace, which is a topic I believe nearly anyone could benefit from. As a busy mom myself, I sometimes feel like one day the chaos of being mom and wife are going to spin out of control. Peace is something I know I could use a little more of!

Each devotion starts with a Bible verse, followed by an elaboration, explanation, or story that expounds on the verse and the topic of the day. Each devotion closes with a suggested prayer that is short and easy to say. This is an ideal devotional for busy moms because the devotions are only one page each. I am a mom to two young children, and found that the length of these devotions was perfect, and easily fit into any five minutes that I had to spare during the course of the day.

I would give this book a 5/5, and highly recommend it for moms, grandmothers, aunts, or sisters. Well written, easy to read, and focused on women. Great devotional.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

The Jesus Bible, NIV

Zonderkids newest Bible is the perfect addition to your teen or tween's bookshelf. After reading through this Bible, I think that this would be appropriate for young adults from middle school up. With a plethora of tools to help them gain a deeper insight into the teachings of the Bible. This Bible focuses in on Jesus and his role in the Bible. This version is an NIV version with red-letter text.

This Bible offers so many explanations and insight into events, occurrences, and prophecy found in the Bible, especially where it relates to Jesus. The New Testament offers a small text box that lets you know when an event or occurrence fulfills Old Testament prophecy, as well as where to go to find that particular prophecy in the text.

This Bible also features a one page summary of each chapter as it begins, setting the scene for the chapter, and giving information about what is going on at the time, and who the key players are. Text boxes also feature bible verses that are important in the chapter, making it easy to see at a glance what important event or principles are featured.

This Bible also has one page devotions throughout it, featuring a key Bible verse, a short explanation, story, or antedote, as well as a short prayer. These are well thought out, and they relate well to the reading that they occur near.

The Bible also offers a concordance, maps, and table of weights and measures in the back of the book to further help you understand/study the Bible more effectively.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this Bible for free from's blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, January 10, 2014

NIV Essentials Study Bible

Zondervan Publishers' "NIV Essentials Study Bible" is AMAZING! This Bible is the ultimate study tool for those who want to really get an in-depth look at Biblical figures, events, and wisdom. There are several different study tools that are all packed into this Bible. The Bible itself is the NIV translation, and a traditional text.

This Bible offers a TON of footnotes. The bottom 1/4 of each page on most pages is filled with additional explanation/insight into the words of the Bible. Sometimes there are passages of the Bible that are confusing or aren't easy to understand and the extensive use of these footnotes really help make the message clear and concise.

This Bible combines many other study tools from some of the popular study Bibles that have been published. In this particular Bible, you will find tools from the NIV Study Bible, NIV quest Study Bible, NIV Archaeological Study Bible, NIV Student Bible, The Great Rescue Bible, and The Essential Bible Companion.

Some of the tools that are found in this study Bible are the "Q & A", "Dig Deep Look Close", and "Important People In Focus". The "Q & A" section of this Bible is a really neat feature that I haven't seen before in a Bible. Popular questions are placed throughout the text, inside of a small box, along with a Biblical answer to that question. I loved how these were strategically placed near text that Biblically supported the given answer. The "Dig Deep Look Close" tool gives a deeper look into the people, history, archaeology, artifacts correlating to the Biblical text. For example, in Luke 7, there is an in depth look at Jewish Burial Practices. These help to understand the times in which the Bible was written, including customs and traditions. The "Important People In Focus" tool is also very interesting, as it profiles characters in the Bible, giving the reader a much more complete picture of who they were and what significant role they played.

I love this new Bible, and am so impressed by the amazing tools packed into it. I would highly recommend this Bible to anyone who is looking for a Bible that is going to offer a more complete picture of the life and times of Biblical events and figures, as well as a traditional NIV text.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from, through their blogger program.