Sunday, November 23, 2014

Book Reveiw-The Case For Christmas By Lee Strobel


The Case for Christmas
A Journalist Investigates the Identity of the Child in the Manger
By:  Lee Strobel
Publisher:  Zondervan

From the Book:
Who was in the manger that first Christmas morning? Some say he would become a great moral leader, others, a social critic. Still others view Jesus as a profound philosopher, a rabbi, a feminist, a prophet, and more. Many are convinced he was the divine Son of God.
Who was he—really? And how can you know for sure?
Consulting experts on the Bible, archaeology, and messianic prophecy, award-winning legal journalist Lee Strobel searches out the true identity of the child in the manger. If Jesus really was God in the flesh, then there ought to be credible evidence?
In my opinion:  
Mr. Strobel is one of the best investigative journalists I have read.  He really digs down to the core in his investigations leaving nothing unturned.  This book is no exception.  He takes apart and investigates the identity of Jesus from every angle.  He looks for eyewitness evidence through biographies of Jesus, scientific evidence through archaeology, profile evidence and fingerprint evidence.  He consults with experts regarding the evidence from a Biblical standpoint.  After two years of investigating the identity of Christ to what conclusion does Mr. Strobel come?  Does he believe that Jesus was the babe in the manger that day?   Not to give away too much, you will have to read this book to find out Mr. Strobel’s conclusion.  I can promise you won’t be disappointed.  Mr. Strobel presents some very compelling facts and has left it to you to make your own decision based upon the evidence. 
At the conclusion of the book he does talk about how commercialized this Holy day has become.  I too feel many of us are too busy and we neglect the true meaning of Christmas.  I pray daily that we will return to putting Christ back in Christmas and daily return Him to our lives throughout the year. 
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher, Zondervan, through Z Blog Squad for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.



Friday, November 21, 2014

Book Review-The Legend of St. Nicholas by Dandi Daley Mackall


The Legend of St. Nicholas
A Story of Christmas Giving
By:  Dandi Daley Mackall
Illustrated By:  Richard Cowdrey
Publisher:  ZonderKidz

I am so impressed with this hard-cover beautifully written and illustrated book about the joy of giving for Christmas.

It begins with Nick waiting to the last minute to shop for his siblings and he didn’t want to spend all his money on gifts for others.  He was hoping to have enough money left to buy something for himself until…he heard the mall Santa tell the story of Nicholas, a child of privilege.  When his parents died he inherited their wealth and found joy in helping those less fortunate.  It became his life mission to celebrate Christmas honoring God by giving to others.

This is the most impressive book I have read explaining the joy of sharing with others.  It is a great book to help your children understand this is what God wants them to do.  This could also be used as a teaching tool.

I would highly recommend this book for children age 4-8.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this Book by the publisher, ZonderKidz, for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.


Book Review-The Christmas Story For Children by Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, Karen Davis Hill


The Christmas Story for Children
By:  Max Lucado, Randy Frazee, Karen Davis Hill
Illustrations By:  Fausto Bianchi
Publisher:  ZonderKidz

The angel told Mary she had been chosen to be the mother of a special baby and they were to name him Jesus.  She was also told when he was older he would save the world because he was the Son of God.

Max Lucado brings the event of Jesus’ birth to life, using simple language that is easy for younger children to understand.  This book goes beyond Jesus’ birth and includes his Baptism by his cousin John the Baptist.  It tells how on that day Jesus spectacular life began and He became a prophet, healer, preacher, friend and more importantly the Messiah.

This is a soft shiny cover book that will delight your child.  I was very impressed with the story beginning with the Angel’s appearance to Mary and going beyond the babe in the manger. 

This is a beautifully written and illustrated Christmas book for children ages 4 – 8

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this Book by the publisher, ZonderKidz, for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review-The First Christmas Ever


The First Christmas Ever
Illustrated By:  Dennis Jones
Publisher:  ZonderKidz

The First Christmas took place in a stable with animals, a manger and hay.  The reason for the first Christmas was the birth of Jesus.  You might ask why this birth was so special.  It is because Jesus would change the world forever. 

This is a delightful 31-page soft-cover little booklet illustrated by Dennis Jones.  It tells the story of Jesus’ birth through age 30, in simple everyday language that can easily be understood by children from ages 4-8.  The illustrations are so adorable they will be sure to delight the youngest children and keep them turning the pages. 

I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for an easy to understand story of the Birth of Jesus.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this Book by the publisher, ZonderKidz, for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Book Reveiw-Rocky Mountain Miracle by Christine Feehan


Rocky Mountain Miracle
By:  Christine Feehan
Publisher:  Pocket Star

Cole Steele is a womanizer and it is rumored he spent time in prison and is also under suspicion for the murder of his father.

Maia Armstrong is a traveling veterinarian and it is rumored she practices magic and can cast spells on man and animals.  When Cole and Maia meet things begin to sizzle between them. 

Talk about a dysfunctional family…this one tops the charts.  Cole’s father was sadistic and made the lives of those around him almost unbearable and would even go to lengths to have you killed.  Cole left home and only returned after his father’s death because he was named guardian of his younger half-brother.  Both of them struggle with the Christmas season because their father was particularly cruel during that time of year.

Maia goes to the ranch to care for a critically wounded horse.  The horse shows her the terrible things the Steele men have endured and although they don’t believe in Christmas Maia is filled with Christmas spirit and begins to work her magic on healing the Steele men.

What can I say?  I’m a romantic at heart.  I loved this book!  There is mystery, suspense and intrigue enough to keep you turning the pages.  It was fast-paced from the first page.  I couldn’t put it down.

If you love romance, cowboys, a mystery and Christmas this is a book you won’t want to miss.


Disclosure: I was given a copy of this eBook by the publisher, Pocket Star, through Net Galley blogger program for review. I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Book Reveiw-Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund



Love Unexpected
By:  Jody Hedlund
Publisher:  Baker Publishing Group

1859 Presque Isle, Michigan

All Emma Chambers ever wanted was a home and a family of her own, but as the steamboat she is traveling on sinks just off Presque Isle, she is left without a home or means to support herself.  Patrick the lighthouse keeper rescues Emma from certain death and later that day buries his wife, leaving him with a difficult situation….how to care for his young son and keep the light house lantern working.  The traveling preacher gives a solution to both Patrick and Emma’s situation by proposing a hasty marriage. 

This is a beautifully written story of second chances laced with grace.  It has enough historical background to make it factual with a fiction flare.  It is filled with love, suspense, mystery, grace, forgiveness and even Pirates.  I immediately fell in love with Emma’s character.  I felt her pain, insecurity, doubt and the betrayal by someone she thought was a friend. 

I was hooked from the first page and didn’t put it down until it was finished, so if you choose to read this book, (and I think you should), just be prepared to not be able to lay it down.
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this eBook by the publisher, Baker Publishing Group, through NetGalley blogger program for review. I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.


Book Review- Every Valley Advent with the Scriptures of Handel's Messiah


Every Valley
Advent with the Scriptures of Handel’s Messiah
Publisher:  Westminster John Knox Press

From Inside The Book:
Handel's Messiah is one of the most beloved musical works of the western world, playing an especially sentimental role in many people's Christmas traditions. The libretto of the work, taken directly from the King James text of fourteen books of the Bible, has turned many otherwise forgettable phrases into memorable, singable, cherished lines of Scripture.

Forty reflections journey in order through the oratorio, taking the reader deeper into less-often studied texts like Malachi 3:3 and bringing new light to oft-recited passages like Luke 2:9-14. Each reflection offers the libretto from Messiah, the same passage in NRSV, and a brief commentary on the text, written by a respected scholar or pastor. Readers can peruse the book at leisure or examine one reflection per day throughout the Advent and Christmas seasons.

My Thoughts:
Until reading this book of the scripture and story behind Handel’s Messiah, I never really listened to more than the Hallelujah Chorus.  I always thought it was just another beautiful Christmas Carol.  However, after reading this book and listening to Handel’s Messiah, in my opinion is something that should be sung often.  It foretells the birth of Jesus, the actual birth, suffering and rescue of God’s chosen people (Israel), the triumphant entry to Jerusalem, betrayal, death, burial, resurrection and eternal life. 

This is just what the title implies…an in-depth devotional for the Advent season.  I would highly recommend this especially if you would like something deeper than the usual Advent devotionals. 

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this eBook by the publisher, Westminster John Knox Press , through NetGalley blogger program for review. I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.






Saturday, November 15, 2014

Book Review-Berenstain Bears Thanksgiving Blessings By Mike Berenstain


The Berenstain Bears
Thanksgiving Blessings
By:  Mike Berenstain
Art Direction:  Cindy Davis
Publisher:  ZonderKidz

“Thanksgiving Blessings” is a shiny paper cover book for children ages 4-8.  It has adorable illustrations on each page.  All scripture references unless otherwise noted are from the NIV Bible.  This book also sports a page of stickers from each point featured in the book. 

Who doesn’t love the Berenstain Bears?  This is another adorably written Berenstain Bear book, “Thanksgiving Blessings”.  This book also uses excerpts of the song, “Over the River and Through the Woods”, by Lydia Child, to help make their Thanksgiving journey more fun.  On their journey your child will learn not only to be thankful for things such as food and toys,  but also to be thankful for family, faith, work and play, just to name a few.  It ends with a great feast of Thanksgiving. The beautifully illustrated sticker page is sure to delight children of all ages. 

I would highly recommend this book not only at Thanksgiving but any time you are trying to teach your youngster about being thankful.

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this Book by the publisher, ZonderKidz, for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review-Give Thanks to the Lord By Karma Wilson


Give Thanks to the Lord
By:  Karma Wilson
Illustrated By:  Amy June Bates
Publisher:  ZonderKidz

Beautifully written and illustrated celebration of Psalms 92 for children ages 4-8.  It tells children in rhyming verse about how to be thankful not just for material things, but that they also need to thank God for family, friends and fun. 

The book I received from ZonderKidz for review is a shiny paper cover book with an adorable illustration, measuring 8.5 x 11 inches.  This is a wonderful little book to use at Thanksgiving but I also think it is a great tool to start teaching children at an early age how to be thankful to God for all things. The story is written in rhyme and the illustrations on each page are sure to delight even the youngest child. 

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this Book by the publisher, ZonderKidz, for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review-Faithgirlz Journal


Faithgirlz Journal
Cover By:  Sarah Molegraaf
Interior Design By:  Matthew Van Zomeran
Publisher:  ZonderKidz

Faithgirlz Journal is a hard cover journal with spiral binding with plenty of room for writing dreams and doodling.  Each page has an inspirational quote or Bible verse.  All the Bible verses are taken from the NIV unless otherwise stated.  There are lined pages to write letters to God or just jot down your thoughts.  It also has several unlined pages at the end of the journal for drawing or doodling.  It is a beautiful way for ay tween-age girl to explore and discover who God wants her to be.

The review below is written by my 9-yr old granddaughter.  This review is her own thoughts.  I only helped with spelling and punctuation.

REVIEWED AND WRITTEN BY:  SARAH   AGE: 9

I really liked that it is hard cover and it is spiral bound because the pages won’t fall out.  I also liked that on all the pages it said something like this “Earth, with her thousand voices, praises God “by Samuel Tylor Coleridge. This journal has 207 pages to write and draw on. I also liked that on the sides of the pages there are pictures of flowers in one of my favorite colors, purple. In the back of the book there are places to draw and put pictures. This is your books put whatever you want in here it is only between you and GOD.                 
I would recommend this book.
Disclosure: I was given a copy of this Book by the publisher, ZonderKidz, for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.

Book Review-Faithgirlz Handbook by Suzanne Hadley


Faithgirlz Handbook
How to Let Your Faith Shine Through
By:  Suzanne Handley
Publisher:  ZonderKidz

This paper-bound book helps your tween–age girl to discover true friendships through structured activities.  It gives you all you need to start your own Faithgirlz club.  It helps to build a relationship with God and how to really become a true BFF.  This activity book will help you grow closer to God and to discover amazing things about Him, yourself and your friends.  Each section of the book ends with “Lets Write Topics” about each lesson and gives lined pages to answer those questions and record your own thoughts.

The review below is written by my 9-yr old granddaughter.  This is what she thought about the book. These thoughts are her own.  I only helped with spelling and punctuation. 

REVIEW BY:  Sarah   Age 9

I really like that this book has an index to help you find your lessons in a hurry and you don’t have to do them in order.  There are 12 weeks of awesome lessons.  Also there are little talks and helps about the lessons.  I really do like that there are fun activities, for example, making glittery shimmery bath salts, making muffins, making chocolate covered strawberries and lots and lots more.  All of the activities are part of a lesson, which is really cool. There are 129 pages of awesome lessons, activities and places to write answers to questions and what I am thinking.   I like that each activity will help me become a better friend and I think it will show me how to spend equal amounts of time with God and other things.

I would recommend this book!

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this Book by the publisher, ZonderKidz, for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.


Book Review-KJV KIDS Study Bible

KJV KIDS Study Bible
Publisher:  Zondervan
Features Written By:  Lawrence O. Richards

The Bible we are reviewing has a leather-look cover in fuchsia with a purple butterfly making it definitely a girl’s Bible.  Inside the Bible cover is deep purple.  It has a presentation page, contents page and welcome page just to name a few. 

FEATURES:
v  “Did you Know?”   reveals fascinating facts in the Bible.
v  “Let’s Live It!”  shows you how to apply the Bible in your life today.
v  “Words to Remember”  helps you remember important Bible verses.
v  “Life in Bible Times”  brings the Bible alive with descriptions and pictures.
v  20 full-color inserts  answer important questions kids have about the Bible and highlight information that will help kids to understand the Bible better.
v  Dictionary/concordance  explains key words and helps you find the important Bible passages.
v  Book Introductions  explains each Bible book.
v  8 full-color maps  show you where it all happened.
v  King James Version of the Bible is a classic and traditional favorite.

The print is the perfect size, not too small and not too large.  There is a bolded topic sentence at the beginning of each chapter and if the topic changes through-out the chapter there will also be a bolded topic at the beginning of each change, making it easier for your child to understand there has been a change in thought.  I love the fact that in addition to the Concordance there is an actual dictionary making it easy to look up key words.  Having it close by helps keep your child focused.  My one small disappointment is that it is not red-letter edition.

This is the first tween-age KJV Bible I have reviewed and I am completely blown away with all the “helps” to make understanding the KJV Bible easier for this age group. 

As I sat and wrote my part of the review, I listened to my 9 year-old granddaughter as she began looking through and reading the Bible.   During her exploration of God’s word her comments ranged from Awesome, cool, great and WOW!

The review below is written by my 9-yr. old granddaughter.  The review is her own thoughts.  I only helped with spelling and punctuation.

REVIEWED AND WRITTEN BY:  Sarah      AGE: 9

I really loved that the cover almost reminds me of hot pink and has a really, really cool purple butterfly on the front.  Also it has a cool presented page...it is awesome!!  It has questions and answers about the Bible and pages that tell what each book is about.  It also has a cool page about the Rulers in the Bible and an awesome page on how to pray.  I really like the help pages it has in it.  It has a page about famous children of the Bible, like David and Goliath, plus this Bible has words to know and words to remember.  Also at the beginning of each book it tells who wrote it, why it was written, what is special about it and when it was written.  I really liked if I don’t understand something there might be helps close by and every time I read I know I’m going to learn something new about God.  I really, really, really think this Bible is AWESOME!!!

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this Book by the publisher, ZonderKidz, for an honest review.   I was not required to write a favorable review nor was I compensated for my review. The opinions in this review are my own.