Saturday, May 31, 2014

10% Happier Review

I just finished reading 10% Happier by Dan Harris. I will say that I started off reading this book without much enthusiasm. I received it from Litfuse Publicity Group which has always passed on Christian fiction and non-fiction novels and in the very first sentence there was a cuss word. I got past it because I figured I couldn't judge the whole book based on that.

This is the story of Dan Harris, news correspondent, who discovers the act of meditation. The entire book is about his self-discovery. He spends a whole lot of time speaking to religious leaders and being very unimpressed. Actually, I enjoyed reading the parts of the book about his interviews. He was friendly with Ted Haggard before Ted Haggard's lifestyle came to light. He was in cahoots with Deepak Chopra. And there was a piece he did on pastors who had become athiests without telling their congregations which I even remember watching years ago.

I guess most people won't be bothered by the language in this book but I felt it was unnecessary, particularly because I was reading the book thinking that Harris' faith is what makes him happier. Unfortunately that is not the case. It was pretty sad, seeing him on this journey trying to fill this emptiness inside of him and never finding it.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Harper Collins for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, May 30, 2014

A Season of Change Review

I just finished reading "A Season of Change" by Lynette Sowell. This is book 1 in the Seasons in Pinecraft series. I had not heard of Lynette Sowell before reading this book but I really enjoyed her writing style and this story.

This story was unlike most Amish stories. I have read plenty of Amish love stories where an Amish person will fall in love with an English person and it always ends with the English person leaving their lifestyle and joining the Amish. It almost makes it seem like it's very easy to make that transition. In this book the author and the characters are very honest about the difficulty of being Amish. So finding a way for the two love interests in the story to end up together wasn't quite so easy.

I really liked the characters in this book and their interactions. I would love to read more from Sowell in the future and I'd like to read the rest of this series when it's available. I recommend these books if you like this genre.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Abingdon Press for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

You can purchase your own copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Thursday, May 29, 2014

A Sensible Arrangement (Review)

I just finished reading "A Sensible Arrangement" by Tracie Peterson. I have enjoyed every book by Peterson that I have ever read, and I enjoyed this one too. This is book one in the Lone Star Brides series. Marty Olson is looking for a way to leave Texas, and Jake Wythe is looking for a wife from Texas to join him in Colorado. It seems like the perfect arrangement. That is, until Marty finds out that Jake's dream is to own a ranch in Texas. That is exactly what she was trying to get away from in entering this marriage.

This book has suspense, drama and romance all wrapped up in one. If you like historical novels you will really enjoy this one. Peterson is such a good writer and makes her stories very enjoyable to read.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Bethany House for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

Purchase your own copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Sensible Arrangement, A (Lone Star Brides)

Surprised by Grace (Review)

I just finished reading Surprised by Grace by Elizabeth Sherrill. I had actually never heard of Elizabeth Sherrill before reading this book. I kind of fell in love with her while reading this though. I loved her writing style and I loved the stories she shared.

Sherrill is the co-author of many well-known books such as The Hiding Place. But in this book she tells her personal story of how she came to know God as a personal God. I loved the stories she shared which were both very significant life events coupled with "every day" stories. She has some amazing tales to tell.

I do recommend this book, particularly if you enjoy non-fiction. Her life story is very interesting.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and Guideposts for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

You can purchase a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

The Day the Crayons Quit (Review)

This book is definitely in our top five favorite books right now. It is The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt. In this book, every crayon in Duncan's crayon box writes a letter to Duncan. They all love Duncan but many of the crayons have requests - some want to color different objects, some want to be used more, some want to be used less, and some want arguments resolved!

This book is a lot of fun to read and it makes us all laugh every time we read it - which is OFTEN. The illustrations are amazing and the story is incredibly creative. I highly recommend this book for all ages!

How Do Dinosaurs Say I'm Mad? (Review)

If a book cover shows a dinosaur you can pretty much guarantee my kids are going to grab it off the shelf. How Do Dinosaurs Say I'm Mad? is part of a dinosaurs "series" by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague. We've read several of these books over the years.

I particularly like this one because the dinosaurs get sort of over-the-top mad. When they are told to clean up they throw huge tantrums and are very rude. It was so silly that my kids were giggling but it was also a little nervously, like they can see themselves in these situations a bit! The books also outline several dinosaurs with their names written in small print in the illustrations.

I'm a big fan of these books and this one is no different. I like the story a lot and so do my kids.

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great (Review)

Unicorn Thinks He's Pretty Great by Bob Shea was a cute book. My kids and I absolutely loved the illustrations of the book. This story is about a goat who is very jealous of Unicorn and pretty outspoken about it. Everything cool that Goat does gets outshined by Unicorn. So Goat is kind of trash-talking Unicorn and feeling pretty bummed about himself. Then one day Unicorn approaches Goat and it turns out that Unicorn is pretty jealous of certain things about Goat. In the end they become great friends.

I think this is a really cute book. The illustrations are amazing as I said and the story is really cute. It's a great way to bring up judging others and thinking of positive aspects of others as well as not comparing yourself to others! Lots of lessons in this short book. Love it.

The HICCUPotamus (Review)

The HICCUPotamus by Aaron Zenz is a pretty cute book and fun to read. The only problem I have with this book is that it is basically all made-up words in order to make up the rhymes. I understand the motivation behind Zenz to make a book like this. I love the story and so do my kids. But at times it was hard for my kids to follow along because so many of the words didn't make sense to them. For example, in order to create rhymes for the word "therapy" the author created the words "shareapy", "whereapy" and "nightmareapy".

In the end, though, the story is cute and pretty short. The illustrations are really great. It was enjoyable but not one we would read over and over again.

Math Fables (Review)

Okay, I am a self-proclaimed nerd, so books like Math Fables by Greg Tang really appeal to me. My kids love this book too! I think it's a great way to incorporate math in a fun and creative way. This book tells stories that include the numbers 1-10. Throughout the stories, the author shows the different ways to get to one sum. For example, for the number 8, there are 8 crabs in the story. 5 crabs complain and 3 crabs tell them why it's so hot outside. Then 4 crabs head to the shore and 4 more haul all the stuff to the beach. Then 7 stand on the beach while 1 jumps in. Then another crab jumps in so 2 are in the ocean while 6 stay on the shore. The stories are really cute and entertaining and it's a great way to show kids these math skills.

Also, at the end of the book are several suggested activities for ways to use the book other than just reading. Very, very cool and something I can see using in the future for homeschooling or reiterating lessons. Great illustrations too! I highly recommend this book.

The Mischievians (Review)

The Mischievians by William Joyce is a book that I have really gotten to know over the last couple of weeks. My kids love this book! I actually think this is the type of book I would write if I was an author. It is very quirky and creative.

The Mischievians are those pesky creatures whose jobs absolutely irritate us - they create belly lint, they hide remote controls, and they give us blisters! William Joyce has created a background for these little creatures and came up with a very fun book. I think this book is great for a wide range of ages. I can see older children really enjoying this book on their own. I highly recommend it. The illustrations are great, too!

Put On Your Shoes! (Review)

This book is one that I have read over and over with both my kids (3 years old and 5 years old). Although I really thought it was a bit young for them they both enjoy the story. Probably because the saucy little girl reminds them of their own personalities! Also, my five-year old can read most of it on her own.

This is a cute story by Dan Stiles. I would recommend it as a first-reader type of book for kindergarten-age children or as a fun story for younger children. Check it out!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Know Orphans (Review)

I just finished reading the book "Know Orphans" by Rick Morton. This book is about "mobilizing the church for global orphanology". I have got to say that Rick Morton has really done his research. Although he kind of had to, considering he has adopted transnationally three times.

If you are considering adoption, even with the smallest tug, I think you should read this book. Morton makes no mistake by stating that he believes not everyone should feel the call to adopt. But if you do, he covers every little aspect of the process. Morton discusses the scripture behind orphans and how we as the church should take care of them. He even covers legal issues as well as other issues that often come up such as learning a new language, psychological issues and medical issues.

I highly recommend this book. It is very informational and a great read.

Thank you to Litfuse Publicity and New Hope Publishers for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

You can purchase a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

KnowOrphans: Mobilizing the Church for Global Orphanology


Friday, May 23, 2014

Silenced (Review)

I just finished reading "Silenced" by Dani Pettrey. I love Christian suspense novels and I always enjoy finding a new author. This book is actually book four of a series (Alaskan Courage) but it did not matter while I was reading it. It does not take long at all to get a feel for the characters, their relationships, and the back story. This story can definitely stand alone although now that I have read it I would be interested to read the first three novels.

I think Dani Pettrey is a great writer. I had not heard of her but I will be keeping my eye out for her books now. I highly recommend this book if you are interested in the genre.

Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

You can purchase a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Silenced (Alaskan Courage)

Friday, May 16, 2014

Caught in the Middle Review

I just finished reading "Caught in the Middle" by Regina Jennings. This book focuses on the character os Anne Tillerton who is a buffalo hunter with a past. Unfortunately, she gains a lot of attention when she gets thrown into a situation where she is having to raise an orphaned little boy. The man helping her out knows her past and is pretty happy to help her out, even though Anne has a poor reputation due to her unladylike lifestyle.

The book is a good read and if you like historical fiction you will enjoy this book. The characters are great and the plot is enjoyable and easy to follow.

Thank you to Bethany House for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

You can purchase a copy from Amazon here (affiliate link):

Caught in the Middle

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Robins Nest Pet Resort

We were incredibly fortunate the other day to be invited into a homeschool group to have a "Pet Pals" day. Robin Shores from Robins Nest Pet Resort in Seagrove came, along with four turtles, a skunk, and a goat! She let the kids roam around with the animals while she answered questions and then she had a short "lecture" time which was very laidback and informative. Ms. Shores was extremely patient with the children and so were all the animals! I have to highly recommend Ms. Shores if you have any interest in learning more about animals. She is very knowledgeable and has a wide variety of animals at her disposal.

Robin Shores
Robins Nest Pet Resort
7923 Riverside Rd
Seagrove NC 27341
Find her on Facebook