Thursday, October 29, 2015

Every Girl Gets Confused

“Want to take a spin around the dance floor, Katie?” Casey took hold of my hand. “For old times’ sake?”
I hesitated, but then Casey tugged me to the center of the dance floor as “Unforgettable” played overhead.
“It’s our son,” Casey whispered in my ear as he pulled me into his arms.
Correction. It used to be our song. Still, as the lyrics rooted themselves in my heart, I found myself caught up in the moment. I settled into Casey’s familiar, comfortable embrace and was whisked back in time to the days when we were young and in love.

Book: Every Girl Gets Confused: A Novel (Brides with Style) by Janice Thompson, Revell Publishers, 2015

Genre: Romance
Subjects: Identity, Trust in God, Love, Family Relationships, Prayer
Target Audience: Adult Women
Summary: What’s a girl to do when the man she was in the process of falling in love with seems distracted and moody and isn’t really showing signs of wanting to continue pursuing her and her former boyfriend from childhood, the one who dumped her instead of proposing is now showing signs of wanting to pursue her again? Katie really did think she was falling in love with Brady but his knee injury and the accompanying inability to play professional basketball seems more important to him these days and he’s not letting her in. Meanwhile, between the holidays and the wedding for her grandmother as well as the preparations for the wedding keep giving her opportunities to see Casey who is back in Fairfield and being attentive again. That’s not the extent of her problems though. Business is going great at the bridal store in Dallas – too good. They have more customers than they can handle, including some they don’t want. Then there’s her parents, particularly her mother who expects her to hurry up and be done pursuing any dream that takes her out of Fairfield. And somehow, Katie finds herself caught up in the drama of all the other romances around her, those of her brothers, co-workers and aunt. Is it any wonder she’s confused?
Notes: Janice Thompson is known for her “comical romances” as she puts it. Her books feature characters with large crazy families – usually with strong demanding parents with expectations for their grown daughter that differ from the life she is almost accidentally carving for herself. The author is often creating comical scenes as the characters interact. Each book features older women who almost exist just to provide comedy to the story, but also spiritual encouragement at times the main character needs it most. This is the second in the Brides With Style series. Katie is a small town girl who accidentally finds herself working in a bridal shop in Dallas and falling in love with the owner’s son. The comical characters are her grandmother and grandmother’s sister. In this book Katie is struggling with doubts about her love for Brady and her decision to move on from Casey. She faces the temptation to let doubt ruin her relationship. There is also the spiritual issue of Brady struggling with finding his identity now that his career as a professional basketball player is at least temporarily over. He and Katie are both encouraged to find their identity in Christ rather than anything else.
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

James 1:5-6 - If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion

Friday, October 9, 2015

I Can Read - Bible Stories

High Interest Stories For Developing Readers”
“Simple Sentences For Eager New Readers”
“Ideal For Sharing With Emergent Readers”

Doesn’t this sound like what you want for your kid/s? You go to the library, browse the shelves and pull out all the leveled reader books on your child’s level. Biscuit, Fancy Nancy, Pony Scouts, Amelia Bedelia, the latest Disney books, animal fact books… and Bible Stories!

Thanks to Zonderkidz, basic Bible stories are in leveled reader form. If your library doesn’t have them, just request them. They fit right in amongst the other leveled readers. The Zonderkidz books are part of the I Can Read! Leveled Readers.

The nature of the I Can Read! leveled readers is books with bigger text, common sight words and vocabulary pertaining to the story. It does not focus on basic phonics skills, so it isn’t ideal for brand new beginners, more for those who have already developed a little bit in their reading skills. In this series, the vocabulary that would be hard to read is the Bible names, objects and places. It basically gives your children the opportunity to turn Bible words into common sight words. 

Each book contains:
-         A Bible verse
-         A summarized Bible Story written for children
-         Colorful cartoon illustrations

And the "Adventure Bible" series contains extra notes and things to think about in the back. Sometimes it's an application question, sometimes it's a summary of characters or how to pronounce a name. Sometimes it's a key verse to think on or memorize. 

 Here are new I Can Read Adventure Bible stories I got for review:

Joseph The Dreamer - the story of Joseph - all the way from the point of his father giving him the coat of many colors to Jacob and the family moving to Egypt. It carefully skips over the part with Potiphar's wife saying only that the rich man Joseph was sold to threw him in jail even though he had not done anything wrong. It includes the quote from Genesis 50 when Joseph's brothers are afraid of him where Joseph says "What you meant for evil, God used for good to save us all." (Although the quote is taken out of context - in Scripture it doesn't happen until the death of Jacob, in the story it happens right when Joseph reveals himself to his brothers.)  

Facing The Blazing Furnace -
  the story of Shadrach, Meshach and Abendego refusing to worship Nebuchadnezzer's statue. What I like best about this one is that it includes the quote from Scripture where they said "God is able to rescue us but even if He does not, we will not worship the statue." It's what makes these 3 heroes of the Bible great role models for kids - they knew that God doesn't always spare the lives of His followers. Sometimes bad things happen to them. We can still trust and follow God with confidence though.
 - the story of Ruth and her faithfulness to her mother-in-law. It tells how, after the death of her husband, instead of staying in her own land, she went to Israel with Naomi, gleaned in the fields to provide for the two of them and then married Boaz and became the great-grandmother of King David.

Here are some of the other titles in this series:
Psalm 79:1-7 – O my people, hear my teaching; listen to the words of my mouth. I will open my mouth in parables, I will utter hidden things, things from of old-- what we have heard and known, what our fathers have told us. We will not hide them from their children; we will tell the next generation the praiseworthy deeds of the LORD, his power, and the wonders he has done. He decreed statutes for Jacob and established the law in Israel, which he commanded our forefathers to teach their children, so the next generation would know them, even the children yet to be born, and they in turn would tell their children. Then they would put their trust in God and would not forget his deeds but would keep his commands.

Thank you to the publishers for providing me with a free review copy of some of these in exchange for my honest opinion!

Thursday, October 1, 2015


This is the first children’s book I have reviewed, so I’m a little unsure of the best format to use. A detailed description of the content and notes on the ideas conveyed doesn’t seem to fit such a short story. So for now, I’m simply going to share my thoughts on this book. 

Book: Thankful written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Archie Preston, Zonderkidz, 2015

Genre: Children's Picture Book
Target Audience: Boys and Girls 2-10
Subjects: Thankfulness
Summary & Notes: Adorable! That’s the best word to describe the picture book Thankful written by Eileen Spinelli and illustrated by Archie Preston. The author takes the reader through a day in the life of a family, showing what they are thankful for. It’s not just an ordinary family though. The children have great imagination and pretend to be a number of different professions and we get to see what each profession would be thankful for. Archie Preston draws beautiful illustrations of the kids, showing exactly what they are imagining. One of the things I appreciate about this book is that the ideas are not overly simple. For example, one of the pages says “The dancer is thankful. She loves the beat that stirs her heart and hips and feet.” It has cute little rhymes for each idea expressed. I like how it conveys gratitude to God for more than objects.
This not-so-simple picture book is one I can definitely recommend to children and their parents!
Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5
Reviewer: J:-)mi

 1 Thessalonians 5:18 - Give thanks in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

Angels - A 90 Day Devotional

Angels are described in terms of light and lightning, gemstones and flames. Tales of their visits put a flutter in our hearts and a sense of awe in our souls. And why not? Their arrival has always been seen as a sign of God at work, a signal that life is about to take a dramatic turn.

Book: Angels: A 90-Day Devotional about God's Messengers by Christa Kinde, Zonderkidz, 2015

Genre: Devotional/Bible Study

Target Audience: Boys and Girls 10-16

Subjects: Angels, Biblical History

Summary: Angels, demons, vampires, aliens, unicorns, dragons. They inspire the curiosity in us, make us ask “Would what it be like if it were real? If I truly encountered one?”. Most of the things in that list aren’t real. They are fantasy, legends. Some are real things but far more ordinary and simple than the legends about them. Not so with angels. They are very real and every bit as awe-inspiring as the legends say. In fact, they are much more impressive than often given credit for. Rather than being a cute baby with wings, angels are powerful beings created to serve God. They are warriors, messengers, and His servants to do His bidding, whether it be to announce a new life or destroy a life. This devotional gives you ninety days of exploring exactly what angels truly are – and what they aren’t. Answering common questions or discussing popular ideas, the author presents a Bible verse, gives a short discussion, more verses to help answer the question or explain the idea, then gives a few thought provoking questions or further Scripture to study.

Notes: Christa Kinde is the author of speculative fiction series speculating on what it would be like if a person could identify the angels around and have friendships with them. In this devotional, she steps away from the “what if” and looks at what the Bible actually says about angels – the facts. She’s not afraid of any of the questions of myths, but answers them with honesty and backs up her answers with Scripture. One great example is the question of how many angels they are. The page reads like this:

Q: Are there angels?

A: Yes.
Q: How many?

A: A lot

Q: Can you be more specific?

A: Only as specific as Scripture gets. Take a look at these verses:

Then she proceeds to give three verses discussing how many angels, then explains that in Greek, the largest number was 10,000. “So the people who wrote about the heavenly host pulled the biggest number they knew, then told us to multiply it. Are there millions, billions, trillions? Only God knows. But we do know that those who caught a glimpse of heaven’s angels ended up with boggled minds. Words failed. Numbers fell short. It’s beyond our understanding…. beyond our imagining… and entirely real.”

I highly recommend this as either a devotional or a Bible Study. The “Dig a little deeper” section at the end of each devo allows for it to be explored further. Also, each lesson is meant to have at least a hint of application, giving the reader something to consider for their own life.

Spiritual Content Recommendation Scale: 5/5

Enjoyment Scale: 5/5

Reviewer: J:-)mi

Luke 2:9 – An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a free review copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion. I enjoyed it!