Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Book Review: Prayers That Changed History

Tricia Goyer is both an author and a homeschool mom. I thought this book would be a great compliment to our homeschool history lessons. . .and it is. We have read 2 or 3 along with our study on World War 2. They help us see the Christian leaders and how they changed the world alongside the history presented in our regular history book.

Prayers That Changed History shares the stories of 25 historical people throughout history including: Christopher Columbus, John Newton, Billy Sunday, Helen Keller, Corrie ten Boom and Dietrich Bonhoeffer. Goyer encourages readers to ask themselves some questions as they read through each person's story, such as, "What would have happened if this person hadn't prayed and acted on their calling?"

Each chapter includes historical information on each person featured along with a prayer that they prayed that changed history. As the chapter nears the end, Goyer encourages readers to answer some questions related to that featured historical person's story. I found this book to be enjoyable and easy to learn from in reading on my own, but my son and I also found it to be good to talk through as we read each story out loud for school, answered the questions and discussed their role in history. It would be great for homeschooling families, of course, but also great for any family to use during their family reading or devotional time to learn more together. Ultimately, Goyer also hopes readers learn that God can use prayer to change things. I highly recommend it.

I received this book at no charge from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review.

About the Author
USA Today bestselling author Tricia Goyer is the author of more than 40 books, including the novelization for Moms’ Night Out. She has written over 500 articles for national publications and blogs for high traffic sites like TheBetterMom.com and MomLifeToday.com. Tricia and her husband, John, live in Little Rock, Arkansas, where Tricia coordinates a Teen MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers) group. They have six children.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Book Review: Doodletopia Cartoons by Christopher Hart


My 14 year old son loves to read cartoons and he likes to doodle. This book sounded like an irresistible combination for him. It is great for helping someone learn to draw and design cartoons. From our perspective, this book didn't look as intimidating as some of the more formal drawing books and it looked fun to use.

Christopher Hart's book on drawing cartoons is a fun book to help you get more creative in making cartoons. This book goes through several stages to help the aspiring cartoonist create funny pictures beginning with a silhouette of the character, then drawing expressions, drawing animals, drawing the clothes on your characters, and different ways to share the dialogue or caption for your cartoons. The last chapter has ideas for making funny inventions. Each page offers detailed instructions that are easy to follow. . .and each page shares a bit of the author's humor, getting you into a humorous cartoon frame of mind. Hart says in the introduction that he created this book to help the aspiring artist come up with ideas and to help kick-start an artist's imagination.

I would recommend this book to any older child or adult that is interested in drawing cartoons or even just creating better drawings, in general. Hart encourages a sense of humor and makes drawing fun while learning at the same time. We started using this as part of our homeschool art drawing class and it is working well for us. My son is excited to learn to draw and enjoys Hart's humor.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

About the Author

CHRISTOPHER HART is the world’s bestselling author of drawing and cartooning books. His books have sold more than 6 million copies and have been translated into 20 languages. Renowned for up-to-the-minute content and easy-to-follow steps, all of Hart’s books have become staples for a new generation of aspiring artists and professionals, and they have been selected by the American Library Association for special notice.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Book Review: The Five Times I Met Myself: A Novel by James Rubart

I just finished reading The Five Times I Met Myself by James Rubart. Wow. Just wow. I have never read a book by this author before but I plan to read his other books soon. I had a hard time putting this book down and finished it within a couple of days.

In The Five Times I Met Myself, I read about Brock Matthews and his life. His life wasn't going so good with his coffee company, his marriage, his other relationships, and most importantly with God. Then Brock starts having dreams, vivid dreams where he talks to his younger self about making changes earlier in his life. . .about "fixing" mistakes and making his life "better." Only maybe making those changes doesn't "work." Life may not all be better. The biggest change Brock needs to make, he may make too late.

You will have to read this book and find out whether Brock made the "right" changes or not. I encourage you to do just that. I don't want to spoil the plot on this book and share too much. Honestly, I haven't read a fiction book in a long time, but I highly recommend this one. This book touched me and changed me from reading it. I flew through the story with Brock, experienced several emotions and felt a bit let down that I had to reached the end when it was done. . .and that is what I expect from good fiction.

I think I can share one of my favorite paragraphs without it being a spoiler:
"Our choices lead us to life or lead us to death, and as I now vividly know, what we do in our present certainly affects what we become in the future. But in the end, there is only now, only this moment in which to life. The future does not exist. So I will live now. The past is gone and cannot be retrieved, so I will live now. There is only the present. So I will live in this moment." (from p. 337 on my ibooks version)

I can only hope to try to keep that passage in mind as I go forward in my own life, making the best of the choices that I have already made and living each day for God.

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

About the Author
James L. Rubart is a professional marketer and speaker. He is the author of the best-selling novel Rooms as well as Book of Days, The Chair, Soul's Gate, Memory's Door, and Spirit Bridge. He lives with his wife and sons in the Pacific Northwest. Website: www.jameslrubart.com Twitter: @jameslrubart Facebook: JamesLRubart

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Book Review: Happy Cooking by Giada De Laurentiis

I have watched Giada on Food Network and enjoyed seeing her, but this is my first Giada cookbook. I want to share that up front in case you are a huge fan and have every cookbook. However, that being said, I totally enjoyed this cookbook.

According to the back cover, this is Giada's most comprehensive cookbook to date. I have to say it is packed with delicious recipes and gorgeous food pictures. There is also a bunch of healthy eating tidbits, such as "Know Your Grains" where Giada tells all about different grains like quinoa, amaranth and Freekah and shares how to best use them in recipes. Her Fiesta Quinoa Salad looks delicious and is on my list to try. I also like that each recipe has symbols indicating if they are vegetarian, vegan or gluten free. Since some family members need to eat gluten free, I especially found that helpful. There is a delicious cookie recipe for chocolate amaretti cookies that is gluten free that I also want to try but I need to get a package of  almond paste first. Most of the recipes that I found used ingredients that were readily available even if I didn't have the ingredients on hand.

I would recommend this cookbook to anyone who wants to cook a varied and healthy diet. I did indeed find that it was a comprehensive cookbook as it contains, salads, appetizers, soups/stews, pastas and risottos, side dishes, main dishes, desserts,and various types of beverage drinks. I found the recipes to be easy to read and follow. This is a book that I could try new recipes in for quite awhile.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

About the Author

GIADA DE LAURENTIIS is the Emmy Award-winning star of Food Network’s Everyday Italian, Giada at Home, and Giada in Paradise; a judge on Food Network Star; a contributing correspondent for NBC’s Today show; and the author of seven New York Times bestselling books. She attended the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris and worked at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago restaurant before starting her own catering company, GDL Foods. Born in Rome, she grew up in Los Angeles, where she now lives with her daughter, Jade.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Book Review: Money Making Mom by Crystal Paine

Many moms want to be a money making mom. Crystal Paine tells how moms, and really anyone reading her book, could earn more money.

Money Making Mom offers solid advice on how to come up with a long term plan to earn extra money, ways to go about making extra money, and how to manage any business ventures wisely. She also offers plenty of down-to-earth stories from herself and other women who started businesses and money making ventures in a way that is both encouraging and inspiring to someone looking within. . .and around. . .for ideas to better both their budget and their life.

I am a middle-aged woman so some of these ideas are ones I have tried in the past. Even so, I found plenty of new ideas to give me food for thought as I consider ways to make extra money after our move as I homeschool our son. This is a practical book for any woman of any age to use who is looking for new ideas and encouragement at any stage of life for entrepreneurial ventures or ideas for working for others. I especially like that she shares success stories and stories of those ideas that didn't work out so well. She even shares how some failures lead to other new beginnings. I also like that she ends the book by sharing ways you can shift your perspective to also become generous with others. As a Christian book, she encourages women to honor God with their finances and find ways to give back to others as well as provide for their own expenses. I would highly recommend this book to anyone looking to expand their thinking and come up with money making ideas and to create a path to using their talents to create long term financial and personal goals.

I received this book at no cost from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

About the Author
Crystal Paine is a speaker and author of the New York Times bestseller Say Goodbye to Survival Mode. In 2007, she founded MoneySavingMom.com, a site that has since grown to become one of the most popular blogs on the web, currently averaging more than 1.5 million readers per month. She lives with her husband and three children in Wichita, Kansas.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Book Review: The Time Garden by Daria Song

Growing up, coloring was one of my favorite pastimes. It was also a favorite pastime with my son when he was younger. Somehow, it always seemed to be a child's activity in my mind so I put the colors away. With The Time Garden from Korean artist Daria Song, I found I could bring out my colors and enjoying coloring on my own level again.

The Time Garden is a beautiful imaginative retreat in an adult coloring book. I especially like that this book is based on a child using her imagination to travel through the doors of a cuckoo clock. The pictures take you away and tell the story at the same time. What a beautiful reminder that we all have an imagination and can enjoy using it.Unlike most children's coloring books I have used, this book is done on heavier paper, has a dust jacket and will showcase your artistic coloring when completed.

I would recommend this beautiful coloring book for any adult wanting to set aside the cares of the day and relax without a care, like when you were a child. It would also be a good gift with a nice set of coloring pencils for someone going through a difficult time or convalescing through an illness to pass the time and relax. Crayons are a bit thick for some of the fine lines of this book so I would recommend coloring pencils over crayons. It would also be great for an older child with advanced coloring skills who still enjoy coloring but want something more challenging.

 I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

About the Author
DARIA SONG is an author and artist with a master’s degree in fiber arts from the Ewha Womans University Graduate School of Fine Arts. Winner of the Kyung Hyang Arts Contest, Song has exhibited at numerous galleries and museums in Korea, Singapore, Turkey, and Hong Kong. She is a lecturer at the Kaywon School of Arts and her illustrations can be found in Amore Pacific and SK Planet. She spent five years of her childhood in San Francisco before returning to Korea, and the sense of wonder and mystery that comes from living in a far-off place inspired her internationally best-selling adult coloring book, The Time Garden.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Book Review: Apologetics Study Bible For Students

The new Apologetics Study Bible For Students is a beautiful Bible for young people. My son will be 14 next month and he especially liked several aspects of this Bible.

Right away, he noticed that the print is dark and easy to read. This Bible is well-constructed, easy-to-use and read.

Then, each book of the Bible has an introduction that includes a summary of the book, the author of the book, when the book was written in time and what else was going on in the world at that time.He found that helpful in learning about the book and placing it in its proper time in history.

Most importantly, for this Bible, there are a number of helpful articles included within the text. There are answers to 120 of the most commonly asked questions about the Christian faith. About any question facing both young people and adults in today's world that you can think of has been addressed here: What's the big Deal with Yoga? Are UFOs real? How do I know God's Will for my life? And many, many more. Other articles within this Bible share Scripture verses that are often twisted and how they are clarified. Personal stories of some of the great defenders of the Christian faith are shared in such a way that young people can relate to them in today's world. Specific tactics are shared in various places to help the reader to be prepeared to handle many common challenges Christians hear to challenge Christianity.

Both my son and I were impressed with how thoroughly the Christian faith was studies, shared and communicated to better help Bible students understand the faith for themselves and to better share that faith with others when opportunities arise. I would recommend it to any young person to better ground their faith in the Bible to last a lifetime.

I received this Bible from Broadman and Holman. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.