Thursday, June 23, 2016

Giddy Up, Eunice: Because Women need Each Other by Sophie Hudson

As women in our modern world, we need to be there for each other. Giddy Up, Eunice is a book about how we can support each other as women across generational lines. I love that idea. I sometimes wish I had been born in a different era because I think many women don't have a lot of personal in-contact support these days in the midst of all of our social media options. In this book, Sophie Hudson shares how we can still connect personally with the women of all ages in the midst of our busy modern lives.

The first section of Giddy Up, Eunice shares the Bible story of Mary and Elizabeth and how they supported one another through their pregnancies even though there was a huge age difference. The second section of the book is based on the relationships of Ruth and Naomi from the Bible and how they supported each other through challenges and change. The third section relates to Lois and Eunice from the book of 2 Timothy and how women in all ages groups can support each other and to help raise up new generations of godly young people. All of these sections help the reader to relate those Biblical women's relationships to the women in your life today.

 I have to be honest and say it took me a little bit to get into Giddy Up, Eunice. I have not read Sophie Hudson's previous books nor have I read her Boo Mama blog. To start with, I struggled with her writing style and her many references to television shows. I don't watch much TV so I wasn't always sure what she was talking about when she referred to some TV shows. Some of her slang was also difficult for me to relate to. If you are a younger reader and watch TV more than I do, this may not bother you. Or maybe it is because I am from the Midwest and Sophie is a Southern gal. However, having said that, the more that I read this book, the more I liked it. She does have a lot of good advice and analogies to relate to helping women relate to each other today no matter what their age, stage in life or geographical location is. I would recommend it for those reasons. There is not a list of study questions in this book, but it would still be a good book for a women's study to discuss together.

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

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Broth and Stock from the Nourished Kitchen by Jennifer McGruther

I make a lot of homemade soups during the winter months. I also have been interested in making more healthy broths for drinking. Broth and Stock by Jennifer McGruther of the Nourished Kitchen website sounded like the best of both of those interests.

Broth and Stock starts out with some interesting history on the making of broth in the introduction and first chapter, "the broth maker's kitchen." Both sections were worth taking the time to read before jumping in to make the recipes. I learned several new historical tidbits and helpful tips.  McGruther explains the difference between broth, stock and bone broth in case you weren't sure what the difference was. McGruther furthers offers advice on selecting the type of bones and other ingredients you want for your stocks/broths and where to purchase them. The first chapter also offer good advice on the type of equipment needed to cook with and how to best store your homemade broth. I found a lot of good information here, especially for a beginner cook. While I knew a lot of the equipment information, I thought it would be helpful to some people. One thing I did not know was that I could dehydrate my own stock powder for future use and found that how-to information to be especially helpful to me.

McGruther follows that chapter offering general information with chapters on making master broths and stocks, poultry, meat (beef and pork), fish and vegetables. Along with making the delicious broth recipes that McGruther shares in Broth and Stock, she also includes several other recipes using the broths/stocks: Irish vegetable soup, New England Clam Chowder, Turkey soup with root vegetables and wild rice, quick pho, black bean soup and salisbury steak with mushroom sauce. I have several recipes in mind that I want to try. I can see me using this cookbook a lot next fall/winter.

I thought the recipes in Broth and Stock looked easy to follow. McGruther shares that one needs patience to make good stock as it does take time. While I know that is true, it certainly doesn't look hard to follow the recipes she includes. I would like to have my own broth on hand rather than buying store bought broth as a base for my homemade soups. Even being self-taught in making broths on my own, I know those tasted better to my family than much of what we have bought in the store. I believe this book will help my soups taste even better. I also liked that there were good photographs to go along with the recipes. I would recommend Broth and Stock to anyone looking to make their own broths, stocks and soups. It could even be a nice wedding gift  for those you know who like to cook, along with a few of the kitchen items needed to make homemade broth and stock.

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

About the Author

Jennifer McGruther is a food educator, the creator of the award-winning traditional foods website, Nourished Kitchen ( and the author of The Nourished Kitchen. She teaches workshops on traditional foods, fermentation, as well as food activism. Jennifer lives with her husband and
son in Washington State.

The Dog that Whispered by Jim Kraus

Wilson Steele is a college professor who seems to be a bit of a curmudgeon when The Dog That Whispered begins. His mother,  Gretna, who lives in a nearby retirement complex also seems to be a bit grumpy in personality. Then Gretna adopts Thurman. Thurman is a rescued black lab mix that Gretna sees on a TV ad and decides to adopt him. Only after she adopts Thurman, she finds out she is not allowed to have pets at the complex, so she talks Wilson into taking Thurman.

I don't want to give any of the plot away. However, I would say that I found The Dog That Whispered to be a pleasant read. I appropriately read this book over Memorial Day weekend and I gained insight into what war veterans may face in their minds when they return to the United States. I also appreciated how the author helped bring faith into the character's lives and helped them see the healing grace of God. Sometimes people who may appear grumpy face challenges that we know nothing about. As this book continued on, I found myself truly liking the characters and pulling for them.

This book has a great list of questions in the back to think about on your own, or better yet, to use with a reading group to discuss the book. I found the questions insightful to the story and making it relevant to the reader's life.

The Dog that Whispered is the first book that I have read by Jim Kraus. I plan to get a copy of his previous books as I enjoyed this one so much. I have to add that I love the dog in this cover illustration; he does look like he has something to say and is such a good fit for Thurman.

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

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Vegangelical by Sarah Withrow King

In Vegangelical, Sarah Withrow King encourages Christian readers to consider what the Bible has to say about the stewardship of animals as related to our world today. She encourages us to look at creation through the lens of God.

In the first section of Vegangelical, King lays a theological foundation for her premise that God wants us to care for animals and the world around us. I especially liked this section of the book. 

The second section of the book offers information on the way animals in our world today are cared for in various situations: our pets at home, wild animals, research animals and animals used for food and clothing. King says she has a passion for Jesus and animals which is why she is a vegan. That is quite clear throughout the writing of this book. Much of what King shares in this book is quite blunt and the stories are disturbing to say the least with the way she has presented them. I was already familiar with much of what she shared on factory farming and animal care-taking so she didn't really shock me with the stories, but I think some readers may find them disturbing. I can't say that I agree with all of her conclusions, but I do think she is sincere in her mission to encourage people to think about our relationships to animals today. However, each chapter has a list of questions and it is a book that would be good for a book discussion. Vegangelical could get Christians talking and relating to one another in some new ways. I think that is great as long as people are free to share without judgement. Honestly, from my point of view, I felt some of her written statements came across as judgemental of the reader more than conviction from Scripture in this section. There were also a couple of stories that I didn't feel were entirely accurately based on facts either. She does share her sources in the back which is good, so you may want to do some of your own research. Again, I think that is great because she has spurred us on to think and discuss these issues.

Vegangelical is an interesting book if you are wanting to learn more about God's creation and our relationship to Him with animals.

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

Monday, May 23, 2016

Fast Metabolism Food Rx by Halie Pomroy with Eve Adamson

Fast Metabolism Food Rx is the first book I have read by Haylie Pomroy. This fascinating book offers food plans as a prescription for seven  health issues: Digestion problems, Fatigue and low energy, Hormonal issues including PMS and Menopause, High cholesterol, Brain issues like depression, anxiety and forgetfulness, blood sugar issues, and immune/auto-immmune disorders. I found it to be well-written and interesting to read.

I found this book to be very interesting. I like the idea of using food to help heal our bodies over medication whenever possible. Haylie encourages readers to work with their doctors to make changes but she also encourages patients to use food to improve health, either eliminating or cutting down on medication by working with their doctor. This book becomes especially credible to me when Pomroy shares her own health issues and how food has made her feel so much better without medications. . .and she has doctors who work with her and listen. She encourages readers to seek out health professionals who listen to them too. It isn't a diet plan although readers may lose weight following the eating "prescriptions" that Pomroy lays out. While she gives basic foods to eat on each prescription plan, she also shares ways you can change out a food or two, for something similar, if you have an allergy or aversion to one of the foods on her prescription lists. This book is about regaining health as much as possible through making lifestyle changes. She also shares recipes in the book to help readers follow the eating plans with tasty meals and snacks. Pomroy has more recipes are available on her website because she wants to see her readers succeed, she says.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone with these issues wanting to make changes to feel better. Fast Metabolism Food Rx has a lot of good information in it. It wasn't a fast read for me because I wanted to absorb all of this information and make use of it, but it was a good read.

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

About the Author
Known as the Metabolism Whisperer, wellness consultant/nutritional counselor and #1 New York Times best-selling author of The Fast Metabolism Diet and Instant Best Seller, The Fast Metabolism Diet Cookbook,  Haylie Pomroy is ready to banish every myth about food and have you falling in love with what you eat all over again. You can lose weight, heal your metabolism and  start your life over with food. With clinics in Burbank, California and Fort Collins, Colorado and a stellar roster of celebrity clients such as Jennifer Lopez, LL Cool, Cher, and Robert Downey Jr., Haylie consistently provides her clients with tips, tricks, recipes and tough love to help reshape their bodies and kitchen woes. In January 2015 she released her third book, The Burn.

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Life Verse Creative Journal with blank journal by Jana Magruder and Morgan Grace Magruder

The new Life Verse Creative Journal and Blank Journal are a beautiful, petite journal set. I already have a life verse but I loved this set. My life verses are, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."

The Life Verse Creative Journal is a smaller size that I quite liked to stick inside my Bible to create along with my quiet time with God. This journal is aimed at choosing a life verse and making it your own, but even with having a life verse, there was plenty to help me learn and grow in God's Word. There are 15 verses with journaling prompts within the beautiful illustrations to color and work through. Even though I already selected a life verse before reading this journal, I found the journal's prompts to be thought-provoking and to help me keep my eyes on God as I created and meditated on verses for Him.

The Blank Journal is  is a great size to stick inside my Bible case with my Bible for blank art journaling pages of verses and drawing pictures to color myself. Both books are 64 pages and measure 5 3/4 by 7 1/4 inches. These two books were done by a mother/daughter team and come nicely packaged together. I think they would make a great gift for someone else or a great Bible art journaling/devotional tool for yourself. They are nicely bound paperback books. I am not sure the pages are thick enough to use markers so I didn't try to use them on this set but colored pencils work great.  I highly recommend this Bible coloring journal set. I see on the Barnes and Noble site that it is most recommended for teenage girls. . .but I really enjoyed the set as an adult woman.

I received this book set from B and H Publishing. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.

Unashamed by Christine Caine

Christine Caine's new Christian self-help book, Unashamed, offers advice to readers on how to live the life Christ offers for you and lose baggage and shame to better do that. Caine shares from her life and from the life of other women how shame and the consequences of shame can affect life. She also shares through this book just what shame is, how we can feel shame, and how we can tear down the walls of shame and live our life without fear and shame.

Unashamed for me was helpful. . .but it was also a little ho hum. Since I enjoyed her first book, Undaunted, so much, maybe my hopes were too high. I also recently finished reading Brene Brown's books dealing with shame and attended a ladies retreat at my church that related Brown's books on shame to God's word and the Christian life. . .Because of that experience, I didn't especially learn anything new from this book. However, it did offer good reinforcement for what I had already learned and she quotes from Brown in this book. I also remembered some of Caine's history shared in this book that she shared in Undaunted. If you have not read Brene Brown's books or Caine's previous book, I believe this book will be much more helpful and interesting to you and I would recommend it. She also shares helpful Bible verses in chapter 8 to help you renew your mind and grow through affirmations that come from God's word. That chapter was especially good and helpful.

I received this book from the publisher, Zondervan. I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for the book.