Monday, October 27, 2014

The Legend of the Candy Cane by Lori Walburg

This book was a bit disappointing.  The illustrations are very old fashioned, which is quaint, but rather unappealing and comes off a bit odd.  The story tries to ascribe religious meaning to the shape and colors of the candy cane.

 The story explains that the shape J is for Jesus and flipped the other way, for the shepherd’s staff.  They then assign the colors to give them a religious meaning. The assign red for the beating that made Jesus blood run down like red stripes and white for being washed clean from Jesus’ forgiveness. It appears that this has been toned down in words and illustrations from previous versions, but it still is a concept that small children will not understand.  The thing that concerned me the most is that while the book is labeled for ages 4-8, this is a board book which is usually given to younger children 1-4.

I do not recommend this book for below age 4 and probably would raise that age up a little.  I would recommend the parent read the book first, and decide if your child is ready for the content.


I received this book from the BookLook blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Yuletide Ice Cube Fair by Karen Poth

Usually the VeggieTales begin with a Bible verse, but this one begins and ends with one.  It is a story of the Yuletide Ice Cube Fair and Mayor Bob’s ice carving contest.  It is a wonderful story with the message that Christmas isn’t about the big, the bright or the new. The story brings the true meaning of Christmas and ends with the Bible verse Luke 2:10-12.  The illustrations by Ron Eddy and Robert Vann are beautiful and colorful with that icy feel of winter. 


This book is appealing to a wide age range. It is recommended for 4-8 years or early readers, but I would extend that to include reading to 2 and 3 year old children. I received this book from the BookLook blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Guess Who - Noah’s Boat by Matt Mitter and illustrated by Ela Jarzabek

Noah’s Boat is a page flap fold out book especially designed for very young children.  Each page has a descriptive riddle that asks “Guess who” and when you fold out the flap there is an answer. Even the front cover has a fold-out flap.  The illustrations are very colorful and very cute.  The book is hard cover and each page is coated cardboard for an easy wipe clean finish.   This is a very nice book that tells the basic story of Noah to small children.  This would make a nice gift book for a child or an addition to a church nursery/pre-school library.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Risen by Michael Phillip Cash

This is the third of the trilogy and I have also read and reviewed the first two, Schism and Collision.  While this is a standalone book, I recommend reading the three in order.  It will help to understand the growth of the characters and will keep the flow of the story.  This isn't the genre I usually read, but Michael Phillip Cash writes books that are easily readable with a style that crosses genre.


All three books present stories of adventure, mystery, and interesting characters.  Risen is no different, and the book this trilogy concludes with a satisfying ending. Through all of the struggles, war, and captivity, there is a message of hope and encouragement.

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Big-Flavor Grill by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby

This is strictly for those who charcoal grill. There is “A Word About Gas Grills” which declares that
gas grills are not their thing. The theme of the book is simplicity with an easy prep with a spice rub, grill, and toss with a sauce or with herbs.

The recipes are presented in a unique flow chart form that follows the theme of prep, grill and toss. There are recipes for steak, lamb, pork, chicken, shrimp and fish, vegetables, and drinks. I have several recipes marked to try. Grilled Pork Skerwers with Mangoes, Chipolte, and Lime, and Grilled Chicken Breasts with Cilantro-lime Vinaigrette. 

This is a great book for simplified grilling, without a lot of complicated preparation.


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Southern Foodie's Guide tot he Pig by Chris Chamberlain

This is not your ordinary cookbook.  The first section of the book is about the pig and its parts, with
an explanation of selecting and cooking a whole pig, belly and bacon, roasts, hams, ribs and chops. Sauces, rubs and brines are also covered in this first section.

This is a “Southern” book so the second section covers the top restaurants throughout the south that specialize in pork and BBQ.  A profile is presented with a brief history, menu specialties, an “insider tip”  and contact information. A recipe from each restaurant follows in the following section – Recipes.

The recipes included are down-home, southern-style, hearty food. I have several marked to try, such as Momma Mia’s Mac Salad from the Shed, Chicken Fried Pork Chops from Delta Bistro, and Fried Green Tomato BLT from Stella’s Kentucky Deli, but there are many more that vary in ingredients and complexity.
If you are looking for something a little different, this is it!

I received a copy of The Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig as part of the BookLook blogger program in exchange for an honest review.


Author Chris Chamberlain
Chris Chamberlain is a food and drink writer based in Nashville, Tennessee, where he has lived his entire life except for four years in California where he studied liberal arts at Stanford University and learned how to manipulate chopsticks. He is a regular writer for the Nashville Scene and their "Bites" food blog. He has also contributed to the Nashville City Paper, Nashville Lifestyles magazine, 2001 Edgehill and at www.geardiary.com.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition Published by Zondervan

The NIV Once-A-Day Bible: Chronological Edition  is a softcover version designed for reading through the Bible in one year. Because this is a Chronological Bible, the daily readings seem well-organized as the story unfolds in the order that they happened.  
The daily readings are numbered instead of by dates so that your journey into the Bible can begin at any time. The portions are manageable, and I enjoy the reading style of the NIV version. I didn't stumble over archaic words or need a thesaurus to get through the readings. There is a devotional at the end of each daily section that are direct, to the point, and very encouraging. These devotions are a wonderful addition to this Bible.
Although a softcover, the book is sturdy and lays flat in your hands. It has the quality I expect, and have always received, from Zondervan products. I highly recommend this Bible, especially if you have never read through the entire Bible. or are looking for a quality Bible for reading and devotionals combined.

I was provided a copy of this Bible from the BookLook Blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sheerluck Holmes and the Case of the Missing Friend by Karen Poth

A friend loves at all times. He is there to help when trouble comes. Proverbs 17:17

Sheerluck Holmes and the Case of the Missing Friend is another wonderful VeggieTales book for early readers based on Proverbs 17:17.  Hurt feelings, forgiveness, and the fellowship of friends are the lessons taught in this cute little book by Karen Poth.  

This is a book 1 level for beginning reading in the I Can Read! Zonderkidz series and is described as “Simple Sentences for eager new readers.”  A soft-cover book, but it has a good binding and the pages are a nice weight paper.  The illustrations are colorful and cover the full page. This is another great book for VeggieTales fans.


Fire & Smoke by Chris Lilly

Fire and Smoke by Chris Lilly starts out by comparing different BBQ grills and smokers, and gives instructions on cooking with wood.  This is a recipe book for those who really want to move to the next level of BBQ. Yes, there is a recipe for The Perfect Burger, but there really is so much more here. 

Just pulling up a few random pages, there are recipes for Smoked Pork Belly with Shock Top Honey Mustard Glaze, Grilled Brick Panini, Barbecue Gumbo, Pan-seared New York Strip with Bourbon Cream Sauce. There are some unusual recipes, especially the grilled cocktails.  Additionally, there are recipes for side dishes and desserts.  My favorite section is the Sauces and Dry Rubs, and the recipe for Sweet Crisp Bacon Rub alone makes the book worth buying!

I like that the book is printed on heavy glossy paper and has some beautiful full-page photos.  This is a wonderful addition to my cookbook shelf.


CHRIS LILLY is vice president, executive chef, and partner of Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q. The Big Bob Gibson Bar-B-Q Competition Cooking Team has won more than ten World BBQ titles in pork, chicken, ribs, and beef, and four World Grand Championships at “
Memphis in May.” Lilly is married to the great-granddaughter of BBQ legend Big Bob Gibson and is the author of Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Brood X by Michael Phillip Cash

Brood X is the story of a young couple, Seth and Lara, expecting their first child and facing an impending disaster of great magnitude.  Seth decided to document the whole pregnancy and ended up documenting much more.

The characters were very much like real people and their reactions were typical in the situations they faced.  Unfortunately, I did not like the main character of Seth. I think he was supposed to be wise-cracking and funny, but I just found him terribly annoying. 


The story took quite a while to lead up to the main focus of the book, but when it did, it was a story well-told.  The tension, the horror, the bugs were all described to perfection.  It is a fairly quick read and I do recommend it.  

Friday, August 29, 2014

The NIV God's Word for Gardeners Bible

The NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible is beautiful, with lovely lavender and green colors and a gardening-theme cover.  The binding is done well, as I always expect from Zondervan, and although the print is fairly small my old eyes did not have trouble reading.  The margins are also small. so there is no room for handwritten notes.  

It does seem a little disorganized to me, but that could be just because it is an unfamiliar format.  The introduction explains that the book is divided into three themes: The Garden Tour with 12 weeks of readings, Garden Work with 23 weeks of readings, and Garden Stories with 10 weeks readings.  There are also 7 weeks of Garden Tools which were not mentioned in the initial introduction.  Devotional essays are included on a separate page near the Bible verses.

Following the first week, first day of the Garden Tour, I read Genesis 2:8-15and then a devotional essay on the following page.  The study is not overwhelming and can easily be done daily.  The interspersed devotionals throughout the chapters threw me off a little when trying to find the correct book and chapter.


It may take a while to become accustom to the format, but this is a nice Bible that would make a beautiful gift for a gardener.

Book description:
Features: * 260 daily devotions and 52 weekend readings arranged in weekly themes and placed near relevant passages in the text to explore the biblical metaphors of gardens and gardening * Beautiful, durable hardcover * Topical Index (for 52 weeks) * Special sections on the Garden of Eden, the garden of Gethsemane and Jesus the Vine.

This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review as part of the BookLook Blogger program.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Here is Where by Andrew Carroll

Author Andrew Carroll was inspired to write this book after visiting the spot where Abraham Lincoln’s son was saved by the brother of Lincoln’s assassin.  He sought out forgotten places filled with history.  The book is broken up into short chapters, each with a different topic.  It is a fairly quick read because you can read a little at a time and then go back to it later.

I’m not sure why some were included as “forgotten history” as the stories and places are fairly well known.  Some of the stories start out interesting, but then start to fizzle out. The stories sometimes tend to drift and I wish he had stayed on point!  Quite a few of the stories, however, are fascinating.  The ones I found most interesting: Mound City, about a disaster worse than the titanic; Hart Island, a huge potters field; and Robert Goddard’s Backyard, a real rocket scientist. 

I question the addition of a couple of the stories. One was a racial incident which made neither side look good.  A page of jokes about Jehovah’s Witnesses was the way the author chose to start a chapter on the abuse and discrimination against the Jehovah Witnesses. 

Overall, the book is an interesting and unique collection of stories.  

 Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review.


Friday, August 15, 2014

Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance

I am very pleased to be part of the Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance Blog tour. Although there are quite a few Joanna Brady mysteries, this was my first. I never thought I was missing anything so I can say that this is a good stand-alone book.

There were two stories going on at the same time that later merge into one. The storyline were never confusing, although there were quite a few characters, and I sometimes had trouble remembering who they were.  I liked most of the characters and the very normal family life Joanna has with her husband and children.  The story takes a few odd twists and turns and the Liza’s story isn’t very believable, but I am quite able to overlook the wild adventure and just enjoy the story.  I normally do not like long prologues or intros, but in this case the prologue gave a good background to one of the main characters.  I enjoyed Remains of Innocence very much and I look forward to picking up some more of the Joanna Brady series.


I received this book from the Partners in Crime blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Confession by Robert Whitlow

Assistant DA Holt Douglas has a tragic secret in his past that he has buried deep in his heart, but the people and circumstances in his life do not let it stay buried.  Holt discovers the files of an old case and secretly investigates was reported to be suicide.


This was a good story of relationships, honesty, guilt, and forgiveness. The story starts out strong,  gets a little bogged down in too many details in the middle, but then again builds to a strong finish.  I liked all of the characters and their interactions.  I always enjoy reading about good characters of faith that struggle, but live that faith outwardly.  While as the Assistant DA, he appeared before the judge, there was not much in-court action.  It was still a good legal drama, with a good message and a very satisfying ending.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook book blogger program in exchange for an honest review. 

Schism The Battle For Darracia

The planet Darracia has a growing social unrest as the divide between the upper and lower classes are growing. We watch Prince V’sair branch out from his education and grow as an individual and as a leader.  Battles with political motives, between family members, and internal struggles of the main characters made this a well-rounded tale that held my interest from beginning to end.

I read this series out of order and read the second book first.  Although the second did well as a standalone, going back helped me understand who and what each character was and learn more about their personalities. Everything seemed to fall into place. 


Michael Cash captured a strange world and explained it perfectly to this new reader of science fiction.  I recommend this book and the series for those who enjoy fantasy, sci-fi, or if you would just like to read something different.  This is a good story by a very good storyteller. 

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.
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