Wednesday, December 17, 2014

The After House by Michael Phillip Cash

Remy and her daughter Olivia are starting over in a new home, but this home already has a resident – a ghostly one.  This is another great paranormal story by Michael Phillip Cash, A light romance is added to the paranormal aspect of the story. The story travels back in time so that we get the story of Eli the captain of a whaling ship, and forward to the present to meet Remy, a young mom making a new way in life for herself and her daughter. Remy’s matchmaking mother leads her to Hugh, the mayor the town. 

This one won’t scare your socks off, but it is a good read that held my interest.  As is customary in Mr. Cash’s books, you have characters that you can care about – including the ghosts. 



Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Evening Prayers for Every Day of the Year by Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt

This is a beautiful book of the evening prayers taken from the devotions of Christopher Friedrick Blumhardt (1842-1919).  These are dated daily passages for a full year. Each page has a bible verse, most often New International Version, followed by an evening prayer. 

I come from the teachings of a church that didn't like reading prayers, but just praying from the heart, so I did not really know what to expect from this book. I am so happy to have it for the coming year because reading these thoughtful and powerful prayers spark a burden in my heart to pray more often and more thoughtfully.  Although written many years ago, these are easy to read and understand, and not written with outdated terms or phrases. I very highly recommend this as a gift or for your own personal devotions.


I received a copy of Evening Prayers For Every day of the Year from Plough Publishing House in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Doggie Delicious by Mary Jo Wisneski Johnston


Doggie Delicious is a charming little book that would be a nice bedtime chapter book. It is a story about an adopted dog that grows wings, flies around the farm, and wants to help care for the animals.  Each animal plays an important role on the farm and each has its own talent.  The illustrations by Malinda Raines are bright and colorful. They add the perfect touch to the story.


With the title containing the word Doggie, I expected the book to be geared for a much younger child. The vocabulary is for much older children, and it includes words not usually used in general conversation, even by adults. It includes one word that I had never even seen before and had to look up.  Because of the subjects and vocabulary, I think it would be appropriate for children ages 8-13 years old.  

The author, however, missed a golden opportunity to encourage adopting a shelter pet.  Instead, Bibi was adopted from a breeder.

This book was provided to me in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, December 5, 2014

If You Were Me and Lived in Greece by Carole P. Roman

With her If You Were Me series, Carol P. Roman has provided children with a trip around the world, and the next stop is Greece.  The series introduces unique cultures around the world by answering the questions that children would ask. 

The tour of Greece begins with a sense of place and history. Next you are introduced to the common given names of Greece and what young children call their parents and grandparents.  Also explained are local foods, toys and games, holidays, and what you would visit if you were a tourist. 

 The story is accompanied by interesting and colorful illustrations. There is also a pronunciation guide at the back of the book. As an example, Koukla (kouk-la)-doll. This is another in a series of great reference books for children.

Monday, November 24, 2014

God Gave Us Angels by Lisa Tawn Bergren

God Gave us Angels by Lisa Tawn Bergren is another wonderful addition to the God Gave Us series.  The story is just wonderful with an honest Biblical view of angels. This is a sweet loving bear family, and Little Bear has many questions for Papa Bear after the bunnies tell her that there are angels everywhere.

I am truly impressed with the way solid scriptural lessons were made so clear for very small children in this little book.  The questions that Little Bear asks sound exactly like the questions a child would ask.


The illustrations by Laura J. Bryant are beautiful with soft colors very nice details.  This is a beautiful 40 page book with a wonderful message about God’s love and protection.

Suicide Pact by Judge Andrew P. Napolitano

Suicide Pact: The Radical Expansion of Presidential Powers and the Lethal Threat to American Liberty is a chilling look at the erosion of our freedom and constitutional rights, lost not suddenly, but slowly over time. A Former Judge and law professor, Judge Andrew Napolitano spells out clearly and concisely how our country's leaders have eroded the freedoms that were established by our founding fathers. 

The book covers from the very beginning of the United States, through the major wars, 9/11 and the global war on terror, to our present day events. I learned so much about events I thought I knew all about, including when the US began spying on its own citizens and how the implementation of Executive Order 9066 with the imprisonment of US Citizens without trial came about.


I highly recommend this book as a must-read.  

Bones Never Lie by Kathy Reichs

Bones never lie by Kathy Reichs was just an OK read. It is not a bad book, just not exactly a page turner. While it did hold my interest enough to finish it, I found the writing style odd with her use of short, choppy sentences. I could understand using that method for the dialog, but not for the narration.

Another issue I had was keeping track of large number of characters.  With all of the police, criminals, victims, victim’s families, and odd other added characters, I was quite frequently lost in the weeds.   I though the character of Tempe’s mother was entertaining, and kept wondering the department didn't hire her and fire Tempe.



Friday, November 14, 2014

Death Never Lies David Grace

After suffering a head wound in the same incident that killed his partner, Kane finds his investigative skills are improved, but his interpersonal skills have suffered.  I always expect interesting characters from David Grace, and Death Never Lies did not disappoint.

In the beginning, the character of Kane is difficult to like. He has had a change in temperament following a head wound, and he seems unable to work with others. His character unfolds slowly, and he becomes much more likeable. Two plots are intertwined, and one with a family connection for Kane. There was also a little romance that links two fractured people.

The entire book is good, but Chapter 23 was so entertaining, I read it twice. Kane decided to use his skill in reading people during a conversation with Senator Denning only to get the same in return from the Senator.


This is another great book by David Grace.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis by Carole P. Roman


In this Captain No Beard the crew is ready for a new adventure.  They are heading north, and it is getting cold. Icebergs are floating by, but the crew decides they don’t like Captain’s new mission.  He wants to take something that doesn’t belong to him. 

This one may be my favorite Captain No Beard adventure yet.  In this adventure they learn about the North Star and the Aurora Borealis. There is also a good message about not taking something that isn’t yours.  The children all know it is wrong and reinforce that message with Captain No Beard.  The story also reinforces the idea that using your imagination is a fun way to spend the day.


Once again, the illustrations are colorful and even take on the icy feel of the story.  This is another great Captain No Beard adventure!

Saturday, November 1, 2014

The Kitchn Cookbook by Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand

The Kitchn Cookbook by Sara Kate Gillingham and Faith Durand is a two part cookbook.  The first part covers setting up the perfect kitchen, tools you will need, and caring for the kitchen. I liked the way they do not describe a perfect kitchen, but instead gave ideas so that you can create what you think is the perfect kitchen.  This section explains the work triangle, storage ideas, and budget kitchen renovation. They also introduced with photos different styles of kitchens. I really didn’t like any of them, and not once did I see a style feature I would like to use. 

The second part of the book is on stocking the pantry, essential skills, and the recipes.  One of the first things I look at in a cookbook is how available are the ingredients going to be for those who do not live in the city. Not every town or rural area has a Whole Foods within a reasonable driving distance, and there were a few recipes that had ingredients not readily available. I was also amused by the recipe for Fresh Tomato Pizza Sauce because it called for canned tomatoes.

Although it might be fun to thumb through once or twice for a beginning urban cook, it is not really enough to be considered a reference cookbook.   While it is a pretty book with nice pictures, it doesn’t have enough to earn a spot on my permanent cookbook shelf.

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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.


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