Monday, October 30, 2017

A Forest, A Flood, and An Unlikely Star by J.A. Myhre, with Illustrations by Acacia Masso


Just thirteen-years-old, Kusiima has no time for school, sports, or hanging out with the other boys in his African village. With no father or mother to take care of him, he works long hours to support his grandmother and sickly baby sister. Then one day, Kusiima s life suddenly changes when he travels into a nearby protected forest. In the forest, Kusiima is presented with many choices, all with uncertain outcomes. Should he go along with illegal logging? Help to save an endangered baby gorilla? Follow a donkey to who knows where? With each choice, Kusiima has to make yet another decision about what is right in front of him. As he does, he meets a mysterious doctor who holds the key to his past and his future. In the end, Kusiima is faced with the hardest choice of all. Can he forgive a great wrong and heal a broken relationship? Readers of all ages won t want to put down this exciting book that addresses current realities like AIDS, malnutrition, and environmental destruction, all set in a richly detailed African adventure story. Following along as Kusiima makes his decisions, readers will find themselves considering their own choices and growing in empathy for others. This action-packed tale of a boy, his sister, and an orphaned gorilla is also a clear call to give up bitterness and forgive deep hurts, restoring broken lives and relationships. A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star is the third book in the Rwendigo Tale Series and follows Book One, A Chameleon, a Boy, and a Quest, and Book Two, A Bird, a Girl, and a Rescue.
My Thoughts:

I've enjoyed the other two books in this series, but I think this one has been my favorite. I've completely fell in love with these books. They're just beautiful stories, full of courage, and worthy of a spot on our shelves. This one had a bit of a different style than the other two, in that the animals never talk. One of them comes off intelligent, but never reveals things through words like they do in the other books. While I did connect with this book even more than the other two, I'm curious about the change.

Each book in this series was written as Christmas presents for the author's children for four years. (There's one more book to come.) From the time I read the first book, I've found this especially appealing to the books. It just makes them sweeter and more special.

In this particular book, we meet Kusiima. He lives with his grandmother and little sister, Ngonzi. Ngonzi is very sick, but Kusiima and his grandmother aren't sure how to help her, with such a limited income. Aside from working at his job, and worrying about his sister, he soon becomes mixed up with illegal activities. In the end, he has many choices to make.

While this book can be read perfectly fine alone, I do think it would be better to read it after the other two, just to understand the "Creator and Messengers" portion of the story. This part is briefly explained in the epilogue.

There are some parts, one in particular, that are disturbing. I'd probably wait a bit on reading this(or handing it over) to highly sensitive children. It doesn't hide the harsh realities of those living in Africa, like death, marriage to stay out of extreme poverty, AIDS, poaching, hunger, and so much more. (The author does say in her note that this book was written for older children and teens.)

Overall, this is a lovely series and I highly recommend them, especially if you want your children to "travel" to Africa for a little while.

*I was given a free copy of this book.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Action Storybook Bible by Catherine DeVries, with Illustrations by Sergio Cariello

About the Book:

The Action Storybook Bible invites families with children ages 8 and under explore God's redemptive story together.
From the sleek and amazing creatures God created at the beginning of the world to the powerful kings who reigned over ancient Israel to Jesus's gift of eternal life for you and your family-God has a beautiful and exciting plan for the world. Where do you fit into that plan? How are the truths found in God's Word reflected in your life?
This Bible storybook features 15 episodes highlighting key milestones in God's story, packed with dozens of scenes-combining stories from God's Word with brand-new captivating illustrations from Brazilian master-artist Sergio Cariello, illustrator of the bestselling The Action Bible. Discover your family's place in God's redemptive story and together put your faith into action!
Interactive features include:
-Fifteen episodes loaded with over 350 brand-new illustrations from master-artist Sergio Cariello.
-Short and easy reading for all ages. Take turns telling God's redemptive story!
-The Life, Faith, Action! feature wraps up each episode and helps your family recognize how God is moving through each story, discover how that relates to your daily lives, and feel inspired to put your faith into action.
-Heroes Hall of Fame index, where you can look up your favorite Bible characters and discover their stories!

Learn more and purchase a copy.

My Thoughts:

We have The Action Bible and LOVE it. This Action Storybook Bible is done with the same style of gorgeous artwork(with many new ones). It does stay pretty close to the Bible, but liberties are taken a bit here and there with thoughts and words that aren't within the Bible. It's wasn't really anything major, but I was bothered by the wording at times. I still like it enough to use with my boys(with a bit of discussion here and there). Knowing what's in God's Word and discussing things that venture into "guessing territory" is always key to reading Bible history books, written by us imperfect humans.

The "stories"(which I'll refer to as chapters) of Bible history within this book really just cover the main people that we think of within the Bible, like Adam and Eve, Noah, Joseph, Moses, etc. Many of them combine historical events/people. For example, Joshua and Samson are combined into one. At the end of each chapter, there's a mini devotional, of sorts, called "Life, Faith, Action!" It has a "God in Action" part that shows us God within the story, and then a "Faith in Action" part that gives us a challenge of some sort, like telling your thoughts about the word "king" and the role of one or walking through nature. There's also a sample prayer on that page.

The artwork within this book is truly phenomenal! Even if only for the artwork, I highly recommend The Action Bible and this Action Storybook Bible.

*I was provided an e-copy to check out.

The Action Storybook Bible Kindle Fire Giveaway

Discover your family's place in God's incredible story and together put your faith into action with the new The Action Storybook Bible from David C Cook! Explore God's redemptive story together with your children ages 8 and under in the 15 episodes highlighting key milestones in God's story. Master-artist Sergio Cariello created more than 350 brand-new illustrations to captivate your family and help you recognize how God is moving through each story.

Join the adventure to begin to figure out where you fit into God's beautiful and exciting plan for the world by entering to win the Kindle Fire giveaway!


One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on September 29. The winner will be announced October 2 on the Litfuse blog.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Super Hero Kids Giveaway with David C Cook


Now is your chance to have DC and Marvel illustrator Sergio Cariello make your child's dream come true!


David C Cook is proud to introduce the newest book in the Action Bible collection: The Action Storybook Bible (coming October 2017). Pre-order The Action Storybook Bible from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or to reserve your copy today. Plus click the graphic below to enter to have a chance to win an illustration of your child as a super hero by Action Bible artist Sergio Cariello (who has also illustrated comics for DC and Marvel!).

The giveaway is open until September 11, 2017, 5:00pm MST. Your entry must be received by then to be eligible. Five winners will be chosen at random from eligible entrants.


Families see the Bible in motion and put their faith into action!
The Action Storybook Bible invites families with young children to explore God's redemptive story together. An entry point into the world of The Action Bible, it tells of the amazing creation story, powerful kings who reigned over ancient Israel, God's miraculous gift of eternal life through Jesus, and more! God's promise for the world is displayed throughout every page. Discover your family's place in God's incredible story and together put your faith into action!
Interactive features include:

  • Fifteen key episodes from God's Word-each one loaded with several stories along with over 350 brand-new illustrations throughout.
  • Short and easy readings-for children ages eight and under with rich, colorful images.
  • Life, Faith, Action! features-conclude every episode and invite families to talk about how God moves in the stories, how to see God in life today, how to put faith into action, and how to easily talk to God with a suggested prayer.
  • Hall of Fame visual index-the place to look up favorite Bible characters by discovering their icon connections and finding them in the stories.
Learn more and purchase a copy here.

Friday, June 23, 2017

Israel-God's Heart: Landscapes and Legacy of Israel


Soar across the skies of beautiful Israel and visit contemporary and historic sites beckoning visitors to stay and explore.

The beauty of Israel from above is captured by top aerial photographer Ron Gafni. As you sweep over ancient ruins, fly high in hot air balloons, and view vignette's of Israel's modern lifestyles, Holy scripture will also come alive. Author Kathleen Barrett offers reflective narrative with scripture pointing to God's redemption plan for the world.

My Thoughts:

The older I get, the more I want to travel. While we're working, slowly, on getting more travel into our lives, a trip to Israel probably isn't happening anytime soon. (A recent 2 day trip to Memphis, TN was a pretty exciting adventure for us, so....) Looking at all the beautiful pictures within this book helped with my urge to travel, though. (Well, it helped me be more motivated than ever to save more for traveling, anyway.) Plus, it's always great to get better visuals flowing through my mind with Bible reading.

Though it is on the smaller side, as far as "coffee table" type books go, it has a tremendous amount of photos packed within the pages. The unique part about this book is the fact that almost all of the pictures are from above, giving us a "bird's eye view" of various parts of Israel.

On a more personal level, this book made me think of a precious lady I miss. Every time I hear about travels to Israel, I think of one of the sweetest, most worthy of being a role model women that ever lived. She's already with Jesus, but just looking through this book made me think of her and her trip to the Bible lands, and it's always a good thing to think about her.

Alongside the photos, there's also Bible verses and narratives. I don't agree with every thing that was said(thoughts on baptism, for example), but that's nothing new, huh? ;) I still feel the need to mention it most the time, though.

I've greatly enjoyed looking through this book, and seeing all the lovely photos. It's a beautiful little book!

If you'd like to take a peek inside the book, here ya go.....

**I was given a copy of this book.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Few Recent Reads....

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

This is a sweet book. I enjoyed it, and think that most younger readers that enjoy fantasy will, too. It's an excellent book for those that want just a touch of darkness, but still need things on the lighter/brighter side.

For me, though, this is one of those book that I can't think too hard about. Why is such a young person being sent out on their own? That was the biggest issue my mind had. Too, with the beginning and end(as far as testing goes), it left a bit of pondering as to the middle. It's not a deep read, but as a quick, rainy day read, it's quite satisfying(at least for me).

Overall, it's a nice, enjoyable story.

*I got an ARC through Amazon Vine.

The Waking Land by Callie Bates

This book is compared to Uprooted, but I'd put it closer to The Legacy Trilogy by Cayla Kluver(which I had mixed feelings about, in general). I wouldn't actually compare it to Uprooted at all. The Waking Land is *not* a fast paced story. When I first started it, I was in love with it. It was just as beautiful as the cover. I found the nature references appealing, and I was intrigued. That didn't last long, though. I don't know what happened, but by the end, I was forcing myself through it. If not for review, I don't think I'd have finished it, nor do I plan to read any future books at this point. It gets really slow by the end, and I didn't even care what happened by then. (I don't even mind slower books, in general, but this one didn't work for me.) Too, just like in the Legacy Trilogy, the main character annoyed me more than not.

This book wasn't for me, but it does have enough going for it that it might be the perfect read for you. If you don't mind investing time in a slower moving read and the content doesn't bother you, go ahead and give it a try.


There's a sex scene(which I found confusing...the scene, not the fact that it was there...though I'd have preferred it had been left out), mild profanity, and violence. To me, it's in between YA and Adult.

*I got an ARC through Amazon Vine.

The Story of Arthur Truluv by Elizabeth Berg

The content kept me from truly enjoying this book. The F-word is used frequently. (There's also a few sex references.) This is a short, very quick read, so it's a lot packed into such a small story. I'd did a bit of research on this author, and thought I was getting a clean read. Just because an author writes one clean book doesn't mean they all will be. That's a lesson one would think I'd have already learned.

Aside from the content, it would have been a nice choice for a rainy day. It has its sweet moments. (Arthur is the best!) It also has its annoying moments! It's not a deep read, by any means, but it does pull on the heartstrings.

If you're like me and don't care for "extra" content, pass this one up. If you don't mind the content, and want a quick and light read on the sentimental side, this might be just what you want. On a personal level, though, I don't recommend it at all.

*I got an ARC through Amazon Vine.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

NKJV Journal the Word Bible

My Thoughts:

This Bible is very similar to the KJV Journal the Word Bible I just posted about. Its cover is cloth bound, though, and definitely looks more geared to women. It's partly covered with turquoise cloth and partly with flowered cloth. It's lovely!

The pages are thicker than the average Bible, but still not super thick. (That would result in a much larger, heavier book!) The letters are larger than the average Bible also, making it much easier for eyes to see. It has a blue ribbon bookmark attached, and has lines on the sides of each page.

Just like the KJV Journal the Word Bible, this one is plain and simple, other than the cover. It doesn't have extra notes, comments, quotes, or pictures. It just has titles to sections, like most other Bibles, along with the words of Jesus in red. Otherwise, you're just getting God's Word, in the NKJV.

This NJKV Journal the Word Bible would make a perfect gift for special occasions(involving females). It's also a wonderful choice if you're looking for a simple NKJV Bible to fill with notes and/or creativity.

*I was given a free copy of this book.