Saturday, November 1, 2014

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary

My Thoughts:

First, a little about the physical aspects of this dictionary.

It's is about the size of a regular hardcover book in length, and overall size, but its page count makes it a very thick and *heavy* book. I don't know how much one can tell from seeing the picture online, but the front of the book looks textured. It is not, though. It's perfectly smooth to touch. Though I know that won't matter to most, for people with severe texture issues, like me, that might be important to know. (Touching books that are textured has resulted in those books not being read by me.)

Inside, it is filled with pictures, charts, maps, outlines, and of course, definitions. There's even a Bible history timeline in the front, which is nice.

I love that it's been made into so much more than a dictionary, making this an excellent Bible study tool. It's truly a nice book, and packed with Bible information.

*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Purchase Link:

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary: New and Enhanced Edition

Friday, October 31, 2014

A Beautiful Mess: Happy Handmade Home by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman

Potter Style (August 26, 2014) 240 pages

My Rating: 4/5 stars

My Thoughts:

I can remember a time, when I was single and without kids, that I would have LOVED this book. I can easily imagine myself as a younger person doing/making most of the things within this book. It's a very artsy and hip, retro kind of decorating, but at the same time, very simple. I was never "hip" at any point in my life, but I liked bright, artsy things. At one stage, I remember the odder and brighter the shirt, the better. (Oh, I wish I had pictures to make fun of my self back then.)

I really enjoyed looking through this book. There's all kinds of creativity and beauty within it. It's not overly my style these days, though. (That, or it wouldn't easily work in our current season of life.) The thought of hanging dishes on my dining room wall makes me want to cry a little, but it was still fun to look at how someone else saw beauty in it. A wall full of animal horns makes me want to cry more. I WAS able to pull a few ideas out that I really like. The wagon full of books made my heart skip a beat in happiness. I connected the most with the outdoor spaces. Using empty "soup" cans as flower pots is so simple and cute, and I love it. I also love that this book encouraged me to think outside the box, and reuse items. Most of the ideas in this book can be done pretty inexpensively.

Ultimately, I think most of us, no matter what styles and taste in decor, could benefit from this book. It IS inspiring, and I think that was the point of the book! I'm encouraged more to make our space into something that we love. I'd probably recommend you check it out at the library first, though, just to see how much you connect with it..

*I was provided a review copy, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Purchase Link:

A Beautiful Mess Happy Handmade Home: Painting, Crafting, and Decorating a Cheerful, More Inspiring Space

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

A Little Duck Dynasty Giveaway!

I get to call this family my brothers and sisters in Christ, and therefore I love them! I think they are a sweet and genuine family, and it's obvious they love each other.

That said, I can't support or promote them at the moment. They've always been less conservative than me, but I won't judge them for that. Two decisions were made recently, though, that unfortunately, means I have to make this kind of statement, which truly hurts.

I very much wish that these things were brought to my attention before I requested these books, but they were already on their way to me.

One of these books was written by Sadie. One of my brothers in Christ posted a link on Facebook of Sadie, proclaiming that he didn't see how what she was doing in this video was any different than Miley Cyrus. I watched it, and I agree. It broke me heart to see my Christian sister setting such an example. I can't promote her as a Christian role model for young girls right now.

This isn't an attempt to gossip, nor do I plan on saying anything more. Lots of prayer has went into attempting this post in a kind, yet honest Christian way. I apologize if I've failed.

I'm attempting to be as positive as possible otherwise concerning these books. I was sent an extra copy of A Robertson Family Christmas, and after much debate, (because, really, a giveaway IS promoting a book, right?)I'm going to give away my copy of Live Original, too. Someone out there could benefit from it, because I don't claim my opinion to be the end of all. ;) Scroll to the end for giveaway details.

First up, A Robertson Family Christmas:

Although I've never watched Duck Dynasty religiously, Jonathan has always DVRed the episodes, and watched them when we got home from Wednesday night Bible class/worship service. I've saw plenty of bits and pieces of the show, and I always laugh. This is a sweet and hilarious family. Mrs. Kay and Mr. Phil are my favorites, and despite my explanation up top, I DO still have respect for this precious couple! Mrs. Kay wrote this book. Honestly, I don't know how much of this book is fact or fiction, but it is very sweet! I imagine more than not of it is true. Ultimately, we have a mother-in-law bragging about her daughter-in-law, and I think that is awesome! The story mostly revolves around Willie and Korie and their family.

I don't recommend this book for those of you who don't know the Robertson family. I don't thing you'll "get" it. There's lots of corniness and silliness. Since I've saw lots of bits of the shows, I was easily able to picture the things happening in the story.

If you're a fan of Duck Dynasty, this will make a corny, but sweet addition to one's Christmas reading.

Next, Live Original: How the Duck Commander Teen Keeps It Real and Stays True to Her Values:

As I said above, I can't recommend this book as a "role model" kind of book. I didn't read the whole book, but from what I did read, I feel there are better books for Christian teenagers. BUT, if you're a fan of Duck Dynasty, there are lots of stories about Sadie's family. If you want to know more about them, this book will help in that goal. There's also several pages of color photos of Sadie and her family in the middle of the book.

*I was provided review copies of both books, in exchange for my honest opinion.

Now, for the Giveaway!

If you'd like to enter for both books, just leave me a comment, with a spam free e-mail address(so I have a way to contact you should you win).

-US only
-Ends October 7th at midnight(Central)
-Winner will be picked by
-Must be 13 or older to enter

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Armchair Cybils 2014

It's time for the Cybils again! Amy @ Hope is the Word is hosting the Armchair Cybils again this year, and I can't resist joining in, despite that fact that I'm horrible at challenges. Horrible! Y'all already know that, though, right? (Remember the Summer Reading Challenge I tried? Reading some REAL Jane Austen was yet again a fail for me. I can't give up hope, though!)

Every once in awhile, I bravely venture out of the safe(ish) world of children's and Christian books into the world of secular and adult books. That phase always leaves me running back to my safe little world. (Don't get me wrong! Children's and Christian books can be challenging, too!) As a challenge to myself, though, I read several secular non-fiction books and one adult fiction(Bitter Greens) that has left me so disturbed, that I'm seeking refuge in middle grade fiction to recover(as soon as I make my way through Joan of Arc: A Life Transfigured, that is).

My goal for the Armchair Cybils is to spend most of my time focusing on the middle grade categories, in particular the speculative fiction category, which is probably my most favorite reading category. Between my library, Edelweiss, and Amazon Vine, I already have quite a few of them in my reading pile, both "real" and e-books. I've already read several of the nominated books, especially in the middle grade realm, too.

Don't forget to get your nominations in! Tomorrow is the last day. I'm excited to print off my final Cybils reading list for the next several months.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Made by God: Weird and Wonderful Creations

About the Book:

Weird and Wonderful Creations is a bind up of the nonfiction Made By God series. With photos and facts showing children the wonders of God’s creation, this collection includes four complete early reader titles as well as over 200 additional facts throughout the book. Some of the creatures featured include whales, tarantulas, bats, sea turtles, and more. All facts align with the Common Core Standards for informational reading for young readers.

Weird and Wonderful Creations includes:

Spiders, Snakes, Bees and Bats
Big Bugs, Little Bugs
Sea Creatures
Poisonous, Smelly, and Amazing Plants

My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

Zondervan has been reprinting these "Made by God" easy reader books into "treasuries", which contain 4 books in 1.

Grasshopper LOVES these books! We've spent a huge amount of time within their pages. He had already fallen in love with the Curious Creatures treasury, so he's been thrilled to have this one on our shelves, too. They are full of facts, so even I learn new things. There's also lots of pictures. Grasshopper is FULL of questions these days, and these books provide tons of learning opportunities for him, and fill his mind with even more questions to ask.

In this particular book, we're learning about some of God's more unusual creations, like the Venus Fly Trap and fireflies. We have a "bug jar" that we regularly put creatures in to observe and do some research on before letting them back into nature. The Wheel Bug and Preying Mantis have been the most fascinating so far. Feed a preying mantis a grasshopper and you'll find yourself both fascinated and disturbed! The giant garden spider that has been living outside our living room window the past couple of months has been pretty fascinating, too, especially since she's been a HUGE help in the wasp department. Creatures similar to those are found in this book, so it's a new little research book for when we have a creature in the bug jar(or outside our window). I've found myself fascinated as we learn, right along with Grasshopper.

The best part is the constant mention of God and HIS creations. I always edit and try to add in God when I'm reading from "evolution" books, but it's nice to not have to do that within the pages of these books. It's like I can relax more as we read and browse through these books. (As much as one can relax with questions flying around at 60 per minute.) ;)

I have no hesitations recommending these "Made by God" books for your curious little ones! We can't wait for more!

*I was provided a review copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

Purchase Link:

Weird and Wonderful Creations (Made By God)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Good Music Brighter Children by Sharlene Habermeyer


Good Music Brighter Children

Good Music Brighter Children

Good Music Brighter Children is written for parents, educators or anyone who wants to build a bigger, better brain using music. Scientific studies indicate that children introduced to classical music at a young age read earlier and perform better on achievement tests. Adults can also revive tired brain cells using music. This book gives you a step-by-step program that any parent or individual can follow. You’ll discover how introducing your children to good music can accelerate language development, improve math and science skills, enhance physical coordination, strengthen memory and reading retention, and benefit children with learning disabilities. Discover how to choose an instrument and music teacher for your child; how to get your kids to practice and how character traits such as confidence, responsibility, creativity and teamwork are taught when learning a musical instrument. Learn how to introduce your child to the music community and how to appreciate all kinds of music. Last, if you want to advocate for music in your schools, this book gives the ammunition and data to do so. Also includes a 35-page Resource Section on the best music, books, and DVDs for kids.

Amazon * Barnes & Noble


My Rating: 5/5 stars

My Thoughts:

This is one of those books that deserve lots of gushing! There is so much encouragement and guidance in this book concerning classical music.

I started homeschooling Grasshopper this year, and I knew I wanted to add classical music to his days, but honestly, I didn't know how to go about it. Even if I hadn't already wanted music in our days, after reading this book, I would have been convinced to add it. It provides tons of resources and tips for easily adding music to a child's day, whether through education or play. The advice is so simple, too, but I never would have thought to do the things suggested.

Within this book we also learn the benefits of little ones listening to classical music, even while still in the womb. There's even a section on it benefiting premature babies. Grasshopper was born extremely premature, weighing only 1 pound, and 8 ounces. I wish so much that I'd read this book much sooner! My little guy turned 6 yesterday, and he still struggles with certain parts of education, especially math. He's so incredibly smart in some ways, and he has the most creative and imaginative mind you could imagine, but I'm now hopeful that adding music will help him in the areas he struggles with. I'm not forgetting about my other little guys...the super emotional ones(just like their mommy!) ;) There's advice for them, too, and even advice for as they get older. It doesn't matter how old children in your home are, this book has advice and resources to add music into your life.

At the back of the book is a large resource guide. It is packed full of specific information to guide you in adding music to your days, like composers, songs, CDs, DVDs, and books. Even if I didn't have the benefit of the rest of the book, the resource guide alone would have been a huge help. (Of course, I still recommend the rest of the book!)

This is an amazing book, and if children are in your life in any way, I highly recommend it!

*I was provided a review copy through I Am a Reader book tours.


Author Sharlene Habermeyer:

Sharlene Habermeyer, MA has spent over twenty-five years researching the effects of music in the brain development of children. She is passionate about how people of all ages learn and how music is a catalyst for learning. She holds a Bachelors of Fine Arts (BFA) degree in Art from Utah State University and a Masters degree in Education from Pepperdine University, Malibu, California.


In 1999, she started the Palos Verdes Regional Orchestra (now the Palos Verdes Regional Symphony Orchestra). It currently boasts over one-hundred members.


Sharlene’s initial inspiration for Good Music Brighter Children came from the extensive work she did with her severely learning disabled son, and finding that music was his strongest catalyst for learning she began passionately researching the effects music had on the developing and mature brain.

A college instructor, a popular speaker, and a consultant, she is the mother of five boys and lives with her husband in Torrance, California. She has spoken at parent conferences around the United States including the Parents as Teachers Conference (PAT) and the Crucial Years Conference in Missouri. In August 2014, she will be speaking at BYU Education Week.

Website * Facebook * Twitter * Pinterest


Praise for the Book


Largest Independent Book Reviewer in the U.S.: Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media, LLC

“With a scientist’s eye and an artist’s voice, Habermeyer examines everything from the benefits of music for the developing brain to music’s ability to improve cultural awareness. This is an encyclopedic, invaluable resource for anyone who believes in music education. A magnum opus, fact-filled and inspiring on the benefits of music.”

-Kirkus Indie, Kirkus Media, LLC


National Music Organization: Music and the Brain

“A great resource for both parents and teachers. Anyone interested in music or the overall well-being of children will not be able to put this book down.”

-Lisha Papert Lercari, Director, Music and the Brain


University Professor: Dr. James Catterall

Sharlene Habermeyer outlines why music is important to learning, and provides parents with excellent suggestions for launching and sustaining a musical influence in the lives of their children.”

-James S. Catterall, professor of education and co-director of Imagination Project at UCLA

Mother/Lawyer/Ballet Teacher: Shauna Bird Dunn

“Carefully researched and highly readable, Good Music, Brighter Children is written for musicians and non musicians alike. It is filled with wisdom, insight and helpful tips to bring music into the home for all ages and stages of childhood.”

-Shauna Bird Dunn, JD, MPA

Utah Young Mother of the Year, 2010




Blog Tour Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 10/15/14

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.


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