Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Truth Seekers: The Machine by Bill Myers

The Machine: A Truth Seekers Novel

B&H Publishing Group (September 1, 2013) 243 pages

Jake and Jennifer are twins. (I think I recall them only being 12, but I couldn't find it when I tried to look back through the story)Their mom died several months back, and now their dad, who hasn't been around enough to form a decent relationship with his children, invites them to Israel. He's in the middle of a breakthrough invention that will allow them to see events in the past.

The chapters change up between Jake and Jennifer. They're somewhat like diary entries. There's a great deal of humor that a younger person might like. There's also some family bonding attempts.

Jennifer is struggling with "visions" and a lack of faith in God. I thought the "visions" were kind of weird. (The kind of weird I'm not so fond of.) I thought this book sounded interesting with the time travel aspect, but it's definitely written for the younger middle grade crowd. As an adult, it wasn't a favorite of mine. It just felt young. There's nothing wrong with that, exactly, but I'll probably just pass it on to one of my nephews. I do think they will enjoy it.

Overall, it will probably be greatly enjoyed by its target age.

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

Monday, September 23, 2013

My Mama and Me: Rhyming Devotions for You and Your Child by Crystal Bowman and Teri McKinley (WITH GIVEAWAY)

My Mama and Me: Rhyming Devotions for You and Your Child

Tyndale House Publishers (August 16, 2013) 68 pages

This is a great book to promote some fun time with little ones, especially when time is low. *At the moment*(let me draw even more attention to those three words!), Grasshopper is going to preschool. Time spent with him is extra low, and these are quick enough that they are a perfect way to get a mini Bible lesson in no matter how busy the day is. Each devotion consists of a Bible verse, a short rhyming devotion, a prayer, and a "Fun Idea". The "Fun Ideas" range from simply naming things God has made to quick crafts. There was one that suggested we take pictures of my children's favorite items. I was humorously surprised at just how excited Grasshopper(4) and Firefly(2) were for a little photo shoot with their favorite items(which happen to be stuffed animals at the moment). I now have some very cute pictures I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.

This particular activity was supposed to be a heart wreath. They still had fun. ;) Firefly's is the one with all the glue on top.

Now for the giveaway! CLOSED...Congratulations, Annette!

I have a certificate for one of you to win. I'll mail the winner the certificate and you take it to a bookstore to receive a free copy. Just think of it as a coupon. :)

To enter:
-Just leave a comment.

Extra entries(leave an extra comment for each one):
-Be a follower in any way, and let me know how you follow(an extra entry PER way).
-Share in any way, and let me know how.

-U.S. only

Goddess Tithe by Anne Elisabeth Stengl Cover Reveal With Giveaway

The Vengeful Goddess
Demands Her Tithe

When a stowaway is discovered aboard the merchant ship Kulap Kanya, Munny, a cabin boy on his first voyage, knows what must be done. All stowaways are sacrificed to Risafeth, the evil goddess of the sea. Such is her right, and the Kulap Kanya's only hope to return safely home.
Yet, to the horror of his crew, Captain Sunan vows to protect the stowaway, a foreigner in clown's garb. A curse falls upon the ship and all who sail with her, for Risafeth will stop at nothing to claim her tithe.
Will Munny find the courage to trust his captain and to protect the strange clown who has become his friend?

I won't keep you in suspense. Here's the gorgeous cover...........

I love how it still "matches" the other covers in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, but it's completely different at the same time.

When I heard that it wouldn't be until the Spring of 2014 that I'd get to read another installment in the Tales of Goldstone Wood series, I was battling some major disappointment. My very understanding husband let me know that it wasn't even a year away. ;) He may not understand my love of books, but he's never complained! He sweetly lets me get carried away in the land of books.

It was the announcement of Goddess Tithe that pulled me through, though. It will be the first novella of Goldstone Wood. You may not realize that in addition to having an amazing talent at writing, Anne Elisabeth also has the ability to draw *beautifully*. It just doesn't seem fair, does it?! ;)

The Goddess Tithe will also be Anne Elisabeth's first illustrated novel, which I'm delighted to hear! There are 8 full page illustrations throughout the book. To give you a peek:

I can't wait!!

About Anne Elisabeth:

Anne Elisabeth Stengl makes her home in Raleigh, North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, Rohan, a kindle of kitties, and one long-suffering dog. When she’s not writing, she enjoys Shakespeare, opera, and tea, and practices piano, painting, and pastry baking. She studied illustration at Grace College and English literature at Campbell University. She is the author of the Tales of Goldstone Wood, including Heartless, Veiled Rose, Moonblood, Starflower, and Dragonwitch. Heartless and Veiled Rose have each been honored with a Christy Award, and Starflower was voted winner of the 2013 Clive Staples Award.


Anne Elisabeth is offering two proof copies of Goddess Tithe as prizes! U.S. and Canada only, please.

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Friday, September 20, 2013

The Action Bible Devotional and Handbook

The Action Bible Devotional: 52 Weeks of God-Inspired Adventure by Sergio Cariello and Jeremy V. Jones

David C. Cook (September 1, 2012) 336 pages

My Rating: 5/5 stars

Let me just tell you right off the bat that I loved these books so much, I've already ordered The Action Bible! My hands are just itching in excitement to get a hold of it. ;)

This book is set up as a 52 week study. It's most recommended for 8-13 years olds, and I agree, but I still think it could help older children, too. It's great for a boy OR girl, but I do think boys will connect with it more. The devotions for each week include a summary of a Bible event, in comic book style. It always included what book and chapter(s) the story is taken from. There's a "Key Verse", an "X-Ray Vision" section, which is a lesson that can be taken from the story. There's a "Your Mission" section, which includes challenges for the reader. "Your Debrief" asks some questions that will get the reader thinking. "Mission Accomplished" makes the reader think about what he/she has taken way from that week's lesson. Some lessons include a section to encourage reaching out in some way or a section to draw and/or write. It's part devotional and part journal. You could easily use this as a family book and pass along to each person with a notebook to write in OR actually use it as an individual study/journal/diary.

The devotional part is written by Jeremy V. Jones. I recognize his name AND his writing style from the Triple Dog Dare: One Year of Dynamic Devotions for Boys. I passed that devotional on to one of my nephews.

Is every story in this book perfect? No, of course not! Nothing written by man is, and I do *not* recommend letting the stories in this book replace, in any way, God's inspired written Word! As a supplement to reading THE Bible, I think this is an **amazing** study tool! I truly think that's what it was developed for...a study tool. So many people out there are visual learners, and this is a wonderful gateway to help those people understand many events from The Bible. As I read through this devotional, I gained a better understanding of many of those events. There were things that I didn't remember, and I would go back to the original story in The Bible and refresh my memory. There were stories that I didn't overly like the rephrasing or interpretation. As with ALL Bible related books written by man, just use your Bible knowledge and best judgement to know what to leave and what to take. I have a pretty low tolerance for changes made to Bible events, and I still feel perfectly safe recommending this book to you.

Overall, this gets a *highly* recommended from me!

The Action Bible Handbook: A Dictionary of People, Places, and Things

David C. Cook; Reprint edition (March 1, 2013) 224 pages

My Rating: 5/5 stars

This handbook is also a *wonderful* Bible study tool to have! As the title suggests, it is a dictionary of people, places, and things. Everything is listed in alphabetical order. There's even brief summaries of books of the Bible(added into the alphabetical order listings). There are pictures from The Action Bible throughout the book. My favorite part is at the end of each definition/summary, it tells you exactly where to find that object/person both in The Action Bible and THE Bible.

I'll say the same thing about this book as I did The Devotional Book. Use your best judgement and Bible knowledge.

I really can't say enough about these books, though! I'm thrilled to have them on our shelves, and they are already proving to be great Bible study tools. I can't wait for The Action Bible to get here! It will be another great supplement to use in teaching the boys events from The Bible.

*A huge "Thank You" to Karen at David C. Cook for providing me with copies of both books! We have loved them!

Love's Refuge by Sandra Leesmith Cover Reveal

Love’s Refuge will be released November 2013. Visit Seasons of Humility that month for more information about the book’s release and the blog tour.

Skye Larsen loves her peaceful life on Leeza Island in Puget Sound – the tranquility, the friendly neighbors, and especially the safety from big-city dangers. So when cruel pranks start to escalate and changes threaten to overtake the island, Skye is determined to fight for her haven. The presence of a handsome vacationer and the unexpected feelings he awakens can’t distract her from her goal.
Danny Fraser doesn’t realize how desperately he needs a rest until he meets Skye. By allowing him to glimpse her simple way of life, she helps him reorient his priorities – and steals his heart in the process. But his work and home in Seattle keep Skye at bay.
An isolated island girl with painful memories. A dedicated city boy with a wild past. What will it cost for them both to find a refuge from their storms?

Now for the reveal................

I think it fits quite beautifully with the cover of Love's Miracles!

I saw the cover before reading the book's description. My first thoughts:

I've heard that Love's Refuge is a sweeter story than Love's Miracles, and I can feel that from the cover! I especially like the lighthouses in the background. It gives the expectation of a "lighter" story. ;) It seems more peaceful with all the blues, which, of course, makes me automatically like it more. The couple on the cover of Love's Refuge look peaceful and relaxed. The man on the cover of Love's Miracles looks more tense, which fit perfectly with the story. Of course, they are both beautiful covers!

*After* reading the description, I took another look, and I noticed the darker clouds mixed in, which hints at the threats and pain mentioned in the description. The man(Danny) on the cover looks to be the protector, the rock, in the story.

I'm excited to read it!

About the author, Sandra Leesmith:

Sandra Leesmith loves to travel in her RV and explore all of nature’s beauty, discover America’s history, and fellowship with the wonderful people she meets while on the road. She enjoys reading, writing, hiking, swimming, and pickleball. Learn more about Sandra and her books at www.sandraleesmith.com.

About the cover designer, Lena Goldfinch:

Lena lives in a scenic small town in Massachusetts with her husband, two kids, and a very spoiled Black Lab. She writes fiction for young adults, mostly light fantasy with a healthy dose of "sigh-worthy" romance. You can visit her online at www.lenagoldfinch.blogspot.com.

*****Freebie Offer*****

Love's Miracles – Sandra’s May 2013 release – is FREE for Kindle today (September 20th) only, in honor of the Love’s Refuge cover reveal. Click HERE to download your copy!


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Thursday, September 19, 2013

Bumper Wipe Clean Activities

Bumper Wipe Clean Activities

It's wonderful that each and every one of the activities in this book are reusable and can be passed through all 3 of my boys! The best thing about it to me is that crayons work GREAT with it. We've taken this to church with us a few times for my two oldest and my niece. We're trying to adopt a somewhat minimalist lifestyle, so Grasshopper(4) and Firefly(2) each have a single pair of khakis that they wear to church each Sunday. (We do swap out their shirts.) When Firefly pulled out the black marker that is included with this book, I had a little panic attack at its close proximity to his pants. ;) It was quickly replaced with a crayon, and I'm excited that it worked out so well. All you need is something to wipe it off(a baby wipe works great, paired with something to dry it off) and you're good to go for another round of activities!

There are 67 pages of activities in this book. They are all Bible related, which makes it a great, quiet attention keeper during church! They include such activities as mazes, connect the dots, coloring pages, matching games, drawing, "what doesn't belong", and many more. There are activities to help teach numbers and counting, along with tracing. Grasshopper is having trouble grasping numbers, so this is especially beneficial to him.

We're very pleased with this book, and highly recommend it for little ones 2-5(ish). I'm keeping it in mind for Christmas presents this year!

*A huge "Thank You" to Kregel Publications for providing us with a review copy of this book in exchange for our honest opinion. We loved it!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Candy and the Cankersaur by Jason Sandberg

Candy and the Cankersaur by Jason Sandberg

You have to smile a little bit at the title! ;) Candy is a young girl who doesn't get the attention she needs from her busy father. Instead of giving his time to her, he gives *things* to her, and attempts to buy her love. His latest gift is a rare Cankersaurus Rex that needs a bit of training. When Candy's neighbor, Chucky, gets jealous, he causes some problems for all of them.

Although I make sure there's always a healthy supply of "real" books around our home, I like to occasionally add books to my kindle for the boys to enjoy. It certainly makes things much easier for those out of town trips! Candy and the Cankersaur is one of the latest editions we've added to our electronic library, and it's made quite an impression on my boys, especially Grasshopper(4). Most days he asks for me to read the "dinosaur book" to him.

My favorite part of this book was the pictures. They have an old fashioned feel to them. It reminds me of Saturday morning cartoons way back in my childhood days. I like all the lessons that are added in, too. While there's quite a few that can be taken away, I especially like the lesson in biting. We teach our kids not to bite. It's a constant struggle these days with Firefly(2). He gets disciplined every time he does it, with a strong lesson not to do it again. Too often in that lesson, we fail to mention that there are rare circumstances that biting IS okay. I've failed to teach them that if a stranger tries to hurt them or take them somewhere, BITE! Kick and scream! There just aren't many books out there that teach(and remind us as parents) to teach those kinds of lessons, and I appreciate that this book fills that much needed slot in the world of books.

If you're looking for a book that encourages discussion with your young children, this is a perfect choice! We've enjoyed it!

To read more about Jason Sandberg's books, take a look at his website, Jason Sandberg E-books.

*I was provided a PDF copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, September 13, 2013

"Knowing My God" Children's Books by Callie Grant

Jesus Shows Me

I couldn't help but smile when I opened this book. I'd recently ordered Five-Minute Devotions for Children: Celebrating God's World as a Family. It's a devotional book AND a nature study. Jesus Shows Me is a perfect supplement to those devotions! It compares the love of Jesus for us to the wonders of nature that God created. It includes photographs of animals alongside each comparison.

"God made the dolphins to leap, flip, splash and race.
They seem to enjoy playing as much as you do!
Playing gives a great feeling inside, a feeling of joy.
Knowing the love of Jesus can make your heart feel that way."

Jesus Invites Me

Jesus Invites You compares times in our life to what it's like to have Jesus in our life. Alongside the comparisons are photographs of children and animals.

"So tender, sweet and helpless, babies bring joy to all
who love them. Jesus was sent into the world like
that. As a baby, He rested in a manger surrounded by
the kinds of hardworking animals that wear a yoke."

Mud Puddle Hunting Day

This is an adorable book that shows us the joy of a rainy day. Too often I'm telling the boys not to get wet or dirty. I tell them to stay away from those mud puddles. It always makes me smile on those days that a little dirt and water isn't going to hurt anything, and I say, "Go ahead.". Rainy days really are a joyful experience, and the perfect time to read this book! Just be prepared for some rainy day adventures afterwards!

"Birds huddle in nests,
beetles swirl in a bath.
Squirrels peek out from trees,
I squish-squash on the path."

All of Me That You Can’t See

All of Me stresses the importance of the things *within* ourselves are what really matter. It helps a child to understand that God doesn't see that scar, or those glasses, or whatever a child is self-conscious about. He cares about what's inside.

"My mind learns most
from Mom and Dad,
the games we’ve played,
the books we’ve shared."

"Grandma says we’re made like Jesus.
The soul inside is how He sees us."

*A huge thank you to Shelton Interactive for providing a copy of Jesus Shows Me and PDF copies of the other three books in exchange for my honest opinion!

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Matilda by Roald Dahl

I just learned that today is Roald Dahl Day(through this post @Reading to Know)! How fun! I read Matilda a few months back, but I've been hanging on to this post in hopes that I could watch the movie and do a combination post. While I've tried several times, and I have seen a good bit of it, watching the whole thing just isn't happening right now. I will say it looks as though they stayed true to the book in the movie. There's some extra parts thrown in, but it keeps the dark, yet humorous quality of the book. And, they seriously couldn't have done better with the casting of The Trunchbull!

I figured what better day than today to get it on up, though!

Matilda is a 5 year old girl. She's also a genius, and loves to read. Among her favorites is Charles Dickens. Her parents are mean and dishonest, but she learns to get her revenge through humorous ways. Most of the story takes place after Matilda starts going to school, where she meets the horrible Trunchbull and the sweet Miss Honey.

Since Tim Burton seems to be so drawn to Dahl, I couldn't help but want to check out his writing! I was by no means disappointed in the story itself, but I was hoping for more of a "wonderfully weird" kind of read. From what I've heard, I have plenty of opportunities with his other books. Just Tuesday, I finally made it to the library and got Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator. I hear the last one just might be the "wonderfully weird" I'm hoping for.

I kept thinking as I read that I shouldn't like a story so much where a child is getting revenge on authority figures. I liked it, though. Those authority figures are pretty horrible and Matilda is still portrayed as a respectful child, overall. I always like a book that gives me encouragement to get in the Classics, and this one definitely does just that. (Of course, I had to wipe out the stack of review books I'd collected first, but I'm on the right track now.)

Matilda ended up being a fun, humorous read, and I'm glad I spent the time in it! It provided lots of snickers. I'm now greatly looking forward to reading the rest of Dahl's books!

Monday, September 9, 2013

Sword Study: A Family Centered Bible Study on II Timothy for Each Age Level by Tammy McMahan

*Before I start this review, let me make it clear that I have not read through each and every page. I was provided a book for each age level(5 in all). I haven't had them but a few weeks. This is designed as a 10 week study, so I haven't had time to read through everything. My review is based on what I have read, and from scanning through the different levels.

**Also, let me point out that this series is written by a woman, and is designed for a husband and/or wife to lead his/her family in study. I hold pretty conservative views on women teaching men, including written form,(I Timothy 2:12-14), so I can't recommend this study for men in any form. That still leaves a HUGE target audience for it, though. Of course, as always, you can take or leave that. ;) Y'all are used to me by now.


This is a *deep* study of II Timothy. From what I've seen so far, I have to say it looks like an amazing study. I'm looking forward to completing the whole thing, because I *know* my mind will be wiser concerning II Timothy when I'm finished.

Level 1 is designed for 4 to 7 year olds. In my opinion, this one is a little on the young side. *With help*, I think it would be perfectly fine to use with a mature 2 year old. I also think that a mature 6 year old and most 7 year olds would be fine to move to Level 2. Of course, that's just my opinion! Level 1 is mostly coloring pages, with some of them having an activity, like matching. There's Bible verses to read and learn and memorize, along with some discussion. Of course, if done in a group setting, your little one will be hearing and learning from all of the more mature discussion happening at the same time.

Level 2 is designed for 7 to 10 year olds. Level 3 is for 11 to 14 year olds. Level 4 is a teen/adult study, and Level 5 combines the adult study of Level 4 with the guidance needed to lead the study for all the levels.

As you would expect, with each level, the study goes deeper. There becomes more reading and writing. Within this study, there is a *wonderful* lesson in how we should pray! There's lessons on the original Greek words. There's a map to help put the land of that time into context. Again, it is a *deep* study! From what I read of it so far, I honestly can't say enough about it. I passed the Level 4 book to my momma to get her opinion on it, and she's in agreement with me, in that it looks like a wonderful study.

I truly think that it would be more beneficial for each family member to have their own level and book. But, if budget is an issue, simply getting Level 5 would still provide a wonderful Bible study! There's supposed to be a new study coming out each year, with I Peter coming out this fall. Based on what I've seen so far, I won't hesitate to get the Level 4 or 5 book for my own personal study.

I know that this post is mostly me introducing this study to you, as opposed to truly reviewing it, but so far, I highly recommend it for women and children!

*I was provided review copies of all 5 levels from Glass Road Media in exchange for my honest opinion.

Sword Study: II Timothy (Level 1)

Sword Study: II Timothy (Level 2)

Sword Study: II Timothy (Level 3)

(I couldn't find Level 4 at the moment).

Sword Study: II Timothy (Level 5)

You can also go to the Sword Study website to get more information and see samples.