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Showing posts from August, 2019

Back Roads to Belonging by Kristen Strong

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These past few years, my husband and I have done a lot of moving. I understand how it feels not to belong somewhere. More importantly, Kristen Strong in her book, Back Roads to Belonging, shows us she understands how it feels not to belong somewhere--and ways to feel more like you do belong.

Back Roads to Belonging starts with the author's introduction. I especially like in the introduction where Strong points out that she doesn't expect that reading her book will leave you never feeling you you are struggling to belong again. Instead she says, "Rather, I believe this book will be a song for your heart and soul, a regular tune to come back to whose melody points you toward your Father in heaven who gives good gifts, including a sense of belonging."

Throughout the three sections of Back Roads to Belonging, Strong shares her story of trying to feel like she belonged in various places as she moved around with her military husband. I so appreciate how she shares from her…

Dear Grandchild, This is Me gift book from Waterbrook

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I can't imagine leaving my grandchild something more personal than this book full of all my stories, love and wisdom for them. Dear Grandchild, This is Me is a gorgeous journal or record book of sorts that you can fill with personalized stories and encouragement for your grandchild.

Dear Grandchild, This is Me goes through the seasons of your life as you share wisdom and stories from each season to your grandchild. This book also has places for you to leave private letters to your grandchild to open at certain seasons of their life. There are places for mementos and photos--and mounting stickers included in the back of the book. There is a special section to leave favorite or secret family recipes. There are some places to write fun stories and there are places to write stories of faith. This is a book for your grandchild to cherish and treasure as a truly unique and special keepsake from you. The publisher has truly made this gorgeously illustrated book one that you can personali…

The Family Guide to Aromatherapy by Erika Galentin, MNIMH, RH(AHG)

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Essential oils are everywhere these days. Do you know how to use them safely? The Family Guide to Aromatherapy by Erika Galentin gives a lot of good basic information on how to use essential oils and how to use them safely for your whole family.

The Family Guide to Aromatherapy starts with a basic introduction to aromatherapy. Galentin then gives benefits and recipes for those who are pregnant or are in labor with safety precautions especially at this time. She goes through recipes, guidelines and safety precautions for babies, kids, adults, seniors and universal recipes for the whole household. In the second part of the book, Galentin has basic information pages on each of the top thirty essential oils such as clary sage, lavender, tea tree oil and many more. The back of the book includes some basic reference charts for a labor essential oils kit, a quick reference guide for common ailments, a guide with possible prescription drug interactions, and a handy index and recipe guide.

The…

Real Life Love by Michael Gibson

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One of the most important thing to me in life is good relationships. At the same time, I think good relationships can be one of the hardest things to maintain in life. If you are looking for ways to help make all kinds of relationships be the best they can be, consider reading Real Life Love by Michael Gibson.

Real Life Love is divided in to three parts: Growing in Love for Yourself, Growing in Love for God, and Growing in Love for Others. Gibson shares practical advice throughout the book that he gleaned while studying under his grandfather, relationship expert Gary Smalley. At one point, Gibson says in the book that the entire point of the book is to show you that you can have a true love that is better than what the world tells you to settle for. You are not doomed to a life in which your relationships really don't mean anything. Instead, readers glean seven principles to help their relationships be the best they can be and they also learn that real love comes from Jesus. The p…

Take Back Your Time by Morgan Tyree

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I am usually a pretty organized person as a firstborn. However, this year, I struggled with feeling like I have been on top of my schedule. Morgan Tyree's new book, Take Back Your Time, is just the book I need to help guide me back into a rhythm that will work to help me become more productive again.

Take Back Your Time helps the reader figure out what their priorities are as far as time and goals to maximize their schedule to get those items done first. Tyree encourages readers to figure out what their main purposes are and how to prioritize those things in the day. She has forms to set up a schedule and a time log to make the best use of their time. She encourages readers to divide their day into three zones: Focus time (green zone), Flex time (yellow zone), and Fill Time (red zone). She also touches on personalities to utilize your strengths as well as setting up a calendar and accomplishing goals.

Take Back Your Time is a practical guide with a lot of good information that is …

The Jesus Who Surprises by Dee Brestin

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Surprise! Do you like surprises? The Jesus Who Surprises by Dee Brestin offers a look in to how Jesus showed up in various places in the Old Testament and how He shows up today when you least expect it.

The Jesus Who Surprises is a Bible Study through the Old Testament. It is divided in to three parts: How the Story Began (The Books of Moses), How to Live in the Story (The Psalms) and How the Story Will End (The Prophets). These three sections make up a total of 13 lessons. The beginning of the book includes a brief section on how to use the book and Bible study followed by an optional get-acquainted Bible study. In the back of the book, there are also facilitator resources with hints for leading a group and notes for each lesson.

The Jesus Who Surprises is such a good study. I have done Brestin's studies in the past with groups of ladies and found them to be both informative and the learning fun. The Jesus Who Surprises does a good job of tying the Old Testament stories with our m…

A Glitter of Gold by Liz Johnson

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Anne Norris has been through some tough times. To escape the memories of her past, she moves to Savannah, Georgia for a fresh start. She not only starts over in a new place but she starts a new business leading pirate tours. However, the tourist business can be fickle and paying rent requires a steady income. At the same time, her family misses her back in her home town in California so she feels pressure to return home even though she can't face the past. Anne isn't sure what to do so she takes a walk on the beach after a hurricane--and finds evidence of a shipwreck off the coast. She wonders if this could help her business--if it is real. She takes her new found item to a local museum and meets Carter--who has struggles of his own to deal with. Could this be the answer to both of their problems--or will it cause more trouble for Anne?

After reading A Sparkle of Silver last year, I was anxiously awaiting the second book in the Georgia Coast Romance series. A Glitter of Gold

The Great Lemonade Stand Standoff by Art Rainer

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What young person isn't up for a new adventure? The Great Lemonade Stand Standoff by Art Rainer is a new chapter book adventure that not only has a fun story but also teaches kids about using money wisely. Actually, this is the first book in a whole series of money-related adventures for kids.

In The Great Lemonade Stand Standoff, kids follow Jake, Sophia, and Brody as they help a classmate raise money for a new pet shelter as they learn about helping others and giving. The story is a mix of fantasy, fun and adventure but it all has a real life lesson as it teaches children the importance of giving. This is a Christian-based book with Biblical values and includes some Bible verses in the story.

The Great Lemonade Stand Standoff looks to be a great start to a new chapter book series for children in first through fourth grades. I think it is a fun story that should get children interested in it while learning about giving. This whole series looks like one I could get behind as child…

Essential Speed Reading Techniques: How to become a Better, Faster Reader by Katya Seberson

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Essential Speed Reading Techniques by Katya Seberson is a small book that could pack a big punch in your reading life.

Essential Speed Reading Techniques starts out by explaining what speed reading is and what it is not. If you thought speed reading was just skimming a book like I did, Seberson will define what it really means in this book and how to use it to your full advantage. While I read this book, I am not yet a better, faster reader. I am improving, but as the author shares, this is a process that takes time and is a skill worth learning. Seberson offers both advice and practice exercises in this book to help you learn and grow into the reader you want to be.

I was impressed with Essential Speed Reading Techniques. I would recommend this book to anyone and everyone who wants to be a better reader. I think that as I use the techniques in this book that I will continue to improve in both my reading time and my comprehension.

Essential Speed Reading Techniques releases on August 27…

Scripture Memory Map for Women: A Creative Journal from Barbour Publishing

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I know I need to work at memorizing Scripture again. I also like to journal. Combining the two sounds like a real win for me--and perhaps you too?

The Scripture Memory Map for Women from Barbour Publishing is a spiral bound undated journal with prompts for each day you choose to work on Scripture memory. Each two-page journaling spread has plenty of space to write your memory verse, explain why it is important, tell what it means to your faith, explain how it applies to your life, identify when the verse will be most helpful, and write out a small prayer with your verse.



I can't begin to tell you how much I like this journal. The Scripture Memory Map for Women is also spiral bound so it lays flat as you right. I like the layout of the pages with small illustrations and the space it includes to write. I like the prompts. I think it will help me more and more as I use this journal to not only memorize verses, but to identify how and where they will be most helpful in my life. I also…

Great and Small Prayers for Babies by Pamela Kennedy

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Great and Small Prayers for Babies by Pamela Kennedy is such a cute little book to read to little ones or for toddlers to look at and enjoy themselves. There are adorable pictures of animal pairs--a larger animal with a baby animal behind the flap. The prayers are short, simple and easy for little ones to understand. The focus on gratitude for the simple and little things in life and encourage little ones to look to God as the source of all good gifts.  The chunky board book pages are easy for little ones to hold on to. This book is well made and I think it would last well through toddlerhood.

Great and Small Prayers for Babies is recommended for ages 1 to 3 years old but I would read it to my baby earlier. The illustrations are just so soft and sweet. This book would make a cute baby gift too.

I received this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions are my own.

Kingdom Come by Melissa Zaldivar

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Our days often feel ordinary and ho hum. Sometimes it is hard to see God working in the midst of our ordinary lives. Melissa Zaldivar in Kingdom Come shares how we can find God's presence throughout our life today. He has not left us alone but we may need to look around to see Him at work.

Kingdom Come is a mix of Scripture and Zalidvar's personal experiences as she shares how she has found God working in her life through her experiences and the people she does life with. She helps us tell the difference between the temporary circumstances in our lives and the eternal.

Zaldivar's writing in Kingdom Come reads like getting together with an old friend. She seems to share intimately and from her heart throughout the book. I wasn't sure what to expect from this book when I got it, however I found I could relate to a lot of what she shared. She hooked me early in the book when she shared about how Steve Saint, son of Nate Saint, famous missionary martyred in the Amazon spok…

Wally's Misadventure

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Wally's Misadventure is a picture story book about Wally Raccoon and the day he decides to go on an adventure. He starts out the book asking friends to go with him. Then he decides to go on an adventure alone. He does several things that his parents have told him not to do and then confesses his wrongdoing in the end.

I liked the brightly colored animal illustrations in Wally's Misadventure. They would certainly be fun for young ones to look at. However, I thought the words used were fairly big for young children. Also, the run-in with the rattlesnake could be awfully scary for little ones. I also was surprised the beaver said,"Gnaww" he didn't want to go. . .instead of "Nah." It sort of confused me as the reader, but wouldn't matter to the young ones whom you are reading out loud too. I was surprised at just how naughty Wally was in this story. I kind of felt like it went overboard. I think it would be a better book a little bit older c…

Light From Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker

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Are you looking for something different than the usual fiction to read? Light From Distant Stars by Shawn Smucker is a tale with a mix of mystery, spiritual reflection and a story about relationships with broken people and redemption.

At the start of Light from Distant Stars, Cohen Marah finds his father's body in the embalming room of the family's funeral home. He then reflects on their life together--a life of brokenness and pain in many ways. At the heart of his worries he also wonders if he is responsible for his father's death.Throughout the book we follow the story of Cohen and his sister, Kaye, his mother and his father, as well as his childhood friends. This is a story told both in the here and now and one that reflects back on Cohen's childhood. I never got confused though, Smucker's tale fell into a gentle rhythm of back and forth that left me easily keeping track of the story.

Light From Distant Stars was an intriguing read. It was quite different than …

Gangster Prayer by Autumn Miles

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Is your prayer life in a rut? Do you pray general prayers without a lot of passion to them? Does it feel like God is answering other people's prayers but not yours? If so, I would encourage you to read Gangster Prayer by Autumn Miles and your just may give your prayer life a boost.

What is Gangster Prayer anyway? Autumn Miles says the short version of gangster prayer can be defined this way: "intentional, tenacious, relentless communication with God that focuses on His might as the source for the answers we seek an don the gospel of Jesus Christ, which gives us access to that power." She also said that this whole book is the long version of how to pray like a gangster. She starts Gangster Prayer by explaining how God gave her a wake-up call to pray more fervently. She said that God got her attention by telling her that real-life gangsters are more passionate about their mission of evil than she was about her mission of prayer. Then throughout Gangster Prayer, Miles give…