Thursday, July 03, 2014

Writer's Nudge by by Mary C. Busha and Robert W. Busha



The Bushas have a long history in publishing. Now they are making their years of expertise available to writers eager to make their mark as writers. Covering subjects like proposals, self-publishing, agents, and more, Writer's Nudge is a valuable resource to get you started on your road to being an author.


Wednesday, July 02, 2014

Twirl by Patsy Clairmont



In the blurb for “Twirl,” the author, Patsy Clairmont, says she hopes to help her readers make choices that lead to renewal and peace. I figured the twirling had to do with the breakneck pace of our current culture. When I first received “Twirl” for review, I was puzzled by the image of a pinwheel on the front. I wanted a book on how to stop the dizziness of a too-busy life. Then I saw the smaller subtitle, “A Fresh Spin at Life.” Clever!

Instead of trying to stop the chaos, Patsy leads her readers to look at life in a different way, focusing on what’s important. She has a gentle and encouraging tone, and a fun sense of humor. Each chapter ends with questions for further reflection. You don’t have to read the book straight through. Pick out a title that resonates with you. I suggest using the book as a motivational tool first thing each morning and meditating on the questions throughout the day, and perhaps you and I will both find it easier to find joy and purpose – and a new spin at life.

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through BookLookBloggers.com book review program. The opinions I express are my own.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

First Blush by Rebeca Seitz

There are a lot of people who can immerse themselves into a hefty novel. I'm not one of them. I like short and sweet. And that's exactly what I got with a novella by Rebeca Seitz. In First Blush, the characters are fun and sassy. The setting is sunny Florida. Reading about sunshine and beach time lifted my spirits. And the storyline is light, but interesting enough to keep me reading clear to the end...no, wait, not the end.

The beginning? My only complaint was that the novella ended quite abruptly. I want to know more about Elizabeth, the main character, and Nick, the mysterious Englishman, and Marcy, her best friend. Hopefully, this is just the first of many more novellas from Rebeca Seitz. I'm looking forward to the next one!

*I received a complimentary digital copy of this novella from Glass Road for the purpose of an independent and honest review.


Monday, April 14, 2014

The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life by Rick Warren, Dr. Daniel Amen, Dr. Mark Hyman



The Daniel Plan: 40 Days to a Healthier Life is based on five essentials: faith, food, fitness, focus, and friends. Any book that starts out with an “Aha!” moment in the author’s life that brought humility and conviction gets my attention. Rick Warren had such a moment while baptizing people in his congregation and that single illuminating revelation prompted him to gather together a team to help not only him get healthy, but any members in his church who wanted to join him on the journey to health and wellness. 

Now in book form, this program has the potential to help countless people who’ve struggled to find a healthy life plan. Starting with the Faith Essential, the Daniel Plan begins with the recognition that each of us needs God’s help to succeed in anything, and that includes the power to change. From that most important starting point, the book moves onto the other components of the plan with foods that heal, fitness, how to focus, and finding a community in which to gain support and strength. The book even has a 40-day meal plan to get you started. Highly recommended. 

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through BookSneeze®.com book review program. The opinions I expressed are my own.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

The Big Picture Interactive Bible for Kids, Hardcover: Connecting Christ Throughout God's Story (The Gospel Project)



I am always excited about new ways to share God’s Word with anyone – and especially children. The “Big Picture Interactive Bible” represents one of the newer methods. Not only does the Bible have many extras like Bible verses to remember, a dictionary, and detailed introductions to each book of the Bible, but also includes a unique feature called “augmented reality.” What? I had no idea what that was, but after downloading the free app, I was as eager as any child would be to see the full color illustrations ‘talk.’ All I had to do was scan the icon in the corner of the illustration and then scan the actual illustration to hear the narrator explain what’s happening in the story. I have to say that I did have a difficult time holding the device steady enough to get the scan to work, but as we know, children today are quite adept and oftentimes quicker than adults to use technology.

I believe that the Bible is Jesus’ story from Genesis to Revelation with the Old Testament being Christ concealed and the New Testament Christ revealed. I love that this Bible has “Christ Connection” snippets all the way through the entire Bible. With maps, concordance, and a page dedicated to The ABCs of Becoming a Christian in the front, this Bible is a well-rounded tool to study the Word of God for both children and adults!

Product Details

  • Age Range: 6 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: 1 - 5
  • Series: The Gospel Project
  • Imitation Leather: 1350 pages
  • Publisher: B&H Kids (March 1, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1433605031
  • ISBN-13: 978-1433605031

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, February 07, 2014

My Brother Is My Best Friend by Nicole Weaver, art by Clara Batton Smith


"My Brother Is My Best Friend" by Nicole Weaver is a tri-lingual book with English, Spanish, and French. In the book, the text is in three different colors which make it much easier to differentiate the languages. In any language, this book is fun! It's energetic - just like the twin boys, and educational. Activities and a word search puzzle in the back of the book make it even more fun. The illustrations by Clara Batton Smith perfectly complement the active text. You can almost feel the wind as the boys zoom by! Also check out My Sister is my Best Friend: A Trilingual Story for girls.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

NIV Ragamuffin Bible: Meditations for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up, and Brokenhearted (Brennan Manning)


The NIV Ragamuffin Bible is a New International Version Bible containing 104 devotions, 250 reflections, and 150 quotes from Brennan Manning (1934-2013), a public speaker, priest, and author of The Ragamuffin Gospel. While the extra material scattered throughout the text is at times thought provoking and inspiring, in some cases, I felt that it did not relate to the scriptures into which it was inserted. For instance, this quote is on the same page as Ecclesiastes 4:
“In place of end-time agitation and thoughts of doom, Jesus tells us to be alert and watchful. We are to avoid the doomsayer and the talkshow crank when they conduct their solemn televised meetings in the green room of apocalypse.” 
See what I mean? The quotes require careful deliberation to ascertain the message being conveyed, and in some cases, without the greater context of the original writings, the quotes are quite cryptic. Brennan Manning’s style of writing demands more than a casual reading. I do not consider this Bible to be a study Bible, but one that would enhance your devotional time, especially if you are already a Brennan Manning fan.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through BookSneeze®.com book review program. The opinions I expressed are my own.

Saturday, November 02, 2013

The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado


When I received “The Christmas Candle” by Max Lucado for review, I was surprised to find that it was a novella. I’ve read many nonfiction books by Rev. Lucado. I didn’t know he had ever written fiction. I consider the novella to be a gift book – something short and sweet, the perfect read when you don’t have a lot of time to devote to a full length novel. But don’t assume that because it’s a short read that you won’t have a lovely time reading about the miracles that occur in a small village in Victorian England. Even as I read the book, I thought the story would make a heartwarming holiday movie, and it turns out that it has. Reading this book (and watching the movie) that is less about candles and more about faith and hope would be a wonderful holiday tradition.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Welcome to Last Chance by Cathleen Armstrong


Just finished reading "Welcome to Last Chance" by Cathleen Armstrong. I loved the small town feel and the diverse characters, and the way that Christian values were presented in a gentle, non-confrontational way. The story of the two main characters, Lainie and Ray, kept me guessing as there had to more to the story than was presented in the beginning, but I have to say that the warm, sweet, rock-steady character, Elizabeth, was my favorite. At times, the book read like a mystery with a bit of suspense thrown in, and at other times, like a romantic novel. I can imagine followup books in the series featuring these same characters. The suspense aspect won't keep you up at night, but the romantic side will warm your heart.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Billy Graham in Quotes



The first time I ever heard of an evangelist was when the Billy Graham crusade came to town. Nine years old, I attended a Baptist church at the time and joined the team of volunteers to go door to door and invite people to come. In the years since, I’ve listened to many Billy Graham sermons and even sung in the choir as an adult at one of the last crusades held.

So, I was thoroughly delighted when I received a copy of the book “Billy Graham in Quotes.” If there ever was a man who speaks truthfully and succinctly, it’s the Reverend Billy Graham.  His son, Franklin Graham (who along with Donna Lee Toney compiled the quotes) says the material spans seven decades. What a legacy to have preached for so long! It’s a wonderful tribute to have a son who has amassed his father’s simple statements of Biblical truth on a vast array of subjects. With the book divided alphabetically according to subject, the many topics cover everything from anger and angels to worry and worship.  
 
I highly recommend this book as resource for preachers and teachers or for anyone who wants to read a quote to ponder and meditate on throughout the day.

Disclaimer: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com® book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.  

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Runaway Emotions by Jeff Schreve


The smoke alarm on the cover of “Runaway Emotions” by Jeff Schreve is symbolic of negative emotions like anger and frustration. They alert us to danger. Just as we wouldn’t hide a fire, the alarms set off by these runaway, negative emotions alert us to the need to manage them, and find out what God is trying to say to us. Schreve uses scriptures liberally in his explanation of how the Bible can help make sense when life seems out of control because we have become overly emotional.

The material in the book has been researched well, explained in depth, and backed up with Biblical insights. I would call reading this book an excellent first step in acknowledging and managing runaway emotions. With the addition of pertinent questions after each chapter to encourage discussion, I could see this being a good study for a teen’s or women’s class.

The author has a wonderful sense of humor while sharing deep spiritual truths using practical examples. The chapter on loneliness was very well explained and helped me better understand the emotion and want to reach out to those who are lonely. Pastor Schreve’s vulnerability while sharing personal accounts was engaging, encouraging me to take this journey past negative emotions to healing and freedom.

* I received this book free from the publisher through the http://BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Secretly Smitten [Kindle Edition]



Are you too busy to dive into a good novel, but still want to get your fiction fix? Having long periods of time to read is rare for me. That's why I like novellas. And what better book for me than Secretly Smitten - four novellas in one?  

Secretly Smitten is written by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and Diann Hunt.  Each author is successful on her own, and what fun to find their writing all in one book! I liked this collection that tells the story three young women solving a mystery and finding romance along the way. Each author builds on the story and characters and develops the plot line in her own style while staying true to the story as a whole. The small town setting was refreshing as was the sweet romance and light mystery woven through each novella. 

This is actually the second book in the Smitten Series but this could easily be read on its own. I have to say I am looking forward to the next offering by these four talented authors, and reading these shorter stories encourages me to read each author’s books. If you’re looking for a sweet, lighthearted romance with a Christian worldview, then I suggest you check out Secretly Smitten.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

5 Days to a Clutter-Free House: Quick, Easy Ways to Clear Up Your Space by Sandra Felton, Marsha Sims



In my never-ending pursuit of being an organized person, I asked to review this book. When it came time to read and review, I couldn't find it. Boy, do I need this book! 

The first section of the book focuses on cleaning and organizing your home using a team approach. While I think that would be a great way to tackle a big job, most of my friends and family are every bit as busy as I am. Using their tips and taking more than five days, I do think the tips provided by authors Sandra Felton and Marsha Sims are still valuable and practical.

In my opinion, the second half of the book is where the real value lies. The authors focused more on maintenance of your home after you declutter. The chapter titled "Manage Yourself" helped me understand why I tend to let clutter build up. The next chapter "Manage Your House" had Clutter Busters and Rules that helped make the task of being organized seem more manageable. For the second half of the book alone, I would say this book is worth the purchase.

I will be putting their tips into practice. Right away!

*Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in order to facilitate my review. No other compensation was received. The opinions expressed above are my own.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Beyond Talent by John C. Maxwell



I LOVE this book. I received this book several months ago, and am normally very quick to read and write reviews when my schedule allows. I have gotten so caught up with the stories, the advice, and the practical tips in this book that I actually forgot I had received it for review. My copy is bookmarked, starred, highlighted, and dog-eared. At the end of each chapter are Application Exercises which have helped me to go beyond the talent I have to excel and achieve. Maxwell is motivating, humorous, and informative. Highly recommended for anyone who wants to take  God-given talent to its full potential. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Saturday, September 01, 2012

The Power of the Prophetic Blessing by John Hagee




At the beginning of "The Power of the Prophetic Blessing," Pastor John Hagee confidently asserts, "You don't need to search any further for the answers to the challenges of your life; you just need to believe that you have the potential to lead a blessed life...because you were born to be blessed!" 

Hagee starts by defining the prophetic and priestly blessings. The second section talks about the eight prophetic blessings of Jesus, and the final section teaches about releasing and receiving the blessing. 

The principles taught by Hagee are well-researched and backed up with many Scripture references. He also includes many personal anecdotes and relevant quotes from Bible teachers. If you've ever heard Pastor Hagee preach, you'll almost be able to hear his voice booming with his unique delivery from the pages of this book. I don't necessarily agree with all of Hagee's points and interpretations of scripture, though I found myself hoping that he is correct in his assertion. I do  agree with Hagee that words are powerful, and speak the Word of God over my life for prosperity and blessings, health and healing, for favor, and ask God to bless my spouse, my children, and future grandchildren. Because of the teachings in this book, I've been assured I have a biblical foundation for continuing this practice. 

Be sure to have your Bible handy as you read this book. Some of the teachings might seem controversial, but  pray and seek God's guidance as you read. 

I give this book a 3-star review. I was given this book by Worthy Publishing in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Lipton Tea and Honey Packets



I received Lipton Tea & Honey Packets through Klout.com. At first, I thought I might not like them because of the honey, and the taste might be too overpowering, but I have to say - they are quite delightful. Very refreshing and the Mango-Pineapple is wonderful. For a quick, fresh drink on the go, I'd highly recommend these packets.

Disclosure: I was given a free product or sample because I'm a Klout influencer. I am under no obligation to receive the sample or talk about this company. I get no additional benefits for talking about the product or company.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

The Exceptional Life, The: 8 Powerful Steps to Experiencing God's Best for You by Stephen Arterburn

I've listened to New Life Live, a nationally syndicated radio and TV show, for years and know that Steven Arterburn, founder of New Life, an author, speaker, and one of the longtime hosts, has a knack for taking what could be very complicated problems and providing steps to simple solutions. The fly in the ointment is that many people do not want to give up anything to gain something better – a "new" life. 

In The Exceptional Life, The: 8 Powerful Steps to Experiencing God's Best for You, Arterburn boils down what he sees as the major problems in life to eight categories. Each chapter identifies the origins and features of a negative quality, trait, or behavior and how it impacts a person's life. Then Steven gives Bible-based advice on how to give up the negative for the positive.

Steve uses stories, both funny and sad, but always relevant, to illuminate his points. Although I enjoyed each one, sometimes I did find myself struggling to get back on track. It tickled me though, because after listening to Steve talk on the radio for several years now, I could almost hear him telling the stories. If you're not used to his conversational style of writing, though, it might not seem as endearing. I believe if you stick with him, you will find he does make his point.



Overall, this book is a thoughtful, insightful, and useful tool to help you get started on that journey to become free of negative behaviors and traits that prevent you from having a better, more positive, yes - exceptional life. As a follow up to this book, consider "Healing Is a Choice" also by Arterburn which will help you take further steps to experience God's best for you.

I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers for an honest review.

SNUG Camisoles

The slogan for SNUG Camisoles is "No more sneak peeks…we've got you covered!" That is one great pitch for this product.

When I received my camisole for review, the label said 'One size fits most' and the camisole fit in a tiny plastic bag. My first thought was, "That will never fit." I was happy to be mistaken. When I pulled the cami over my head, it transformed into a body-hugging wrap – but not in the highly uncomfortable way some shape wear does. It felt like a SNUG hug!

When I layer tops, I like to wear camis underneath, and this one doesn't add bulkiness. As you can see in the picture, mine gave me just the right amount of coverage in that top that plunges a tad deeper then I'd like.

And no chafing on my delicate skin with this soft material. I've actually been hurt by my clothing in the past – not a good thing! The material is light as air, but not transparent, the straps at the top are what the company calls 'bra-friendly,' and it's designed to fit extra long. No seeing through, no bra straps showing, and extra coverage. Now you see why the slogan makes perfect sense!

SNUG Camisoles can be ordered through the company's website in a wide variety of styles in lovely colors. Here's a link to the website: http://snugcamisoles.com Be sure to check out the other styles and the 'sale' page, too.Visit SNUG Camisoles on Facebook here: https://www.facebook.com/SNUGCamisoles




Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Quick and Easy Guide to Branding Your Business and Creating Massive Sales with Pinterest


Are you looking for a comprehensive and easy-to-understand guide to Pinterest
  
Pinterest, though rhyming with interest, is only loosely related. It is a virtual pinboard just like corkboards we had in our rooms as kids and you may still have in your home or office. Pinterest is a social networking site that allows users to create photo collections online – like online, upscale scrapbooking. It is primarily a photo sharing website where the members are allowed to create albums pertaining to a certain theme or pattern.
Over a very short period of time, Pinterest has become one of the leading social media networks. Launched in early 2010, the site has grown in leaps and bounds and is viewed as a strong competitor to the older social media networking websites. At present, the website attracts over 11 million visits each week, placing it among the top 10 social networks.
Over the past few years, businesses have been using social media websites for promoting and boosting their businesses. The same is the case with Pinterest. You might be wondering how a photo sharing website can help your business become a success.

Look no further. If you have a question about how it works or how to use it for your business, Kim Garst has the answers. In her eBook The Quick and Easy Guide to Branding Your Business and Creating Massive Sales with Pinterest, she guides you from your setup to marketing in an easy step-by-step fashion with valuable tips all along the way to make your presence on Pinterest a reality, and strengthen your business and brand. A RECOMMENDED resource.
Kim's Twitter and Facebook: 
Disclosure: I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Mom Blog Society. I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back to Health - Dr. William Davis



Usually, I'm not this personal when I review a book, but this book requires more of a firsthand, first person review.

I'm like everyone else, I suppose. I've been on every diet there is. High carb. Low carb. High protein. No fat. Low fat. First fat makes you fat, then carbs make you fat. It's confusing and overwhelming. Then I heard about this Wheat Belly: Lose the Wheat, Lose the Weight, and Find Your Path Back To Health book. I gave myself a couple of weeks to read the book, digest the information, and then made the important decision not to digest wheat. Cold turkey. The first three days were difficult, but then (and I know you've heard this before), it's like the fog lifted. I felt better, started losing weight, and had more energy. The pervasive soreness I've dealt with for the past few years has abated, and for that, I'm very thankful.

Trying to find wheat-free foods, especially while eating out, is difficult, but not impossible. I find myself using the recipes in the Wheat Belly book and eating home more. And when I start to think that perhaps it's not really giving up wheat that made the difference, I go back to the research in the book - and there is plenty. I purchased the Kindle edition and I've highlighted all the way through so that I have quick and handy references. The research is a bit overwhelming, and this is not strictly a 'how-to' diet book, but it's more of a primer on why you should give up wheat and a launching pad of sorts with the recipes in the back.

I started a blog a while back called "Sick and Tired Woman." I have now changed the title to "Sick and Tired No More!" So, can giving up wheat really make a difference? In a word, yes. At least it did for me. Everyone's metabolism is different, but for me, this book has been a godsend. Highly recommended! 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Joy the Jellyfish by Kristen Collier, Illustrated by Kevin Scott Collier



In Joy the Jellyfish written by Kristen Collier, the main character has only one wish - to have friends. Shy and almost colorless, the jellyfish feels passed over by all the creatures in the ocean. It is only when she discovers the true secret of friendship that all her wishes come true. Kristen comes up with a delightful solution to the main character's problem, and even manages to slip in some educational value as Joy the Jellyfish travels through the sea meeting new creatures. Sweetly illustrated by Kevin Scott Collier (illustrator of more than forty children's books, e.g., No More Gunk & OUCH! Sunburn, Rattlesnake Jam), the story contains a valuable message in a subtle way for those children who tend to be shy about meeting new people or making friends. Recommended!
 
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