Monday, July 21, 2014

Under the Overpass, by Mike Yankoski

Title: Under The Overpass: A Journey of Faith on the Streets of America

Author: Mike Yankoski

Publisher: Multnomah Books

Pages: 256

About the author: Michael Yankoski is a writer, aspiring theologian, and urban homesteader who dreams of becoming a competent woodworker, musician, and sailor. He graduated from Westmont College in Santa Barbara, CA; received his MA in theological studies at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia; is a (novitiate) Oblate of St. Benedict, and has authored four books. Michael grew up in Colorado, feels at home on the Pacific Coast, and currently resides in Indiana, where he and his wife are pursuing PhDs at the University of Notre Dame.

About the book: Mike Yankoski did more than just wonder. By his own choice, Mike's life went from upper-middle class plush to scum-of-the-earth repulsive overnight. With only a backpack, a sleeping bag, and a guitar, Mike and his traveling companion, Sam, set out to experience life on the streets in six different cities.

For more than five months the pair experienced firsthand the extreme pains of hunger, the constant danger of living on the streets, exhaustion, depression, and social rejection-all by their own choice. They wanted to find out if their faith was real, if they could actually be the Christians they said they were apart from the comforts they'd always discover what if feels like to be homeless in America.

My take: This was a really good book and an eye opener for anyone who is very complacent in life. At one time in my life, I spent about a year feeding the homeless breakfast every Sunday morning and every Sunday evening handing out food baskets. It was a great experience. But I was never on their side of the table. I never got to truly understand how they felt and what they went through. That is what Mike and Sam did on their five month journey. They got to experience not having money. Trying to find places to sleep and food to eat. Also, how to survive on the streets, which can be a learning experience in itself.

When I first received this book, I wasn't sure if I was going to enjoy it or not. But once I started reading it, I couldn't put it down. It helped me gain perspective on the lives of those that I might have touched when I worked with the homeless. To be able to hear one's experience and "go" on the journey with them was very interesting. I don't know that I could last out there for five months trying to survive, but if you are in that situation, it is probably a different story.

I think everyone should read this book. Whether you are a Christian or not, you could benefit from it.

I received this complimentary book from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Lost & Found, by Sarah Jakes

Title: Lost & Found: Finding Hope in the Detours of Life

Author: Sarah Jakes

Publisher: Bethany House

Date:April 1, 2014

Pages: 234

About the author:
Sarah Jakes oversees the women's ministry at The Potter's House of Dallas, the church led by her parents, Bishop T.D. Jakes and Mrs. Serita Jakes. She regularly blogs at and occasionally serves as a TV host on The Potter's Touch. Sarah is mom to two and lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Learn more about her and her ministry at

About the book:
Like every girl, Sarah Jakes dreamed of a life full of love, laughter, and happy endings. But her drams changed dramatically when she became pregnant at age thirteen, a reality only compounded by the fact that her father, Bishop T.D. Jakes. As a teen mom and a high-profile preacher's kid, her road was lonely. A few years later, when a fairy-tale marriage ended in a spiral of hurt and rejection, she could have let her pain dictate her future, instead she found herself surrounded by a God she'd given up on, crushing headlong with Him into a destiny she'd never dreamed.

My take:
Okay, I have to say that I thought this was going to be a really good book. She is a preacher's daughter and was somewhat like the "black sheep" of the family. What better story could there be, right? Wrong. I hate to say it, but I didn't enjoy reading this book at all. It felt like a ton of words that were sprawled out on page after page after page. The whole idea of her story seemed nice, but the way that it was executed in this book just didn't do it justice. It felt as though she took us from one incident to another without truly going into how each situation made her feel.

The book starts out with a forward from her father and then she goes into an introduction about her life. She goes to explain how life is like growing up as a Jake and what lead her to writing this book (I'm guessing). She also has quotes throughout the book.

I have to commend her for writing this book. Sharing your personal life with the world isn't an easy task. Especially if it didn't go according to how society sees a preacher's daughter's life is suppose to turn out. But I just think that it could have been written better. Maybe the message she was trying to get across would have been received if it was executed better. I am sure there are people out there that did like her book, but it just wasn't for me.

This book was given to me by Bethany House for my honest opinion

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Collision: The Battle For Darracia, by Michael Phillip Cash

Title: Collision: The Battle For Darracia

Series: The Darracia Series

Author: Michael Phillips Cash

Publisher: Red Feather Publishing

Pages: 258

Language: English

About the author:
Born and raised in Long Island, Michael has always had a fascination with ghosts, horror and fantasy writing. Earning a degree in English and an MBA, he has worked various jobs before settling into being a full-time author. He currently resides on Long Island with his wife and children.

About the book:
The Darracia saga continues with all the key players spread out and searching for answers throughout the solar system. Prince V'sair struggles to hold his fractured kingdom together without help from his family. His stepbrother Zayden is on a vengeful hunt for his evil uncle Staf Nuen, the orchestrator of the original coup, is making unholy alliances with nefarious new allies. Like the comet zipping across the horizon, all the different factions are heading for a collision course that will test both their faith and power. 

My take:
Have you ever thought about how life would be if you lived in a different place or different time? Or maybe even one of the other planets that are placed out there in space. Well, Collision: The Battle For Darracia, by Michael Phillips Cash could give you an idea. I have not read many science fiction books. Actually, this one I am thinking is the second one that I have read. When I first picked up the book, the cover alone drew me in. I thought it looked like a really interesting book. I was right.

This book happens to be the second one out of a series of three. Even though I haven't read the first one, I was still able to follow along and understand what was taking place in the story. I didn't feel as though I was missing a lot of background from not reading the first book. The author did a great job explaining a little about each character's background and where they are headed. His writing style is very simplistic along with the font size, which allowed me to easily follow and finish the book. He is also very descriptive and I was able to picture what I thought each of these characters looked like or even some of the ships they traveled in. It would have been nice to see maybe one or two characters on the front of the book so that one could see if their imagination matched up to what he envisioned.

I feel as though most science fiction lovers would enjoy reading this series. The other two books in the series are Schism: The Battle For Darracia and Risen: The Battle For Darracia.

This book was given to me by Bostick Communications in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

The Bling Fairies of Junkett Falls

Title: The Bling Fairies of Junkett Falls

Author/Illustrator: Maureen Sky

Publisher: Xlibris Corporation

Date: April 21, 2014

Pages: 44

Language: English

About the book: This book is a fun book for the reader as it displays a handful of emotions, a bit of quirkiness, perhaps some knowledge, some lessons to be learned and the feelings of pride and contentment. The colourful illustrations provide the perfect visual that definitely makes this story come to life.

About the author:  Maureen Sky, wife, mother, and grandmother, who lives in Bernardston, Massachusetts with her husband, Eddie, and their male tiger cat, Grueby. Maureen, (now retired), has always been very creative throughout her life, sewing and painting, having won ribbons at local county fairs for her crafts and paintings, etc. She worked many years in the public sector as a school secretary for two local high schools. Just recently, she has taken another creative path to become an author. The "Bling" Fairies of Junkett Falls, is her first written book illustrated by her, as well.
My take: I was just recently given the cutest book, The Bling Fairies of Junket Falls, by Maureen Sky. Everyone likes fairies, right? Well, if you want to learn more about them (the Bling ones) then this is the book you should get for yourself or your child. The difference is these aren't just any old fairies, they are jewelry fairies.

The Bling Fairies of Junkett Falls is about a teen fairy named Velvy. She is from Junkett Falls with her family, who happen to be well liked. It tells of how they (Bling Fairies) live in your jewelry box and spend their time spinning jewelry at night. They live just like the rest of us, just not "amongst" us. The animal jewelry you have are actual animals in their community. Same with flowers that are in your box. They have to deal with summer and winter, the dust bust (when powder and perfume is used near the jewelry box), and the Nuds (the ugly pieces of jewelry).

This is a really cute book that has hand drawn pictures. As the author tells the story of Junkett Falls, she also describes who different fairies are and the different things that go on in this little town. I think it is a book that a lot of people will like. I just think there might be too much writing in ratio to the amount/size of pictures for children. If you are a fairy fan and want to know what is going on in your jewelry box, this is the book for you.

This complimentary book was given to me by Bostick Communications in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Get to Know Apostle Paul, by Nancy I. Sanders

 Title: Get to Know Apostle Paul

Series: Get to Know

Age: 6 - 10

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Date: July 8, 2014


About the book: Paul traveled all over the Roman Empire telling people about Jesus. But his life wasn't always easy. Read about the life of Paul, from the time he first became a believer to the completion of his mission and learn why he is a Bible hero.

About the Author: Nancy I. Sanders is the bestselling children's author of over 80 books including Frederick Douglas for kids. She lives with her husband, Jeff, and their two cats in sunny southern California and has tow grown sons.

My take: Apostle Paul was an amazing person and to show your children just how great of a person he was, give them the book Get to Know Apostle Paul, by Nancy I. Sanders. This book has four guidelines for children to follow for a better understanding: a foot - Bible Hero, an Egyptian eye - Eyewitness Account, a water jug - Did you know?, and a scroll - Word Bank. There are also pictures of maps (which have journeys mapped out on them), buildings, artifacts, places and people. They are brightly coloured and really draw your attention toward them. This book also has Bible texts splattered throughout.

The author did an excellent job with the writing style. She made it simple enough for a young reader to understand, yet complex enough for an adult to enjoy reading. The important words are bold typed with definitions at the bottom of the page and in glossary format at the back of the book. If you or your child want to gain a better understanding or even learn about the Apostle Paul, this book is for you. If you enjoy it, you should also check out the other books in the series, which are Jesus, Mary and King David.

This book was given to me by Booklook Bloggers for my honest opinion.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Hidden Child, by Camilla Läckberg

Title: The Hidden Child

Publisher: Pegasus

Date: May 15, 2014

Pages: 544

Language: English

About the author: Born in 1974, Camilla Läckberg graduated from Gothenburg University of Economics, before moving to Stockholm where she worked for a few years as an economist. However, a course in creative writing triggered a drastic change of career. Her first six novels all became Swedish No. 1 bestsellers. She lives in a suburb of Stockholm.

About the book: Crime writer Erica Falck is shocked to discover a Nazi medal among her late mother’s possessions. Haunted by a childhood of neglect, she resolves to dig deep into her family’s past and finally uncover the reasons why. Her inquiries lead her to the home of a retired history teacher. He was among her mother’s circle of friends during the Second World War but her questions are met with bizarre and evasive answers. Two days later he meets a violent death. Detective Patrik Hedström, Erica’s husband, is on paternity leave but soon becomes embroiled in the murder investigation. Who would kill so ruthlessly to bury secrets so old? Reluctantly Erica must read her mother’s wartime diaries. But within the pages is a painful revelation about Erica’s past. Could what little knowledge she has be enough to endanger her husband and newborn baby? The dark past is coming to light, and no one will escape the truth of how they came to be . .

My take: When it comes to certain book reviews the review is basically telling you the story. Well this review isn't going to tell the story because I found this book so intriguing that I don't want to give it away. I enjoyed every aspect of finding out who every character was and what their role was going to be. I love a good read and found this to be one of them. I am not really a crime book lover, but this has made me either want to read more or just realize that this particular author, Camilla Läckberg, is just a brilliant writer. I think I will go with the later.

The first page of The Hidden Child drew me in. The way the author described the murder victim had me feeling like I was walking around the room and viewing everything she was describing. This is separates a good writer from a regular one. If I can visualize the story while I am reading and still remember it afterwards, you are a very brilliant writer. I also liked the fact that we are able to read the pages of her mother's diary. Instead of just telling us, the author takes us on the journey with Erica as she reads through the pages of the diary. The story flip flops between present day to past (the diary), which gives us a deeper understanding of some of the characters and what leads to present day events.

The story from the beginning to the end keeps you wondering what is going to happen. I love books that you start to read and don't want to put down until you are done and this is one of them. The writing style is very simplistic, so it is easy to get through.You will be amazed at the outcome of this story. I was shocked and didn't expect it to end the way it did, but that is what made it a really great read. 

Whether you like crime novels or just looking for a good book to read, I think The Hidden Child, by  Camilla Läckberg should be added to your bookshelf. Plus, seeing how it is part of a series, you might as well get her other books and read them also.

I want to thank Kathleen Zrelak for giving me a copy of this book for my honest review.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Love More Feed Less, by Randi L. Levin

Title: Love More Feed Less: A Tasty Path Toward Avoiding Childhood Obesity

Publisher: The Muffin Lady Inc

 Date: November 5, 2010

 Pages: 220

 Language: English

About the author: Randi Levin was raised in Philadelphia and introduced to cooking at a young age in her grandmothers' kitchens. While in high school she began acquiring the skills necessary for helping others. Equipped with the dedication and passion for helping others, she went on to become highly educated and trained as a teacher and mentor in the health profession.

In the early 1990's, while residing in the Colorado mountains, a medical condition had her change her path in life. No longer able to help children and families the way she was use to doing, she turned to writing cookbooks.

Today she is an internationally known awarded culinary author, who believes that knowledge and food should be shared. Because her passion for helping remains strong, she often reflects on the lessons students and clients taught her to help guide her eternal path to help them and their parents make better health choices.

My take: I liked this book in the sense that I love collecting cookbooks. But it is not just a cookbook, it is filled with information the author feels is pertinent in maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

At the beginning of the book, the author has given us a little background information on the causes of, statistics and how to look for obesity in your children. I like how she doesn't just say 'this is how I feel and what I think you should do', but actually backs her opinions up with actual facts.

There are about 14 different sections in this book. One of the sections that I really enjoyed was the one on spices. Not only did she take the time to list every spice out there, but she also lets us know which food each spice would best compliment. Another section that I thought was interesting is the one where she talks about teaching your family how to eat better by showing them and not just telling them. Start by eating the right foods and slowly incorporating it into their diets. If they see you enjoying it, your children are more than likely to follow in your footsteps. And finally, how to proportion your food so that you don't over eat.

This book is filled with a lot of recipes. From comfort foods, salads, breakfast dishes, and desserts to healthy child snacks. I feel like most of her recipes are healthy based, but if you are speaking about staying at a healthy weight, I think that you should eliminate bacon and butter from your diet. One thing I can say is she does give you a section on substitutes, which is very helpful. Before each recipe she gives you some information, tips and hints on each one. The only thing that I would have loved to see would have been some pictures of the recipes. I am one who likes to see what their creation is suppose to look like.

I feel as though this is a really good cookbook filled with useful information. Even though I am a vegetarian and try to eat as healthy as possible, it still has a lot of great recipes I can use.

I was given this book for my honesty review.