Sunday, October 31, 2010

City On Our Knees, by Tobymac

There are a lot of people out there in the world that want to do good for others. Some people still have a genuine heart, even though there is a ton of turmoil out there. In Tobymac's book, City On Our Knees, there is a collection of people's stories that show how much God still uses people in order to help the less fortunate. This book is also somewhat based on Tobymac's song, by the same title.

The book is broken down into four different sections, which are the lyrics from his song.

1) If We Gotta Start Sometime, Why Not Now? Step Across the Line

2) Two Worlds Collide: Out of the Comfort Zone ... and into the Light

3) We Are One Choice From Together: We Are Family

4) Through The Fog There Is Hope In The Distance: Hope Is Just a Prayer Away

Throughout the book you will find different quotes from people and Bible verses. He has them before the stories and at the end of them. You will also find little blog sections that he has included before each section begins. Some of the stories that you will find in the book are of people choosing to adopt a kid from a foreign country or even about a young child with terminal cancer who saves up enough money for research before she dies. A lot of the stories are very touching and make you realize how important God is in some people's lives. How much they rely on him to make the right choices. Within this book you can hopefully take the courage that some of these people have had and intertwine it into your own life.

I really enjoyed reading this book. It showed me how much you can go out there and make a difference in other people's lives. God can use us all in different ways to benefit the lives of other people. I think this would be a good book for anyone to read.

I thank Bethany House for giving me this book for an honest review.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Love Is A Flame, by James Stuart Bell

How many of you are in love? Now, when I say in love, I mean truly in love. Have any of you ever had your love tested? In the book, Love Is A Flame, by James Stuart Bell, there are a collection of stories about people who either had their love tested or rekindled.

At the beginning of the book is a foreword by Gary Chapman. He is the author of the book The Five Love Languages. In the foreword, he writes about marriage and love and how important it is. He also talks about how he went through a myriad of emotions as he read this book.

When you get to the end of every story, the author gives a little explanation or more or less his insight into what the story is about.

There were a couple of stories that really stood out when I read this book. One touched my heart more than any other story in the book. It was about a couple who got into the typical rut of daily life. The husband wanted things to change, so he planned a trip to Paris for his wife's birthday. When they got there, they had the time of their life. It was what they had needed to get the spark back. After the trip, when things seemed to get down and out, her husband would turn to her and say, (in a Boggy voice) 'Will always have Paris, Schweetheart'.

This book has a lot of touching and enduring stories. I loved reading them. They will bring out all of your emotions. I really enjoyed this book and think that everyone should read it.

I was given a copy of the book from Bethany House for an honest review.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

"Big Red" Holy Bible - Contemporary 3-D Art, by Tommy Nelson

How old were you when you received your first Bible? Did it come from a parent or from a Bible class? Back when I was younger, the Bibles for kids weren't all that appealing. There were just the typical small little New Testament only books. Well, Thomas Nelson has come out with a really great revision of their International Children's Bible. It is the Big Red Holy Bible - Contemporary 3-D Art.  

When I first received this Bible I was in awe. First of all, the cover itself is very attractive. It has sparkly colors on the front and a couple of 3-D pictures of some of the Bible stories inside. The picture of Jesus in 3-D is also done very well. The way the Bible is translated for the kids to read is great also. My daughter is only 7 years old and she is able to read and understand it all by herself without my help. As stated before, the 3-D pictures are beautiful. They stand out and the detail in them are true to life. I caught myself looking at them over and over again and wishing that they had more. Also in the back of the Bible is a dictionary, Where do I find it?, a section of God's promises, memory verses, and a couple of maps.

I think this is a great Bible and highly recommend it for every kid to have. It is stated that it is for a Grade 3 reading level, but like I said, my daughter is 7 and can read and understand it on her own.

This book was given to me by Thomas Nelson for an honest review.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Red Ink, by Kathi Macias

Do you believe in God? If so, how often do you rely on him to help you through your life? In the story Red Ink, by Kathi Macias, the third book in the Extreme Devotion Series, shows just how important God is and how some rely on him to make it through the tough times that they experience.

Zhen-Li is a young woman who has a strong love for God. Even though it has put her in harms way and has landed her in jail away from her family and friends, there is no one who is more important to her than him. While in jail, she has learned that he is the only one that can help her deal with the torture that she faces from a guard who is trying to break her belief. She also takes the time to witness to her cell mate, Mei, about God and how wonderful he is. Even though she realizes that this is highly frowned upon and can get her killed, she risks it just so that she can show her love of God or more or less his love for us.

Tai Tong is a young twenty year old guard at the jail where Zhen-Li resides. He is one of the toughest ones that they have. He prides himself on how great he is at his job. He is know as being able to break anyone that is under his control. That is until Zhen-Li is assigned to him. She becomes the challenge that he has longed to have. Every time she mentioned how much she loved her God, it presented him with the rage that he needed and loved to torture her into breaking and becoming his personal "sex slave". But no matter how hard he tries, there is something or someone who keeps him from prevailing.

Julia is an older women, who lives in an assisted living home due to the fact that she broke her hip and can no longer live on her own. Though she has met a couple of people, God is the one she talks to the most and relies on for help. One day, she feels compelled to pray for a young woman in China who is in dire need of help. She doesn't know any information about this woman. All she know is that God has pressed upon her to pray for her, and she does. Not only does she pray for the young woman in China, she also prays for one of the residents, Margaret, who has a granddaughter that brings new challenges to their living quarters.

Mei (Zhen-Li's cell mate), Zhou Chi (Zhen-Li's husband), Maggie (Margaret's grandchild) and Yin Xei (Zhen-Li's mother) all have pivotal parts in this story also. The way that everyone is intertwined is amazing. It shows how one pray can affect a million people. And that is what happens in this story. A person prays for another and their life is changed by that devotion and pray, which leads to the most surprising result that one could even imagine.

I really liked this story. So much that I am going to go out and buy the first two books in this series. I am going to also purchase the fourth one when it comes out. This story shows you just how much your love for Christ can help you conquer anything if you truly put your heart and soul in his care.

I thank Dee for the opportunity to read and give an honest review of this book.

Friday, October 22, 2010

101 Recipes for GLUTEN-FREE Microwave Mug Cakes, by Stacey J. Miller

Do you or someone you know have a food allergen problem? I do and it is not always easy to handle. At times it can be hard to find really good food for them to eat and enjoy. Due to the fact that food allergies are becoming more and more prevalent, allergy free recipe books are starting to pop up all over the place. One book in particular, 101 Recipes for GLUTEN-FREE Microwave Mug Cakes, by Stacey J. Miller has become a household favorite of ours. If you are gluten intolerant and love cakes, this book is for you. Of course, you can use the book even if you are not gluten intolerant. There are cakes in here that everyone can enjoy.

*Click here to order the book* 

First of all, there are 101 different gluten-free microwave mug cake recipes. That alone should be exciting enough for someone who is gluten intolerant to want to own the book. That is over a cake a day for the next three months!!! Another great thing is that they take only 10 minutes or less to make from start to finish. All you do is mix the ingredients together, pour it into a mug, put it in the microwave and wait for it to finish. It is as simple as that.

Just to give you and idea of what is in the book, I have listed a couple of mug cakes below:

Very Cherry Microwave Mug Cake
Banana Chocolate Chip Microwave Mug Cake
Strawberry Cheesecake Microwave Mug Cake
Coffee Cheesecake Microwave Mug Cake
Lemon and Lime Microwave Mug Cake
Pina Colada Microwave Mug Cake

Beside every recipe, there is a small note with a whimsical statement or question for you to answer. Also at the top of some recipes, you will find icons that let you know if it calls for 'no eggs, dairy, sugar, or oil'. Another interesting tidbit is that at the back of the book, the recipes that require no eggs, dairy, sugar, or oil are all organized by their ingredient category. So if you are making one of these cakes for someone and they cannot have eggs, you can look down the list of all the cakes that do not require eggs and find one that they like. 

All in all, it is a great book filled with tons of single-serving cakes to make. And they are so simple that a child can even make them. So, grab the book, a mug, the ingredients, and pop it in and out of the microwave and enjoy a gluten-free mug cake.

I want to thank Stacey J. Miller for providing me a copy of the book for an honest review.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Blog Tour and Giveaway for Red Ink: October 21st - 28th

I am happy to announce the Red Ink Blog Tour and Giveaway that will be running today through next Thursday (October 28th). Red Ink is the third book in the Extreme Devotion Fiction Series by Kathi Macias.

   Day #1 - Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Cozy Reader’s Corner Reviews

At the Water Cooler

Be sure to stop back through on the 27th of October to read my review on the Red Ink book. And leave a comment to let me know how much you enjoyed it!!

Here is a small preview of the book:


Yang Zhen-Li was nearing thirty but at times felt twice that old. Her back was becoming permanently bent forward from the heavy pails she carried daily, one attached on each end of the thick bamboo rod that stretched across her shoulders, mirroring the heaviness of her heart. There had been a time when she’d been acclaimed as a beauty, but she could scarcely remember why…or imagine that it would matter.

She tried to fight the encroaching darkness, tried to hold fast to what she knew was true, but the constant lies and propaganda were taking a greater toll even than the physical labor and abuse or the burning, gnawing hunger. If her situation didn’t change soon, she knew she would never live long enough to see her husband or son again. And with nearly eight years of her ten-year sentence left to serve, the possibilities of her emerging from prison alive grew dimmer by the day.

For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. She forced herself to focus on one of the many scripture verses she’d had opportunity to memorize between the time she accepted Zhu Yesu as her Savior and her arrest by members of the Public Security Bureau (PSB) on charges of teaching religion to children, including giving them papers containing religious writings. Even before her arrest, her parents had written to her—warned her, begged her, threatened her—and finally had her kidnapped in an attempt to convince her to go along with the government rules, especially the one limiting each family to one child. After all, she already had a healthy son. Why would she want another baby when they could scarcely afford to feed the first one? But though her abductors had forcibly aborted her second child, they had not succeeded in convincing Yang Zhen-Li to abandon the faith she had adopted before marrying her Christian husband. If anything, the ordeal had only strengthened her resolve to take a stand for the meaning of her name—Zhen-Li, “Truth,”—and spurred her to begin actively sharing the Good News of Yesu every chance she got. As a trained teacher, that quite naturally included talking with children about the gospel, a practice expressly forbidden by the government.

And now she was paying the price. Separated from her family and sentenced to ten years of hard labor and “re-education,” Zhen-Li struggled to survive against pain, exhaustion, and bitter loneliness. Worst of all were the times she felt God had abandoned her. It wasn’t enough to know in her mind that He promised never to leave or forsake her. She needed a visible reminder—soon—if she was to continue to remain faithful behind these prison walls.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Breaking Free of Parenting Pressures, by Debbie Pokornik

Break Free of Parenting Pressures: Embrace Your Natural Guidance

Have you ever felt overwhelmed with being a parent? Do you ever feel as though you cannot live up to your or someone else's expectations of a "good parent"? Well, in Breaking Free of Parenting Pressures, by Debbie Pokornik, we learn just how to do that very thing. Break free and let go.

In this book we are shown how to deal with the various tasks of being parents. The book is broken down into four different parts:

Part 1 - Being a parent
Part 2 - Understanding you and your family
Part 3 - A free parenting pack
Part 4 - Caring for the caregiver

All throughout the book the author has placed free parenting tips for us to read and use. I found a lot of them to be very helpful. For instance, one of the tips was regarding privileges and taking them away as a measure of punishment for misbehavior. Also listed throughout the book are other helpful tidbits. There was one that I liked in particular, In Case of a Power Struggle-Emergency Guidelines. She suggested that you take the list and copy it and put it somewhere you could see it (and possibly use). Duly noted!

I also found very helpful were the different exercises at the end of each of the chapters. This made me feel as though I was really engaged in the book and it helped me get into the book a little more.

I really think that every parent should read this book. No matter where one is in their life with their kids, there isn't anything that we cannot learn. Whether you have 3, 2, or even 1 kid, there is something new you can learn. Remember, ever kid is different and you will have different experiences with them. I enjoyed it and feel as though you will too.

This book was give to me for free for an honest review.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I Will Not Be Silent, by April Maley

I Will Not Be Silent

Have you ever experienced something so horrendous words could not explain? Something that ingrained itself in your brain so deeply, you didn't know how you would ever get it out? In April  J. Maley's book, I Will Not Be Silent, that is exactly what occurs.

April was a typical 9 year old little girl except for one problem, she had an abusive-alcoholic for a father. Because of this, she had to take care of her siblings and try to attend school at the same time. Among other things, she also had to do her best to keep the house nice and tidy and cook all the meals. Unfortunately, her parents still found fault in her. She would always become the target for abuse. At night she would pray 'Dear God, please let Dad not be so angry and drink all the time, and for mom, please let her not be so sad and just love me and protect me.'

Throughout time, she saw things that ingrained themselves in her head. Like the time she walked in on her mother holding the gun to her head. Or the time when her parents got in a fight and her father hog tied her mother with and electric heating pad cord. More importantly, she would witness her father threatening to kill her mother over and over again.

One couldn't imagine how things could possibly get worse, but they did. She and her younger siblings were in the car waiting for her mother to return, when she saw the blood coming from her uncle's chest, her mother slumped over in the corner of the bedroom, and her father shouting back and forth at the cops with a gun in his hand. That was the day that changed her life forever.

The actions that day left her being diagnosed with manic depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Her brother Colton became a drug dealer and was in and out of the jail system. Her sister Lilly has had brushes with the law and her sister Mia was diagnosed with a bipolar disorder.

Throughout all of this, April has been able to get her life back on track. She has experienced major ups and downs and had to go through a lot to get were she is now.

I had a hard time writing a review for this book. Even though I recommend every one to read it, it was a hard one to write about. The author wrote this book so well that I could actually picture everything that was going on. I really felt for the character in this book. But putting all that aside, it was a good book to read and should be read by many others.

This book was given to me for an honest review.