Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Purging Innocence, by Pauch Khiev

Title: Purging Innocence

Author: Pauch Khiev

Publisher: Outskirts Press

Date: June 11, 2014

Paperback: 292 pages


About the author:
Pauch Khiev was born in Moung Ruessei, Battambang, Cambodia, in the midst of the Khmer Rouge regime. She emigrated to the United States with her family in 1981. She studied film production in college, dreaming of making movies. She may someday make a film about her family. She is a self-taught singer, keyboardist, artist, and poet. A true "handy woman," she also loves working on DIY home-improvement projects and gardening. To her friends and family, she's known as a great chef at her "Hit or Miss Restaurant," her home kitchen.

About the book:
Survival Against Impossible Odds ... The Khmer Rouge: a name synonymous with unspeakable torture, oppression, and genocide. On April 17, 1975, they invaded Cambodia's capital, Phnom Penh, ruthlessly combing the city and murdering thousands on their hit lists as well as anyone who would not or could not leave. Whole families perished in this atrocious campaign. San Khiev, an ex-military fisherman, bravely helped his family and friends survive until they were transported to the countryside, where his pregnant wife had to watch him be taken away for "questioning," which meant he would never return. He was brought to a prison camp called Wat Thomayuth, a temple taken over by the Khmer Rouge, where they viciously tortured and murdered at least fifty prisoners a day. Rather than "giving names" of the innocent during brutal interrogations, San endured torments that most people would not have survived. He kept faith, even when there was nothing left to hope for. Day after day, for months, he miraculously escaped death. He is the only known survivor of this prison camp. Purging Innocence is the heart-rending, inspiring chronicle of a family moving from a successful life in a prosperous and thriving country, through the horror of the Khmer Rouge regime, one of history's most tragic and shameful events, to a new but challenging life abroad. Through these family stories, as told by San's sister Pauch, you will witness horror, despair, loyalty, courage-and, above all, the astonishing resilience of the human spirit.

My take:
I hate to say this, but I can't really think of much to say about this book. I was thinking it was going to be more or less about the family's struggles, but turned out to focus more on her brother. She did start out writing about her family, but went into what her brother went through and to me that is what the book focused more on. I think if it focused 100% on her brother, it would have made for a better book. His story is amazing and how he held it together and made it out, says even more. Some people may find her writing style fine, but it didn't work for me. I felt like it was too much of her telling me the story, as though I was sitting in the room with her and she was talking to me, versus her writing about it and me reading it in that fashion. The book also has maps, plans and pictures of Cambodia and of course her brother. It is a very easy read, so one could finish it in a day or two.

This complimentary book was given to me by Bostick Communications and the author for my honest review.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Get Your Teenager Talking, by Jonathan McKee

 Title: Get Your Teenager Talking: Creative Questions, Stories, and Quotes to Start Meaningful Conversations.

Author: Jonathan McKee

Publisher: Bethany House Publisher

Date: May 6, 2014

Paperback: 176

About the author:
Jonathan McKee is an expert on youth culture and the author of more than a dozen books, including The Guy's guide to God, Girls, and the Phone in Your Pocket and The Zombie Apocalypse Survival Guide for Teenagers. He has twenty years of youth-ministry experience and speaks to parents and leaders worldwide. He also writes about parenting and youth culture while providing free resources at Jonathan, his wife, Lori, and their three kids live in California.

About the book:
Let's face it. Teenagers have a PhD in one-word answers...if we don't ask the right questions. In this book, veteran youth expert Jonathan McKee shares 180 creative discussion starters to help teens open up about issues that matter. You'll also find tips for interpreting their responses and follow-up questions. From light-hearted to more serious, these conversation springboards will encourage even the most reluctant teen to talk about friends, school, values, struggles, and much more.

My take:
I was really excited when I saw this book. I thought it would make a great read. Apparently not for me. I know the author has a ton of years of experience with teens, and a couple of books under him, but I just personally thought that he should have went in another direction when it came to this book. I thought that it was going to be more or less on how to be able to sit down and get your teenager to open up. I guess this was his intent. But I didn't get this message from reading this book. I personally don't feel like these random questions are going to do it for your typically teen that doesn't want to talk to their parents. Frankly, I feel like if you approach your teen and ask them one of these random questions, they may look at you like you are crazy. I guess if you were just "talking" and not trying to "communicate" then this book might work. I can see my 16 year old nephew answering the questions for the fun of it, but it wouldn't cause us to have meaningful conversations.

First there are 4 or 5 pages dedicated to how to talk to your teen and then there are 180 creative discussion starters or conversation springboards. These creative discussions are made up of a topic, follow-up questions, insight into the question and quick additions. Some of the questions are "corny" and some of them to make sense. For instance, "If you could eliminate one evil in the world, what would it be and how?" A more meaningful one would be, "Name one thing that someone in our family does for you that helps you the most".

My daughter and I kind of made a game out of it. I just didn't feel like it brought about "meaningful" conversations. I felt like they were just for "the fun of it" type of questions. What works for some doesn't work for others.

This complementary book was given to me by Bethany House for my honest review.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Treasure of Snake Island: A Captain No Beard Story, by Carole P. Roman

Title: The Treasure of Snake Island

Series: A Captain No Beard Story

Author: Carole P. Roman

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Date: January 30, 2014

Paperback: 37 pages

About the Author: Award-winning author Carole P. Roman has produced another book for her "Captain No Beard" lineup. The first book in the series, "captain No Beard: An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life" was named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012, with a Star of Remarkable Merit, and was presented with a National Association of Book Entrepreneurs Pinnacle Award in 2013. Roman, a former teacher, is the mother of four and grandmother to many. She currently resides on Long Island with her husband.

About the book: This time the mateys of the Flying Dragon are threatened by a serious looking set of storm clouds. While the friends gobble their sandwiches, the storm comes to a head and everyone has to help bail out. Since they were forewarned, they are forearmed and are able to get through the storm in ship-shape. When the dust settles, the Captain leads his crew to Snake Island in search of buried treasure. As X marks the spot, the crew starts digging and starts flying until a solid thud stops the excavation. So, what's in the treasure box?

My take: Just like her other children books, this is a keeper. I really like her style of writing. She really knows how to keep children engaged in a book.

First of all, the characters in this story are cute. The use of animals and humans is a real attention grabber. They are very colourful and their expressions are priceless. When they are suppose to be exasperated, whether it be an animal or a person, their expressions go right a long with the story.

The story is written simplistically, but with enough action and adventure children will want to keep reading to find out what happens next. Not only is it just a story, it has a bit of learning in it also. Within this story, it speaks highly of books and why they are so important. I thought this was a good thing for children to read. Another thing children will learn from reading this story is how to overcome their fears.

This is a really cute series that I think everyone's child will benefit having amongst their other books.

This complementary book was given to me for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible, by Dr. William H. Marty & Dr. Boyd Seevers

Title: The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible

Authors: Dr. William H. Marty & Dr. Boyd Seevers

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Paperback: 304 pages

Date: August 5, 2014

About the authors:
Dr. William H. Marty is a professor of Bible at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago. He teaches and writes on both the New and Old Testaments and is the author of the bestselling The Whole Bible Story and The World of Jesus. Dr. Marty lives with his wife in Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Boyd Seevers is a professor of Old Testament Studies at University of Northwestern, St. Paul, Minnesota. Dr. Seevers studied and lived in Israel for eight years and is the author of Hidden in Plain Sight and Warfare in the Old Testament. He lives with his wife and four children in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

About the book:
Reading the Bible can be intimidating. Made up of sixty-six "books" ranging in subject matter from history to instruction, from poetry to prophecy, this all-time bestseller is frequently misunderstood, even by those who read it regularly

In this easy-to-read handbook, two respected Bible professors will help you make sense of the Bible, book-by-book. Using a conversational tone, they cut right to the heart of the matter, focusing on two main questions: "What does it say?" and "Why does it matter?"

Whether you're a seasoned reader of Scripture or reading it for the first time, you're sure to come away with a better understanding of what the Bible is all about and why it is the most important book you'll ever read.

My take:
I don't know about a lot of people, but I have a really hard time getting through the Bible. I have tried to read through the whole thing over and over again so many times, but to no avail. I tend to get stuck on the parts where they list all the different people forming a family line. So, the minute I had the chance to review The Quick-Start Guide to the Whole Bible, I took the chance.

The book is broken down just like the actual Bible. It starts out with the Old Testament and works it's way through the New Testament. Just like the regular Bible, it has the chapters listed at the top of the book as though you are reading the actual Bible. I found this very helpful when I wanted to flip to a certain chapter. It made it really easy to find. Each chapter is broken down by topic to help one understand it a little better. For example, the sections are Setting, Summary, and Significance. With just these three sections, it breaks it down for you so much that you are left totally understanding what you hadn't before.

I really like this book. After reading Genesis, I totally understand, for once, the lineage part so much better than I did before. I was so excited that I kept on reading through the next couple of chapters. The writing style of both of the authors is basic enough to where it doesn't leave you wondering what they are talking about. They go into depth, but not too deep. I do have to say I like the second part a little more than the first because that particular author used the chapters and verses more so that you could follow in your Bible if you needed or wanted it as a reference. It also is a lot thinner than the Bible, so that you can easily take it with you anywhere you go. Even though this is a great guide to the Bible, I still feel as though the actual Bible has "more" information in it.

So, if you need a better understanding or know someone else who is trying to gain more knowledge on the Bible, buy this book for yourself or them. It will open your mind.

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

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

If You Were Me and Lived in...South Korea: An Introduction to Learning About Other Cultures, by Carole P. Roman


Series: If You Were Me and Lived in...

Author: Carole P. Roman

Publisher: CreateSpace

Date: June 14, 2013

Paperback: 28 pages

Ages: 3 - 7

About the author:
Named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012 for her first book, award winning author Carole P. Roman started writing as a dare from one of her sons. She just finished the first of six books in a groundbreaking new nonfiction series about culture around the world. "If You Were Me and Lived in..." combines her teaching past with her love of exploration and interest in the world around us.

About the book:
"If You Were Me and Lived in...South Korea: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World" is the third installment in Carole P. Roman's remarkable series about countries all over the globe. Roman opens up a world of wonder while highlighting the fact that underneath it all we are far more alike than we might have imagined. Like a children's version of The Travel Channel that is filled with entertaining and educational facts, this astonishing journey to the southern end of Asia's Korean Peninsula will captivate our child with amazing and fun filled facts!
My take:
Just like the other books in this series, this one starts out with a picture of South Korea and shows what and where the capital is located while going into a small history. The next thing you learn is the different names one might have depending on if you are a boy or a girl. Your children will also learn about the different shops they go to, what type of foods they eat, a holiday that they have and information about their schools. Like the books before this one, it also contains a pronunciation guide at the back of the book.

I also really like the colorful cartoon like drawings that are in the book. It contains just the right amount of pictures to keep our children interested, but not too much to leave them without knowledgeable information about the country.
I am a big fan of this series and so is my child. Every time she sees one of these books she gets really excited because they have created a strong yearning of cultural knowledge in her. I do believe that teachers should buy them and put them in their classrooms.

This complementary book was given to me for my honest review.

Monday, August 18, 2014

I Love Grass, by Maria Boston

Title: I Love Grass

Author: Maria Boston

Publisher: Outskirts Press, Inc.

Date: March 27, 2014

Paperback: 24 pages

About the book:
There are so many things to love about grass. We can love the way it looks, the way it smells - even the way it changes its green from season to season! Read on to add to your experiences with grass.

About the author:
Maria Boston has always written children's stories. She pulls on her rich experiences from her own and her daughter's childhoods. "I Love Grass" is her first published book. She lives in Virginia with her two daughters and their dog. 

My take:
I just received this book and had to review it right away. I absolutely loved it. I review a lot of children books, so I think I know when I see a good one, and I have to say, this is a good one.

First, I have to say I really love the art work in this book. All the pictures are designed out of yarn. The houses, bench, grass, sky, ground, flowers, etc. It really adds to the creativity of I Love Grass. Each time the "grass" changes, you get to see from the different colors of yarn. I believe this will really hold a child's attention when they see it. There is also a little grass design on all the pages with words. It is just a beautiful book.

Second, the story. It is just as cute as the book. You can really tell how passionately the author feels about grass and how much she really wants one to love it just the same. Her words are simple, so a younger reader can read it to themselves. One can also learn from it as the author explains the different changes and seasons and shows it along with the pictures in the book. The book isn't very long so young children's attention span won't be lost.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I think everyone should get I Love Grass for their kids. They will love it and want to read it over and over again.

This complementary book was given to my by the author through Bostick Communications for my honest review.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Get to Know Mary, by Nancy I. Sanders

Title: Get to Know Mary

Series: A Biography For Kids

Publisher: Zonderkidz

Paperback: 112

Date: July 8, 2014

Age: 6 - 10 years old

About the author:
Nancy I. Sanders is the bestselling children's author of over 80 books including Old Testament Days: An Activity Guide with over 80 hands-on projects. Her award-winning nonfiction children's books include D is for Drinking Gourd: An African American Alphabet, America's Black Founders, and Frederick Douglass for Kids. Nancy delights in making history come alive to young readers. She lives with her husband, Jeff, and their two cats in sunny Southern California. Nancy and Jeff have two grown sons, Dan and Ben (with his lovely wife Christina). Visit Nancy's website at

About the book:
Mary was more than just a girl growing up in Israel. She was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus!  Learn about the life and times of this brave young woman and how she became a hero of the Bible.

My take:
I have been given the opportunity to review the Get to Know series. I think it is a great series for every child to have. It helps them learn a little more about certain Bible characters. Most people probably feel as though they know Mary the mother of Jesus already. But to really get to know her, one should read this book. 

Just like the other books, it starts out at the beginning and takes us on the journey of her life. We learn about how she became the "chosen one", became engaged/married, her trip to her relatives house/to Nazareth and so forth. While all this is being told, it is backed up with pictures, maps, pictures of artifacts, timeline, dates, fun facts and a glossary. The fun facts have little symbols by them so you can recognize what type it is. For example, Scriptures ~ oil lamp, Bible Hero ~ sandal, and Eyewitness Account ~ hieroglyphic eye.

The book itself is made to be very engaging. Not only are the pictures and timeline interesting, but also the picture on the cover is nicely done. The author used simple enough words to where a younger person can read and understand the book on their own. Get to Know Mary has a ton of colors in it, which helps liven the book up also.

I think the Get to Know full-color biography for kids series is one that should be included in most children libraries. They are very informational and your children will cherish every single one they read. I know I really like them and I am not even a child.

I got this complementary book from Zonderkidz and Booklook Bloggers for my honest review.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Daughters of the Dragon, by William Andrews

Title: Daughters of the Dragon: A Comfort Woman's Story

Author: William Andrews

Publisher: MADhouse Press LLC

Date: January 10, 2014

Paperback: 350 pages

About the author:
Bill Andrews has a personal connection to Korea - his only child who arrived from the Land of the Morning Calm as a cheerful, smart four month old. Since then, Bill has been fascinated by Korea.

For over 30 years, Bill was a copywriter and a marketing/brand executive with several Fortune 500 companies. For fifteen of the more painful years, he ran his own advertising agency. At night and on weekends and sometimes during the workday, Bill wrote fiction. Bill's first novel titled The Essential Truth (coming out later in 2014) won first place in the Mayhaven Contest for unpublished fiction.

Today, Bill is retired and focuses on his writing. He lives in Minneapolis with his lovely wife, an inner-city public school teacher for 32 years. And proudly reports that the smart four month old is now an orthopedic surgeon.

About the book:
During World War II, the Japanese forced 200,000 Korean women to be sex slaves for their soldiers. This is one woman's riveting story of strength, courage and promises kept.

Young Ja-hee and her sister are torn form their family farm and forced to become sex slaves, or comfort women, for the Japanese army during World War II. Before they leave home, their mother gives them a magnificent antique comb with ivory inlay of a two-headed dragon, telling them the dragon will protect them. The sisters suffer terribly at the hands of the Japanese and by the end of the war, Ja-hee is forced to flee while her sister lays dying. 

Ja-hee keeps her time as a comfort woman a secret while she struggles to rebuild her life in North Korea. she meets a man who shows her what true love is. But the communists take him away in the middle of the night and she is forced to escape to the South. There, she finally finds success as the country rebuilds after the Korean War. But her terrible secret is revealed and she's thrown into poverty. In the depths of her despair, she's tempted to sell the comb that she believes has no magic for her. But one day she discovers its true meaning and her surprising heredity. And now she must find the only person who can help her carry on this legacy... someone she abandoned years ago.

My take:
I have to start out by saying, this has become one of my number one favorite books on my shelf. I didn't really know what a comfort woman was until it came across my mobile in the news section one morning. The article didn't go deep into it, so I just learned about the surface of it.Then the opportunity to review this book presented itself and I couldn't pass it up. I am glad I didn't because this is a story that everyone should read to learn in depth about what actually happened to some of the women in Korea.

When you read Daughters of the Dragon, the author's writing style will totally draw you in. I didn't even feel like I was reading to be perfectly honest. My imagination was able to take off and allow me to feel as though I was on the heart wrenching journey with Ja-hee. I could actually envision not only the main characters, but all the other ones in the story and their surroundings, vividly.  I also really enjoyed how we went from present time with Ja-hee talking to her granddaughter (Anna) and jumping back in time when she was telling her life story.

Most of the time when people do book reviews they do not mention the cover art. This one can't go without something being said. The cover is amazing. Just looking at it will make you want to read the book. It is just absolutely elegant. The black background with the face coming out and the red and white letters make it very beautiful. Also in the back of the book, there is a section where the author gives more information on the history of this topic and some pictures to go with it.

Reading Daughters of the Dragon, you will learn a little about history, a time and place that most of us do not know about. The struggles that these women had to go through and carry with them for the rest of their lives. You will learn that courage and strength can over come anything and help you survive.

Daughters of a Dragon is a must read.

I was given this complementary book by the author and Bostick Communications for my honest review.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Brunette Ambition, by Lea Michele

Title: Brunette Ambition

Author: Lea Michele

Publisher: Crown Archetype

Hardcover: 208 pages

Date: May 20, 2014

About the author:
LEA MICHELE is best known for her performance as Rachel Berry on the critically acclaimed, Golden Globe, Grammy, and SAG-award-winning Fox television series Glee. She has been nominated for an Emmy, a SAG Award, and multiple Golden Globes. She divides her time between New York and Los Angeles. 

About the book:
The star of the hit show Glee shares her experiences and insider tips on beauty, fashion, inner strength, and more in an illustrated book that’s part memoir, part how-to, and part style guide.

In Brunette Ambition, she reveals the lessons and advice that have worked for her--from beauty and fashion secrets to fitness tips, and career insights.  Supplemented with never-before-seen photos and revealing anecdotes, it’s the book Lea wishes she’d had in her teens and early twenties: A practical and inspirational guide to harnessing tenacity and passion and living the fullest life, no matter what obstacles life puts in your way.

My take:
Brunette Ambition turned out to be better than I thought it would. I thought it was just going to be about make-up tips and that was pretty much it. I was so wrong. Lea Michele has packet as much information in here as she possibly could. And on top of that, most of the information is very helpful.

First, she takes us on the journey of how she came to be the person she is today. We learn about her childhood and her different Broadway performances. I didn't have any idea that she even started acting that young. After that she goes into the parts that I really enjoyed. Not that her life story wasn't enjoyable, but I love a good informational book.

There are a couple of sections in the book that I really enjoyed. I like the sections about self-care, food, exercise and style. With self-care, she talks about how to pamper yourself. For example, we learn how drinking water is very important (which I already knew), recipes for different home spa treatments, and what to use to help one relax (Lavender Oil and Epsom Salts is high on my list). In the section on food we learn how to create a great meal supplement, a great debloating drink, and a ton of great recipes. Next is the section on exercise, which she lists a lot of great ones to try. Last but not least is the section on style. She shows us how we can dress nice without having to spend a ton of cash.

What I like most about this book are the pictures. She has great pictures all throughout the whole book. They are very colorful and really add to the book in a good way. We can tell that her role model in Barbara Streisand. Not only does she tell us, but she has quotes from her listed all throughout the book. She also has little sections called The Spotlight that gives us extra information on the topic she is discussing, which I love because she has it on notebook style designs. A lot of her extra information is on colorful style paper throughout the book. Her writing style is as though she is speaking to a friend. It is very light and fun. You really enjoy reading it, which has me realizing that I will probably pick it up more than one time. With all the information that she has in here, one can go back to it time and time again.

I received this complementary book from Blogging For Books for an honest review.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Herb of Grace, by Adina Senft

Title: Herb of Grace

Series: Healing Grace

Author: Adina Senft

Publisher: FaithWords

Paperback: 320 pages

Date: August 5, 2014

About the author:
Adina Senft grew up in a plain house church and was often asked if she was Amish. (The answer was no.) She holds an M.F.A. in Writing Popular Fiction from Seton Hill University, where she is adjunct faculty. Between books, she enjoys playing the piano and Celtic Harp and spoiling her flock of rescued chickens.

About the book:
Amish widow Sarah Yoder has been struggling to raise her two teenaged sons and provide a home where family and members of her Old Order Amish church can find fellowship and friendship. Though she is close to her in-laws, lately it feels like her relationship with her boys is splintering. Her stepson Simon wants to move out west with his cousins to find work. And her youngest, Caleb, is spending far too much time over at the tumbledown home of a man who left the church long ago. Henry Byler only returned recently to Willow Creek when he inherited the family farm--under protest--and now seems caught in a struggle between the faith of his childhood and the world he's come to know.

Ruth Lehman, the local Dokterfraa, believes Sarah should use her gift for growing plants to become an herbal healer, too. Sarah is reluctant, however, uncertain if caring for others will take her away from her family--the place where she believes God wants her. But when she feels called to help members of her community, she soon discovers that the heart can be scarred as deeply as the body. As she compiles her herbs, she waits for God to do his healing work in a man who rues a harsh decision, in a lonely prodigal who has lost everything, and maybe even in a herbalist-in-training who firmly believes she will never love again.

My take:
I feel as though I have extensive knowledge on Amish books. Not because I have written some, but because I read them all the time. I have to admit, it is hard to find good ones. This one though, I feel sits right up there with the best of the best. I really enjoyed reading Herb of Grace. The author's writing style totally draws you in with the intriguing conversations that go on between the characters, the descriptions of the surroundings and just the way she brings out the personalities of all of the characters. I felt like the characters are very lighthearted compared to most of the Amish books I have read. Like Sarah (the main character), I feel as though she comes across somewhat timid, yet will do whatever it takes for her and her two boys to survive.  I also like the way the author incorporated the different uses of the herbs that are mentioned in the book.

Like most Amish books, there is a glossary in the back to help out with some of the German words. There is also a reading group guide for discussion if a couple of people are reading it and want to involve themselves in a deep discussion. I must also state that the art work is amazing. The soft warm color of the picture on the front is just what the book is like. A really great combination.

I really enjoyed reading this book and do encourage others to pick it up. Whether you are into Amish books or not, it is enjoyable and should be made a choice by all.

Herb of Grace is the first book in a series called Healing Grace. The second installment is due to come out in 2015 and will be entitled, Keys of Heaven.

MEDICAL HERBS by Adina Senft

1.                  My backyard is full of medicine cleverly disguised as weeds. What have I been pulling up all these years? Needless to say, after writing these books, I’m a little more discriminating now.  While I’m outside with my flock of rescued chickens, just a quick look around shows me California poppy, feverfew, plantain, rosemary, chickweed, dandelion, and cleavers—all of which can be used in cures.

When the flat was full, she got a piece of paper and drew a grid, with the names of the plants in the squares, and a word or two about what kind of soil and sun each one liked.

“Ruth, I don’t even know where to start.”

“It will come. Begin simply and the rest will grow from there. Folks around these parts favor certain complaints, you’ll find—burns from the stove, cuts from the lawnmower blades, head colds, stress, flu. These plants are the basics. Get them going and they’ll carry you through most problems you’ll run into.”                                                        Herb of Grace

2.                  One of the most humble weeds, the sticky one with the burrs called cleavers, is good for clearing the lymphatic system. Simply crush up several stems of the fresh plant, add in some orange calendula petals, and pour a quart of hot water over it to make a tea. Strain out the plant matter, cool, and drink it over the course of the day.

She found a moment to pull Amanda aside, and took a small package out of the pocket of her dress. “I made you some things for your skin,” she said. “Chickweed and cleaver tea—I wrote out a recipe that tastes gut—like breathing a meadow. It will clear your glands if you drink a cup every morning. And here is a jar of rose cream. Use it everywhere, not just your face.”

Amanda touched her jaw, where a couple of blemishes had appeared, her gaze falling self-consciously. “Is it that bad?”

Sarah gave her a squeeze. “Of course not. But there is nothing wrong with using the plants God gave us to make things better.”    Keys of Heaven

3.                  My chiropractor, Harriet Segelcke, who is also deeply interested in homeopathic medicine, told me a simple cure for gout—a painful condition where uric acid forms crystals in the joints (often the toes). A glass or two of black cherry juice per day over a week will dissolve the crystals and relieve the pain. Of course, once it’s gone, it would be helpful to look into what’s going wrong in the diet to cause it in the first place.

Oran had stopped now, and was fiddling with the straps on the gray-sided buggy sitting next in line for repairs. “Medication ain’t so strange,” he muttered just loudly enough for her to hear. “It’s putting that burden on the church for no reason I can’t abide. Stuff’s expensive.”

“No, it isn’t,” she chirped. “You can find it at the supermarket. Sometimes you can get it on sale for a dollar fifty-nine.” He huffed as if she were babbling nonsense, and turned to make his way through the big sliding door. “Black cherry juice did the trick, didn’t it, Simon?” She raised her voice just enough to carry through the door. “A couple of glasses a day, and Jacob was right as rain in a week. It dissolves what they call uric acid, you see, that forms crystals in the toes.”                                                      Herb of Grace

4.                  I get my pedicures from a lady who’s a cross between a cosmetologist and an herbalist. Toenail fungus is a disgusting problem that lots of people have but don’t want to admit to … but she gave me a cure for it. Mix 4 parts grapeseed oil and 1 part oregano oil, and pour it into a bottle. Soak your toes in distilled white vinegar for 10 minutes every other day. After you dry your toes, use an eyedropper to put a drop or two of the oil mixture on each toenail, rubbing the excess dribble into your skin. Within a few weeks you should see the new toenail growing in fungus free.

“I have a customer who’s Englisch and as stubborn as an old mule. It’s taken me two months to convince him to eat his vegetables. Now he tells me he’s had toenail fungus for months and did I have something to cure it. Sure I do. He has to soak his toes in white vinegar for ten minutes every other day, and then put a drop of this oil on each toenail afterward. But if he follows my instructions even once, I’ll be surprised.” Sarah stuck a handwritten label on the bottle. “Why do people resist being made well?”

“Maybe they don’t really believe that something so simple will help them. We Englisch are used to just going to the doctor and taking a pill.”
                                                                                    Keys of Heaven

5.         One of the best cures for colds is the antiviral agent found in elderberries—and wouldn’t you know it, the tree fruits just in time for the onset of cold season. To make a delicious cough syrup, cook a couple of cups of ripe berries in water until the skins burst. Strain well, and return the liquid to the heat to simmer until it’s reduced by half. Add an equal amount of honey to sweeten. Administer by the teaspoonful up to four times a day, or add the teaspoonful to a glass of warm water for a soothing drink.

6.         Legend has it that Roman soldiers used to take borage (Borago officinalis) before they went into battle, hence the expression “borage for courage.” It is known for its support of the adrenal glands, so maybe that’s why. This starry blue flower can be eaten right off the plant, and tastes like cucumber. Here’s a way to liven up the punch bowl at a summer party: Simply freeze a borage flower into the ice cubes in the tray and when you add the cubes to your punch, it will look as though flowers are floating in it. Maybe you’ll find the wallflowers among your guests plucking up their courage to be more social!

“If a woman is unhappy but can’t tell the cause, I often give her my Sunshine Tea. You probably have everything you need to make it in your own garden, except borage flowers and rose petals, which I enclose in the zippy bag.”
—Herb of Grace

7.         In Shakespeare’s Hamlet, Ophelia says, “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance: pray, love, remember.” Studies have shown that breathing in the scent of rosemary helps to aid memory. Of course, it’s also a cooking herb, great for flavoring meat and vegetables. But some health professionals are looking into its use to help with cognitive function, memory loss, and even treatment of Alzheimers.

“Ruth made it sound so ordinary—as though selling herbs with which people could cure themselves was no different than selling them rosemary and thyme to cook with. But both went into the body and helped it to work as God meant it to. It was clear she hadn’t been thinking of it in the right way before at all.”  —Herb of Grace

This complimentary book was given to me by Hachette Book Group for my honest opinion.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Small Moments, by Mary M. Barrow

Title: Small Moments

Author: Mary M. Barrow

Publisher: Wise Ink Creative Publishing

Date: January 20, 2014

Paperback: 248 pages

About the author:
Mary Mills Barrow was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee in 1953 and moved with her family to New Jersey in 1959. She graduated from Princeton Day School in 1972 and George Washington University in 1976. She has been a professional writer her entire career, first as a New York-based editor and as an editor for McKinsey & Co. based in Australia.

About the book:
Mary, an eleven-year-old Southern transplant is forced to grow up in a place so unlike her old home that she clings onto one thing she knows and loves: Amelia, her family's African American housemaid. At once a stern caretaker and a tender mother-figure, Ameilia's constant presence in Mary's life gradually exposes Mary to the rippling tide of unrest and inequality spreading through the nation, as well as the violent and heartbreaking ramifications of the Tuskegee experiment.

Based on a true story, Small Moments is a gripping and heartfelt take of how one uneducated and underprivileged woman taught a young girl to see the world not i terms of color, but in terms of kindness, equality, and love.

My take:
When you love to read books, you come across a lot of different ones that leave you with a lot of different emotions. Some make you laugh and some make you cry. Then there are those that make you think, what am I reading? Well, Small Moments is a book that left me feeling very warm hearted.

Small Moments is a book filled with stories from a young girl's life during the times of 1950/1960s. Mary and her siblings were taken care of by an African American caretaker. Amelia, the caretaker, turns out to be a very important person in her life. Showing her the true meaning of love, kindness, and opening her eyes to what is going on in those time. It was very touching to see how much Amelia cared for Mary and Mary's cared for her in return.

The book is filled with tons of information from that era. First of all, we hear an account of what life was like during that time from someone who actually was there. Secondly, we are reminded about some of the most important stories that took place during that era at the beginning of a couple of chapters. I found this to be not only cleaver, but very interesting. Some of the information that was given, I had never heard about. There is also group discussion in the back which I love. It helps one to dig deeper into the book than just purely reading.

I really enjoyed reading this book and found to be a very easy read. I am also glad she took moments from her young life and told us about them instead of just telling her whole entire life story. It made it feel like she wanted to share the important moments. The ones that meant the most to her.

This complementary story was given to me by the author through Bostick Communications.