Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Those Secrets We Keep, by Emily Liebert

Title: Those Secrets We Keep

Author: Emily Liebert

Publisher: NAL

Date: June 2, 2015

Paperback: 336 pages

 About the Book
Three women. Three lives. Three secrets.

On the surface, Sloane has the perfect life—an adoring husband, a precocious daughter, and enough financial security to be a stay-at-home mom. Still, she can’t help but feel as though something—or someone—is missing....

Hillary has a successful career and a solid marriage. The only problem is her inability to conceive. And there’s a very specific reason why....

As the wild-child daughter of old family money, Georgina has never had to accept responsibility for anything. So when she realizes an unexpected life change could tie her down forever, she does exactly what she’s always done: escape.

When these three women unite for a three-week-long summer vacation in beautiful Lake George, New York, even with the idyllic location as their backdrop, the tensions begin to mount. And they quickly discover that no secret can be kept forever....

 My Take
At first when I started to read this story, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it. It didn't feel like it was going to give me that engaged feeling, but I was proven wrong. This isn't a story you can just read whenever. I feel like you need to dedicate time to it, and that is just what I did. While sitting on the couch with Pandora playing piano music softly in the background, I began to read Those Secrets We Keep once more and was finally taken to Lake George with three other women to experience their "secrets". That is when I realized how good the book truly is, and didn't put it down until I was finished. The author is an awesome writer/storyteller. Everything started pouring off the pages. I could see everything I was reading as though I was actually there. From the sand on the beach to the anger or love on their faces, it was all visible. 

I felt as though the author did a great job at keeping my attention. I kept reading because I wanted to see where the story was going to go. I wanted to know how the different women were going to be affected by their life choices. There were a couple of times when I had a shocked look on my face while I was reading. Sloane has a typical life, stays home with child while husband works, but something just isn't right. Hillary is a young married woman who has been having issues with conceiving. Question is, why? And last but not least is Georgina, she is the fun one who jots from place to place. But is she happy doing that or should she settle down?

The story made me think of my friends and how close some of us are. It makes you realize how important friendship is no matter how old you are and where you are in life. All three of these women were living different lives, but were able to come together and hang out. Once their secrets are revealed, you will see if it will make or break the lives they are now living.

I know I didn't tell much about the book, but I hate giving good stories away. I do feel as though everyone who has the chance should purchase this book and read it. You will not be disappointed.

About the Author

Emily Libert is the award-winning author You Knew Me When, it was published in September 2013, and When We Fall, published in September 2014. She has been featured on Today, The Rachel Ray show, and Anderson Live, and in InStyle, People Style Watch, The New York Times, The Wall Street, and the Chicago Tribune, among other national media outlets.

Emily is currently hard at work on her fifth book. She lives in West Port, Connecticut with her husband and their two sons.  

Thank you Kathleen Zrelak for the complimentary book and opportunity to review this book.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Laugh Out Loud Pocket Doodles For Girls, by Rob Elliott

 Title: Laugh Out Loud Pocket Doodles for Girls

Author: Rob Elliott

Illustrator: Jonny Hawkins

Publisher: Revell

Date: June 16, 2015

Paperback: 240 pages

Age Range: 9 - 12 years

About the Book

Q: What's the worst thing to leave home without?

A: This book!

Stuck in the car on a long trip? Bored out of your mind in a waiting room? Have a few minutes before bedtime? Then you have enough time to let your imagination run wild!

Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles for Girls lets you

· tell jokes that will have people laughing out loud
· complete hilarious doodles
· entertain everyone around you!

More than one million copies of the Laugh-Out-Loud joke books have been sold. Grab your pens, pencils, crayons, or markers and see what all the fuss is about!

My Take
This is a really cute book. My daughter loves telling jokes when I saw that I had the chance to review this one, I knew I had to jump on it. There are a couple of these books out there. For instance, there is a Laugh
Out Loud Pocket Doodles for Boys, Laugh Out Loud Doodles for Kids, Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids, More Laugh Out Loud Jokes for Kids, and Laugh Out Loud Animal Jokes. So, as you can see, you have a wide range to figure out which would be perfect for you or your child.

I love how the girl's book is purple and not pink. It is a nice small size, hence the "pocket" in the description. When you open the book, it is filled with a lot of illustrations geared toward the younger generation. I think this will help younger children feel more at ease when filling out the pictures in the book. I also like how they left most of the pictures undone, so that your child has no excuse but to interact with the book and unleash their creativeness and draw and colour to finish each page. At the bottom of each picture is a gray area that gives an idea on how to finish the picture. There are a lot of funny jokes in the book. It is nice that you don't have to worry about your child reading the jokes because they are all clean. I did fine some to be a little on the corny side, but that might have something to do with the fact that I am not in the age range. I know my daughter really enjoyed the jokes and once she started reading them, she didn't want to stop. It actually took me taking the book away to get her to stop. Seeing how this book can be easily taken anywhere, the next time we go to visit her grandparents (2 hour drive), this book is going to come with us in the car.

Alyzabeth's Take (My daughter)
It is a really good book. I like the jokes in it because they are very funny. One of the jokes I like is ~

Q: What did the lipstick say to the eye shadow?

A: We should stop fighting and make up.

I also like the detail of the drawings and the fact that I get to finish them. I love all the jokes. Well, the ones I have read.

The Author
Rob Elliott is the author of Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids, More Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids, Laugh-Out-Loud Animal Jokes for Kids, Knock-Knock Jokes for Kids, and Laugh-Out-Loud Doodles for Kids. He lives in West Michigan, where in his spare time he enjoys laughing out loud with his wife and five children. Learn more at

The Illustrator
 Jonny Hawkins is a cartoonist whose work has appeared in over six hundred publications, including Reader's Digest, Parade, the Saturday Evening Post, the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, many page-a-day cartoon calendars, and Laugh-Out-Loud Doodles for Kids. He lives in Michigan with his wife, their three children, four cats, and a dog.

I was given this complementary book by Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, June 22, 2015

If You Were Me and Lived in..China: A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World, by Carole P. Roman

Title: If You Were Me and Lived in...China ~ A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World

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

Author: Carole P. Roman

Illustrator: Kelsea Wierenga

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing

Date: May 14, 2015

Paperback: 30 pages

My Take
I really like this, If You Were Me and Lived in..., series. I think it is the most created line of books that were ever created for children. To have them be able to "travel" from country to country through a book is an awesome way for them to learn. These books are packed with a lot of information. I will honestly say that I have learn quit a bit, from reading these with my child.

If You Were Me and Lived in...China shows a boy and a girl pointing to a world where you would be able to find china on a globe. Inside you will find an outline of China with a star where the capital of China, Beijing, is located. Then, begins the journey into China and all that it offers.

Your child will first lean about the history of China and how it received its name. They will also learn about the vegetation and the amount of people that reside there. Next, they will learn about Beijing and all its glory. From its expressways to its gardens and even the Forbidden City. You will learn about the names of family members, some names of toys, and the currency that is used. I thought the part of history and the giant terracotta was interesting as my daughter just learned about that this year in school. Up next is food, games and holidays, most importantly, the Chinese New Year.

What I like most about these books, besides the wonderful information, is the colourful pages. Also I like how there are one or two pages that have real life pictures mixed with cartoon pictures. I think this gives the reader a really good feel for how something might actually look over there. The pronunciation guide is a nice thing to have in the book too. My daughter has picked up a couple of words from different countries by reading these books. That is always a good thing.

So, if you haven't already heard of this series, which I am sure you have, you need to start purchasing them to have for you child's collection.

About the Author

Award winning author Carole P. Roman is a former teacher turned businesswomen. She has successfully run a family business with her husband. Her most favorite job is being grandmother to her many grandchildren. She currently lives on Long Island with her husband.

Her first book, "Captain No Beard - An Imaginary tale of a Pirate's Life" has been named to Kirkus Reviews' Best of 2012 as well garnered the star of remarkable merit. Three more Captain No Beard books are in the works. Also available, "I Want To Do Yoga Too," a children's introduction to yoga.

Monday, June 8, 2015

Bible Dominoes, by Juliet David and Jo Parry

Product: Bible Dominoes

Creators: Juliet David & Jo Parry

Publisher: Candle Books; Brdgm edition

Publication Date: March 27, 2015

Ages: 3 and above

Players: 2 - 4

My Take
This Bible Dominoes game is great for younger children. They are very colourful, which will instantly attract them to the game. On the back side is a rainbow colour design and on the front are pictures of animals or a particular Bible story. They have numbers written on some of them too. So, your child will not only  learn how to count but can also learn about Bible stories (you would have to tell them) and different animals. The 28 dominoes are thick, which makes them pretty sturdy. They are about 150 x 75mm (3" x 6"). So they are pretty long. Not your standard size of dominoes.

There is also a pamphlet that is included which has 10 different Bible stories in it, that coincide with the pictures on the dominoes. Each story is no longer than 5 lines long. Some of the stories in the pamphlet are:

Noah and his Ark
Joseph and his amazing Coat
Moses, Prince of Egypt
Daniel Saved from Lions
Stop, Storm!

Some of the stories were summed up really well, while others are going to need some elaboration to help your child understand.

My daughter is a little older than the age you are suppose to be to enjoy this game, but she wanted to try it out any way. We had fun playing it, but did realize it is geared toward the younger aged. I think they will have a really fun time, especially learning their colours, numbers, and stories from the Bible.

I would purchase this game if you have any toddlers running around. I think they would really enjoy it.

About the Creators
Juliet David has written many children s stories and Bible activity books. Her other interests include painting, music, and travel to Israel and other Bible lands. This experienced author lives in London with her family.

Jo Parry trained at Bournemouth Arts Institute before becoming a full-time artist. She illustrates mainly greetings cards, fine art, and children s books, adapting her fun, colorful style to each of these genres. She creates her characteristic style using an Apple Mac, and is fulfilling a lifelong dream working as an illustrator. Jo lives in Bournemouth, on England s south coast.

Thanks Kregel Publications for the complimentary set of dominoes for my honest review.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Love, Rosie, by Cecelia Ahern

Title: Love, Rosie

Author: Cecelia Ahern

Publisher: Hyperion Books

Date: January 12, 2006

Paperback: 448 pages

Theatre Release: October 22, 2014

DVD Release: May 5, 2015

About the Book
What happens when two people who are meant to be together can't seem to get it right?

Rosie and Alex are destined for each other, and everyone seems to know it but them. Best friends since childhood, they are separated as teenagers when Alex and his family relocate from Dublin to Boston.

Like two ships always passing in the night, Rosie and Alex stay friends, and though years pass, the two remain firmly attached via emails and letters. Heartbroken, they learn to live without each other. But destiny is a funny thing, and in this novel o f several missed opportunities, Rosie and Alex learn that fate isn't quite done with them yet.

My Take
Love, Rosie (the American title for Where the Rainbow Ends and Rosie Dunne), is hands down one of the best books I have read this year. I wasn't sure if I was going to like it because the story is in the form of emails, text messages, and letters. Surprisingly, it didn't hinder me finishing the book. I pretty much didn't stop reading until I was done. I heard a lot of people say they either hated it or loved it. I was on the loving it side. Just within the first few chapters, I was laughing or grinning over some of the correspondences. The author did a great job when writing this story. She was able to keep you wondering what was going to happen next, even though it wasn't in a typical style of paragraph to paragraph.

The story is about two kids, a boy and a girl, who become best friends at a young age. We get to follow them from grade school, high school, college and adulthood. We get to experience all of their tragedies and triumphs. I feel as though the story centers around Rosie and her connections with everyone in her life.

Now, regarding the film.

Which did I like better, the book or the film? I preferred the book so much better. I know the film has been in the cinemas already, but I don't go. I wait for them to come to DVD and them rent them. I thought the movie did the book a really big injustice. It put characters together that weren't even in that capacity. It also had the two main characters engage in situations way before they did in the book. It was just a jumble of mess. At least that is how I felt. I thought, if they followed the story from the book to the tee, it would have been great. I felt as though they were trying to fit everything in and it was jammed packed and rushed.

The choice is yours regarding the book and the movie, but I say read the book and don't watch the film.

About the Author

Cecelia Ahern is the author of the international bestsellers PS, I Love You; Love, Rosie; If You Could See Me Now; There's No Place Like Here; and The Gift. The daughter of Ireland's former prime minister, she lives in Dublin. 

Monday, May 4, 2015

A Flag for the Flying Dragon, by Carole P. Roman

Title: A Flag for the Flying Dragon

Series: A Captain No Beard Story

Author: Carole P. Roman

Illustrator: Bonnie Lemaire

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

Date: April 9, 2015

Paperback: 46 pages

About the Book
It's business as usual on the Flying Dragon. Their mission is to find a flag for the ship. Captain No Beard sighs, "Being a captain is hard work," as he watches the busy crew preparing the vessel for their next adventure. Polly is giving out pretzels; Linus is polishing a lamp. Matie is cracking coconuts, Cayla is stuffing holes, and Hallie is swabbing the deck. High overhead, trouble is brewing, and it is not the weather. Mongo does not want any help from the newest crew member, and it is creating a hurricane of a mess on board. The team must come together and find a task that will fit Zachary without interfering with their own fun. On the way, they acquire a flag that will unite them as both friends and crew. Join the problem-solving crew of the Flying Dragon as they find a flag for their ship and a job for Zach.

My Take
I really love these books. Every time I get one, my daughter immediately picks it up and starts reading them. It is nice to see a book that is written for children that have learning lessons in them. It is simplistic enough for them to actually understand the lesson themselves.

This time around, the "crew" go out on the seas again. This time, the captain is looking for a flag to be flown from the ship. In the mix of all of this, a new crew member is trying to find his place amongst the crew. Everything that he is told to do doesn't go well. Then finally, the captain finds something for him to do. It is one of the most important jobs.

In this story, the crew learns how to get along. Every place that Zach (the new crew member) tries to help, he makes a mess and doesn't wind up helping. Most of the time, the other crew members don't want him to help. One thing they have to learn is how to all get along and find something for everyone to do. This is what makes a great crew.

About the Author

Carole P. Roman is the award-winning author of the Captain No Beard series. Both Captain No Beard-An Imaginary Tale of a Pirate's Life and Captain No Beard and the Aurora Borealis have received the Kirkus Star of Exceptional Merit. The first book in the series was named to Kirkus Reviews Best 2012. Each book has won numerous awards, namely the NABE Pinnacle Award, ERIK Award for 2013, ForeWord Review Five Star, Rebecca Reads, and Reader's Views Children's Book of the Year 2013. Recently it was awarded the Marble Book Award for Best Illustration in a series for Bonnie Lemaire's stunning illustrations.

This complimentary book was given to me by Red Feather Productions for my honest review.

Saturday, May 2, 2015

The Heart of the Amish: Life Lessons on Peacemaking and the Power of Forgiveness, by Suzanne Woods Fisher

Title: The Heart of the Amish: Life Lessons on Peacemaking and the    Power of Forgiveness

Author: Suzanne Woods Fisher

Publisher: Revell

Date: May 5, 2015

Paperback: 192 pages

About the Book
We have all been hurt and we all have someone we need to forgive. But sometimes it's hard to let go of our hurt and anger in order to truly forgive and move on.

For the Amish, forgiving others in order to live at peace is woven into the very fabric of their faith. From daily annoyances to heartbreaking tragedy, they exhibit an incredible capacity for forgiveness that often baffles us. How do they do it? And how can we have the same attitude and ability to forgive?

Through true stories gathered from a variety of Amish communities, bestselling author Suzanne Woods Fisher shows you how the Amish are able to release their pain and desire for revenge, and live at peace with others. Her in-depth, personal research uncovers the astounding yet fundamental way the Amish can forgive anyone from the angry customer at the grocery store to the shooter at Nickel Mines. You'll learn how to invite God into your story, apply lessons from the Amish to your own circumstances, and find the freedom that comes with true forgiveness.

My Take
I love Amish proverbs. I pretty much love everything about the Amish (after having my daughter, I wanted to move to one of their communities to raise her), but one thing I have to say is that they have really great proverbs and life learning lessons. In this book Suzanne Woods Fisher, takes you on a journey through the lives of different people and shows you how you can forgive and be at peace with yourself. Not all of the stories happen to Amish people, but they are linked to them in some sort of way. At the beginning of each story, is an Amish proverb. After that, the author goes into the story that tells of one and their means of forgiveness. At the end of each story is a reflection where she asks questions of the reader. I really enjoyed this part. I felt like it helped me get more involved with the stories and helped me think about my life and certain situations that I have been in. At the end of each reflection is a "plain truth". This section gives us some background on the Amish, Mennonites, or Hutterites.

The book is a really great one to read and ponder over. I even read them to my daughter and asked her some of the questions. It was interesting to see her think about some of the situations she and her friends have been in and also whether it would be easy for her to forgive if she was put in some of these situations.

I think that everyone should get a copy of this book and read it. I know I found it very beneficial. And like I stated before, I love Amish proverbs and the book is filled with them. My daughter even found some that she liked. So yes, this book is for both the young and the old.

About the Author

Suzanne Woods Fisher is the bestselling author of Amish Peace and Amish Proverbs, as well as many novels about the Amish, including the Lancaster County Secrets series, the Stoney Ridge Seasons series, and The Inn at Eagle Hill series. She is also the coauthor of an Amish children's series, The Adventures of Lily Lapp. Suzanne is a Carol Award winner for The Search, a Carol Award finalist for The Choice, and a Christy Award finalist for The Waiting. She is also a columnist for Christian Post and Cooking & Such magazines. She lives in California. Learn more at and follow Suzanne on Twitter @suzannewfisher.

This complimentary book was given to me from Revell for my honest review.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography, by John Shaw

Title: John Shaw's Guide to Digital Nature Photography

Author: John Shaw

Publisher: Amphoto Books

Date: March 17, 2015

Paperback: 240 pages

About the Book
For over four decades, John Shaw’s authentic voice and trusted advice has helped photographers achieve impressive shots in the great outdoors. In his first-ever book on digital photography, Shaw provides in-depth advice on everything from equipment and lenses to thorough coverage of digital topics including how to use the histogram. In addition, he offers inspirational and frank insight that goes far beyond the nuts and bolts of photography, explaining that successful photos come from having a vision, practicing, and then acquiring the equipment needed to accomplish the intention. Easily digestible and useful for every type of photographer, and complete with more than 250 jaw-dropping images, John Shaw’s Guide to Digital Nature Photography is the one book you’ll need to beautifully capture the world around you.

My Take
If you love photography, then you're going to enjoy this book. I don't know anyone who doesn't like taking pictures, especially if they had the right camera on the right setting for the right situation. That is pretty much what it boils down to if you want a great photo to frame or even sell. Plenty of times I have taken photos that I thought were going to be amazing, just to develop it later and then go, "that doesn't look like what I thought it would". But with the right equipment and advice, all of your pictures (or at least most of them) can look like a professional took them.

John Shaw will teach you a lot if you invest in his book. Not only do you get to see some amazing photos that have been taken by him, he also tells you what kind of camera he used, the type of lens, and the settings that he had it on. You will also learn about the right equipment that you would need in order to take nice nature photographs, using the lens, different compositions, close ups and finally the photographer at work. I have to say my favourites were the discussion on High ISO (I have always wanted to know how to work with that) and close ups (my favourite kind of nature pictures).

So, if you (or someone you may know) are anxious about getting out there and taking amazing photos for your blank wall or to give someone on their birthday, John Shaw's Guide to Digital Photography will help you with that and so much more.

About the Author

John Shaw is one of the world’s leading nature photographers and the author of many enduring bestselling books. His photographs are frequently featured in National Wildlife, Outdoor Photographer, Natural History, Sierra, and Audubon magazines, as well as in calendars, books, and advertisements. He lives in Colorado Springs.

This complimentary book was given to me by Blogging for Books for my honest review.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Esther: Royal Beauty (A Dangerous Beauty Novel), by Angela Hunt

Title: Esther: Royal Beauty

Series: A Dangerous Beauty Novel

Author: Angela Hunt

Publisher: Bethany House Publishing

Date: January 6, 2015

Paperback: 352 pages

About the Book
When Xerxes, king of Persia, issues a call for beautiful young women, Hadassah, a Jewish orphan living in Susa, is forcibly taken to the palace of the pagan ruler After months of preparation, the girl known to the Persians as Esther wins the king's heart and a queen's crown. But because her situation is uncertain, she keeps her ethnic identity a secret until she learns that an evil and ambitious man has won the king's permission to exterminate all Jews - young and old, powerful and helpless. Purposely violation ancient Persian law, she risks her life in order to save her people...and bind her husband's heart.

My Take
I really like the story of Esther. So when I saw I had the chance to review this book, I was ecstatic. But for some reason, this book didn't wow me. I don't know if it was the fact that I know the story and in this particular book it was done in the "not so traditional" way. It could have been the elaboration to make this story more interesting that I didn't like. I do understand that one would have to stretch it a little to create a more enjoyable story for most people reading, but for me, sticking the facts is what I like better. I guess I should have paid more attention to the part where it stated that it was a novel.

I must admit I fell in love with the cover and the back of the book. They were both beautifully done. The jewels, make-up and colors of head dress I felt really made the book stand out. I also love books that focus on different people per chapter and that is what this one does. It would have been nice if we could have had a point of view from Mordecai. But I guess the story being about Esther made more since with it being from her point of view and one of her palace helpers.

All in all, it was an okay story of Esther. Like I stated before, more to the point of the Bible would have been better for me, but I guess it wouldn't have been considered Biblical Fiction if that were the case.

About the Author

Christy-Award winner Angela Hunt writes for readers who have learned to expect the unexpected in novels from this versatile author. With over four million copies of her books sold worldwide, she is the best-selling author of more than 100 works ranging from picture books (The Tale of Three Trees) to novels.

 With nearly four million copies of her books sold worldwide, Angela Hunt is the New York Times bestselling author of The Tale of Three Trees, The Note, and The Nativity Story. Angela's novels have won or been nominated for several prestigious industry awards.

This complimentary book was given to me by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The Trouble With Peer Pressure: A Simple "My ADHD Story" for Young Teens, by Darlene R. Wood

Title: The Trouble With Peer Pressure: A Simple "My ADHD Story" for Young Teens

Author: Darlene R. Wood

Illustrator: Victor Guiza

Publisher: Outskirt Press

Date: October 29, 2014

Paperback: 31 pages

Genre: Family & Relationships/ Peer Pressure

About the Book
If you have ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), you already know that sometimes, everyday life seems like it’s too much to handle. And probably you’ve already experienced the fact that when you’re already overwhelmed, peer pressure seems to compound any situation. The Trouble With Peer Pressure is a friendly, practical guide to help you navigate the challenges of peer pressure. Author Darlene R. Wood provides information you can use, including ways to think about the consequences of your actions, and strategies to feel less isolated by the label of ADHD. You may feel that figuring out how to deal with peer pressure is hard—but guess what? It doesn’t have to be. Like any other issue, it just requires that everyone step back, evaluate, and design a thoughtful and respectful solution. The Trouble With Peer Pressure is a valuable resource for you and your family that will make life easier for you, both in school and at home.

My Take
I was really excited to read this book because my daughter was diagnosed with having ADD/ADHD. I thought it would be nice to have a book that she can refer to when feeling like things weren't feeling okay in her life. Unfortunately, this book wasn't it. The story was nice. A boy who was struggling to get through life because of something he had to deal with that most people didn't understand. It showed how he had to go through life having one downfall after another, but later coming out on top, which is good. I liked that aspect of the story. Show children no matter how hard things get, they can still come out on the top.

The one major issue I have with the book, and believe me I hate writing negative things, is the part where the authour constantly repeats "peer pressure". It would have been nice if she could have explained a little more what different peer pressures he was going through and how he came out of it. Like one part of the story speaks about peer pressure, but talks about the boy going to the principals office with his family. I don't see what that has to do with peer pressure. Granted, I know fitting in is hard, I can see what my child has gone through, but to me there is more to ADHD then suffering with peer pressure. Now I know, that is part of the title of the book, but I feel like she could have gone deeper into it and gave us a better understanding of what he went through.

I still think it is a good book to read with your children who suffer from ADHD. It might make them realize that they are not alone in how they feel and what they go through.

About the Author

Darlene R. Wood is a full-time mom who loves to create art in a variety of media, from designing wedding cakes to sewing cloth “How-To” books for children, painting, and now writing. The Trouble With Peer Pressure is her first book.

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

Lighten Up, Ya'll, by Virginia Willis

Title: Lighten Up, Ya'll

Author: Virginia Willis

Publisher: Ten Speed Press

Date: March 3, 2015

Hardcover: 232 pages

About the Book
Lighten Up, Y’all, is a soul-satisfying and deeply personal collection of Virginia’s new favorite recipes. All the classics are covered—from a comforting Southern Style Shepherd’s Pie with Grits to warm, melting Broccoli Mac and Cheese to Old-Fashioned Buttermilk Pie. Each dish is packed with real Southern flavor, but made with healthier, more wholesome ingredients and techniques. Wherever you are on your health and wellness journey, Lighten Up, Y’all has the recipes, tools, and inspiration you need to make the nourishing, down-home Southern food you love.

My Take
I love recipe books. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't have a single clue what to make sometimes. But the most important, is finding a recipe book that has great tasting food, but not overly unhealthy. When I first saw this book, I was thinking if it is southern food, it probably is super fattening, but thought to give it a chance anyway.

What I like most about this book is how the author breaks down the different types of oils and fats. She lets you know who each of them stack up against each other. Not many books do that and it is helpful in deciding on which ones to have in your home. She then goes on to talk about 10 tips for lightening things up. For instance, drinking water (which we all know and do ~ hopefully), using spices in your food for flavour, choosing lean proteins, and measuring out your food vs eating straight out of the bag.

On to the recipes. There are 10 different chapters: Starters, salads, from the garden, grains, seafood, poultry, beef, soups, breads, and sweets. This was nice to see because most recipe books contain major meat recipes and I always have to figure out how to make it work for me ~ I'm a vegetarian. There are about 10 +/- recipes in each section. I don't think there isn't anything someone couldn't find. The pictures that went along with some of the recipes were amazing. So, if you are finding yourself wanting a new cookbook with tons of options, this would be the one.

About the Author

VIRGINIA WILLIS is the author of the acclaimed cookbooks Bon App├ętit, Y’all; Basic to Brilliant, Y’all; Grits; and Okra. Willis is a columnist for, a contributing editor to Southern Living, and was named one of “Seven Food Writers You Need to Know” by the Chicago Tribune. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

This complimentary book was given to me by Blogging For Books for my honest review.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

The Legacy, by Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley

Title: The Legacy

Series: The Restoration Series (Book 4)

Authors: Dan Walsh & Gary Smalley

Publisher: Revell

Date: April 7, 2015

Paperback: 336 pages

About the Book
For years, Doug Anderson has been drifting slowly but steadily away from both his family and his faith. His parents have been trying to reach him before he falls too far. His friend Christina hopes what she is seeing online isn't true. But sometimes you have to hit bottom before you're ready to grow up.

Just as things begin to settle down a bit, Doug's life takes a turn that requires every bit of faith and patience for both his family and Christina--whose growing feelings for Doug, a man who writes her off as not worth his time, keep her off balance. Will Doug's crisis finally clear his vision and help him focus on what he has right in front of him?

My Take

The Legacy is the 4th book in The Restoration Series. I didn't have the chance to read books one and two, but I did read book number three and found it to be a very good story. There is a connection between all of them and if you read them from beginning to end, it will make a lot more sense. When reading book #4, I had forgotten about the connection between #3. But after I realized what the connection was, it made it even more enjoyable to read. 

At the beginning of the book, you will find a text from Luke 15:20 about a father seeing his son and still having a ton of love for him as they approach each other. It kind of gives you an idea about what the story is going to be about. 

Doug is the youngest child in the Anderson family who is away at college but periodically comes home to visit. He does not have as strong of a relationship with the Lord as he once had or as his parents would want him to have. During some people's college years is when they are trying to find out who they really are and what they want to do with their life, and that is exactly what Doug was doing. There are things he is engaging in that he is trying to keep from his family, knowing that they would not approve of it, until he gets caught and has to truly examine the two lives he is trying to live. But sometimes it takes hitting rock bottom for people to realize what is truly going on in their lives and that is what happens to Doug. 

This was an amazing story. Like I stated before, if you read all four in a row, it will be even better, even though this one can hold its own. You will not want to put it down until you find out how it is going to end. I know that is how I felt. So, grab a blanket and a cup of tea and enjoy a great read.

About the Authors

Dan Walsh is the bestselling author of several books, including The Dance and The Promise with Gary Smalley, as well as The Unfinished Gift, The Discovery, and The Reunion. He has won three Carol Awards, and two of his novels were finalists for RT Book Reviews Inspirational Book of the Year for 2011 and 2012. A member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Dan served as a pastor for twenty-five years. He lives with his wife in the Daytona Beach area, where he's busy researching and writing his next novel. Visit for more.

Gary Smalley is one of the country's best known authors and speakers on family relationships. He is the bestselling and award-winning author or coauthor of 16 books, along with several popular films and videos. He has spent over 30 years learning, teaching, and counseling, speaking to over 2 million people in live conferences. Smalley has appeared on national television programs such as Oprah, Larry King Live, Extra, The Today Show, and The Sally Jessy Raphael Show, as well as numerous national radio programs. Gary and his wife, Norma, have been married for 50 years and live in Branson, Missouri. They have three children and six grandchildren.

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

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Sand in My Sandwich, by Sarah Parshall Perry

Title: Sand in My Sandwich: And Other Motherhood Messes I'm Learning to Love

Author: Sarah Parshall Perry

Publisher: Revell

Date: March 17, 2015

Paperback: 224 pages

About the Book
You know that thing when you're in Walmart at noon before you discover you haven't brushed your teeth? Sarah Parshall Perry gets that. She also gets weird things showing up in her bed, her daughter requesting war paint, and her son crawling into a giant blue sock on Christmas morning. Sometimes, she gets that conflicted feeling of finding her kids hanging out in the dog's cage and realizing that, yes, dog cages are not for people, but . . . they have stopped getting into trouble.

According to Perry, "The hardest stuff is the quickest way to God." And if the systematic destruction of her carefully planned life is any indication, she's on the fast track to sainthood! A mother of three children, two of whom are on the autism spectrum, she has experienced plenty of ups and downs. But from the chaos of her "ordinary" life, she pulls truth packed with humor, poignancy, and a naked honesty that will make you realize you are not alone in this delightfully messy thing called motherhood. 

My Take
When I first saw this book, I figured it would be an interesting read. But what I didn't realize is how much I would enjoy reading it. Seeing how she has two kids with special needs, I thought that there were some things that I could relate with her. I personally don't have a child with autism, but mine does have ADHD and we have tons of moments like she does with her kids in this book. When I read her reaction to certain situations, I was like, "yes, I am not the only mother who reacts that way". It made me feel a lot better. Some of the things that her boys have gone through, my child has gone through and to read her emotional ups and downs and how she relies on God to get her through, gives me hope.

The one thing I like most about Mrs. Perry's style of writing is that it is very light. I love how she can find the humour in most ordinary things. It gives me a sense of relaxation. It makes me take a look at life in a different way. I also enjoyed how she places a Bible text at the beginning of every chapter. It shows her dedication to God.

I guarantee if you pick this book up, you will not put it down until you have finished reading it. You will enjoy it from beginning to end.

About the Author

Sarah Parshall Perry (JD, University of Virginia School of Law) is a wife and mother of three young children. She is the coauthor of When the Fairy Dust Settles (with her mother, Janet Parshall) and the author of numerous magazine articles, award-winning short stories, and poetry. Sarah has served in youth ministry for over ten years and is currently writing for where she encourages other families living with disabilities. She lives in Maryland.

This complimentary book was given to my by Revell in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Anthony Ant Goes To Egypt, by Julie Bettendorf

Title: Anthony Ant Goes to Egypt

Author: Julie Bettendorf

Publisher: Outskirt Press

Date: November 30, 2014

Paperback: 31 pages

Genre: Juvenile Fiction/ Humorous Stories

About the Book
Where Will Anthony Ant Go Next?

Anthony Ant knows how to travel in style—since he’s so small, he can go just about anywhere, unnoticed! This time, he curls up in a suitcase and gets out in Egypt, ready for the fabulous adventure of a lifetime. Anthony Ant is in Cairo, Egypt…and luckily he meets an expert tour guide, Babu Beetle. Together they explore Egypt’s history, culture, and food, with adventures including a camel ride, and a visit to the famous pyramids…and more! The second book in the Anthony Ant series continues to introduce kids to the excitement of world travel, with an enjoyable companion who is ready to share his experiences.

My Take
This a really cute book. If your children like books that rhyme, which I am sure most children do, they will like this one. The story is about a little ant that travels through Egypt. While you follow the ant traveling through Egypt, your children will learn different things about the country. For starters, they will learn about the capital, different foods that can be eaten there, how they travel, some sights you would see, and what one would buy in the market place.

Another nice thing about this book are the illustrations. They are very colourful and the pictures will draw the attention of any child into the book. There are people of different nationalities in the book, which I fell will help children identify a little more with the story.

If you are looking for a nice book to cuddle with your child and read, this is the one.

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

About the Author
Julie Bettendorf is an enthusiastic world traveler, with a background in history and a degree in archaeology. Through her books, she shares the wonderful world of travel with children and their parents, as Anthony Ant teaches kids about other cultures, customs, and traditions. When Julie is not traveling with her daughter Erin and son Max, she lives in central Oregon.