Sunday, September 25, 2016

Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day by John Currence

Big Bad Breakfast: The Most Important Book of the Day by John Currence is a new niche cook book based on the breakfast inspired recipes.    One might wonder why in this modern day anyone would purchase an expensive cook book when there are so many free recipes available on the internet.  There are still some people out there who prefer a physical cookbook that they can shelve in their kitchen rather than a collection of printed out recipes.  This book is a beautifully bound hardcover with full color photos of a variety of  meals inspired by traditional as well as exotic breakfast choices.  It is a work of art with collages and full color spreads featuring meat and various cultures.  This book would make a great gift for a chef or as a housewarming gift. 

As far as recipes- this book is for the  chef who feels at home with meat, and sausage in eggs, as well as eclectic and exotic dishes.  The cover may feature a traditional breakfast, but the recipes are original, complex and unique.   This book is for daring individuals who love breakfast inspired foods for any time of the day.. This book combines artistry and upscale ingredients with a variety of meat and ingredients. There is a lot of background and supplemental information to make the reader an expert in breakfast cuisine .  This retro styled cookbook will appeal to a new generation of cooks. This book is entertaining to read as well as informative- as it goes beyond traditional recipes.  It is more like a breakfast adventure or journey.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Potter publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Really Woolly 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury By Bonnie Rickner Jensen

Really Woolly 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury By Bonnie Rickner Jensen is a beautiful book of bedtime bible inspired stories for young children.  The sturdy, padded hardcover bound book, featuring beautiful full color art as well as a presentation page, makes this a perfect book to give as a gift.  The stories are short and are accompanied by cute illustrations that are bold and colorful.  The bedtime theme makes this book a great choice to read nightly to young children before bed.  Unlike a traditional bible story book, this book integrates free standing prayers and thoughts  that can be used as daily devotional time to help children participate actively in the stories presented.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published Tommy Nelson for the purpose of writing this review.

Saturday, September 17, 2016

If You Were Me and Lived In...... Viking Europe by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova



If You Were Me and Lived In...... Viking Europe  by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova is the newest addition to
Romans' picture book  series introducing readers to a variety of civilizations from various time periods.  If you want to learn everything about the Vikings from Leif Erikson and Thor, to the daily life of the ordinary Viking family, then this is the book for you! Although this is formatted as  a picture book, it is much more than a simple picture book in its content and detail.  This new hybrid book concept blends the best of a picture book and a history book.  What is created is  a full sized  history book for elementary and middle school students- complete with illustrations on each and every page.

 This  history book, adorned with pictures on every page, will draw in the student to the world of ancient Europe- specifically the world of the Vikings.  Everyone has heard of the viking and this book will be sure to dispel the myths enabling the student a solid foundation based on historical fact.   The unique second person point of view will jump out at the reader including him or her into the storyline making history more memorable.

Roman has captured the culture and history in painstaking detail, reflecting years of research into  time period of Viking Europe.  As a teacher, Roman has incorporated her love of history as well as her research which delves deep into the day to day life society and culture of the infamous Vikings.  We learn about the culture, day to day life- beyond the stereotypes.  The vikings become real people with families, occupations, education and recreation.

Unlike some of the other books in this series which feature illustrations and mixed media backgrounds, this picture book features pastel water color styled art.  Arkova's illustrations are more free flowing- with a softer focus.  I'd recommend any student who wishes to explore history to read these books.  I believe history teachers will also enjoy having this series of books in their classrooms. I'd like to see public libraries stocked with these books in the resource sections.  This series is perfect for students doing research into particular cultures and time periods.

 Additional books in this series include Elizabethan England, Ancient Greece, and Colonial America and are available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

If You Were Me and Lived In...... Viking Europe by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova



If You Were Me and Lived In...... Viking Europe  by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova is the newest addition to
Romans' picture book  series introducing readers to a variety of civilizations from various time periods.  If you want to learn everything about the Vikings from Leif Erikson and Thor, to the daily life of the ordinary Viking family, then this is the book for you! Although this is formatted as  a picture book, it is much more than a simple picture book in its content and detail.  This new hybrid book concept blends the best of a picture book and a history book.  What is created is  a full sized  history book for elementary and middle school students- complete with illustrations on each and every page.

 This  history book, adorned with pictures on every page, will draw in the student to the world of ancient Europe- specifically the world of the Vikings.  Everyone has heard of the viking and this book will be sure to dispel the myths enabling the student a solid foundation based on historical fact.   The unique second person point of view will jump out at the reader including him or her into the storyline making history more memorable.

Roman has captured the culture and history in painstaking detail, reflecting years of research into  time period of Viking Europe.  As a teacher, Roman has incorporated her love of history as well as her research which delves deep into the day to day life society and culture of the infamous Vikings.  We learn about the culture, day to day life- beyond the stereotypes.  The vikings become real people with families, occupations, education and recreation.

Unlike some of the other books in this series which feature illustrations and mixed media backgrounds, this picture book features pastel water color styled art.  Arkova's illustrations are more free flowing- with a softer focus.  I'd recommend any student who wishes to explore history to read these books.  I believe history teachers will also enjoy having this series of books in their classrooms. I'd like to see public libraries stocked with these books in the resource sections.  This series is perfect for students doing research into particular cultures and time periods.

 Additional books in this series include Elizabethan England, Ancient Greece, and Colonial America and are available through Barnes and Noble and Amazon.

The Legends and Myths of Hawaii by David Kalakaua

My teenager came back with the book, The Legends and Myths of Hawaii by David Kalakaua, from a gift shop in Hawaii while on vacation visiting relatives.  this 530 page paperback book features the original text and illustrations of the classic first printed in 1888.  This book  is perfect for the historian and history enthusiast, as well as the college student doing research, but certainly is not the typical casual book to read while sunbathing on the beach. Most lay readers may feel this is a pretty dry read, and most likely will put the book down after a few paragraphs. I can imagine that this book frequently sits on the bookshelf of a world traveler collecting dust.  For those motivated readers who persevere, there is a culture of rich lore and legends to be discovered.

If You Were Me and Lived In... Poland by Carole P. Roman

If You Were Me and Lived In... Poland,  in  the Carole P. Roman's "A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around The World"  series introduces elementary and middle school students to the country and culture of Poland. The art contained in this newest book about Poland is a combination of mixed media- colorful cartoons superimposed with beautiful, full color, picturesque photography.  Without a doubt,  each book in the "A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around The World" series promises the reader new surprises each time.



When reading about Poland, the photograph of the modern metropolis of Warsaw jumps out at the reader, against the backdrop against a clear  blue sky and skyscrapers in the distance from an illustrated bridge accent.  There is a beautiful areal view of the popular landmarks, cobblestone roads, local markets and salt mines views.  There is a view of a beautiful snowy mountain with a cartoon family having winter fun.  Other authentic  details and textures add appeal and beauty to the simplistic cartoon scenes.

 The cartoon tour guides will certainly capture the attention of all young readers as well as parents and educators. I believe the "Carlesque" styled mixed media illustrations with the simple line cartoons in her   books are  an unexpected treat.  Mixed media illustrations are very popular and appealing for young readers as evidenced by the popularity of Eric Carle's kids' books.  By combining geography with mixed media- I believe that Roman will generate even greater interest and attention for her educational series. This sets her books apart from cartoon only illustrations.

These stories would also be a good choice for a family that is interested in their ancestry, a family vacation or even appropriate for  students as part of a social studies lesson. The consistency of these geography books makes this series perfect for the school setting. An educator can count on the fact that young children will be introduced to the basics.  The predictability of the book's format will also appeal to younger readers who are familiar with the series.  The indepth detail will appeal to the older middle school students as well. In each  addition to the series,  the  child will learn about the geography  and will be  introduced to its climate, tourist attractions local foods,  sports and other social norms. Full color, simply drawn cartoon drawings with the unique  texture accents compliment the text.   The pronunciations at the end of the book introduces the student to the language.

  It would be great to see this series used as part of a grade school geography or social studies curriculum.  It is clear that each book, though simple in design, presents a wealth of information and research.   This book as well as the other books in the series is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. As a blogger I received this books for the purpose of writing this review.

Navigating Indieworld: A Beginner's Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing Your Book by J.A. Gerber and Carole P. Roman

I wish this new book - Navigating Indieworld: A Beginner's Guide to Self-Publishing and Marketing Your Book by J.A. Gerber and Carole P. Roman- was available years ago.   Years ago in the 1990s when I started writing, I followed the advice of an out of date writer's guide to publishing children's books, for direction to getting my own manuscript published.  Basically it wasted my time and money and the end result was a stack of returned, unread manuscripts.  I wasted hundreds of dollars in postage and photocopies alone.  At most one publisher sent back my manuscript with a handwritten note of rejection.  Little did I know that most of the popular big name publishers require literary agents and they do not even consider unsolicited manuscripts.  Simply put, many books on publishing are not candid about the reality of the process needed to writing and publishing a book. The writers and publishing guides from twenty years ago are now obsolete.

 As an independent author, also known as an "Indie" author, I found Navigating Indieworld to be honest and forthcoming about the prospects of publishing for  new and independent authors.  This book does not offer false hopes and irrelevant advice just to sell copies- on the contrary, it is filled with down to earth, relevant as well as useful guidance for any aspiring author.  Unlike other traditional publishing "how to" books in the publishing genre, Roman and Gerber's book takes into account today's publishing industry, enabling the writer to make the best use of social media as well as the internet in general.

The authors write as if they really want their readers to succeed in the publishing industry.  Reading this book is like having the advice of a trusted friend at my fingertips.  In contrast to book publishing twenty years ago, the world of book publishing has changed entirely.  The authors help guide the writers of today in navigating the self serve world of the internet in every step of the publishing business from marketing, to writing, editing and publishing. This book discusses self publishing companies, e-book platforms, online books stores as well as book blogging resources as well.  For anyone considering writing a book- this is the only resource you will need.  Each chapter is followed up with a "To Do" list to help an aspiring writer organize his time and to prioritize tasks. The back of the book includes a directory of useful resources including blog review websites, important social media web sites as well as marketing and formatting services.  If you finally want to pursue your lifelong dream of publishing your manuscript, this book will tell you how to do it.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book from the authors.

Time for Bed, Sleepyhead: The Falling Asleep Book by Daniel Amen

Time for Bed, Sleepyhead: The Falling Asleep Book by Daniel Amen is a new picture book for young children. What makes this bedtime story different from other bedtime story books is the integration of suggestive imaginary in aiding children to fall asleep.  This book is actually a story within a story as a young child follows along with the bedtime story that a mama bear tells to her baby bear to help her to relax and fall asleep.  As a parent reads this story to their child, they can follow along with the suggested relaxation techniques that are subtly integrated in the context of the bedtime story.  The soothing sound of waves at the beach, the inviting and comforting towels along the sand where the cute critters nap, the soft, plushy quilt in the bed, as well as the inviting scene of an over sized back seat lined with beach towels all serve to create a soothing atmosphere. The pictures of sleeping animals with half closed eyes and peaceful smiles encourage a child to get ready for bed.  The soothing colors and friendly illustrations draw any young child to bed.  As a complete package, this book will make the bedtime ritual peaceful and serene.  As a blogger for booklook bloggers I received a copy of this book published by Zonderkidz for the purpose of writing this review.

Wee Alphas: 26 A to Z Postcards, from Angelfish to Zebra by Wee Society

Wee Alphas: 26 A to Z Postcards, from Angelfish to Zebra is not a book for children, but rather a collection of mini postcards.  These eccentric little cards, featuring bold colors and geometric shaped animals,  can be used as picture flashcards for babies and toddlers.  If you keep the cards attached, they can even become a unique wall border for a playroom.  These cards are so versatile, that it is difficult to place this product in any single category.  This collection of cards would make a unique accent inside a baby or teacher themed gift basket as well.  There are so many possible uses for these cards.  The perforations are easily detached so most likely after a couple of uses, the cards won't stay neatly attached.  If you use them as flashcards you may want to secure them together with a rubber band since the packaging is mostly a display and not a container. As a blogger I received this set of post cards published by Clarkson/ Potter publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC for the purpose of writing this review.

Saturday, August 27, 2016

What Color is Your Parachute 2017 edition Richard Boles

Known as "the world's most popular job search book", Richard  Boles' bestseller, What Color is Your Parachute  has been updated for 2017.  In the midst of a new RN career, having just graduated Nursing school after a prolonged period of unemployment, under employment and discouragement with job prospects, this book is especially relevant. This book has been around since the 70s with yearly updates to provide job seekers and career changers guidance and encouragement while job hunting.  Who hasn't heard of this inspirational career book? This book has been updated to reflect the difficult job economy incorporating relevant new strategies to job hunting as well as encouragement for the unemployed. Part how to guide and part self helpbook this book covers the whole spectrum of being unemployed from the emotional perspective as well as the financial hardships.  The author addresses each aspect of unemployment offering encouragement, spiritual help as well as practical steps and insight into looking for a job.  This book I believe will be effective in empowering the struggling reader who is at the end of his emotional and financial resources.  In this difficult economy this is a timely book.  Personally experiencing prolonged unemployment, this book offers new perspective from interviews tips and job hunting advise which will serve to eliminate fruitless wasted hours and effort to practical hints to get one's personal life and space in order. As a blogger I received  this book published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House LLC,  I would suggest this book to uplift the spirits and motivation for even the most discouraged unemployed job hunter or career changer.

Monday, August 22, 2016

NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible By Craig S. Keener & John H. Walton, General Editors Published by Zondervan

The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible By Craig S. Keener & John H. Walton, General Editors  Published by Zondervan is more than just a bible- it brings the culture and historical context of the bible to life.    There is some resemblance to the out of print NIV Archeological study bible, and the newly published First Century bible also by Zondervan. If you want to own one single bible that is good for study as well as beautifully designed and illustrated, the full color Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible is the only bible you will need.  This bible has every study feature you could ever ask for in a bible- including historical, theological and life application information.  This bible is full of full color photos, maps, charts, illustrations as well as the tiny footnotes- traditional study notes on the bottom of the page.  It is like a history book and bible rolled into one volume.  This bible is great for new bible readers as well experienced readers.

The font is very easy to read and not too tiny.  As far as everyday study, the font is big enough so as not to require the reader to squint.  Unlike most study bibles where the bible text is extremely tiny, I found the bible text to be readable.  It is nice to see that the publishers recognized the need for a full color bible- with an abundance of study resources and photos from the historical point of view. I do not feel any bible reader would ever need to buy another study bible.  Perhaps teachers, sociologists,  history enthusiasts and tourist travelers will be drawn to this bible as well. There is a wealth of study notes on each page as well.  

Some of the material may be redundant for those who already own the First Century Study bible.  For example, many of the diagrams, maps and illustrations photographs and charts are in both the Cultural Backgrounds Bible and First Century bible.  There is some unique content and photographs, but maybe not enough to justify owning both of these similar study bibles.

Although there appear to be quite a bit of study notes included, they are more like foot notes.  The study notes add quite a bit of historical and cultural detail but really do not clarify  spiritual concepts.  If you are looking for a bible with extensive study notes for spiritual clarification- this study bible is not the best choice.

For anyone looking for a good bible that will provide a lifetime of value and study, the NIV Cultural Backgrounds bible is among the top choices in my opinion. I think any bible reader will be impressed.  It is also easy to read with a somewhat larger and clearer font size.  Jesus' words are in red letter font as well.  As a blogger for booklook I received a copy of this bible published by Zondervan.

Have a tough time deciding what bible to choose? Please visit this guide online.
http://pjtheemt.blogspot.com/2011/06/bible-versions-communicating-gods-word.html

Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal

Gratitude: A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal published by Tyndale Momentum is a beautiful little book that cannot easily be placed in either category.  Although its title mentions "coloring" and "journal", this book is a hyrbid devotional first and foremost.  In align with the coloring book claims- this book contains a number of beautiful and intricate illustrations perfect for coloring with colored pencils.  In some form or another, these illustrations adorn each page.  On some pages, they span across a full page or even a two page spread like a traditional adult coloring book.  On other pages, small decorative illustrations are used either as a border or a decorative accent- which can also be colored.  Some pages feature full color graphics and art.  Most pages feature a short devotional entry based on a scripture or theme making this a devotional book.  There is also lined space for journaling as well as blank page space for free writing or free drawing and doodles.  This book allows for a great amount of creativity.  This is a beautiful keepsake for yourself or to give as a gift to a loved one.     As a blogger I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Hidden in My Heart Scripture Memory Bible NLT

Although the new Hidden in My Heart Scripture Memory Bible NLT is marketed for kids, this bible is perfect for readers of all ages- including adults.  The easy to read font, and graphic touches make this bible visually pleasing to read.  This bible contains the full text of the New Living translation.  Featured scriptures are translated in the NIV and the KJV versions as well.  Many readers, especially adults, may be familiar with the NIV or KJV of their favorite beloved scripture verses.  This bible give the option for the reader to see favorite beloved scripture in three translations- side by side.  The NLT is a great translation for reading and for study, yet the inclusion of the NIV and KJV translations for popular verses aids in memory as well,   This is a great bible that would be perfect for anyone who is new to the bible or an experienced reader of the bible.  In my opinion, this bible is more suited for older children and adults. With the wide variety of bibles out there- this nich bible is perfect for reading the great NLT, a modern translation, while comparing side by side the subtle differences in the wording with the widely popular KJV and NIV.   As a blogger for Tyndale I received a copy of this bible for the purpose of writing this review.  

Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches by Tyler Kord


A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches A Super Upsetting Cookbook About Sandwiches by Tyler Kord is a new niche cook book based on sandwiches.  This book goes beyond traditional tuna or turkey.  These sandwiches are actually meals, and some are quite eccentric and upscale. You will find the recipe for "The Battle on Pork Chop Hill", featuring eggs, a special sauce, blue cheese crumbles and hamburger buns- but no pork! There is also the "Broccoli Classic", adorned with pine nuts, fried shallots and ricotta "shredded like a m@ther F$@&%#".  If you don't have a modern day sense of humor you may not appreciate the writing style of this cookbook. I think men especially will appreciate this cookbook.  There is also a lot of educational material about sandwiches which is also good for the beginner.

 One might wonder why in this modern day anyone would purchase an expensive cook book when there are so many free recipes available on the internet.  There are still some people out there who prefer a physical cookbook that they can shelve in their kitchen rather than a collection of printed out recipes.  This book is a beautifully bound hardcover with full color photos of exotic looking sandwiches.  It is a modern pop culture work of art- This book would make a great gift for a chef or as a housewarming gift.  As far as recipes- this book is for the advanced chef who feels at home trying new meals This book is about grilling- but not about a typical barbecue or hotdogs and hamburgers. This book is for daring individuals who dare to mix fancy ingredients as  well as standard classic ingredients.   As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Potter  publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

Sunday, July 31, 2016

Zacchaeus and Jesus by Dandi Daley Mackall, illustrated by Lisa Manuzak

Zacchaeus and Jesus by Dandi Daley Mackall is a one of a kind children's book that retells the story of Jesus and Zacchaeus from the bible.  What makes this a unique book is that it is actually two books in one.  In otherwords, the account of Jesus and his meeting with Zacchaeus is told from TWO different perspectives. One half of the book, titled "Zacchaeus and Jesus" retells the account from Zacchaeus' point of view.  The first person narrative is written as if from Zacchaeus himself.  If you flip the book over, you will see a different cover with the title "Jesus and Zacchaeus".  Reading this side of the story reveals the bible account as told from the first person narrative of Jesus.  Both stories create a wonderfully complete picture in which the young reader can see each unique side of this powerful story.  This is an eye opening book both for children and their parents.  It is meant to be read to children by their parents.  The book features bold, full color illustrations by Liza Manuzak, bringing this story to life. This is a Flipside Stories volume, published by Tyndale Kids.  I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.