Thursday, December 31, 2015

The History Major: A Novella by Michael Phillip Cash

With his newest fiction work, The History Major: A Novella Michael Phillip Cash demonstrates his
versatility as an author.  With this psychological piece, it is clear that this talented author is able to entertain his readers across genres beyond horror fiction.  This work is short yet poignant in delivering a message about dreams in which the reader is presented with an eerie reality in which dreams and the subconscious are combined with the supernatural.

Based on a philosophical concept of dreams and their association with the subconscious and its correlation with particular historical events and personalities, Cash develops and expands upon a plausible theory to explain the phenomena experienced by a young college student who finds herself in a distorted alternate reality.

This story weaves elements of authentic historical details to transport the reader across time and space.  Cash actually goes into the mind of historical personalities such as Joan of Arc and Aristotle.  With vivid lifelike description, the reader perceives the thoughts, emotions and sensations of Joan of Arc- a rare experience. The author succeeds in the literary feat of recreating a historical experience from an intimate point of view of a historical personality long gone.  He has a talent for delving deeply into the mindset of historical figures.  Worlds collide as the past and present join. At one point, Amanda, is unsure if she is dead or dreaming as she questions reality and even her very existence. Historical figures represent her own personal conflicts and struggles.  At one point she is face to face with Hitler himself.  At another point in time, she finds herself reunited with her beloved grandmother who had passed away years earlier.  As a reader, I anxiously awaited the resolution- wanting to find out exactly what was going on.  Ironically, Cash leaves the perception of reality up to the reader as he challenges the reader to discover for himself or herself the ultimate truth.  This is a story that will leave me with a lasting impression.  Although I have a Bachelors in History, Cash has portrayed history in a new light, in making historical experiences personal, as a reflection and extension of the subconscious.  For anyone who wants a fast paced story that challenges one to revisit concepts of memory, dreams and their correlation with history, this book is enlightening as well as entertaining.  One thing for sure, next time I pick up a history book- I will be reading history in an entirely new light.

The History Major by Michael Phillip Cash is available on Amazon and Barnes And Noble

http://www.amazon.com/

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

If You Were Me and Lived In... Italy, by Carole P. Roman's illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga

If You Were Me and Lived In... Italy, is the newest volume in  Carole P. Roman's "A Child's Introduction to Cultures Around The World"  series . The art contained in this newest book about Italy is the most impressive yet. The books in the series keep getting better and the art is full of surprises.

The mixed media cartoon art combined with beautiful
scenic photos bring Italy to life in an entirely new way for young readers.  These books take only minutes to read cover to cover but they will give any child a comprehensive view of the geography and culture of a particular country.  This volume about Italy follows a similar format as the other  books in the series including  Mexico, Hungary, Peru, South Korea,  and France as well as many others. Yet in each successive  edition, the art continues to be more impressive with the  variety of textures and mixed media in producing the illustrations.

When reading about Italy, the photograph of the ancient yet majestic Roman architecture jumps out at the reader, as it serves as the backdrop against an evening sunset, featuring a glowing rainbow of colors.  There is a beautiful areal view of the Vatican. There is a lively spread featuring the famous tourist attraction, the Coliseum. There is an evening view of a football game as well.   The beautiful stone tiles and other authentic  details and textures add appeal and beauty to the simplistic cartoon scenes. In one illustration of a traditional meal, even the slice of meat has a textured pattern.

 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  children 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.  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 child to the native 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.

Jesus Is For You Stories of God's Relentless Love By Judah Smith

Jesus Is For You Stories of God's Relentless Love By Judah Smith is a beautiful gift book perfect for giving to a special friend or relative. This small hardcover book features personal stories as well as beautiful photography.  The stories are short- and can be read in under a minute.  But they are perfect for those short on time and will capture the attention of even the most casual browser.  Bible verses as well as selected excepts are highlighted and featured along side soothing, peaceful nature photos and still life.  This is the perfect outreach gift for those unfamiliar with the bible or church. If you are looking for a small but meaningful gift for a special person, friend or acquaintance, this is the perfect opportunity to spread the first seeds of the gospel message.   As a blogger for booklook I received a copy of this book published by Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing this review.

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sherri Burgess, Bronner, A Journey to Understanding


I was first introduced to the tragic loss of the Burgess' toddler when it was mentioned briefly in the book, Rick and Bubba's Guide to the Almost Nearly Perfect Marriage published in 2009.  Since that moment I wanted to know more about the loss of the child that was too painful for words.  Finally, in the new book, written by Sherri Burgess, Bronner, A Journey to Understanding, we learn about the tragic drowning of their toddler and the faith that pulled them through.

 This is a book I will keep within arm's reach on my end table or bedside or bookshelf as it is a poignant and empowering account that can lead others who may have to journey through their own losses.  Even though I experienced my own stillborn baby in 2011, I cannot automatically say I can imagine the loss of a child to drowning.  The loss of a child under any circumstances is a mother's worst fear. No loss is the same, yet the degree of pain  and loss is unimaginable.  It is incredible how Burgess was able to tell her story in light of God's promises in scripture.  It is as if Sherri Burgess used her grief experience to point others toward the light of truth who are also struggling and  experiencing grief,  in order to get to the path to God. I cannot say enough of this book- this special message disseminated from this grieving woman who must certainly been chosen by God to minister to grieving mothers and grieving fathers.  This is a task not just any one can accomplish.  Even if you are a pastor or have a Master of Theology, I believe especially someone who has walked through the footsteps of child loss can effectively minister the message of hope and faith to another grieving parent.  Sherri Burgess' words are inspired and they are truth.  As a modern day spiritual guide and ministry leader, her words have offered comfort and deepened my faith.
 This book is a treasure to read and re-read.  I've already read it once- straight through and now on my second more deeper reading. It is like a flashlight to help those experiencing in the foggy darkness of  deep grief to navigate their way from disbelief, grief and anger towards a greater faith and peace. For anyone experiencing fresh raw grief of a child loss, whether a car accident, a drowning, cancer or exploitation, or for those with old wounds from the untimely death of a beloved child- this is the book to read.  In a time of grief and loss it is hard to glean all applicable scripture needed for comfort.  Not only has the author scoured the bible for God's promises to the bereaved, she has told her painfully honest story letting the reader know she is not alone in her grief.  I wish that every chaplain, Hospice nurse and pastor had access to this book to give to bereaved parents. Not only that I think anyone facing grief or death can find spiritual encouragement from this book.  Sherri Burgess' book is real spiritual food that can sustain the spirit.  It is just as basic to one's spirit is as bread is for the body.  This book is literally a manifestation of  Proverbs 25:11, a word spoken at the right time.  As a blogger for Litfuse publicity, I received a copy of this book published by New Hope Publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Beginnings: The First Seven Days of the Rest of Your Life by Steve Wiens


Beginnings: The First Seven Days of the Rest of Your Life by Steve Wiens is written like a memoir in order to illustrate the significance of beginnings in one's life. Through the use of personal anecdotes, the reader can relate to the author's drive to find renewed meaning despite a life of stagnation.  The author, a pastor, and father as well as a husband still felt as if something was missing as he reminisced about his childhood and youth. In his own words, he states in the introduction that "This book is about not missing those moments. This book is about leaving the forced march.  This book is about finding hidden beginnings and pursuing the endless adventure of becoming." (Wiens, 2015) He writes in a personal conversational tone that will make the reader feel as if he is having a one on one conversation with Wiens. In the context of the Genesis account of the seven day creation, the author applies these basics to our own lives.  He addresses each day of creation and uniquely applies it to our lives- our own beginnings and purpose.  He weaves a wonderful analogy- a modern day parable that modern readers will understand and be able to apply. He breaths new life to the bible.  New bible readers as well a those familiar with the bible will learn a new perspective on how God's word applies and its relevance on our lives.  He has an uncanny ability to relate any story or circumstance to a spiritual lesson.  For anyone looking for a renewed biblical perspective from the ordinary and mundane, to the tumultuous or tragic- this is the book. As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by NavPress for the purpose of writing this review.

Monday, December 21, 2015

Doctor Who: Royal Blood by Una Mccormack

Doctor Who: Royal Blood by Una Mccormack is another new novel based on  the well known Doctor Who series. Fans of the series will love this newest book. Una Mccormack's fast paced writing style qualifies as literary fiction delving deeply into a well developed plot and three dimensional characters. The intensity of this writing is more than what a reader might expect from a serial book based on a popular television program.

Doctor Who is a popular TV series originally produced in 1963 and has since earned a place in pop culture. Who hasn't heard of the infamous traveling "Tardis"? Anyone familiar with popular media would recognize the "Public call box" as it  travels in space.  The different books in this series are written by different authors- each with their own unique style and twist.


The fast paced narrative jumps grabs the reader at the first paragraph. This series is perfect for young adults and teenagers who follow the new series. The story line of the grail will pull in history fans, Indiana Jones fans as well as science fiction fans too as the characters move across time and space.   The action packed dialogue will keep the attention of all readers as well as his in-depth probing of the individual characters and their thoughts will keep the reader glued to the page for this new adventure. There is satire and humor woven through- as well as plot twists that fans have grown to love.  Fans of the popular TV series will enjoy the common themes of the television show, within this book.  Readers who enjoy  mystery and science fiction fans alike, will also enjoy this book. There is enough authentic graphic scientific description to hold the attention of true Sci fi fans.  The authentic historic elements of traveling back into time will be appreciated by history enthusiasts.  The story is eccentric and combines a number of unusual happenings and events. There are a number of allusions and references that might be missed if the reader isn't paying careful attention. There is some deciphering involved- and a learning curve if you are not familiar with the series.  But even unfamiliar readers will enjoy this book.  If you need a break from the everyday commonplace world of fiction- this is a great choice. This is a well rounded story with a variety of elements. While the TV series is equally enjoyed by adults as well as teens and children alike, this novel  an appropriate book choice for teens as well as adults.

As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Broadway books an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, for the purpose of writing this review.

Precious Moments 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury By Precious Moments Published by Thomas Nelson

For anyone who has grown up with Precious Moments memorabilia, the new Precious Moments 5-Minute Bedtime Treasury By Precious Moments  Published by Thomas Nelson will make a great gift to give for a special child. This full sized, hardcover story book contains beautiful full color art and short bible stories perfect for bedtime.  The classic precious moments art is paired with simple to understand bedtime bible stories.  The stories are short and can be read to a child in just a few minutes.  Unlike lengthy bible story books, these stories are easy to digest for younger children.  This book would be perfect for a new bible story bedtime tradition. Stories are based on the New and Old testament of the bible. This would make a great book to commemorate a special occasion.  The quality of the presentation makes this a book to keep for years to come.   As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, December 4, 2015

NKJV Prophecy Study Bible, 2015 Edition Understanding God's Message in the Last Days By John Hagee

NKJV Prophecy Study Bible, 2015 Edition Understanding God's Message in the Last Days By John Hagee  Published by Thomas Nelson is a newly released update of the original.  This hardcover bible features a sleep, modern design.  Yet, after opening this bible I found that I was underwhelmed by the lack of features.  Even though this bible is an updated edition, the interior of the bible text looks old fashioned and somewhat dated. There are minimal graphics except for the "Evidences" articles which are identified by a bold black and white graphic.  The pages feature a traditional font commonly seen in older or vintage bibles.  Nevertheless, the font is dark and easy to read.  In fact, the traditional styled font is easier to read than some of the newer fonts featured in newer bibles. Jesus' words are featured with a red letter font.  The sentence format is not in a paragraph format, but rather a line by line format like a traditional King James bible format.  Overall many modern readers may find this bible formatting style too antiquated and not reader friendly.  Because of the format style which is not conducive to bible study, I would not recommend this bible. Although there are some good articles featured, they do not justify purchasing this bible when considering all the other study bible on the market.  I suspect that this bible may fill a niche market with John Hagee fans.  Otherwise, I would definitely pass this bible up if I was in the market for a new bible. I am not sure how a $39.99 retail price could ever be justified for this plain text bible.  The presentation of this bible does not do the "John Hagee" name any justice.  I would have expected a new revision to include a more up to date interior rather than just a reprint of what was probably the 1977 original.  I don't think too much has changed from the original, aesthetically. Instead this bible seems to have been hastily put together. As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this bible for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, November 27, 2015

Every Little Thing by Payton Cosell Turner

 Every Little Thing by Payton Cosell Turner is a new coloring book just for adults.  The new adult coloring book genre is becoming mainstream as it gains popularity among upscale adults, and stay at home moms.  This new coloring book is just a little bit different from the coloring books normally found in this genre. This coloring book features quickly drawn sketches- each scene resembles repetitious patterns of doodles rather than an actual picture.  Unlike other coloring books that have a simple story line or feature traditional, serene and beautiful and artistic images, the art in this book resembles quick doodles or cartoons.  This retro themed coloring book may take you back to your high school days of doodling in notebooks.  The  images on each page,  as a whole is more like an abstract patter.  For those who enjoy fine art or classical art, the rough style of these doodles may not be too appealing.  With the amount of time it takes to color a single page, some readers may prefer to pass this up if they prefer more beautiful art.  For those readers who are more free spirited and less rigid, they may be willing to invest some time into a new coloring book style.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Potter style. 

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

NIV, Understand The Faith Study Bible, Grounding Your Beliefs In The Truth Of Scripture By Christianity Today Intl.

The NIV, Understand The Faith Study Bible, Grounding Your Beliefs In The Truth Of Scripture By Christianity Today Intl., is the newest themed bible published by Thomas Nelson.  The book is modern yet minimalist with red toned graphic touches in the interior and the sturdy, textured hard cover.  This bible is very attractive and would make a nice gift as well as a good personal choice for daily reading for anyone who is new to the bible or looking to upgrade their old bible.

As far as the articles and content- this is a great introduction bible to introduce newer believers in the faith to basic bible principals. For those who are used to extensive study bibles with foot notes, this bible is less indepth as it does not have study notes for the actual bible text.   This is not meant to be a study bible- but rather a simple, reader friendly presentation of the bible side by side with relevant articles.  Within the book are truly motivational and inspirational articles- full of substance. One can say this is a pretty bland bible if you compare it to the full color study bibles on the market.  This bible contains fit a real need- and one can say without all the "extra" features, one can focus on scripture.

As far as content, this bible is a good choice- a step above the standard pew bible. With all the niche bibles out in the market- there is truly a bible for every taste.    This is a better  bible choice for a beginner.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this bible published  by Thomas Nelson for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Art Students League of New York on Painting by James L. McElhinney and the Instructors of The Art Students League of New York

 Art Students League of New York on Painting by James L. McElhinney and the Instructors of The Art Students League of New York is a hybrid between an art book and an instruction book.  The beautiful hardcover is a compendium of student as well as professional art ranging from abstract modern to realism.  Any art enthusiast will find something to appreciate in this unique one of a kind volume.  There are many gifted artists whose work is featured.   I especially enjoyed the realism of LoPresti, Pelpko and the surreal, detailed abstract art of Winiarski.  The art of Vavagiakis is so realistic and exact that the human figures are almost indistinguishable from photos.  Yet the poignant faces are expressive.  This artist's still life works were just as impressive and ominous.  

Personally, I did not care for the large amount of paint-splotch styled modern and abstract art included in this book.  Abstract spots and splashes of color on a canvas never appealed to me.  I never appreciated the artistic style that mimics paint splatter.  Perhaps some readers appreciate modern art like this- and may actually enjoy it.  In my opinion it is monotonous and I feel perhaps one or two samples of this modern abstract style would have been sufficient.  I would have preferred more traditional and classical art to be depicted instead of ultra minimalist modern styles.  Overall the reader will find unique art that is not to be found anywhere else. There are a lot of unique pieces of art featured in this book. For any art student or art enthusiast who wants to increase their exposure to newer and unknown artists - this is the book to read.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Watson Guptill productions- an imprint of Crown Publishing group.  

Monday, November 16, 2015

Adventure Bible for Little Ones by Catherine DeVries, illustrated by Jim Madsen


The small, puffy board book, Adventure Bible for Little Ones by Catherine DeVries, illustrated by Jim Madsen is a perfect way to introduce your baby or toddler to the bible.  This thick padded board book contains a few of the most popular bible stories accompanied by bold and colorful illustrations.  The word "Bible" in the title may be misleading and should be replaced with "Bible Stories".  This might be confusing  for some parents as this book contains short bible stories and in no way resembles a bible.

This book contains some of the art from a previously published "Adventure Bible Storybook" which more resembles a "bible" than this new book.  If you already own the "Adventure Bible Storybook", you may notice that this padded book is appropriate for babies who may be rough with regular books.

Cassidy is sixteen months old and recognized the familiar face of Jesus as well as the animals in the ark.  She was excited when I gave her this book.  The small sturdy pages were easy to turn on her own.  This sturdy board book with its reinforced binding and heavy weight pages will stand up to wear and tear.  My baby has a way of tearing through flimsy board books, but I feel this book is sturdy enough to withstand her mouth and hands.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this book published by Zonderkidz for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, November 13, 2015

The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting: Techniques for Rendering Sky, Terrain, Trees, and Water by Suzanne Brooker

The Elements of Landscape Oil Painting: Techniques for Rendering Sky, Terrain, Trees, and Water by Suzanne Brooker is an instruction book and a work of art rolled into one.  This full color book is an instructional text on oil landscape painting.  The photographs of the art contained are beautiful masterpieces- which will inspire and educate the reader.  This large sized quality hardcover book would make a perfect gift as well as a coffee table accessory for even the most discriminating home decor.  There is something in this book tailored for every skill.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Potter/ Tenspeed/ Harmony for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, October 30, 2015

The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New by Marty Machowski


THE OLOGY


The Ology
The Ology: Ancient Truths Ever New by Marty Machowski and published by New Growth Press is a unique book of bibles stories and bible concepts woven together in a fairy tale theme.  Rather than a book of just bible stories, this book presents bible stories and biblical messages as part of a larger story.  Two children come across a mysterious old volume- reminiscent of the back drop of the popular film, The Neverending Story.  Yet unlike a fictional land with mythical creatures and dwarfes, the children find themselves inside the bible stories as the ancient and unacceptable tomb suddenly is easily understood by the young children.  This book makes spiritual concepts and bible stories accessible to children in a fairy tale,  fantasy format. The mysterious aura of this book will be alluring to young children.  
Unlike traditional bible story books or devotional books, there are not too many traditional biblical pictures.  The illustrations are more abstract or mystical in nature.  Unlike the text which is well grounded in scriptural, the illustrations  have a New Age taste.  Other illustrations are allegorical- illustrating theological concepts through simple drawings. For example, the idea of sin is represented by a vanilla ice cream cone crawling with slimy earthworms. I found this a power and effective representation of sin that reaches out to young readers. 
 If I had to suggest one change, it would be the cover illustrations.  The busy and eclectic cover with the elaborate drawing of the crown almost seems reminiscent of the imagery of the Catholic Church and the reference to the giant squid entwined around a rocket might not be readily understood. Personally, I think if the cover was designed more simply as a replica of a vintage old bible, it would be more suitable.  With so many children's bibles and and spiritual books on the market, a cover like this might make parents and educators confused.  I don't feel the cover does this book justice.  Aside from the cover, once the reader actually explores this book, I feel parents as well as children will find this book to be a comprehensive resource for teaching children about God's message,  As a blogger for Litfuse Publicity I received a copy of this book published by New Growth Press for the purpose of writing this review.



Giant Print Holy Bible NIrV

For anyone who has grown to hate the tiny microscopic font on most standard bibles, this may be the bible for you- Zondervan's new Giant Print Holy Bible NIrV.  It is an insult when bible claim to be a "standard" readable sized font, and then you open the pages and see a microscopic faded, 7 point print that you must squint.  For a book with such meaning and importance- the strain on the eyes is difficult to reconcile.  This bible is a good option for eye strain.  The only problem- which might not be a problem for many readers- is that this is the NIrV translation, not the NIV.  This is a simplified version of the NIV more appropriate to younger readers or those unfamiliar with the bible.  It is written at an easier reading level than the NIV counterpart.  I am wondering how the publishers equate vision problems with language limitations since the target readership of this particular bible is for adults and not children. This is a standard bare bones bible- no special features; no graphics- just black and white text.  Personally I would prefer a large font bible with some of the features of the study bibles that have recently been produced.  This is a sturdy hardcover. Although the pages are paper thin, it looks  well bound. As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Zondervan for the purpose of writing this review.

Olympia Provisions by Elias Cairo and Meredith Erickson

Olympia Provisions by Elias Cairo and Meredith Erickson is a newly published upscale niche cookbook with an eclectic mix of meat recipes. One might wonder why in this day anyone would purchase a forty dollar cook book when there are so many free recipes available on the internet. This is much more than a cook book but also an entertaining documentary.  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 meals printed on  thick card-stock paper.  It is a work of art- which it needs to be- in order to compete with the convenience of online recipes.  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 cooking lamb and other exotic dishes such as "Coppa di Testa" which is pig's head  and "Loukanika" which is fermented salami. In fact there is an entire section on fermented salami. This book is about making meat dishes, but it was more like learning a foreign language- it is certainly not about a typical barbecue or hotdogs and hamburgers.  The cover of the book with its wood cut styled American clip art graphics might make this appear to be a basic cookbook.  This book combines artistry and upscale ingredients with a variety of meat.  One  image shows a huge pig- serpent - snake like creature as slab of meat secured with twine.  The pig's stately, still face is rustic.  It is eerie, not very tasty- as I certainly would not equate this dish as food.  Nevertheless it is unique and fancy.     Other entrees are more complicated and look more like fancy artwork in their presentation. The book goes over the step by step process of the recipes even the pre planning stages and even some history and anecdotes mixed in. The photos of the food as well as the scenery is picturesque. Even if you have no intention of cooking any entrees from this book, it is certain to be entertaining or maybe revolting.   As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by 10 Speed Press for the purpose of writing this review.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Slow Fires: Mastering New Ways to Braise, Roast, and Grill by Justin Smillie, Kitty Greenwald

Slow Fires: Mastering New Ways to Braise, Roast, and Grill by Justin Smillie, chef of Upland with Kitty Greenwald is a new niche cook book.  One might wonder why in this day anyone would purchase a forty dollar 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 meals.  It is a work of art- which it needs to be- in order to compete with the convenience of online recipes.  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 cooking lamb and other exotic dishes such as "Salt Roasted Bass with Green Grape Smash". This book is about grilling- but not about a typical barbecue or hotdogs and hamburgers.  This book combines artistry and upscale ingredients with a variety of meat.  The first image shows a plate of fish- in their entirety- complete with faded glazed-over eyes neatly placed in a rustic, weathered terracotta dishware.  This minimalist entree looks deceptively simple.  Other entrees are more complicated and look more like fancy artwork in their presentation. The book goes over the step by step process of the recipes even the pre planning stage of what to do the day before.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Clarkson Potter publishers for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, October 16, 2015

Monsterland by Michael Phillip Cash

Monsterland is the newest horror novel released just in time for Halloween, by Michael Phillip Cash.  This futuristic horror story incorporates a nightmarish tale of an alternate  reality in which populations of zombies, werewolves and vampire- human abominations transformed by viral contaminants are sequestered into a theme park. Not only does the reader find himself immersed into a monster theme park- there is also a social message addressing the issues of equality and autonomy.  The nightmarish creatures are not simply animals- but also portrayed as sick and suffering human beings.

As a self-published writer of a small book horror short stories, one of which is about zombies- I personally was drawn in particular to Cash's depiction of Zombies and werewolves. As a reader I look for authentic details to hold my attention; I was not disappointed.  The author captured the physical pain as well as emotional anguish suffered by these unfortunate creatures. His critical eye for detail could satisfy the biggest skeptic.    In fact, one might almost believe that Cash was describing a real creature with the extent of realism portrayed.  Not only that, Cash writes with a twist.  Rather than depicting them simply as monsters, Michael portrayed them as unfortunate victims who were held captive by their monster disease. Ironically, the humans and politicians were more like "monsters" than the werewolves, vampires and zombies.  This book was so captivating I read it twice.

This is Cash's best book yet and in my opinion, his works belong right up there with the modern great of horror writing, Stephen King. Anyone who enjoys well written, fast paced, complex horror stories with authentic detail should read this book.

 Available on Amazon 

Thursday, October 15, 2015

The Time Chamber by Daria Song

The Time Chamber by Daria Song is a beautifully detailed coloring book made especially for older readers.  These beautiful scenic drawings in of themselves are a work of art. Adult coloring books have been popular as a method of relaxation- similar to the benefits of meditation or yoga.  Coloring books are becoming a mainstream past time for adults and no longer obscure.  On social media I am constantly surprised at the down to earth, non artistic individuals who are replacing their shopping selfies and Starbucks selfies with coloring book selfies.

The beautiful golden spine, and removable white jacket can also be colored as well.  This makes a great gift for yourself or a friend.  The luxurious quality of this book, thick pages, and elaborate art,  is unexpected considering its affordable retail price.  Its an affordable luxury certain to brighten up anyone's day. Armed with a sharpened set of colored pencils, this book can become a personalized masterpiece to treasure and even pass down.  Although it is marketed for readers of all ages, it is most suitable for teens and older due to the tiny detail. I do not feel a grade school-er would appreciate the fine detail of this book, and it would be a shame to destroy a beautiful book with scribble.  This is a coloring project that takes time, perseverance and patience.  I gave it to my teenager to color and even she was in awe and hesitated telling me she did not want to ruin it. She started the first page then gave it to me to finish.   I could imagine many readers who appreciate art will hesitate before making the first stroke with their pencils as well. One thing to keep in mind is the fine detail and repetition of tiny geometric shapes and designs that are a part of each picture.  Some of these pages can take hours to complete- maybe more than the time allowed in one sitting.  It takes patience.  Be sure to have a pencil sharpener handy when starting this book.  Don't bother with crayons or markers. The story line and theme is like a fairy tale.  I feel as if this would also make a beautiful book if it was full color rather than a coloring book.  I almost would have preferred this to  be a traditional full color story than a  coloring book.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Watson Gupthill for the purpose of writing this review.  

Monday, October 5, 2015

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Before nursing school I had never heard of Henrietta Lacks or HeLa.  Despite having taken microbiology, there was no reference in my textbook.  This is strangely ironic because I have an interest cancer cells and their replication.  I must have spent hours of online research on the internet and reading through my nursing texts- but no mention of Henrietta or HeLa cells to be found.  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot was an eye opening and life changing book. This fast paced book was the right mix of narrative with indepth scientific insight into cancer and the behavior of cancer cells. I learned more from this book about cancer than all my texts and research. For example, I had always wondered if cancer contagion could be transmitted through a needle stick.  I found my answer in this book.  I found this and many more answers I had about cancer.   Yet with all the technical information- the humanity of Henrietta was not forgotten.  This book is a mix of social issues, equity in health care as well as the science of cancer. I went back and read this book a few more times.  In fact I was inspired to conduct an experiment of my own using some left over tubes of broth medium from my microbiology class.  Unlike the HeLa cells, the cells of my test sample grew for two weeks then died.  No immortal cells in my sample as to be expected, the the spirit of this book lives on in driving my curiosity.  As a blogger I recieved a copy of this book published by B/D/W/Y Broadway Books, an imprint of Crown Publishing, for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, October 2, 2015

The Complete Creation Museum Adventure

The Complete Creation Museum Adventure is part of the "A Field Trip In A Box" series.  This series also includes the Aquarium Adventure and The Complete Zoo Adventure.  This book is literally a "A field trip in a book" as declared on the front cover.  It is no exaggeration to say that this is not simply a book but an experience.  This spiral bound, interactive full color book has color coded tab divided chapters for each topical category such as "The Flood", "The Gospel", "Dinosaurs" and the appendix as well as more topics.  Also included is a set of interactive educational cards in the "official creation museum tool kit" which looks like a vintage satchel that opens up.  The pockets  of this vintage "bag" include a book mark, a vintage inspired map replica of the creation museum, and  fact cards  for the readers/ participants.  Any fan of Indiana Jones, archaeology or those who want to learn about creation will enjoy this book. This book isn't just for learning- but also for fun.  Vibrant art and photographs make this a beautiful and engaging book.  This work is impressive.  It is like getting a book and an activity game in one product.  This book is educational as well as interactive and will certainly impress children as well as parents and educators alike.  This book is the perfect guide to transform any summer trip into an educational field trip.  And for those readers who are not actually going to the creation museum , this book is the next best thing.

For anyone unfamiliar with the Creation Museum, it is a real place.  While many readers may never be able to visit the museum, this book is highly recommended for anyone who wants to integrate it into their homeschooling science program or even for those who simply want to learn more about what the bible has to say about creation and dinosaurs.

  This is a bold book, and the authors are not ashamed of the gospel message and they boldly declare their  faith in creation science.  This is a great outreach opportunity to give weight to creation science.  As a blogger for New Leaf creations I received a copy of this book published by Master Books for the purpose of writing this review.  I wish this book would be available to the mass market in book stores everywhere as its message is essential.  This publishing company produces many great books that tie in science with biblical creation so that the readers get the whole picture.

If you want to check this book out and more Master Books titles, please visit http://www.masterbooks.com/

The Carols of Christmas by Andrew Gant

The Carols of Christmas- A Celebration of the Surprising Stories Behind Your Favorite Holiday Songs by Andrew Gant is published just in time to usher in the 2015 holiday season.  This quaint hardcover book features the historical back grand, as well as selected black and white reproductions of vintage holiday art as well as lyrics and music for twenty well know songs.  Each chapter is dedicated to a particular song, including Jingle Bells, O Holy Night and the Twelve days of Christmas.  In addition to the musical lyrics and vintage illustrations, an extensive historical background on the song's origins is provided for each song.

This book makes the perfect stocking stuffer for history enthusiasts, choir members as well as anyone who enjoys folklore and Christmas stories.  It shouldn't come as any surprise that these stories are of varied origins, cultures and even faiths.  While it is published by a Christian book publisher, much of the material is secular and not specific to religion.  Nevertheless the references to Epihany, Holy Innocents and St Steven are most familiar with Roman Catholics and Lutherans.  This gives the book a quaint authentic touch that will make many readers feel nostalgic around Christmas time as Christmas day is for some, the only day they attend Church or Mass.

I can imagine this book would make the perfect resource for a grade school book report on the Holidays or Christmas Carols.  It would also make a perfect gift for a music teacher or choir member.  This book is certain to give the reader a more enlightened background on music they have heard at Christmastime since childhood.  Age old carols will take on a new light after reading this book.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this book published by Nelson Books and imprint of Thomas Nelson publishers.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Owls: Our Most Charming Bird by Matt Sewell


Owls: Our Most Charming Bird by Matt Sewell is a newly published gift book featuring cheerful water colored inspired art of a variety of owls.  Organized as a field guide of owl species, each entry depicts a full color illustration of an owl as well as brief, yet lively descriptions of the species.  The lively descriptions are perfectly paired with the animated art depicting each owl.  Although this is not necessarily a scientific field guide for identifying owls, it is entertaining nonetheless.  The minimalist, yet modern design of this book will appeal to owl enthusiasts and owl collectors everywhere.  The owl is becoming a popular accessory  in fashion, especially as clothing and jewelry are designed in the likeness of the owl.  Just about everyone knows someone who loves owls- depicted in kitchenware as well as home decor as well.  This pocket sized gift book will be a welcomed gift for an owl lover who is hard to shop for.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by 10 Speed Press, an imprint of crown publishing, for the purpose of writing this review.

Monday, September 21, 2015

God's Good News Bible Storybook Devotions From Billy Graham

God's Good News Bible Storybook with Devotions From Billy Graham combines excerpts from the bible and pairs them with adapted selections taken from Billy Graham's writings.  Unlike other bible storybooks for children which oversimplify the stories of the bible to such a great degree that they conflict with scripture, this new children's book integrates scripture text.  For example in the story "Sermon on the Mount", not only is there a scripture reference, the story itself is taken from the wording of the bible.  Added words used for clarification are italics.  This is to allow a smoother transition or greater clarity for children who are reading the story.  This is a refreshing approach to the bible in contrast to the liberties many authors take when they talk about Jesus or the apostles  being "happy" rather than "blessed". Scott Wakefield's illustrations are bold and colorful.  The art is intended for children- with the simple and expressive faces, yet not too oversimplified as many of the hastily drawn cartoon figures seem in many bible storybooks on the market.  The bold use of color within the art and the pages draw in younger readers as well as parents.  Nevertheless some purists may not appreciate the free-styled artwork in favor of something more traditional.  Overall for those parents looking for an accurate, reliable children's bible- this is it!  This is best choice on the market that I have seen so far.  The added devotional selections help children as well as parents apply spiritual principles to real life.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this book published by Tommy Nelson for the purpose of writing this review.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

I Want to be Just Like Jesus by Steven Elkins

I Want to be Just Like Jesus Bible Storybook by Steven Elkins is more like a devotional rather than a bible for preschoolers and toddlers.  Although the sub- title states "Bible Storybook", the reader will find that this is not a traditional book of actual bible stories but rather a book of stories based on Jesus' character traits such as honesty, generosity, thankfulness and faith.  These traits are discussed in light of biblical events taken from the gospels during the life of Jesus' ministry here on earth.  For example the story on thankfulness is based on the story of feeding the crowds the loaves and fishes. On the other hand, some of the concepts are more abstract, such as the trait of dependency. This is the first story in this book.  Without some familiarity of theology and faith, some parents or adults might question the inclusion of a story based on being dependent.  This is based on the spiritual concept that Jesus is one with the Father.

The art is cheerful and inviting, and will appeal to toddlers and pre-schoolers.  Colorful graphics leave children visually engaged.  This is a perfect book to reinforce bible stories and to apply the events of the bible to real life situations.  This book would make a perfect pair to go with a children's storybook bible.  As a blogger I recieved a copy of this book published byTyndale Kids for the purpose of writing this reviw

Saturday, September 12, 2015

The Message 100 Devotional Bible: The Story of God in Sequence, hardcover By: Eugene H. Peterson

The Message 100 Devotional Bible: The Story of God in Sequence, By: Eugene H. Peterson is a new hybrid devotional styled bible that uses the modern, lively Message translation.  This paperback book contains the full bible text, but re-ordered chronologically and divided into separate bite sized, digestible, spiritual chunks. This book makes the perfect bible for any new bible reader or truth seeker.  The font is easy to read and the text format is comfortable for reading.  This book is perfect- except for the possibility that it may present some confusion with the traditionally formatted bible.  No where on the cover is it explicitly stated that this is a bible.  Yet it is described as a "devotional bible experience"  inside the opening page.  It seems to defy categorization. 

The modern, minimalist design will appeal to a new generation of readers.  The cover is active, vibrant, yet soothing.  It incorporates nature and the abstract at the same time. It is general enough to appeal to any reader.  The only thing that I would change about this bible is that I prefer the bible to maintain its traditional sequence.  I personally don't feel comfortable with reading a bible that has the books of the bible and passages taken out of sequence and re-ordered.  Nevertheless for a reader who wants to take a chronological or historical approach to bible reading- this order might bring the bible into a more historical perspective.  There are many bibles on the market as well as bibles formatted for daily devotional use.  The main difference with this bible is that it features the lively animated Message translation which I feel is a great outreach opportunity for new bible readers in a less formal presentation.  I believe many will feel this translation is an eye opening experience which draws them closer to the good news.  Sequential order may make this bible easier to follow for some readers, while possibly confusing other readers as to the actual order of the Holy bible.  For that reason alone I would prefer this book to have retained the traditional order of all the bible books.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by NavPress for the purpose of writing this review. 

Friday, September 11, 2015

Classic Human Anatomy in Motion by Valerie L. Winslow

Classic Human Anatomy in Motion by Valerie L. Winslow is unlike any art instruction book I have ever read.  This full color book is a hybrid between an anatomy text and an instruction book on figure drawing.  This book is for anyone who takes the art of figure drawing seriously.  It is like a life drawing course in a book.  

Having had taken college anatomy less than two years ago, I found the anatomical, skeletal  and muscular illustrations and captions to be accurate.  I was surprised at how well artistic drawings were melded with anatomical landmarks.  This book goes beyond an introductory level as it goes in depth into muscle groups and body movement. This book will satisfy any artistic phase and level- it is a book that an artist will not outgrow and worthy as a lifelong reference for the professional artist.

This book is perfect for the beginner or for the advanced artist.  This is the type of book you can pick up and immediately apply to practice.  This would make a wonderful gift for any artist.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book Watson- Guptill, an imprint of Crown publishing Group.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli

Thankful by Eileen Spinelli illustrated by Archie Preston is a new picture book for children that would make a perfect story for Thanksgiving time.  The cover depicts a simple cartoon of a fall scene with children playing in the leaves. The abstract, non distinct cartoon leave much to the imagination.  The two playful children are not obviously human as they resemble cute little critters.  Upon closer scrutiny, the reader sees these are in fact human children and not personified animals with personalities.

The story is unexpected in its multiple meanings.  Without the illustrations, the words would take on an entirely new meaning,  Yet the illustrations depict these children in adult roles and scenarios as if they are play acting.  This book will be certain to encourage children to use their imaginations when role playing.  Yet on a deeper level, even the adults and parents will read this book and realize that they too take some blessings for granted,  In the end both parents and children alike will close this picture book feeling a little more appreciative and thankful for the ordinary aspects of life that are often overlooked. As a blogger for booklook I received a copy of this book published by Zonderkidz for the purpose of writing this review.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Elementary Zoology (Curriculum Pack) Master Books

Elementary Zoology (Curriculum Pack)



World of Animals - Fascinating facts about the world of animals  published by Master Books, is a fully illustrated, exhaustive fact filled book of Animals for students. The quality presentation of this book rivals that of many popular science themed books for children. From the cover that features a holographic image of a tiger  that changes when you reposition the angle of the book, to the graphics, photos and text- this book is sure to capture the attention of any young reader interested in science and animals.

The beginning of the book features an introduction about the oprigin of animals in general, based on the biblical creation account of genesis.  The book is further divided by chapters based on the complexity of the organism and animal, starting with simple animals in chapter one which features a suprising and diverse array of both well known and lesser known unique creatures.  Even though this book is intended for students and children in general, I found many chapters of this book very informative and thorough.  The format and layout of the book presents the animal kingdom in such a way as to give the larger picture to the reader.  Animals are not listed in a haphazard alphabetical format which makes no scientifc fact, but rather they are organised based on complexity, species and habitat.  I don't think a better presentation or arrangement could be made.

The title in of itself is rather broad- including a variety of animals grouped by species.  This book, although not a scholary text book, provides a well rounded background for Animals- superior to that of a text book. The superior organization and presentation of this book of animals rivals the quality of any animal encyclopedia.  Basically no living creature is left out, from the floating portists, mosss and fungi to the comples antelope and elephant.  Presenting science and the study of animal life in such an appealing format makes is more obtainable for students in general.  The format and presentation of this book makes the study of animals comprehensive.  As a blogger for New Leaf publishers I recieved this book, published by Master Books for the purpose of writing this review.

This book was an unexpected surprise as it not only is an educational resource on dinosaurs but an activity and coloring book as well.  I believe any young fan of dinosaurs will enjoy reading about dinosaurs as well as coloring pictures.  The art is detailed- and much more than simple cartoon art. The detailed images will hold the attention of older children who want an outlet for creativity as well as younger readers.  In fact my teenager snatched this book up and wasted no time in finding some pages to color.  Not only is this book a great resource about dinosaurs, it is consistent with biblical creation as well.  What a wonderful outreach method of sharing the gospel message to younger readers in the context of an engaging activity book on dinosaurs.  As a blogger for Moms of Master Books I recived a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review. 
The Complete Aquarium Adventure by Merilee & Bill Clifton, is literally a "A field trip in a book" as declared on the front cover.  This spiral bound, interactive full color book has color coded tab divided chapters for each animal category including birds and fish  as well as a hands on tool kit, containing fact cards, and even bingo cards for the readers/ participants.  This book is educational as well as interactive.  This book is the perfect guide to transform any summer trip into an educational field trip.  And for those readers who are not actually going to an aquarium, , this book is the next best thing.

This book makes the perfect summer time reading- great for the those interested in marine science and ocean life.  In our school we have a special marine themed week.  This book would have been the perfect resource my my grades schooler.    This is a bold book, and the authors are not ashamed of the gospel message and find effective ways to promote the gospel in of all places- a book going on an aquarium adventure!  The photos are sharp and vibrant- this book is beautiful! As a blogger for New Leaf creations I received a copy of this book published by Master Books for the purpose of writing this review.  I wish this book would be available to the mass market in book stores everywhere as its message is essential.  This publishing company produces many great books that tie in science with biblical creation so that the readers get the whole picture.

The Complete Zoo Adventure by Mary & Gary Parker, is literally a "A field trip in a book" as marketed on the front cover.  This spiral bound, interactive full color book has color coded tab divided chapters for each animal category as well as a hands on tool kit, containing field fact cards, biome cards, field journal cards and name badges for the readers/ participants.  This book is educational as well as interactive.  This book is the perfect guid to transform any zoo trip into an educational field trip.  And for those readers who are not actually going to the real zoo, this book is the next best thing.

At first glance this might seem just like a very good resource in animals and the zoo.  But when you actually read the text of the book and not just the full color photographs of animals, the reader will find it is actually an educational book on biblical creation.  Sadly, so many readers- and parents who read this book, will probably will look at the photos and stop there.  But the actual text of this book is even more impressive!  In the section "Before the zoo", there are "devotional" pages which give the biblical background of creation starting from Genesis.   This book provides a simple, yet very well written background on the theology of creation and sin, the garden of Eden, and the flood.  Issues of creationism vs evolutionary theories are discussed.  Furthermore, within the text of the animal sections themselves, the authors do not hesitate to include biblical based commentary.  For example, when commenting on a monkey exhibit at a zoo, they critique the fact that a diagram was depicted which implied than men evolved from apes.  This is a bold book, and the authors are not ashamed of the gosepl message and find effective ways to promote the gospel in of all places- a book about zoo animals!  As a blogger for New Leaf creations I recieved a copy of this book published by Master Books for the purpose of writing this review.  I wish this book would be available to the mass market in book stores everywhere as its message is essential.  This publishing company produces many great books that tie in science with biblical creation so that the readers get the whole picture.

Perfect for any homeschooling parent or educator, this resource ties the elementary zoology curriculum together with lesson plans and work sheets.  Discussion ideas, lesson plans and worksheets can guide even a new homeschooling parent into becoming an experienced educator.  This is just the tool needed to provide guidance and direction as well as organization in producing a quality home school program for your grade school aged child.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Things I've Said to My Children by Nathan Ripperger

Things I've Said to My Children by Nathan Ripperger is a newly published gift book that would be perfect to give to any parent for a birthday or baby shower.  The full color, mixed media graphics of this book resemble the well known children's author/ illustrator, Erik Carlise. Each illustration is accompanied by something funny- such as "We do not poop in books." or "Why is there a toilet seat on my coffee table/" (Ripperger, 2015).  This book is quick to read, and ironically, perfectly suited for any parents' coffee table.  This book shows the lighter side to parenting for any parent who needs a little laugh.  It is no surprise that the author has a background in graphic design.  As a parent to five boys it seems only natural he might pair some parenting humor with his background in art.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Ten Speed Pres, an imprint 0f Crown Publishing, for the purpose of writing this review.

available at www.barnesandnoble.com

Thursday, August 27, 2015

Doctor Who The Drosten's Curse by A.L. Kennedy

Doctor Who The Drosten's Curse by A.L. Kennedy is the newest novel based on  the well known Doctor Who series. Fans of the series will love this newest book.  A.L. Kennedy's writing style qualifies as literary fiction delving deeply into a well developed plot and three dimensional characters. The intensity of this writing is more than what a reader might expect from a serial book based on a popular television program. "The Doctor was used to all the weird surprises, odd transmat beams and, for that matter, harsh treatment that a universe- one that didn't wish to be rude, but one did have to mention- a universe filled with some highly unpleasant characters could serve up." (Kennedy, 2015 p. 158)

Doctor Who is a popular TV series originally produced in 1963 and has since earned a place in pop culture. Who hasn't heard of the infamous traveling "Tardis"? Anyone familiar with popular media would recognize the "Public call box" as it  travels in space.  TThe different books in this series are written by different authors- each with their own unique style and twist.


The fast paced narrative jumps grabs the reader at the first paragraph.  His action packed dialogue will keep the attention of all readers as well as his in-depth probing of the individual characters and their thoughts will keep the reader glued to the page for this new adventure. There is satire and humor woven through- as well as plot twists that fans have grown to love.  Fans of the popular TV series will enjoy the common themes of the television show, within this book.  Readers who enjoy  mystery and science fiction fans alike, will also enjoy this book. There is enough authentic graphic scientific description to hold the attention of true Sci fi fans.  The authentic historic elements of traveling back into time will be appreciated by history enthusiasts.  The story is eccentric and combines a number of unusual happenings and events. There are a number of allusions and references that might be missed if the reader isn't paying careful attention. There is some deciphering involved- and a learning curve if you are not familiar with the series.  But even unfamiliar readers will enjoy this book.  If you need a break from the everyday commonplace world of fiction- this is a great choice. This is a well rounded story with a variety of elements. While the TV series is equally enjoyed by adults as well as teens and children alike, this novel  an appropriate book choice for teens as well as adults.

As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Broadway books an imprint of Crown Publishing Group, for the purpose of writing this review.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

My First Hands On Bible

My First Hands On Bible with its flexible pink leather- like leatherette,  featuring the New Living Translation is a new children's bible published by Tyndale publishers.  There are so many new children's bibles on the market, but the unique aspect of this bible is that is actually features the word for word text of the bible- the NLT. In contrast to other children's bibles which are simply paraphrases or summaries based on the author's interpretation- this is actual biblical text! Side by side with actual bible text (the easy to understand NLT) are simple  cartoon styled illustrations. Dispersed within the text and illustrations are simple prayers, interactive ideas and "Jesus Connection" statements to add clarity and to sum up important biblical ideas.  This is a hands on bible for young children- preschoolers. It would not be directed to older children.  With the guidance of an adult to read the text, preschool aged children are sure to understand and enjoy this bible.  One thing to keep in mind is that it obviously is intended that this bible
be read to a child as the text is beyond a preschooler's reading level   and the thin pages could easily be torn. This is a keepsake bible so you may wish to store it safely on a high shelf.  One main thing about this bible that I would change are  the overly simple cartoon styled drawings- which artistically,  I feel are basically one step above stick figure drawings.   Nevertheless this style of illustration is obviously geared towards very young children. The simple art will draw in younger readers.  As a blogger for Tyndale bloggers I received this book for the purpose of writing this review and my opinions are my own.

NIV Zondervan Study Bible


I have found my new favorite bible! The  NIV Zondervan Study Bible is the bible that I have been waiting for! I can't say enough of the greatness and beauty, as well as the utility of this bible.  The pursuit of the perfect bible has come to a closure!!!! I know in a previous review, I said that Zondervan's  NIV First Century bible takes first place with the NKJV full color study bible in a close second.  For anyone already familiar with the NKJV study bible- this NIV Zondervan Study is comparable in the in-depth study notes, graphs and full color photographs.  
This is the newly released NIV Zondervan  study bible-  published in full color!  The simple, minimalist, modern book jacket gives little clue to the visual goodies contained within. The pages are simple yet full of colorful study helps, photos and maps.  The quality, durable textured hard cover will last with heavy use. The pages are perfect as far as their thin texture which is also durable.  

As far as the content and presentation:   I found it to be similar to the NKJV full color study bible and the newly published NIV Essentials study bible. If you find yourself stuck in a deadlock contemplating which bible to choose: This NIV Zondervan Study bible, the NIV Essentials bible or the NKJV study bible- I'd choose this one.  The biggest difference between the newly published NKJV Study bible by Thomas Nelson  is that this is a NIV translation.  The NKJV is  more literal and traditional in style and language than the NIV.  The NIV essentials bible is black and white with some spot color which seems like an adequate bible until you have been exposed to the beauty of a full color bible.  
If you want to own one single bible that is good for study as well as beautifully designed and illustrated, the full color NIV Zondervan Study Bible is the only bible you will need.   This bible is great for new bible readers as well experienced readers.

As far as everyday study, the font is okay in standard size but still on the tiny side. But that is understandable given the amount of content and the size of this bible.  As it is this bible is bulky and not really the optimal choice to carry around.   It is nice to see that the zondervan 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. If you are wondering why to choose this bible over the most recently published full color bibles- I'd choose this particular bible if you prefer the NIV. There is some similar content such as illustrations, maps and charts that you will find in the First Century and Essentials bible as well as the NKJV STudy bible.  Therefore its redundant to own all of these bibles  in my opinion unless you collect  bibles.

The digital access can be used through an enclosed card with a code.  These days many college textbooks come with digital access.  There are two options for digital access- lap top and tablet/ cell versions. I chose the android format which lead me to the olive tree app.  I found that installing the digital access was not particularly easy.  I am unsure if I was able to unlock all the features.  I was only able to view the NIV text on my mobile device- no additional photos or charts..  Some readers might be confused into believing the digital access is the digital version of the NIV Zondervan study bible.  So far I found that not to be the case. Nevertheless I enjoy this bible as a bible- and digital access is not at all important to me.  I only wanted to try it simply to take a look at what it offered.


For anyone looking for a good bible that will provide a lifetime of value and study, this is it!- The top  bible among the top choices in my opinion. I think any bible reader will be impressed.  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

Thursday, August 20, 2015

The Time Garden: A Magical Journey and Coloring Book by Daria Song

The Time Garden: A Magical Journey and Coloring Book by Daria Song is a beautifully detailed coloring book for made especially for older readers.  These beautiful scenic drawings in of themselves are a work of art.

The beautiful binding and removable jacket can also be colored as well.  This makes a great gift for yourself or a friend.  The luxurious quality of this book, thick pages, and elaborate art,  is unexpected considering its affordable retail price.  Its an affordable luxury certain to brighten up anyone's day. Armed with a sharpened set of colored pencils, this book can become a personalized masterpiece to treasure and even pass down.  Although it is marketed for readers of all ages, it is most suitable for teens and older due to the tiny detail. I do not feel a grade school-er would appreciate the fine detail of this book, and it would be a shame to destroy a beautiful book with scribble.  This is a coloring project that takes time, perseverance and patience.  I gave it to my teenager to color and even she was in awe and hesitated telling me she did not want to ruin it. She started the first page then gave it to me to finish.   I could imagine many readers who appreciate art will hesitate before making the first stroke with their pencils as well. One thing to keep in mind is the fine detail and repetition of tiny geometric shapes and designs that are a part of each picture.  Some of these pages can take hours to complete- maybe more than the time allowed in one sitting.  It takes patience.  Be sure to have a pencil sharpener handy when starting this book.  Don't bother with crayons or markers. The story line and theme is like a bedtime story.  I feel as if this would also make a beautiful book if it was full color rather than a coloring book.  I almost would have preferred this to  be a traditional full color story than a  coloring book.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony for the purpose of writing this review.  

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Believe Kids' Edition by Randy Frazee

Believe: Think, Act, Be Like Jesus Kids' Edition, edited by Randy Frazee is part of the Believe collection of resources.  This series  includes age level resources for adults, students and younger children as well.  After reviewing the adult, kids' and child resource, I was most impressed with the hard cover, full color children's Believe Storybook.  I was underwhelmed by this Kids' Edition of the Believe resource; the paperback quality reminded me of the dollar store.  I felt the strongest books in  this series was the children's Believe Storybook.

This trade paperback edition gave the impression of a dollar store coloring-book quality with  its illustrations and formatting.  It just did not give the impression of a quality book for the $11.99 retail price.  If it was priced at $2.99 for the mass market, it would be more reasonable.  Although there is a blue spot color throughout and plenty of illustrations, I feel the large chunks of text are still too monotonous.  With the inclusion of scripture texts and commentary, I do not feel that there is enough unique content to a justify purchase of this book in the context of the wide range of children's study bibles available for the school age and pre-teen age group that this book is marketed for.  With the availability of high quality affordable complete NIV youth bibles available today, I do not see how this resource stands out.  This book might be good for those younger readers who might be too over whelmed by a complete bible.  This book covers a good variety of biblical topics as a non denominational version of a "catechism". In general, there are enough people unfamiliar with the bible as it is, that if presented with the Believe series of books, will find themselves confused with these resources that present large portions of the bible, yet are not the actual bible.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this boo published by Zondervan for the purpose of writing this review.