Friday, December 2, 2016

One to Ten: Squirrel's Bad Day by Carole P. Roman illustrated by Mateya Arkova


One to Ten: Squirrel's Bad Day by Carole P. Roman illustrated by  Mateya Arkova is a new children's picture book that teaches young children how to cope with bad days and life's disappointments. The brightly textured watercolor art by Arkova is inviting for children of all ages.  The animated characters and their friendly, and sincere personalities will draw in the young readers and they follow along.  This story addresses common challenges little ones face- cancelled plans, bad weather, embarrassment, bad grades, divorced parents and the loss of a beloved pet-  to name a few. Using a technique to relieve stress and to decrease anxiety, squirrel learns a new coping technique  based on numbering the problem on a one to ten scale. The story ends with a few wise words that will have a lasting impact on children of all ages.   "In the event that something happens, and you feel your world fly apart, recall this conversation; remember the one to ten chart.... Once you give it a number... the problem doesn't feel so big, and somehow you'll know what to do." (Roman, 2016) Parents can use this story with their children as a springboard to address life problems and situations. Once again, Carole P. Roman shows her versatility as a children's writer.

Miscarried Joy: Moving Beyond Incredible Pain to Extraordinary Faith by Tanika Fitzgerald

In her new book, Miscarried Joy: Moving Beyond Incredible Pain to Extraordinary Faith, Tanika Fitzgerald ministers to women experiencing the grief of pregnancy loss and stillbirth.  Tanika herself experienced the grief and isolation of miscarriage in 2015.  She opens her book with the candid account of her own experience of miscarriage.  She reaches out to the grieved reader as a personal friend and mentor.  For many women, the solace and comfort received from Tanika's book might be the only companionship during their own pregnancy loss journey.  As Tanika points out, miscarriage and pregnancy loss is more common than many believe.  But, because of the stigma surrounding pregnancy loss, many women must grieve alone.  This book is a resource to read multiple times, and to have handy by the bedside for sleepless nights and times of grief.  There are plenty of scripture verses as well as bible anecdotes that are used to help guide any grieving mother when facing the loss of her child no matter what stage in pregnancy the loss occurred. This is the perfect book for anyone experiencing pregnancy loss.  And for those painful times when there are no other words of comfort- this makes a comforting resource.  One of the best most poignant aspects of this book is that it is written from a point of view of incredible faith.  Tanika wrote this book despite the fact that she currently does not have any living children.  She writes from the point of view of patience and in a time of uncertainty which makes her words even more powerful and applicable.  Not every mother has a happy ending or a baby here while on Earth.  The fact that the author has written this powerful book while still patiently waiting on God -serves as a reminder that if this type of faith is possible for her, that maybe it is also possible for those who have not been able to have children either.    As a blogger for Litfuse publicity, I am providing an unbiased review.

Beyond Suffering Bible NLT: Where Struggles Seem Endless, God's Hope Is Infinite by Joni and Friends, Inc.

The Beyond Suffering Bible NLT: Where Struggles Seem Endless, God's Hope Is Infinite - is a new bible produced by Joni and Friends, Inc.

Joni Eareckson Tada of Joni and Friends Christian Institute on Disability, is known best by many readers, as an inspirational hero of faith who suffers from quadriplegia as a result of a diving injury suffered at the age of 17.  I first learned of Jodi Eateckson Tada's story as a college student when I read her inspirational autobiography.  Over the years I found myself drawn to her story and example when life became difficult with various trials. 

Her faith and resilience in the face of disability and tragedy is an inspiration and model for all Christians and especially for those facing tragic circumstances and disability.  One may wonder where Joni finds her strength and how she maintains her strength and faith. For true inspirational devotionals, side by side with the full text of the bible- this bible resource is where to turn. Unlike many devotional bibles on the market- this bible is truly dedicated to those readers who are actively suffering.  This bible provides the tools needed to empower and inspire even the most apathetic and depressed of readers. Whether you are facing the grief of loss, terminal illness, disability or even the loss of a job- this bible is certain to provide comfort- not only with the inspired words of scripture, but also with the articles and devotionals that help bring the word of God to life.  The devotionals focus on scripture but also help the reader to see how God's word can be practically applied when facing a crisis, or tragedy or even a chronic illness.  As a blogger I received a copy of this bible published by Tyndale for the purpose of writing this review. 

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Read and Share Look, I'm Reading! Bible Storybook By Gwen Ellis


Look, I'm Reading! Bible Storybook By Gwen Ellis is a new story book bible for young children featuring picture codes within the text.  This book is perfect for emerging readers and pre-schoolers.  By replacing key words with graphics, the child can fill in the story by looking at the picture which represents the missing word.  The cartoon like drawings are simple- similar to a doodle.  The child becomes an active participant of the story by looking at the image and by completing the sentences. This book is yet another way to add variety to bible storytelling.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this book published by Tommy Nelson for the purpose of writing this review.

Red-Blooded American Male: Photographs by Robert Trachtenberg

Red-Blooded American Male: Photographs by Robert Trachtenberg is a  modern book of photography featuring  photoshoots of actors, musicians and other well known media figures.  It is difficult to categorize this eccentric book into a specific genre. While it features known faces and figures from popular culture and modern media- the selection of subjects as well as  the themed photoshoots seem to be aligned with a smaller niche of readers.  Possibly the term "Red- Blooded American Male" is a euphemism that may be appreciated by some readers.   The varied mix of eclectic fashion ranging from complete nudity, to partial nudity to extravagant costumes and women's wear add an unexpected element.  This book challenges gender roles and stereotypes as well as the traditional perceptions of well known celebrities by creating a mix- up like none other.  Ironically, in the preface, the author addresses the question as to who would actually "pay good money" to buy this book.  Ironically, I feel the shock value of this book is what will drive readers to invest in this book.  This book of photography may be considered art by some readers and to others- part of a social movement to reject traditional roles and values. In the end, the best way to describe this work is a book of alternative art and photography. At least for those traditional readers- if you pull off the full color jacket featuring a reclining male in fishnets dressed in grey in a room with color coordinated decor-  you will find the glossy black binding, and contemporary yet minimalist cover to fit very well with the books on your book shelf.     As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Amphoto Book for the purpose of writing this review.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

NIV, Journal the Word Bible

NIV, Journal the Word BibleReflect, Journal, or Create Art Next to Your Favorite Verses

by Zondervan is a beautiful new bible that is made to not only accommodate personal journaling, but it also a beautifully bound hardcover with a cloth design that will appeal to readers of all ages. The thick cream colored pages, with light lines on the margins leave ample room for writing and even small drawings.

There is a new trend of bible journals and bibles with journal space on the market these days. Creativity is a new way to express faith while also building one's knowledge of the word of God.  This bible can easily become a treasured keepsake, passed down generation to generation, once it is personalized.

Generous sized margins feature ample space for writing notes, or even for creating your own doodles.  There is no limitation to this bible as it allows flexibility for anything.  To get some ideas of how to decorate or personalize a journaling bible there are many videos on the internet.  This bible will appeal to a wide audience including scrap bookkers, artists, journalists  and writers.

One feature is its smaller size text and size in general. Depending on who you are, this may or may not be a positive feature.  This bible is portable and light- and easy to read while holding in one hand.  Unlike heavier, bulky bibles, this bible is easy to read sitting up in a chair, or with one hand right before bed.  With its portable size, comes a smaller font.  The text size is slightly smaller  than the standard font size of Zondervan bibles.  The font is still readable, just not as much as the standard font.  Once again this is to allow extra wide lined margins on just about each page to allow for personal journal entries and notes.   This is not a devotional or study bible.  There are no extra articles or devotions which is a good thing as nothing stands between the reader and God's word.

Now that I have this bible, the hardest thing is to figure out what to do with it since there are so many possibilities.  I can not decide if I should take notes, draw doodles, highlight passages or add stickers- or maybe all these things.  As beautiful as this bible is, I may just want to leave it as it is and not add anything. So, I'm probably going to take a few days reading this bible until I decide if or how to personalize it.  Maybe I will watch a few more videos for inspiration.   As a blogger I received a copy of this bible published by Zondervan.

Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernusse to Streuselkuchen by Luisa Weiss

Classic German Baking: The Very Best Recipes for Traditional Favorites, from Pfeffernusse to Streuselkuchen by Luisa Weiss is a new cookbook dedicated to baking and desserts.  This authentic cookbook features actual German recipes: Friesentorte (Plum Cream Torte), Butterkuchen (Butter Almond Cake), Schwarz- Weiss Geback (Checkerboard cookies) and many more.  The book features sections for cookies, cakes, yeasted cakes, Tortes, breads and even Christmas.  The last section is on the very basics- Quark (Sour Fresh Cheese), Streusel and more foundation recipes.  This comprehensive volume in perfect for every level of baking- from the beginner to the advanced chef.  This beautiful hard cover volume features thick sturdy pages, and detailed quality photographs.  Background information and commentary is provided for all the recipes as well.  I am giving this cookbook to my teenager who is in her third year of German language class- as she also enjoys baking as well.  This cookbook will transport the reader directly to Germany!  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Ten Speed Press for the purpose of writing this review.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

The Lords Prayer illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson

The Lords Prayer illustrated by Richard Jesse Watson is a new hardcover picture book featuring the traditional King James Bible version of the Lord's prayer with commentary by Rick Warren.  Warren's prose is the perfect compliment to go side by side, the beautiful art of Watson.  This combinations brings to life, the ever popular Lords's prayer from the bible.  This board book will stand up to years of use by small toddlers.  The bold colors and illustrations will hold the attention of young readers even if they can not fully grasp the message of the Lords prayer.  This is a book that children and even adults will enjoy.  As a blogger for Booklook I received a copy of this book published by Zonderkidz for the purpose of writing this review.

Far Afield: Rare Food Encounters from Around the World by Shane Mitchell

Far Afield: Rare Food Encounters from Around the World by Shane Mitchell is a one of a kind hybrid book- a cross between a travel and culture book and and a cookbook.  Looking at the cover and title- one might think this is a sociology or book on geography.  The subtitle reveals the true extend of this book- a collection of recipes.  This recipe book features regional and traditional foods in the context of a documentary or article of a particular geographic area or culture.  This book features an eclectic mix of cultures including the Day of the Dead celebration, Fishermen of Kenya, impoverished refugees of France and primitive tribes of India- just to name a few.  In an ironic plot twist, impoverished, third world cultures are portrayed as authentic and natural as serene and impressive photos are set side by side photography and recipes for their local ethnic foods.  Impoverished and simple cultures are portrayed as having rich cultural roots with a complex mix of foods.  The author turns basic, simple, tribal living as upscale, mysterious and even exotic.  The reader will think twice about any longstanding stereotypes and preconceived ideas of different cultures.  The vivid photography brings faraway places and people close to home.  I found this more than just a cookbook, but more of a cultural experience- a glimpse into faraway and overlooked societies.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by 10 Speed Press for the purpose of writing this review.  

THE RADICAL BOOK FOR KIDS BY CHAMP THORNTON

THE RADICAL BOOK FOR KIDS by  CHAMP THORNTON is a new simplified theological textbook that brings the bible and faith to life with full color graphics, photos and art.  This book is a wonderful resource that can be used as an entertaining tool to introduce your child to theology or even as a religious studies textbook.  Thornton portrays faith and the bible in one comprehensive picture in order to provide a complete yet simple to understand foundation of faith for young readers of all ages.  Even adult readers who read this to their children, may find their understanding of theology to be more complete after reading this book as well.  Each page features impressive full color graphics, photos or other visuals, drawing in the attention - readers of all ages.  In this age of multi media, and bold graphics- this book reaches out to today's generation of young readers and their parents.  This book is divided into short lessons and an index provides a useful starting point if you are looking for something specific.  I found this book to represent a vast array of research on the part of Champ Thornton.  Most of all, the author's ability to package the material provides an outreach opportunity to share the gospel and theology basics to children as well as their parents.  As a blogger for Lifuse publicity, I received a copy of this book published by NG Press for the purpose of writing this review.

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Bedtime Read and Rhyme Bible Stories by Bonnie Rickner Jensen and illustrated by Robert Dunn

Bedtime Read and Rhyme Bible Stories by Bonnie Rickner Jensen and illustrated by Robert Dunn is a new bedtime themed book of short bible stories written especially for young children. There are many children's story book bibles on the market, but this fills a unique nich as it integrates the bed time story theme and rhymes as well.   Vibrant, colorful art, featuring well known bible characters and heroes such as King David, Daniel, Noah, Paul and Jesus, reinforce bible themes in a bedtime story setting.  The bright illustrations, and the cozy nighttime theme will appeal to young children and are perfectly suited for a bedtime storybook.  This perfect sized hardcover book, with its short, comforting and happy stories are the perfect bedtime story for young boys and girls,from toddlers, preschool ages and  up to grade schoolers

 Unlike a typical bible storybook, the purpose of these stories is to entertain and reinforce bible truths through rhyme and repetition.  I found the stories to hold the attention of young children.  The catchy rhyme format is almost like a song- and sticks to the essential spiritual truths for each story.  This book would make a good first introduction to popular bible stories for children unfamiliar with the bible.    This is a good choice for a casual, lighthearted bedtime book.  These simple stories could also be used as a springboard for a discussion of the bible account from the bible as well. I can imagine the lively discussions that could be started with older children contrasting the actual bible accounts with these stories.  If you are looking for a fresh unique way to capture your child's interest- this makes a great choice.  As a blogger for Booklook bloggers I received this book published by Tommy Nelson for the purpose of writing this review.  

Earth Psalms: Reflections on How God Speaks through Nature by Francine Rivers

Earth Psalms: Reflections on How God Speaks through Nature by Francine Rivers, is a beautiful full color devotional book featuring a variety of nature inspired photographs.   This hybrid book - part devotional and part photography- has full color, vibrant nature photography side by side scripture and biblical devotionals.  This book, by Rivers, is a unique, one of a kind way to start each day with a moment of spiritual relaxation and inspiration.  It teaches the reader to take a break and ponder the greatness of God through the creative world that is all around.  Even in the midst of stress or suffering or day to day work and responsibilities- this book shows the reader that God's glory can peer through anything that we may face with our daily struggles or busy lives.  This book will appeal to all readers.  Even those who are not nature enthusiasts will find peace and relaxation when integrating this book as part of their daily prayer life and biblical study.  As a blogger for Tyndale I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.

Earth Psalms: Reflections on How God Speaks through Nature by Francine Rivers

Earth Psalms: Reflections on How God Speaks through Nature by Francine Rivers, is a beautiful full color devotional book featuring a variety of nature inspired photographs.   This hybrid book - part devotional and part photography- has full color, vibrant nature photography side by side scripture and biblical devotionals.  This book, by Rivers, is a unique, one of a kind way to start each day with a moment of spiritual relaxation and inspiration.  It teaches the reader to take a break and ponder the greatness of God through the creative world that is all around.  Even in the midst of stress or suffering or day to day work and responsibilities- this book shows the reader that God's glory can peer through anything that we may face with our daily struggles or busy lives.  This book will appeal to all readers.  Even those who are not nature enthusiasts will find peace and relaxation when integrating this book as part of their daily prayer life and biblical study.  As a blogger for Tyndale I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, October 28, 2016

The new adult coloring book, David Bowie, Retrospective and coloring book, by Mel Eliott

There is no way that anyone in this  modern era of social media could have missed that the news that the infamous artist, David Bowie died three days after turning 69.  Not only that, he left an intriguing new album released on his birthday- just three days before his death. Without a doubt this music video release was planned to coincide with his imminent death as the artist had been fighting a private battle with cancer.

The new adult coloring book, David Bowie, Retrospective and coloring book, by Mel Eliott, meshes together two popular genres: adult coloring book and the David Bowie trend. David Bowie fans will not be disappointed.  For every fan, this is a must have book.  This book features a quick synopsis of his life and music, and eccentric drawings of David Bowie in each phase of his musical career starting from the 1960s, to the movie Labyrinth all the way to his most recent Blackstar album.

In fact, this book will be given as a gift to my teenager, although music fans of all ages are certain to enjoy this book even if they aren't into coloring.  I received a copy of this book published by Watson-Guptill for the purpose of writing this review.

My teenager inspired me to do the following commentary after a philosophical debate about Bowie and the meaning behind his works.  Although I am unfamiliar with most of David Bowie's works, aware of the musician from the sidelines, listening only when others played his songs on the radio during long car trips, I could not help but find myself intrigued and drawn to his newest release by the title of "Lazarus".  I could only imagine Bowie's giddy anticipation as he knew he would be leaving the world this complicated, musical tidbit of packed to the brim with symbolism for the fans, critics, religious leaders and psychologists alike, to interpret, discuss and dissect long after his death. To describe this last album as a "parting gift" to his fans seems fitting.

The opening scene of the musical video, Lazarus is poignant as Bowie is confined to a hospital bed: empty, devoid and clinical.  His disheveled colorless hair, shiny diaphoretic skin, and the tortured blue vasculature of his distended aged veins are clearly visible as he writhes around in bed, experiencing terminal agitation as well as spiritual distress, engulfed in regret and longing.  The absence of medical equipment normally seen in the hospital setting as well as  the chipped antique metal framed bed, the pilled salmon bedding, the dingy off white tile floor, the antiqued solid wood wardrobe and the threadbare yet ornately ruffled vintage nightshirt suggest that he is in a nursing home.  Confined to bed, deprived of sensory information as he has a band of gauze wrapped around his eyes, his only sensory input is enabled by two tiny pin sized holes provided by the carefully placed metal rivets. 

An ominous dark female figure slinks out of the heavy wooden wardrobe and finds herself underneath the bed grasping hesitantly upwards.  Ironically, while confined to bed, Bowie apparently rises a few inches off the bed- just enough to suggest levitation, but not enough to allow him to escape the confines of his bed reflecting his imprisonment, emotionally, spiritually and physically. 

As a nurse, it is important to allow the aged and terminally ill opportunities to reminisce as they approach the end of life. Bowie accomplishes this literally and figuratively throughout the piece.  In a scene change, from the sick- bed, Bowie is depicted in an eccentrically patterned, form fitting pair of black long underwear.  He finds a burst of energy, dancing as he continues to reminisce and reflect.  His alter ego is energetic and frantic as he pours out his story. His scissor like movements are quick and frantic in an attempt to release excess energy after having been bed bound for an indeterminate amount of time. This burst of energy is short lived, nevertheless.   In a quick change, his animated facial expression goes blank in mid- song. His eyes  become glassy as they stare off into the distance, detached, in an attempt to disengage from the reality of this world, in preparation for his inevitable death.   Adapting a mechanical, repetitive form of movement that can barely be classified as dancing, his song becomes more forced and structured.  The animated,  emotional piece is short lived as Bowie seamlessly retreats into a devoid expressionless human shell.   From that point the only animated personality is confined to the bed as depicted by Bowie's grandiose gesturing and wide range of intense facial expressions ranging from intense pain, regret and anguish as he grimaces and writhes in the bed.

Near the end, he exhibits a pained, tortured expression as he holds up a black quill pen, as if faced with an impossibly difficult choice.  One wonders the significance of the sharp black quill pen- as if it represents an inner battle- as demonstrated by the intense anxiety on his face. While one may ponder some mundane explanations for the anxiety, I can imagine it represents him contemplating major end of life decisions.  The high pitched screeching music only intensifies Bowie frantically scrolls not only on paper but the sides of the table and the legs as he experiences a cathartic release of frantic energy.  The final scene shows Bowie's facing turning off like a light switch as his pained anxious facial expression is replaced by a stone- like gaze.  He slowly retreating back words with an unsteady Parkinson's like gait back to the oppressive, ominous heavy wardrobe- his gaze glassy and dead. His short, uneven shuffled steps end as he backs into the wardrobe and closes himself inside. 

The lengthy music video Black star is even more complicated and intricate as it explores Bowie's search to reconcile his life with spirituality. Disturbing images of  rhythmic, decerebrate, seizure activity minimally resembles dancing. Parodies of barbaric, senseless ritual activity represent Bowie's condemnation of organized religion, no doubt.  Perhaps these disturbing artists with their expressionless seizure like posturing are representing Bowie's belief that faith in the bible is the product of mindless, brain dead individuals automated by antiquated and barbaric superstition.   

For many musical performers, religion- and specifically the bible- is like the big white elephant in the room. At one point in another, in everyone's life, one must make some sort of decision as to whether to believe the bible's claims about Jesus or to reject them.  There is an in incongruency between the lyrics of the
album with the images portrayed on the video- as if the satanical parody of the cross cancels out the searching spiritual lyrics.  It is apparent that Bowie experienced spiritual anguish near the end of his life as he pondered the truths about God.  Nevertheless the message as portrayed by the disturbing images of the video suggest that Bowie rejected Jesus' claims and also the bible in favor of his own judgment and interpretation of Jesus and spirituality.  The imagery of Blackstar could not have been more evil, more vile, more disturbing, than  if it had come from Satan himself.  On the other hand, Bowie's lip service to the bible may bring out the curiosity of his fans becoming a catalyst to investigate the bible that he alludes to.  There is a quote attributed to Bowie circulating around social media "I don't know where I'm going from here but I promise it won't be boring".  I agree it is accurate, and pretty sure it stands true from his vantage point in the afterlife, but probably not in the way that he intended. 



Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Night Voyage: A Magical Journey and Coloring Book by Daria Song

The Night Voyage: A Magical Journey and Coloring Book by Daria Song is the newest volume in a series of magical coloring books designs just for adults. This is beautifully detailed coloring book for made for all ages- specifically adults who want to explore their creativity with the therapeutic pastime of coloring.  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 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.

Even the storyline behind the inspiration for this book is relaxing and entertaining.  I enjoy this artists coloring books as I am sure many readers out there will enjoy as well.  For those who have Song's earlier coloring books, this is an essential volume to complete the collection.  This coloring book will be certain to impress and to allow for hours of relaxation.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Potter/TenSpeed/Harmony for the purpose of writing this review.  

NIV My Journal Bible, Turquoise

NIV My Journal Bible, Turquoise

by Zondervan is a beautiful new bible that is made to not only accommodate personal journaling, but it also a beautifully bound hardcover with a floral design that will appeal to girls and women of all ages .  Although the removable jacket states this bible is for girls- I feel that women of any age- from their 20s, 30s, 40s and up will find this bible is perfectly suited.  No where within the bible itself is anything specifically that limits this bible to young girls only.

There is a new trend of bible journals and bibles with journal space on the market these days. Creativity is a new way to express faith while also building one's knowledge of the word of God.  This bible can easily become a treasured keepsake, passed down generation to generation, once it is personalized.

Generous sized margins feature ample space for writing notes, or even for creating your own doodles.  There is no limitation to this bible as it allows flexibility for anything.  To get some ideas of how to decorate or personalize a journaling bible there are many videos on the internet.  This bible will appeal to a wide audience including scrap bookkers, artists, journalists  and writers.

One feature is its smaller size text and size in general. Depending on who you are, this may or may not be a positive feature.  This bible is portable and light- and easy to read while holding in one hand.  Unlike heavier, bulky bibles, this bible is easy to read sitting up in a chair, or with one hand right before bed.  With its portable size, comes a smaller font.  The text size is slightly smaller  than the standard font size of Zondervan bibles.  The font is still readable, just not as much as the standard font.  Once again this is to allow extra wide lined margins on just about each page to allow for personal journal entries and notes.   This is not a devotional or study bible.  There are no extra articles or devotions which is a good thing as nothing stands between the reader and God's word.

Now that I have this bible, the hardest thing is to figure out what to do with it since there are so many possibilities.  I can not decide if I should take notes, draw doodles, highlight passages or add stickers- or maybe all these things.  As beautiful as this bible is, I may just want to leave it as it is and not add anything. So, I'm probably going to take a few days reading this bible until I decide if or how to personalize it.  Maybe I will watch a few more videos for inspiration.   As a blogger I received a copy of this bible published by Zondervan.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

40 Days to A joyful Motherhood By Sarah Humphrey

40 Days to A joyful Motherhood: Devotions and Coloring Book to Nourish Mom By Sarah Humphrey is a brand new specialty book just for mothers.  This hybrid book is part coloring book, and part spiritual devotional.  Unlike other adult coloring books- the coloring pages of this book aren't so finely detailed with repetitious geometric designs. The art is more natural and free flowing so as to allow coloring with crayons, markers or colored markers. You do not need a pristine, expensive, sharpened set of pencils to enjoys this coloring book.  You can use blunt and broken crayons if you wish!  Some of the coloring pages are full pictures while others are graphic designs and decorations incorporating biblical verses.  There is a broad mix of coloring activities that will suit every style.  The best part of this, is that you can finish these pages in one sitting easily!

The devotions included range from one paragraph in length up to two pages.  They address daily common topics of motherhood- not necessarily deep hardships or tragedy, but the daily ongoing challenges.  I found this book perhaps more suited for new or younger moms, although older mothers will enjoy this book as well.  This book would make a great gift for yourself or any other mom that you may know.  As a blogger for Litfuse publicity I receive d a copy of this book published by Abington Press.

Please visit the publisher's page

40 Days to a Joyful Motherhood


http://www.abingdonpress.com/product/9781501834875#.WAJDa-ArLIU

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Taste and Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking by Naomi Pomerboy

Taste and Technique: Recipes to Elevate Your Home Cooking by Naomi Pomerboy is a beautiful new full color cook book. Beautiful photography of a variety of unique recipes are spread throughout this book.  This book would make a great gift for any chef.  Unique dishes include Walnut- Parsley Pistou, Potato Dumplings, Milk- Braised Pork Shoulder and Orange Palmiers.  Taste and Technique is a broad and versatile cookbook, offering traditional classics as well as eclectic and fancy upscale meals as well.  The book is categorized by the type of meat or food group.  Before the recipes are general helpful tips that are perfect for the beginning home cook as well as for the fancy Chef.   .  If you are throwing a party or hosting a special even, these recipes will be certain to impress your guests.  These fancy gourmet treats, desserts and meals are unique- and will tests the skills of any chef.  Each dish is accompanied by a full color photo, a brief background as well as a step by step guide to creating the meal. Also included are the author's notes which are additional helpful hints to guide the chef through the recipe.  Be sure to plan ahead to make sure you are stocked with the fancy, gourmet ingredients needed for these recipes before you try it out.  Once completed, posting photos of the finished product on Instagram or Facebook is certain to impress your friends and draw a lot of likes.  This is a beautifully bound cookbook that includes a wide variety of meal choices.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Potter for the purpose of writing this review. 

365 Pocket Morning Prayers: Strength and Joy to Begin Each Day by David R. Veerman

365 Pocket Morning Prayers: Strength and Joy to Begin Each Day by David R. Veerman is a pocket sized devotional book with a sturdy flexible leatherette cover - making this book easy to carry everywhere. Its versatility and portability are just as useful as the inspirational daily truths contained inside.  Filled with inspirational daily devotionals based on scripture verses, this book is certain to add spiritual truth and encouragement for each day.  This would make a great gift for yourself or a loved one who needs extra encouragement.  I especially like the fact that the cover is sturdy and flexible, which will stand up to wear and tear inside a purse, backpack or totebag.  This book turns scripture into a fashion statement as well- as it is made to be carried with you as you go about your day.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book for the purpose of writing this review.

Monday, October 10, 2016

NIV Faith and Work Bible By David H. Kim Published by Zondervan

NIV Faith and Work Bible By David H. Kim  Published by Zondervan, is the newest themed bible featuring articles and devotionals that people who are employed full time can relate to.  Full time employment outside of the home has its own unique and stressful challenges.  There are so many devotional bibles for stay at home mothers and homemakers, but this is a first- made for both men and women who have full time jobs.  The articles are broad in scope and everyone from a lawyer or accountant to a retail salesperson or fast food worker can relate to.  One poignant devotional focused on the disappointment of a college graduate who was stuck making minimum wage as a sales clerk.  This bible gives new hope and empowerment to show the reader that self worth is not linked to income or social status.  I found some of the articles to be inspiring.

The bible itself features the NIV text.  Although not advertised as a larger print. the font is larger sized and easy on the eye- much bigger than the usual "standard sized" font.  The readability of this bible is one of the best features in light of the minuscule font in many bibles.  The bible features olive green toned spot color and a few graphics that break up the long passage of text.  Overall this bible and its readable font makes it a great choice for everyday reading.  As a blogger for Booklook, I received a copy of this bible for the purpose of writing a review.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Photographs from the Edge: A Master Photographer's Insights on Capturing an Extraordinary World by Art Wolfe

Photographs from the Edge: A Master Photographer's Insights on Capturing an Extraordinary World

by Art Wolfe is an impressive showcase of photography bound into one volume.  This book chronicles the photography of Art Wolf, chronologically.  Those unfamiliar with his works will find themselves immersed into new, colorful worlds and exciting scenes ranging from wildlife, extreme landscapes to primitive cultures.   Wolf can turn any scene into art- from a dilapidated sweatshop in India, to a group of elephants and even street scenes of third world countries.  This book is full of impressive photography. Even if you are not a photographer, this book is informative as well as entertaining.  For those readers who are photographers, the helpful photography hints offered alongside each photo will help photographers fine tune their skills.  As a blogger I received a copy of this book published by Amphoto books for the purpose of writing this review.  

Saturday, October 1, 2016

The Beginner’s Bible by Zondervan

There are many bible story books that use the words, "beginner" and "bible" in their titles, - but this childrens' bible produced by Zondervan, known as the The Beginner’s Bible® is the proto-type of bibles made for children.  Having read many other bible story books, this is the first time I have read the Beginner's Bible.  This is a reprint and revised edition of the original that was first published in 1989. 

From the start I was impressed by this bible.  The bible stories contained are true to the bible- complete with bible references, but simplified for young children.  The illustrations are simple and colorful.  The faces of the illustrated characters and figures are expressive with bold, piercing, wide eyes.  The bold lines and contrasting colors will draw in children of all years.  From the first story, my toddler was engaged, and listened to the story.  Each page features a bold drawing with a few lines of text.  The format is not too overwhelming, and each story is quick to read.  

This bible is thorough and complete.  Unlike many bible story books that seem to include only a few bible stories, with 511 pages, this bible contains a thorough selection of all the most important and well known stories and selections from the bible.  This choice is a good solid bible to build a foundation for young children.  As a blogger for booklook I received a copy of this bible published by Zonderkidz for the purpose of writing this review.  

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.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast by Noah Siegel and Christian Schwarz

Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast by Noah Siegel and Christian Schwarz is a unique, comprehensive field guide, educating the reader on mushrooms.  Who knew that the mushroom represented such a varied and unique kingdom.  This book opens an entirely new, surreal yet beautiful world of fungi. This book was an unexpected treat featuring literally hundreds of full color photos of just about every mushroom known to man in the Redwood Coast of California.  Although a niche book, a hybrid of a field guide and nature documentary, this book can be enjoyed by all readers.  This thick volume gives the background information about the mushroom and its life cycle as well as details on hundreds of types of mushrooms.  Interestingly, when applicable, details about the edibility of each species is also included.  The reader is cautioned about toxic mushrooms and the look-a-likes, discouraging the novice from eating unknown mushroom varieties that could be toxic.  Overall even if you have no prior interest or knowledge of mushrooms, this book is an eyeopener to the fascinating and varied world of the mushroom.  I was impressed by the quality and coverage of this book.  It is an authoritative textbook on the subject. As a blogger I received a copy of this book by Ten Speed Press for the purpose of writing this review.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Pop Manga Coloring Book by Camilla d'Errico

Pop Manga Coloring Book by Camilla d'Errico is a beautiful new edition in the new genre of adult coloring books.  Unlike other coloring books, this features the beautiful Manga of Camillia d"Errico.   This is a beautifully detailed coloring book for made especially for teen-aged, and young adult readers who enjoy manga.  Additionally, anyone who appreciates fine modern art will enjoy this book. The beautiful scenic drawings, figures and characters and surreal scenes in of themselves are a works of art. Unlike other adult coloring books filled with impossible to color geometric patters and laborious minuscule detail, this book is actually fun to color with its beautiful and playful illustrations that are not simply overly detailed with repetitious geometric pattern with  beautiful fantasy images.

The beautiful binding features a removable jacket as well as a cover that can also be colored as well.  This makes a great gift for yourself or a friend or art  enthusiast .  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, or to fram and hang up as wall art.  The completed pages in color would make a unique personal addition to any bedroom or home decor.  I This is a coloring project that takes time, perseverance and patience. For those who persevere and complete this book- it will make a beautiful keepsake volume or even art suitable for hanging.

I could imagine many readers who appreciate art will hesitate before making the first stroke with their pencils as well.  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.   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 Guptill for the purpose of writing this review.  

Saturday, July 16, 2016

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

If You Were Me and Lived In...... Anncient China by Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova is a new addition to
Romans' picture series introducing readers to a variety of civilizations.  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 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 illustrated history book will draw in the student to the world of ancient China.  The reader will become immersed in ancient Chinese tradition and culture.  The unique second person point of view will jump out at the reader making history memorable.  Roman has captured the culture and history in painstaking detail, reflecting years of research into this time period.  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 ancient China.  We learn about the culture, the festivals and religious beliefs such as nirvana and Taoism.  We also learn about the Chinese calendar, philosophers such as Confucius.  This book is like an introductory course in China.

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. The pictures feature traditional ancient Chinese architecture, villages, richly styled clothing, brightly colored festivals including the bold, and a red festival dragon against a starry, well lit night sky.  The unexpected artistic style of this book gives the Roman historical series more of a variety. 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.

 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...... Middle Ages by Carole P. Roman

If You Were Me and Lived In...... Middle Ages by
Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Mateya Arkova is a new addition to
the newly created picture book series introducing readers to a variety of civilizations.  Although this is technically a picture book, at 97 pages in length, it goes beyond a picture book in its content and detail.  Although in picture book format, this book is more of a full sized  history book for elementary and middle school students complete with illustrations on each page.  The reader will become engrossed as he or she is drawn into this vivid account of the Middle Ages.  The unique second person point of view will jump out at the reader making history memorable.  Roman has captured the culture and history in painstaking detail, reflecting years of research into this time period.  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 Middle Ages.  We learn about doctors and clergy, slaves, peasants and serfs.  We learn about clothing and food as well as entertainment and travel. No detail is too insignificant, and Roman incorporates every aspect of Middle Ages life into this comprehensive book.

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.  Personally I prefer Paula Tabor's bold and true to life artwork featured in the book If You Were Me and Lived In.... The American West.  I feel Arkova's art would be well suited to accompany a fairy tale for young girls rather than a full length 97 page history book.  Nevertheless, some readers may prefer the soothing colors and casual style of Arkova's freestyle art.  The unexpected artistic style of this book gives the Roman historical series more of a variety.

 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...... The American West by Carole P. Roman

If You Were Me and Lived In...... The American West by
Carole P. Roman, illustrated by Paula Taylor- is a new picture book in
 Roman's  newly created picture book series featuring a variety of  historical time periods.  This picture book features the story of the American West, chronicling the lives and culture of a typical family as they journey from the East coast to the West, along the Oregon Trail.  Roman captures the emotion and the grief experienced by families as they left everything they knew in hopes of a better life. The trials and the disappointments of the typical family is captured with empathy and realism.  The unique second person point of view draws in the reader.

Bold, detailed illustrations mixed with a touch of texture and mixed media details are used to introduce the young reader to the life and times of these travelers.  Unlike the dry accounts from a traditional history textbook, the lively cartoons and fast paced narrative make the treacherous journies and culture entertaining as well as informative.   This full color book provides an in-depth glimpse into the historical details of daily life, education, their religious beliefs, as well as farm life. The solemnity of the indigenous peoples is respectfully captured by Roman as well as through Tabor's art.

 Students of all age groups will find something to love about this book. Younger children will enjoy the bold comic book cartoon characters while older students will enjoy the rich historical content and the attention to detail. Parents as well as educators will enjoy this book too.  The author incorporates many authentic historical details in creating this pictorial account,  The end of the book features mini- biographies of well known figures such as Daniel Boone, Geronimo, and Wyatt Earp.   Also included is a thorough glossary of historical terminology that is common to the time period .  This book would make a great resource for any history curriculum.  This book would be great for any elementary school or middle school library.

Personally, I'd love to see Carole P. Roman use Paula Tabor as an illustrator in more of her books in this history series.  Tabor's beautiful and articulate illustrations are a perfect accompaniment with the mixed media backgrounds.  I would like to see this artistic presentation used in the American West volume  carried over to all the books in this historic civilization series.

Other books in this series include Elizabethan England, Renaissance Italy, and Ancient Greece.