Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Book Review: Retro Baby

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This simply means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I also received a copy of the book to facilitate my review.

About Retro Baby (from Press Release)

While bouncers, walkers, carriers, electronic toys, and “educational” videos are intended to make parents’ lives easier and children smarter, according to a new book published by the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), parents should consider reducing their baby’s time spent with gadgets and bond the old fashioned way by going back to basics.

Leading pediatric occupational therapist and child development specialist Anne Zachry, PhD, OTR/L is the author of Retro Baby: Cut Back on All the Gear and Boost Your Baby’s Development With More Than 100 Time-Tested Activities (American Academy of Pediatrics, October 2013), a new book intended to help parents and caregivers understand the importance of one-on-one play with children during the early stages of life. With over 20 years experience, Zachry understands that each family and baby have different needs and in her book, she offers many flexible strategies and suggestions for playtime that provide lots of opportunities to spend valuable time with baby, creating that special bond that will last a lifetime. 

Incorporating the latest recommendations from the AAP with extensive research by Zachry and other experts in her field, Retro Baby covers how an infant’s brain, body, motor and sensory skills develop, explain the negative impacts of overusing certain baby gear, and provide specific instructions for play positions and activities that are appropriate for each developmental stage, giving parents both a starting point and guidelines to help them properly invest in their child’s development and future.

 Packed with more than 100 wonderful activities based on modern day research, Retro Baby is a comprehensive guide that will help parents and caregivers:
·      Learn how crucial connections are formed between a child’s brain and muscles during the first year of life.
·      Discover how the over use of some products can hinder infant exploration.
·      Observe how good old-fashioned play affects your baby’s development in a positive way.
·      Try a variety of ideas that enhance baby’s ability to learn.
·      See how to make traditional, handmade toys using common household items.

Retro Baby also includes chapters on keeping your sleeping baby safe, practicing tummy time and preventing positional skull deformities.

“I’ve discovered that many parents do not understand of the dangers of extended equipment use and overexposure to technology,” said Zachry.
She adds,  “All of the information in ‘Retro Baby’ will help parents play a role in building a solid foundation for their child’s future skills in school and in life. When you use this authoritative up-to-date source, you’ll be faithfully supporting- but not rushing- your baby’s mastery of developmental milestones.”

About the author, Anne H. Zachary

Anne H. Zachry, PhD, OTR/L is a pediatric occupational therapist and child development specialist with more than 20 years experience. Her research on this subject has been published in national peer-reviewed journals and her profession’s trade magazines as well as a number of parenting magazines. She cites and extensively supports AAP policy and is a member of the American Occupational Therapy Association and has lectured at the University of Memphis and is a Professor of Occupational Therapy at the University of Tennessee Health and Science Center. Her blog, “Pediatric Occupational Therapy Tips: ( averages 30,000 hits monthly.

My thoughts on Retro Baby  

For a long time, I have felt as though all of our lives are being overrun with technology.  I miss the simplicity of the days gone by, and I am only talking about the days when *I* was younger.  As a wife and mom, I strive to bring back as much simplicity as possible, but also embrace the virtues of technology, at least for myself and my "older" kids.  Like Retro Baby, I do not see much value in electronic gadgets for babies.  As a mother of a 16 month old, I was thrilled to find that this book has information and ideas for babies up to two years of age. The ideas are great, and easy to make and/or do with a baby.  Many of the activities can be done anywhere, some require you to have materials and/or to make something, but the materials are often commonly found, some are even things you might otherwise dispose of, so they are inexpensive, making the activities appropriate for parents of all income levels.  My son loves playing with his homemade Choo Choo Train and enjoyed the activities that we have done together.  In addition to the educational chapters, which also have activity and homemade toy ideas, there are chapters that are specific for the different age groups, based on developmental growth.  

I highly recommend this to any parent who is looking to unplug, at least a little bit, and to connect with their baby on a more personal level.  You could replace several gadgets on a baby registry with this book and the baby would never know what he "missed out" on.  In fact, this may just become my new go-to baby shower gift.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Book Review: Not Guilty

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This simply means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I also received a copy of the book to facilitate my review.

About Not Guilty

It's 1974 and Carrie Shepherd, daughter of the minister at Windspree Community Church, is a college senior with plans to be a missionary in Africa. Raped by a masked assailant, Carrie is so traumatized she tells no one until she realizes she's pregnant. Refusing to have an abortion, she must find the courage to face her family, her fiance, her friends and a gossiping, angry congregation which may include her attacker.

My thoughts on Not Guilty

I really liked the characters in the book and found parts of it to be very believable, but some parts, particularly towards the end, of it were rather unbelievable.  However, the topics covered, particularly race and the way some Christians judge others, are timeless and you would not have known the story took place in 1974, if you had not been told.  I do like books that include discussion questions and I found the questions in Not Guilty to be thorough and thought provoking.  I also enjoyed the epilogue at the end of the book which gave a sentence or two about what happened in each character's life after the book ended.  One thing I will warn about is that this is a piece of "preachy" Christian literature.  Those of you who have read my reviews know that I enjoy Christian literature and do not mind a bit of preachiness, but this one is heavy with it.  The characters work at converting just about everyone they meet in every interaction.  I am of the belief that it is great to share your beliefs, when it is appropriate, and it is better to live by example.  I just found the way the characters did it to be too much.  In real life, they are the people I would have avoided, especially before I truly began to know Christ.  If people avoid you, your example is lost to them.  As for a recommendation, overall, the book was ok, but not one I would recommend running out and buying it.  If you have the chance to borrow it, it is a decent read though.

Book Review: God Gave Us So Much

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This simply means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I also received a copy of the book to facilitate my review.


About God Gave Us So Much

Three Adorable Tales for Children of All Ages!

Through the eyes of a curious little polar bear, young readers are invited into engaging journeys through the Arctic North Pole to explore some of their most tender-hearted and important questions.

Mama, Papa, and Grampa Bear, the ever-loving and wise guides for Little Cub’s adventures, share with her the incredible miracles of God’s creation and the depths of His love for her. 

This limited edition treasury of the best-selling God Gave Us series includes three complete charming tales. With heart and humor, the stories reveal the beauty of diversity throughout the world, the incredible gift of love, and the wonderment of our Heavenly home to come.

All three books are available in this exclusive treasury for the price of two!

God Gave Us the World
God Gave Us Love
God Gave Us Heaven

My thoughts on God Gave Us So Much

We were given the book, God Gave Us You, when one of our daughter's was born.  We really enjoy that book, so I was excited to receive this 3-book collection.  In God Gave Us the World, the child is taught about all the wonderful things God has given us in this world, such as the animals and the seasons.  In God Gave Us Love, we learn about the different types of love and how when we show love, even to those who we may not like, we are sharing His love.  In God Gave Us Heaven, the child learns about how Heaven is different from Earth.  The book also gently deals with the topic of death.  This was particularly helpful for us, when my then 4 year old was dealing with the death of her best friend.  The book is beautifully illustrated.  Theologically speaking, there are some differences in what I believe, but overall, the book does a great job of answering questions children may have.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Book Review: My Very First Noah's Ark Playtime: Activity Book With Stickers

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This simply means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I also received a copy of the book from Kregel Publications to facilitate my review.

About My Very First Noah's Ark Playtime 

This fun activity book includes on-the-page puzzles, games, and stories—all based around the story of Noah. There is also a page of stickers for completing the activities. The cute and colorful illustrations jump off the page and keep children engaged with the activities. There's plenty for children to do, on their own or with an adult, and this handy book can be used during the holidays, on journeys, or just to fill the time on a rainy day.

My thoughts on My Very First Noah's Ark Playtime

This is a great book for introducing young children to the Biblical story of Noah's Ark.  The pictures are simple and bright, drawing the child's attention easily and what child does not love stickers?  My kids enjoyed the activities as well, and did not need too much help with them.  We not only used the book at home as part of our homeschool curriculum, but we also bring it to church with us to keep the younger ones quietly engaged while we try to listen.  My 6 year old particularly likes to look at the pictures and then draw them freehand.

I recommend My Very First Noah's Ark Playtime: Activity Book With Stickers to anyone with young (2-6 years old) children who are interested, or whose parents are interested, in Biblical stories.  It is great to toss in a bag to bring along to church as well as for home use.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Book review: 250 Great Movies for Latter-Day Families

Disclaimer: Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. This simply means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I also received a PDF file of the book to facilitate my review.

About 250 Great Movies for Latter-Day Families

Finding wholesome, uplifting movies can be a daunting task---especially when Hollywood s values are so far from the Church's. 250 Great Movies for Latter-day Families offers a broad selection of edifying options for your family's next movie night. With content reviews, gospel discussion guides, and indexes by genre and gospel topics, this guide is sure to have something for everyone.

My thoughts on 250 Great Movies for Latter-Day Families

Jonathan Decker does a great job giving the reader the synopsis for each movie, without giving away the storyline.  He then lists any areas of concern that the movie may contain, such as foul language, sexuality, etc.  My favorite part is the messages to discuss sections, which include scriptures and quotes from General Authorities of The Church of Jesus Christ of latter-day Saints.  Having said that, I highly recommend this book to all families, of any religious persuasion (or none at all), that are looking for wholesome entertainment the whole family can enjoy.  With 250 movies, that is almost 5 years worth of weekly movie nights!  If you are not LDS (latter-day saint), you can still discuss the messages that are suggested, you just may want to look up related scriptures and quotes that are more closely tied to your own beliefs.  Of course, you can also use the LDS scriptures and quotes as well.  Feel free to let me know if you are interested in a free copy of The Book of Mormon ;)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Book Review: It Happened At The Fair

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of the links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission from that website, at no additional cost to you. Also, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

It Happened at The Fair

About It Happened at the Fair

A transporting historical novel about a promising young inventor, his struggle with loss, and the attractive teacher who changes his life, all set against the razzle-dazzle of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair.
Gambling everything, including the family farm, Cullen McNamara travels to the 1893 Chicago World's Fair with his most recent invention. But the noise in the Fair's Machinery Palace makes it impossible to communicate with potential buyers. In an act of desperation, he hires Della Wentworth, a teacher of the deaf, to tutor him in the art of lip-reading.
The young teacher is reluctant to participate, and Cullen has trouble keeping his mind on his lessons while intently watching her lips. Like the newly invented Ferris Wheel, he is caught in a whirl between his girl back home, his dreams as an inventor, and his unexpected attraction to his new tutor. Can he keep his feet on the ground, or will he be carried away?

My thoughts about It Happened at the Fair

My father was born deaf, but the level of his hearing loss has increased as time has gone on.  As a result, I did not need to use sign language with him as I was growing up and we have always been able to communicate with him reading my lips.  However, I have noticed that when he meets new people, he has trouble with lip reading and really needs them to sign, or have someone translate.  I do know how to sign, but it has always been easier for he and I to communicate with lip reading.  Anyway, those experiences and just growing up with a deaf father in general, made me very interested in reading this book.  I found it incredibly interesting to see how the deaf were treated in that age. 

I also have always been fascinated with the World Fairs, so that was the second thing that drew me to this story.  The author did a fabulous job of describing the Fair, that I felt as though I was actually there.  The amount of research she did was evident in her descriptions of the exhibits and architecture.  Having said that, I do feel there was a bit too much invested in the description and not enough on the storyline of the book.  Then, all of a sudden, at the end of the book, the relationship between Della and Cullen explodes and moves rather quickly.  It is important to note that some of the descriptions of the physical relationship go a little far, not too far, but a little farther than some may be comfortable with.

I recommend this book to those who have a deep interest in the World Fairs, particularly in Chicago, and those who enjoy deaf history.  Those who enjoy romance novels will still enjoy this book, but may be disappointed in the more descriptive parts of the book.

About Deeanne Gist

Deeanne Gist---known to her family, friends, and fans as Dee---has rocketed up bestseller lists and captured readers everywhere with her very fun, very original historicals. She has received numerous RITA nominations, two consecutive Christy Awards, and rave reviews. Deeanne has a background in education and journalism and a degree from Texas A&M. She has written for People, Parents, and Parenting. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband and has four grown children. She has a very active online community on her website at and at 

Monday, July 15, 2013

Book Review: An Unholy Communion

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of the links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission from that website, at no additional cost to you. Also, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
An Unholy Communion

About An Unholy Communion

The newest offering in The Monastery Murders series, An Unholy Communion  (Lion Fiction).

Following the ancient tradition, ordinands from the College of the Transfiguration gather at first light on Ascension morning to sing their praises from the top of the college's tallest tower. Not one to miss any liturgy, Felicity finds herself swept up in worship as she listens to the timeless words. But her delight quickly turns to horror when a black-robed body hurtles over the precipice and lands at her feet. Her investigative instincts immediately kick in when she sees a double-headed snake emblem clutched in the lifeless hand. Was this suicide? Or murder?

My thoughts on An Unholy Communion

The author has a great way of making the reader feel as though they are in the book.  The descriptive scenery, really let the reader see where they were.  I also enjoyed the rich history that the author included in the book.  It was well researched and informative.  The mystery in the book was also intriguing and I kept reading to find out what happened, but the book moves really slooooooooow.  This is definitely not a fast read, but would be good for when you have just a few minutes to read.  You can read and absorb just small pieces at a time and not have that high level of adrenalin you get with some mystery books.

I recommend this to those who enjoy mystery books, but may not have the time to read one in one sitting.  

About Donna Fletcher Crow

Donna Fletcher Crow is author of more than thirty-five novels. She has twice won first place in the Historical Fiction category from the National Association of Press Women, and has also been a finalist for "Best Inspirational Novel" from the Romance Writers of America. She is a member of The Arts Centre Group, and Sisters in Crime.

Find out more about Donna Fletcher at

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Book Review: The X

Disclaimer- This post may contain affiliate links.  This simply means that if you click on the link and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you.

About The X

Clarissa Hadonfield had it all. She lived in a lovely home surrounded by affluent intellectuals, had a successful husband, and two phenomenal teenage boys. With the ring of a doorbell she finds her life substituted by one where she has to fight for her children against an evil she never knew existed and had been sleeping next to for the last twenty years. When Clarissa's X shows his true colors, she finds she must become a strong woman who cannot only grow prize-winning flowers but can place a devastating roundhouse kick. Teaming up with Bryce Brightman, an ex-FBI agent, she uncovers a woman whose only goal is to save her children. This story is about what a woman can do when she put her brains, her brawn, and her boots into changing the course of her life and protecting the ones she loves.

My thoughts about The X

Although I love to read, as a busy mother of 5, I sometimes only get 1 or 2 nights a week when I can sit down and really get into a book.  Those are the nights that I really appreciate a fast, easy read and The X did not disappoint.  Although my marriage survived, and what we went through was no where near as bad as what Clarissa experienced, I know all too well that feeling when you entire world comes crashing down unexpectedly.  I loved the strength that Clarissa finds, both physically and emotionally, to save her children.  I found it easy to identify with her and to like her.

I recommend The X to anyone who enjoys mystery and action books.  If you are one who can only read a few pages at a time (that is me most days) I recommend saving this one until you have a longer period of time to sit and read.  It is so hard to put down, that I can not be held responsible if you forget to make dinner, go to work, pick up the kids, do the housework, or whatever other things you may need to be doing.

About Lorena Bathey

You can learn more about the author at her website Lorena B Books.

Another Disclaimer:
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.   

Saturday, June 29, 2013

Book Review: The Heiress of Winterwood

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you click on one of the links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission from that website, at no additional cost to you. Also, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
Heiress of Winterwood

About The Heiress of Winterwood

Pride goes before the fall . . . but what comes after?
Darbury, England, 1814
Amelia Barrett gave her word. Keeping it could cost her everything. An heiress to an estate nestled in the English moors, defies family expectations and promises to raise her dying friend’s baby. She’ll risk everything to keep her word—even to the point of proposing to the child’s father—a sea captain she’s never met.
When the child vanishes with little more than an ominous ransom note hinting at her whereabouts, Amelia and Graham are driven to test the boundaries of their love for this little one.
Amelia’s detailed plans would normally see her through any trial, but now, desperate and shaken, she’s forced to examine her soul and face her one weakness: pride.
Graham’s strength and self-control have served him well and earned him much respect, but chasing perfection has kept him a prisoner of his own discipline. And away from the family he has sworn to love and protect.
Both must learn to have faith and relinquish control so they can embrace the future ahead of them.

My thoughts on The Heiress of Winterwood

One of my favorite book genres is historical fiction.  I also enjoy mysteries and romance novels, too.  The Heiress of Winterwood combines all 3 into an exciting fast paced book, filled with mystery and a growing romance.  It is not often that I am unable to put a book down, but this is one of those books and I finished it in one sitting.  I especially loved Amelia's love and dedication to her beloved friend and to Lucy, her friend's daughter.  I also enjoyed watching as Graham moved through his grief and grew along the way. 

I recommend The Heiress of Winterwood to anyone who enjoys a quick, and exciting book, particularly one that is historical in nature and contains lots of mystery and a touch of romance.

About Sarah Ladd

Sarah E. Ladd has more than ten years of marketing experience. She is a graduate of Ball State University and holds degrees in public relations and marketing. "The Heiress of Winterwood" was the recipient of the 2011 Genesis Award for historical romance. Sarah lives in Indiana with her amazing husband, sweet daughter, and spunky Golden Retriever.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Book Review: When Jesus Wept

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links.  This means that if you click on one of the links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission from that website, at no additional cost to you.  Also, I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
When Jesus Wept

About When Jesus Wept

Book 1 in the Thoene’s new  Jerusalem Chronicles.
Brock and Bodie Thoene’s most powerful and climactic writing project to date, When Jesus Wept, captures the power and the passion of the men and women who lived through the most important days in the history of the world.
Lazarus occupies a surprising position in the Gospel accounts. Widely known as the man Jesus raised from the dead, his story is actually much broader and richer than that. Living as he did at Bethany, near Jerusalem, Lazarus was uniquely placed to witness the swirl of events around Jesus. When Jesus Wept, the first novel in The Jerusalem Chronicles series by bestselling authors Bodie and Brock Thoene, unfolds the turbulent times in Judea during Jesus’ ministry, centering on the friendship between Jesus and Lazarus. With rich insights from vineyard owners and vine dressers, the Thoenes explore the metaphor of Jesus as the True Vine, harvesting the ancient secrets found in the Old Testament.
Weaving the life of Lazarus, who owned a vineyard, into the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ will help you understand it is the hand of Love Divine that holds the knife, that cuts and breaks with such tender and loving touch, and that we who have born some fruit, after the pruning, can bear much more.

My thoughts on When Jesus Wept

I have found that I really enjoy Biblical fiction and When Jesus Wept, was no exception.  The story stays true to the scriptural accounts, but the authors take poetic license to add to the stories we all know and love.  This allows the reader to get an insight to what the people may have been feeling during that time and this allows the reader to feel more of a personal connection.  I enjoy being able to develop that connection as I find that when I go back and re-read the scriptural accounts, I have a more intimate connection with the stories and the people in them.

I recommend this to any one who enjoys Biblical fiction.

About Bodie and Brock Thoene

Bodie and Brock Thoene (pronounced Tay-nee) are bestselling authors of over sixty-five works of historical fiction. Their timeless classics have sold more than thirty-five million copies and won eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards. The Thoenes have four grown children and eight grandchildren. They divide their time between Hawaii, London, and Nevada.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Book Review: Unrivaled

Disclaimer- This post contains affiliate links. That simply means that if you click on them, and end up making a purchase, I will receive a small commission, at no additional cost to you. I also received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

About Unrivaled

Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration. After tasting Europe's best confections, she's sure she'll come up with a recipe that will save her father's struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes. But she soon discovers that their biggest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his prize recipe, has now hired a promotions manager-a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy's skin.
Charlie Clarke's new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime. He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he's never known. The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall. She's making his work life miserable...and making herself impossible for him to forget.

My thoughts about Unrivaled

I enjoy candy making, but had never thought much about it on a manufacturing level.  I found the setting of the book, about rival candy makers, to be fresh and fun.  Lucy finds herself in a tough predicament as a female trying to run a business during a time that women just did not do that.  She decides that she must be ruthless in her attempts to outdo her competition, as Charlie's father was trying to undo Lucy's business.  Meanwhile Charlie is simply trying to help his stubborn father while he rebuilds his life.  It is a story about faith, forgiveness, and second chances, with a star-crossed romance thrown in.  I did find the storyline a bit predictable, but it was still a well written book.  

I recommend Unrivaled to anyone who enjoys romance stories, stories about second chances, or about the candy business.

About Siri Mitchell

Siri Mitchell is the author of nearly a dozen novels, among them the critically acclaimed Christy Award finalists "Chateau of Echoes" and "The Cubicle Next Door". A graduate of the University of Washington with a degree in business, she has worked in many different levels of government. As military spouse, she has lived in places as varied as Tokyo and Paris. Siri currently lives in the DC-metro area. 

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Book Review: Relative Evil by Milena Armstrong

Disclaimer- I did receive a gift in exchange for this review, but as always, my thoughts are my own. Also, there are affiliate links within this post. I receive a small amount of any purchases you might make, at no additional cost to you.

About Relative Evil

(Taken from back cover of book)
“Piercing black eyes surrounded by a pool of pink, meandering strands of crimson glaring at me with so much hate.  I didn’t understand how anyone could feel that way for another person.”

Relative Evil is based on the true events that occurred in the life of the author.  A na├»ve young girl raised to believe family could never really hurt one another, but to then be tragically brought to the realization that evil exists and will stop at nothing to destroy those in his way to get what he’s after. Her trust in a strong family bond and the goodness of people is shattered.  Forced to grow up quickly and take matters into her own hands in order to break the spell her parents were under and keep her family safe.

My thoughts on Relative Evil

This is a rather quick, fast-paced read and, aside from a few editorial mistakes, it is well written.  The author does a great job of drawing the reader in and developing the scenes to make you feel as though you are right there.  For those of you who follow my book reviews, this book is much darker than the books I typically review, but I would still recommend it to any adult who enjoys biographical stories, stories of good overcoming evil or stories with severely dysfunctional family members. 

About Milena Armstrong

Milena was born in Rochester, New York, and still resides there with her husband and children.

I do have to share that I used to live down the street from Milena and I attended the same high school as she and her husband did.  It is neat to personally know a published author