Friday, September 26, 2014

Trick-or-Treat Safety

Trick-or-Treat Safety
Megan Cooley Peterson
 Halloween can be filled with fun and candy. But it also brings some safety concerns that children need to be made aware of. Each page has a bright and colorful photograph of children dressed in Halloween costumes. The black lettering with an orange background really sets the mood. Each page talks about safety concerns and how to get the most out of the trick-or-treating experience. The author has presented the facts in a fun and non-scary manner. The book also includes instructions on how to make your own candy bucket. The list of needed items is simple and if not already on hand, should be inexpensive. The instructions are clear and easy for a child to make with minimal help. The end of the book has a glossary for those hard to understand words, a section with books for additional reading, and some interesting internet sites to visit that relate to Halloween.

I received this book free of charge from Children's Lit in exchange for my honest review.

Fisher of Men

Fisher of Men
The Dunbridge Chronicles
Pam Rhodes
Neil felt God calling him to be a priest, to minister to a body of believers. So he arrives in Dunbridge with hope and trepidation. What he finds is a family. He might not be quite the priest that he'd like to be. But his church family will love him through it. Some a bit more than others.

This book is like reading from a pastor's diary. There are a ton of details to give the visual for the story. But I had a hard time picturing the setting. There are quite a few characters. The author has done a great job with the character development, but there were so many that I still felt lost. Because this was more of a slow moving narrative of the curate's life, the sub plots are numerous and varied. The main protagonist doesn't really have a plot, except for the mild romance that is thrown in. The story doesn't really end as much as it just stops. The curate is left with a major decision to make and the reader must read the next book before finding out what happens.

I received this book free of charge from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door

Conrad and the Cowgirl Next Door
Denette Fretz
Conrad is going to stay on his uncle's ranch. He doesn't know anything about being a cowboy, but he does have a large first aid kit just in case. But Imogene the next door neighbor girl is filled with advice. Conrad learns all about being a cowboy, but sometimes it's the painful route. The illustrations are bright and cartoonish.

My kids didn't really seem to get into this book. The pictures tell at least half, if not more, of the story. I'm not sure if this played a part or not. The main message of the story was to love your neighbor. But the presentation left my kids remembering how mean the little girl was and totally missing the message. If I had to rate the story I would give it 3-4 stars. It had humorous parts, colorful illustrations, and a nice conclusion. My kids, when asked, said they would give it 2-3 stars. "It wasn't really that interesting and the girl was super mean."

I received this book free of charge from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for my honest review.

Why Dogs Are. . .

Why Dogs Are. . .
Tana Thompson
 Brian can't hear and he can't see. His family tells him they love him by touching him. But how can God tell Brian that He loves him very much? He sends a dog. Dog didn't have a name so God named him Dog, because dog is God spelled backwards. Dog can show Brian how much God loves him by keeping him safe, letting Brian hug him, and helping him walk. And if dog does a good job, God will send other dogs to earth. Dog does such a great job that God sends lots of other dogs to tell more people about him.

My children enjoyed this book about Dog. The vocabulary fit well with the intended age group. Because of the large print, older children will be able to read the story for themselves. The illustrations are fun and bright. The story is whimsical and heartwarming. It draws the reader in and evokes feelings of compassion and love. The story mentions love, forgiveness, and trust. Children will be able to relate and it will open up discussions about God's love and how we can show this to people around us.
I will say a word of caution. This is a work of fiction. It doesn't follow the Bible at all. Most of what this book says is not scriptural. So if your child is old enough to grasp this, go for it. It's a cute book. But if you think your child would take this for gospel, hold off for a while. My children are 5 and 8 yrs old and they recognized right away that something was off. They asked me if it was fiction, because they know that God made dogs at creation, Adam named the animals, and God isn't limited in His ability to touch our hearts.

I received this book free of charge from BookCrash in exchange for my honest review.

Purchase here.

Lady Emma

Lady Emma In Her Land of Wonder
Martha M. Harrison
Lady Emma learns at a very early age to pick herself up and continue on. But whenever she needs help her father is always there to help her out of her scrapes and messes. One day she meets a wonderful prince who is more than willing to help her too. But as she grows up she realizes that she can help herself and be independent. They are there to encourage her, but she can accomplish great things herself.

I absolutely loved this book. The imagery with both the words and illustrations is beautiful. The author wove a message of self-reliance into a fairy tale type story. The illustrations help tell the story without overpowering it. I really appreciated the message of independence that my daughter will be able to take away from the story. It shows compassion, love, and determination to succeed as well. This is the author's first children's book and I can't wait to read her next one.

I received this book free of charge from Bostick Communications in exchange for my honest review.

The Savvy Mom's Guide to Sons

The Savvy Mom's Guide to Sons
101 Real-World Tips to Improve Your Relationship-And Save Your Sanity
Tina Krause 
If you've just found you are having a baby boy or you've been the mother to one for several years, this book is for you. The book begins with advice for the newborn and is filled with practical and sometimes humorous advice for mothers of boys. The tips progress in age with the book ending with teenager tips. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is filled with scripture and advice from the Bible.

I have an 8 yr old boy, so I was already past some of the first few tips. But they certainly would have been helpful a few years ago. The rest of the book was definitely something I needed. The author is able to inject stories and humor so the tips aren't just dry facts. Each section has a Bible verse, practical advice, tips for implementing that advice, and final thoughts. I would definitely recommend this book for any new mothers of boys. It definitely helps understand where boys are coming from.

 I received this book free of charge from Barbour Publishing in exchange for my honest review.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Making Marion

Making Marion
Beth Moran
Marion has come from a horrific childhood and is now on a quest to find answers about her father. She stumbles into a campground and meets Scarlett. Scarlett seems to take in lost and hurting souls. Marion soon finds herself working for Scarlett, living in an rv, and searching the small town for someone who might know her father.

This book is written by a British author. So the humor, language, and presentation of religion are not what the typical American Christian fiction reader will expect. There is some language, bedroom scenes, and references to nudity.  The references to God are subtle and almost appear to be an after thought. But there is humor, and a strong message of forgiveness.

The author has provided interesting and deep characters. The visual imagery is great. The story flowed slowly, but didn't lose my attention. Where there were some pretty serious subjects, the story didn't feel dark and depressive. It reminded me in some ways of the Mitford series with its multiple characters and feeling of family. 

I received this book free of charge from Book Club Network in exchange for my honest review.