Just In Case You Ever Wonder – Book Review

Just In Case You Ever Wonder is a children’s book written by Max Lucado, published by Thomas Nelson Publishers. I received this book to review for free from the publisher. This story is told from the parent’s perspective to the child. My children are ages five and seven and although they would listen to this story, it is definitely geared toward a younger audience, my suggestion is age five and under. The parent of this story tells his/her child how important the child is and what a joy it is to raise him/her and see the child grow.

This is a heartfelt and tender story, expressing a parent’s love well for a child, from the time they were born to years later, seeing them grow up. The illustrations are nice and the parent does mention how God also loves and wants to protect the child. I recommend this book to any parent who wants to use a book to help show their child how much they are loved. As an adoptive parent, I was a little disappointed that the story starts from birth, as the parent recalls the first night with the child; my youngest child is adopted and my first night with that child was when he was several years old, so we cannot relate to the very beginning, like this story illustrates. Otherwise, this is a warming book that will help child and parent connect in a loving way.

I review for BookSneeze®

December 15, 2011 at 10:37 pm 1 comment

Fyodor Dostoevsky – Book Review

Fyodor Dostoevsky by Peter Leithart is part of Thomas Nelson Publisher’s biography series, Christian Encounters. I received this book for free, in exchange for reviewing it. I knew that Fyodor Dostoevsky was an author of classic books, but I had never read any of his books, nor knew anything about him, or that he was a Christian. It was interesting to me to read about an author before reading any of his books. This book made it clear that he wove his life experiences into his novels.

This book is about Fyodor’s life, which mainly from with conversations with his friend, and flashbacks during these conversations. Before the first chapter begins, it states that the conversations took place when Fyodor was in his twenties. However, in some flashbacks, it was not always clear what age he was, and I would have liked to have been given that information. Some scenes were also difficult to understand.

Fyodor was a complicated person and I was surprised to learn of his multiple marriages and affairs. Even though he made poor decisions, he was always faithful to God. Having known virtually nothing about this author, I do believe I now have a small glimpse into his life. Although I do not feel like I was able to fully grasp the subject’s life, as I have been able to do to in other biographies, I know more than I did before I began this book.

This book was interesting and I was again reminded that just because someone is a Christian, doesn’t mean they will never “mess up.” I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys learning about classic authors or to anyone who has read any of Dostoevsky’s works. Learning about his life will give you a greater understanding of his books.

I review for BookSneeze®

November 18, 2011 at 10:22 am Leave a comment

Vigilante – Book Review

Robin Parrish’s latest novel is Vigilante, released this summer by Bethany House Publishers. I have read all of Robin’s books and jumped at the chance to review this book for free from Bethany House. Just like all of his other novels, this story is well written and very descriptive, and it moves along quickly.

Nolan Gray, the country’s most decorated and skilled soldier, is dead. At least that’s what all the news reports are saying. Gray, together with a small team, has faked his murder so that he can tackle his most important mission ever. (description from the back cover of the book)

This story takes place in the not too distant future, when the world is overtaken by evil, people running wild, having little value of life. Gray, the protagonist, chooses to lead a life of a better example, encouraging others “there is a better way,” by saving the innocent from the “bad guys” and generally helping people in trouble.

There was an aspect of the book that I did not like, but I cannot explain it without spoiling the plot. I do recommend this book, if you like stories filled with action. Once you pick it up, you will not want to put it down until the end. I am looking forward to reading more from author Robin Parrish.

September 6, 2011 at 6:37 pm 1 comment

Love You More by Jennifer Grant – Book Review

Love You More: The Divine Surprise of Adopting my Daughter by Jennifer Grant is Grant’s in depth story about adopting her daughter from Guatemala. I received this book from BookSneeze for free to review. I chose this book because I am also an adoptive parent, and had never read any books about someone’s adoption journey. (I had read books about adoption, with some information about personal adoption stories, but they were definitely not full of details like this book.)

This book is nicely structured, divided into three parts: Part 1: Starting the Journey, Part 2: Waiting for Mia, Part 3: Learning to Know. Jennifer’s story began before she and her husband were married, and therefore, I felt, gave a better understanding of their relationship and how events transpired into their adoption process. So often, her comments were very easy for me to relate to, such as recalling the various aspects of paperwork, wondering where our child was, and when they would finally be able to join our family.

I enjoyed Love You More and recommend it to anyone who has adopted, is interested in adopting a child, or wants to learn more about adoption in general. It is a fast read, descriptive, and written well; Grant is a journalist. Although adoption procedures vary from country to country, this story will give you a good feel about how it all works.

Jennifer Grant is a Christian and shared throughout the story how her faith helped her in various situations. She is easy to relate to and understand. I am glad I had this opportunity to read this book and share with others my thoughts on this story. I hope it helps people have a clearer understanding of adoption, and possibly nudge more to consider adopting or caring for orphans.

August 24, 2011 at 9:18 pm 1 comment

J.R.R. Tolkien by Mark Horne – Book Review

J.R.R. Tolkien, written by Mark Horne, is a new book in the Christian Encounters Series, published by Thomas Nelson. J.R.R. Tolkien is a somewhat brief biography, but packed full of plenty of information and stories about Tolkien’s life. The book starts in 1892, when Tolkien was born and progresses in chronological order, each chapter summarizing several years of his life.

J.R.R. Tolkien was descriptive and easy to read. This was my first Tolkien biography, and I learned a lot about Tolkien by reading this book. As a fan of Tolkien’s work, I enjoyed reading about his life and appreciated the sections of the book that compared parts of his fictional stories to occurrences in his life. It is obviously not a very in-depth biography, due to the length, but gives the reader a complete overview of J.R.R. Tolkien’s personality and life. I recommend this biography to any Tolkien fan who would like to learn more about his life.

I also hope to read more books in the Christian Encounters series. If they are all written similar to this book, it will be an easy way to learn more about the lives of other influential Christians.

I review for BookSneeze®

August 1, 2011 at 9:46 pm Leave a comment

Making Homemade Yogurt Easily

I have been making yogurt for several years. I started out making it in the crockpot, which usually worked, but occasionally was rather runny. Fortunately, I found a different way to make yogurt that is even easier and works more consistently. So my new way to make yogurt is based on this version from Heavenly Homemakers.

you will need:
1/2 gallon whole milk
6oz plain yogurt
sugar or other sweetener
vanilla
thermometer
3 quart size jars
coolers

Divide the plain yogurt between the 3 quart jars. add 1/8c plus half of 1/8c cup sugar (I use organic evaporated cane juice) per jar. add approximately 1/2t vanilla per jar.

Heat milk on the stove to just under 100 degrees. I whisk it to make sure it heats evenly.

Add milk to each jar, keeping it evenly divided. Using a mini whisk, mix the yogurt, milk, sugar, and vanilla well. Place lid on each jar.

Place the jars in coolers. I cannot fit all three jars into one cooler, so I place one jar in one cooler and two jars in another cooler. Fill up each cooler with very hot water, but do not cover the lid.

Leave yogurt in coolers for at least 8 hours. After 8 hours, place the jars into the fridge. More than 8 hours is okay also. I once forgot about my yogurt and left it in the coolers overnight, after it already had set for 8 hours and it was just right.

Sometimes I will not add any sugar when making the yogurt. When ready to serve, I will mix in a small amount of maple syrup or jam to sweetened it.

Chobani is my first choice of yogurt. It does not have any added hormones. I used to use Dannon yogurt, and it worked well, but read that Dannon uses genetically modified ingredients. I contacted Dannon about this and they would not answer my question in an email, but requested that I call them. I didn’t really want to deal with a phone call, just preferred a simple email answer, so I didn’t call them.

July 29, 2011 at 9:47 am 1 comment

Bzz Agent – Covergirl Natureluxe foundation

A few months ago, I signed up to try some foundation (Covergirl Natureluxe) for free through BzzAgent.com. I received foundation and lip gloss in the mail to sample.

I decided to try this product because it seemed to have more natural ingredients. Overall, I liked the foundation, but did think it was a lighter coverage than I was used to. It does smell very nice!

The lip gloss I wasn’t really impressed with. I thought lip gloss was normally glossy, but this seemed more like a combination of chapstick and lipstick. It was drier and I would not buy it.

I received some coupons with my samples, and considered buying the foundation, but it was regularly priced at $13-$15, which seemed a little on the high side.

Free samples from BzzAgent are something I want to try again in the future. I appreciate the opportunity they offer to try new products.

July 14, 2011 at 9:38 pm Leave a comment

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