Monthly Archives: November 2014

Review of “Every Bitter Thing is Sweet”

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I am so thankful to have the incredible opportunity to review numerous books each month on a variety of subjects, and share those reviews with you. But every so often, there is a book that sticks with you. A book that touches your soul, deeply.

Every Bitter Thing is Sweet is one of those books.

In Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, blogger and mommy Sara Hagerty invites you on a journey to taste the goodness of God in all things. 

Is God good all the time? Is God good to me?

These are questions that Hagerty must ask herself as she struggles through a tumultuous marriage, infertility, and the death of a loved one. And while perhaps those struggles aren’t mirrored in your life, or my life, we can all think of times when our hearts are breaking, when we just can’t understand the pain, when we just want out.

As I journeyed with Hagerty through Every Bitter Thing is Sweet, I was reminded again and again, to move past the bitterness, because life will never go the way you think it will, and to rather embrace the joy in the now, and praise the Savior for who He is, and what He has done for me, for all of us.

Because sometimes God uses pain to open our eyes, to reveal more of Himself to us, to wipe away our false view of Him, to remind us that it is never our circumstances that shape us, but Him.

Overall, I found Every Bitter Thing is Sweet to be a powerful and touching reminder of how desperately I need to continually cry out, More of You, God! Every.Single.Day. I would highly recommend it to anyone, man or woman, teen or adult, who is struggling to understand the goodness of God, and how that relates to me. I would give Every Bitter Thing is Sweet an “A+”.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy, or reading the first chapter for free, you can find it here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .

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Kennedy, Lewis, and Women

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Today marks fifty-one years since the passing of John F. Kennedy and C.S. Lewis. Two men who impacted culture in very different ways, yet are still respected and beloved by many. So here’s to two men who changed history and literature in a way we will never forget!

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In today’s society, there is debate over topics like the role of women in society, feminism, and abuse, but I believe Ann Voskamp brought a beautiful and needed perspective to the discussion. “You don’t value a woman by telling yourself that she’s some man’s sister, or daughter, or mother. A woman doesn’t derive value from having men in her life that value and like her. A woman has value because she is made in the image and likeness of God. Period.”

And I’ll bid you all goodnight with this video of Colbie Caillat’s song, Try:

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Review of “The First Christmas”

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The First Christmas by Janice D. Green, illustrated by Violet Vandor

ISBN 978-0-9836808-2-6

The First Christmas is a retelling of the birth of Christ, specifically written with children in mind. I loved the illustrations, which were beautiful and unique, in that they appear to have been colored with crayons, something I have never seen before. I must admit, however, that I found the writing style of The First Christmas to be unusual. It seems more ideal for experienced readers, rather than the young children the illustrations would most likely captivate. Also, after reading The First Christmas, I felt it was a bit disjointed, as each portion of the story is presented in tandem with several contemplative questions.

Overall, I found The First Christmas to be a cute book for elementary school children. I would give The First Christmas a “B-“.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of The First Christmas to share with your family this holiday season, it is available from Amazon, or through the author at Honeycomb Adventures Press. For those of you who are interested in crafts, be sure to visit the author’s site, Bible Quilts. I was impressed by her beautiful quilts inspired by Scripture!

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Review of “God’s Greatest Gift”

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God’s Greatest Gift, written and illustrated by Deborah Burch

ISBN 978-0-9796477-7-2

Deborah Burch’s God’s Greatest Gift is a rhythmic story created to teach children about how much God loves them. Filled with beautiful scrapbook-style artwork, the like of which I have never seen before, God’s Greatest Gift is printed on a heavy, durable paper that parents of small children are sure to appreciate!

But while the artwork is incredible, the theology behind God’s Greatest Gift is disappointing. It is obvious that Burch, the mother of six children, has a deep love for her children, but I am afraid she allowed her love for them to cloud her theological clarity. Because while children are a wonderful gift from God, they are not His greatest gift, as the title and story suggest. According to Scripture, we know that only Christ could be considered God’s greatest gift to mankind.

Overall, I found the illustrations in God’s Greatest Gift to be beautiful and unique, however the theology was severely lacking. I would have to give God’s Greatest Gift a “C-“.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of God’s Greatest Gift, it is available through Amazon, or through the author, Deborah Burch.

Disclosure of Material: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through the BookCrash.com book review program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR Title 16, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Review of “Alby’s Amazing Book”

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When I was younger, my family spent some time staying at a cabin where we were able to see all kinds of wildlife, including raccoons on the back porch, and an albino squirrel. I have always loved watching squirrels, as they are such beautiful and funny creatures, but that albino squirrel has always stuck in my mind as one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever seen.

So when I received Alby’s Amazing Book in the mail, I was excited to read and review it, since right on the cover is an albino squirrel! And Alby’s Amazing Book didn’t disappoint.

Alby’s Amazing Book introduces children to a unique squirrel named Alby who would rather go to the library and read than playing chase, or hunting for acorns. Alby loves reading, but he has one book that is his favorite above all the other: the Bible!

Filled with adorable, decoupage-style illustrations, children are sure to find Alby’s Amazing Book captivating, and parents will appreciate that it encourages children to read the Scriptures for themselves.

Overall, Alby’s Amazing Book is a beautiful book that children and parents alike will enjoy, and I would give it a “B+”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of the book free from the publisher through Cross Focused Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .

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Review of “The Christmas Promise”

Hello, again! Two posts today, as I am trying to get caught up on reviews after being away last week for a funeral. Thanks for understanding, friends!

I have a confession– I love children’s books. And Christmas books. So when I have the opportunity to read and review books that fall into both of those categories, I am a happy girl.

A retelling of the story of the birth of Christ, Alison Mitchell’s The Christmas Promise goes beyond the feel-good Christmas story we often share with children, and brings it full circle, reminding children that Jesus was the fulfillment of God’s Promise, and that He is a Forever King.

But it is quite possibly Catalina Echeverri’s illustrations that I love the most about The Christmas Promise. Simple, yet saturated with vibrant colors, they are sure to capture children’s attention, ensuring that The Christmas Promise becomes a family favorite for years to come!

Overall, I found The Christmas Promise to be a beautiful and endearing book that children will enjoy and parents will appreciate, thanks to the high quality artwork and theology. I would recommend The Christmas Promise, and give it a “B”.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a copy of the book free from the publisher through Cross Focused Reviews. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .

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Review of “His Kids United Christmas”

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I know it is November 10, and I haven’t posted so far this month, but I hope you all enjoyed 31 Days of Randomness– I certainly did! I hope your November is going well, and I’m praying you all have a wonderful holiday season!

As you have probably noticed, I love books, and I enjoy writing about books. But today’s review actually isn’t a book, it is music!

I was very excited to have the opportunity to review an album of Christmas music created with children in mind, though I wasn’t exactly sure how I would go about reviewing it!

I am confident that every child (and adult) will find something to love about His Kids United Christmas. With a mix of traditional carols and new songs, and with various musical styles represented, ranging from pop and jazz to hip hop, His Kids United Christmas was overall quite enjoyable, even for this twenty-something.

While created with children in mind (and with children vocalists), most of the songs didn’t immediately come across as specifically for children, but more as an album ideal for families. However, there were two songs that I personally found a bit annoying, Jingle Bell Rock and Jingle Bells, though perhaps it was just personal preference. I also feel the album would have been stronger without I Hope This Gets To You (which I enjoyed), as it sounded more like a love song than a Christmas song for an album geared towards children.

Overall, I believe children will enjoy His Kids United Christmas, and would give the album a “B”. You can get a free download of Hark! The Herald Angels Sing here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a free download of the album through Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 .

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