Monthly Archives: December 2014

Review of “Homemade Decadence”

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It was sometime around late 2011 that I first discovered Joy Wilson, aka Joy the Baker. How I came across her incredible site, I don’t remember, but what matters is that I have never forgotten her and recipes! The very first recipe I ever tried of Joy’s was her Angel Food Cake. Once you try it, you’ll never go back to the pitiful excuse of store-bought angel food cake!

I received her first cookbook as a gift back in 2012, and have loved it, so I was excited to hear about her second cookbook, Homemade Decadence

When Homemade Decadence arrived, I simply sat and admired all the gorgeous photographs and tried to narrow down which recipes I wanted to try. Good luck with that! I want to try them all.

So far, I have made the Dirty Chai Lattes, Confetti Cookies, and Raspberry-Cream Cheese Brownies. All delicious! The only request I received was to skip the fresh raspberries on top of the brownies next time, because they were tart, but that could be since they aren’t in season…

I still have many, many recipes I want to try from Homemade Decadence, and look forward to getting in the kitchen with Joy the Baker’s cookbooks for years to come. Overall, I would give Homemade Decadence an “A+”, as it is more than a cookbook, but rather a celebration of stunning photography, humor, and all things baked.

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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Review of “Made for More”

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A few months ago, a friend shared a blog post on Facebook about Girls, Education, and the Gospel. I clicked on the link, and was introduced to the world of Hannah Anderson- pastor’s wife, mom, and blogger at Sometimes a Light.

Oh, and she is an author, too.

Her book, Made for More is broken into three parts: From Him, Through Him, and To Him, with each part working together to create a needed and beautiful view of how we are created in God’s image, and how that relates particularly to women.

A survey of theological anthropology, Made for More is refreshing, in that it isn’t all about how women are supposed to relate to men. Rather, it is about how women, and really all of us, are created to relate to God! Encouraging women to stop identifying themselves in relation to other people, jobs, or education, Made for More points women to their Savior, and to their true identity in Him.

Overall, I found Made for More to be an easy, yet excellent, read, and would highly recommend it, not only to women, but to anyone who is struggling to be comfortable in their own skin, or with the question Who am I? 

I would give Made for More an “A”.

If you would like to read Wendy Alsup’s review, you can find it here. If you would like to get your own copy, it is available here.

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Review of “Why Dogs Are…”

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Why Dogs Are written by Tana Thompson, illustrated by Marita Gentry

ISBN 978-0-9891624-0-1

Why Dogs Are is the story of how a dog teaches lessons to a child. It discusses the concept of God’s love and how someone without the ability to see or hear can comprehend it. A finalist in the non-profit Indie Book Awards, all of the profits from book sales go to charities that train and support therapy dogs. The book is first in a series called “Love Unleashed.”

When I first received Why Dogs Are, I was excited. Why Dogs Are is a high-quality, beautiful, hardcover children’s book, filled with absolutely incredible illustrations that any child will love. (In fact, there are a couple of books also illustrated by Marita Gentry that I would love to get my hands on! Particularly The Gigantic Sweet Potato, The Cajun Cornbread Boyand New Orleans Mother GooseCan you tell I’m from the South?)

However, it didn’t take long for my excitement to be replaced with disillusion. Fraught with bad theology (God doesn’t know how to show his love to the deaf and blind? God needs help from rainbows and dogs?) and inconsistencies, Why Dogs Are left a lot to be desired.

We know from Scripture that Christ, through His atonement on the cross, was the greatest gift, greatest expression of love, God has given to us (John 3:16, Romans 5:12-15, Galatians 3:28). The beauty of his gift is that it is for all people, regardless of whether they can see or hear, where they live, their gender, or the color of their skin! And while we know that every gift, including dogs, are from God (James 1:17), it would be wrong to ever think that God was helpless, or that His power was somehow tied to an animal that He created (Genesis 1:1-31). Also, Why Dogs Are attempts to explain the origins of dogs with an utterly false story,a story that blatantly contradicts Scripture (Genesis 2:19-20). It is for these reasons that I would strongly caution parents against giving Why Dogs Are to their children.

Overall, I found Why Dogs Are to be a disappointment, and would sadly have to give it a “D”.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Why Dogs Are, it is available from the publisher and Amazon. You can find out more about the charities supported by the sales of Why Dogs Are here.

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 “Under Magnolia”

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While I had heard of Frances Mayes, particularly in connection with her book, Under the Tuscan Sun, I had never read any of her work before.

This year has been the year that I fell in love with memoirs, and we all know how much I love To Kill A Mockingbird (I am the girl with cats named Atticus and Scout, after all), so when I had the opportunity to read Under Magnolia: A Southern Memoir, I was extremely excited.

However, don’t let the beautiful cover of Under Magnolia fool you. It is not a breezy remembrance of a gardenia-scented childhood spent in the deep south.

Rather, it is a painful story, that while filled with both love of books and hope, is fraught with abuse, turmoil, and tragedy.

Tracing her stolen childhood through her turbulent coming of age, Under Magnolia is an account of Frances Mayes’ first twenty-two years.

Documenting her parents’ violent marriage, her questioning and ultimate loss of faith, and romantic flings that cost her friendships, Under Magnolia is a solemn view of coming of age in the deep south during the sexual revolution and civil rights movement.

Overall, while Under Magnolia was intriguing, and I could, in ways, relate to Mayes’ love of books, travel, and culture, it was a dark and pensive look at life in a small Southern town. Also, readers should be aware that Under Magnolia did have a scattering of foul language, including multiple uses of the “f-bomb”.  I would give Under Magnolia a “C+”.

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

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Purity, the Gospel, and Fifty Shades of Grey

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Most of you are probably familiar with Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, at least to some extent. For those of you who aren’t, Fifty Shades of Grey is an erotic romance novel that features explicit descriptions of bondage, dominance, sadism, and masochism (BDSM).

The Fifty Shades series has had incredible international success, topping the bestseller charts in both the States and UK, becoming one of the fastest selling book series of all time.

I have had several people encourage me to read the Fifty Shades books, I’ve even been asked if I have plans to go see the upcoming movie when it comes out. And my answer has been no.

Why? Because it breaks my heart to see our culture embrace and celebrate the abuse of women. Whether you consider yourself a feminist or not, it is time for us to stand up for the inherent dignity of women, and bring rape culture to an end.

And that is why Helen Thorne’s Purity is Possible is so important. Like it or not, we live in a culture where “mommy porn” is acceptable, where sexting is common among youth, where at least one in five Christian women regularly view pornography.

Purity is Possible is a reminder of how important it is that we guard our hearts (Proverbs 4:23) and thoughts (Philippians 4:8). Because not only does pornography and other erotic materials hurt us, it damages how we view those around us, causing us to view others as objects, rather than human beings created in the image of God.

If you are caught in the trap of pornography or sexual fantasy, there is hope! Not only did David sin by committing adultery with Bathsheba, he also had her husband, Uriah, murdered (2 Samuel 11). Yet because David recognized that his sin was not just against Bathsheba and Uriah, but also against the Lord, and repented, he was forgiven (Psalm 51).

God has called us to a life of holiness (1 Peter 1:15) and freedom (2 Corinthians 3:17). But the Good News is that we are all broken, that is why Christ came (Psalm 147:3, Luke 4:18). Our past does not define us, but rather who we are in Christ, and the work that He is doing in us.

In Matthew 1, we see a short string of women in the genealogy of Christ, each with a past, each in need of a Savior. Tamar, the woman who played a prostitute and became pregnant with her father-in-law (Genesis 38). Rahab, a prostitute from Jericho (Joshua 2). Ruth, a Moabite (Ruth 1-4). Bathsheba, a woman who committed adultery (2 Samuel 11). Mary, a young woman who conceived while a virgin (Matthew 1:18-20).

I believe Purity is Possible is a wonderful resource, both for those who are struggling with pornography or sexual fantasies, and those who simply want to understand better how to come alongside their friends and family who are struggling with these issues, and address them biblically. Filled with Scripture, humility, and kindness, Purity is Possible offers hope and healing, and I would give it an “A”.

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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