Saturday, September 26, 2015

#REVIEW: A+ Attitude by Stephanie Perry Moore

Title: A+ Attitude
Series: Morgan Love #1
Author: Stephanie Perry Moore
Published Date: April 1, 2011
Publisher: Moody Publishers
ISBN: 9780802422637
Format: Paperback
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Buy it now: Amazon

Rating: 4 Stars

SynopsisThe Morgan Love Series is a chapter book series written for girls, 7 – 9 years old.  The series provides moral lessons that will aid in character development.  It will also help young girls develop their vocabulary, english and math skills as they read through the stories and complete the entertaining and educational exercises provided at the end of each chapter and in the back of the book.

Morgan is sad and mad at the world because things are not going the way she wants them to go.  Why does my daddy have to leave again to save the country?  Why do I have to go live with mommy and her new husband? Why does my mommy have to have a new baby? Why do I have to go to a new school?  Why do I have to make new friends?   Why? Why? Why? 
If Morgan got a grade for her attitude and her actions it would be an F. But after her mommy gets really sick and Morgan thinks her mommy is going to die she starts to feel bad about her attitude and realizes how mean she’s been to almost everybody. Though she is having a hard time adjusting to all the new things in her life, especially her new baby brother and stepdad, Derek, Morgan makes up her mind that no matter what is going on, she is going to have an A+ attitude. 

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
I enjoyed reading this book, but I think the language may be a little too hard for 7 year olds, which is the bottom of the suggested age range. My youngest is about to hit 7 and I really can't see her reading this book. I can however see my 9 (almost 10) year old able to read this book easily.
This is a cute little story about Morgan, a second grader who finds her whole world has flipped upside down: her parents have divorced, her father is being shipped overseas with the military, her mother has remarried and is expecting a new baby. As if all that wasn't enough, she has to start a new school too.
The entire book is about the way Morgan faces each of these problems emotionally, and then flips it around to a more Christian perspective, dealing with each of the problems in a healthier way than by throwing a tantrum, learning to understand situations from others' point of view.
I think this is a book that my children could enjoy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

#REVIEW: Glory Days by Max Lucado

Title: Glory Days: Living Your Promised Land Life Now
Series: none
Author:  Max Lucado
Published Date: September 15, 2015
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Format: hardcover
Pages: 272
ISBN: 9780849948497
Genre: Christian Living / Old Testament Bible Study
Add to: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon

Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis: The wilderness. Maybe you know it well.

The Israelites sure did. After all, they spent forty years wandering the desert. Victories were scarce. Progress was slow. They were free from Pharaoh but not free from fear. Saved but stuck.

Sounds a lot like midlife misery. Caught in a rut. Stalled out. Running on empty. Are you mired in the same?

You can name the day you became a Christian and escaped
Egypt. But you can t remember the last time you defeated a temptation or experienced an answered prayer. You re fighting the same battles you fought the day you came to Christ. You re out of Egypt, but Egypt s not out of you.

Isn t the Christian life supposed to be better than this?

Jesus offers abundant joy. Yet you live with oppressive grief. The epistles speak of grace. You shoulder guilt. You are more than a conqueror yet are commonly conquered by temptation or weaknesses.

But there s good news. With God s help you can close the gap between the person you are and the person you want to be. Like Joshua and the Israelites, you can move from a wilderness existence into a promised inheritance.

This is God s vision for your life. You, at full throttle. You, as you were intended. You, as victor over the Jerichos and giants. You, minus the stumbles, hurts, and hate.

You and your Promised Land life.

New York Times bestselling author Max Lucado invites readers to leave the wilderness and discover a life defined by grace, refined by challenge, and aligned with a heavenly call. By studying the life of Joshua and the biblical book that bears his name, Lucado reveals God s promises for every step and reminds readers that God still fights for them.

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is my first Max Lucado book that I have read. I admit that I requested it because all of the hype over Max Lucado. Was he one of those crazy pastors who teach the prosperity theology? That would account for his insane amount of people following him. I was ready to read things like that and rip it apart.
Instead, after a very rough week where it seemed as if everything was going wrong, I found an author who wrote personably, who told me that God had already given me all the tools I need to succeed, it’s just waiting for me to take them. All of the patience I needed? Already given to me by God, I just needed to ask for it. All the strength I needed to get past just one more day? Yup, already have it, just need to ask God. Focus on God and everything I need to be the person I want to be is already there. The author does not preach the prosperity message, in fact, he often says that our rewards will not always be of this world, but they are exactly what we need, what we ask for. We are already the best person we can be; we just need to focus on God to be that person.

The interesting part about the book was that the entire book was focused on the Book of Joshua, each chapter of this book going through the Book of Joshua chapter by chapter. After every chapter, I felt more uplifted, more focused, more able. I could be that patient, loving mother, instead of the stressed, frazzled one I am, she’s already in there, I just need to focus on God and ask Him.  There were some chapters where I didn’t feel very connected to the message the author was saying, but it was because it didn’t directly relate to what I am going through right now.
Now, I completely understand why Max Lucado has such a following. He has an amazing, uplifting, empowering, personable way of writing that makes you feel as if he is writing the book just for you. Definitely going to be following him now.

Friday, September 18, 2015

#REVIEW: Bible Stories Gone Crazy! by Josh Edwards and Emiliano Migliardo

Title: Bible Stories Gone Crazy!
Series: none
Author:  Josh Edwards and Emiliano Migliardo
Published Date: July 27, 2015
Publisher: Kregel Publishers
Format: Hardback
Pages: 24
ISBN: 9781781281901
Genre: children’s Bible activities
Add to: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon

Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis: Eight Bible stories are depicted in bright color and comic, cartoony illustrations. There is a sentence or two explaining the scene at the top, and then details to spot, mistakes to find, and questions to answer along the sides of the picture, such as, "Did Noah's workmen REALLY have power tools?" and "How many rabbits are in the picture?" Children will love scouring the illustrations to find the answers and spot more amusing details in the busy artwork of Emiliano Migliardo.

The stories are Noah and His Great Ark, Moses Crossing the Red Sea, Joshua and the Fall of Jericho, David and Goliath, Daniel and the Lions, Jonah and the Big Fish, Feeding the 5,000, and Man Through the Roof.

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
This is such a cute book. It features of the most well-known stories of the Bible that children have probably been exposed to. The pages are thick, but not board book thick, laminated and durable, so they will stand up to some pretty rough handling, even with sticky little fingers. The binding is sewn, not glued, to make it more durable from tearing. Each story is two pages, with an easy to read summary of the story and has a reference to where exactly you can find the entire story in the Bible. The illustration is in a cute, bright, fun format. Each story has 10 questions to get the child involved in really seeing the illustrations, and thinking for themselves.
Also, at the end of the book, which I didn’t even notice till my 6 year old pointed it out to me, there’s sort of an Easter Egg Hunt for a certain animal that I’m not going to disclose here. That made it even more fun, and made it so that we would go back and look for those too.
Overall, this is such a fantastic book for kids to get them to really delve deeply into these stories.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

#REVIEW: Shades of Doon by Carey Corps and Lorie Langdon

Title: Shades of Doon
Series: Doon #3
Author:  Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon
Published Date: September 1, 2015
Publisher: Blink / Zonderkidz
Format: ebook
Pages: 368
ISBN: 9780310742357
Genre: YA fantasy romance /Christian
Add to: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon

Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis: After cheating death, Veronica Welling is determined to savor every moment in her idyllic kingdom with both her true love and best friend by her side at last. At the same time, Mackenna Reid is enthusiastically building her new life and a theater with her prince. But just as their dreams of happiness are within reach, the world Vee and Kenna have chosen is ripped away, leaving them to face their most horrific challenge yet—their old lives.
Thrust out of Doon, the best friends are confronted with tormentors from their past and no way to return to their adopted land. When the MacCrae brothers rush to their rescue, the girls’ situation turns from nightmare to modern-day fairy tale. But their happiness could be short lived: unbeknownst to them, someone in their closest circle is aiding the witch of Doon in her bid to destroy the kingdom once and for all.

My Review: I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As soon as I saw the third book was offered through BookLook blogger program, I squealed. It’s out, it’s out!!!! This has become one of my favorite series, but of course, I couldn’t wait for it. This has become the hardest book for me to get apparently. I went to NetGalley and requested it. And was denied. WHAT?! Okay, Kristin, take a deep breath, its not the end of the world. I have the other two in hardback, so I figured, I will just request it through BookLook Bloggers and get it in hardback, along with the others I have. I did that, and three weeks later…I ended up with the wrong book. They shipped the wrong book! I called them and emailed them, they said, okay, we will ship you out the real one. Over a week later and I still haven’t gotten the book. I couldn’t wait anymore. I requested the ebook from BookLook Bloggers, and immediately downloaded it and started reading it Friday night at 7PM. By 4 PM on Saturday, and a full day of work Saturday, it was finished.

Wow, and it was so worth it! Absolutely amazing book! This book, while dealing with the overarching storyline of the Witch of Doon coming back and destroying Doon, also dealt nicely with Mackenna’s sense of belonging, either in Doon or in the modern world. While that is wrapped up nicely, Veronica is also learning her own lessons about independence versus the need for others’ support versus co-dependence. As a very small, side story, we also see Veronica’s dad finally and the storyline with him. It seems like a very busy book, but the authors do such an incredible job of keeping all the different threads separate, and yet intermingling them in such a way that it weaves into a beautiful, amazing tapestry of fantasy, young adult, and yes, even Christianity. With the Christianity, it could probably relate to any religion, as the Christian God is not named, just a benevolent Being or God.

I really enjoyed how Veronica was able to grow in this book, and not to remain as the stagnant girl-Queen we have seen, she is forced into looking at some very hard lessons, and evolves into a beautiful young, compassionate ruler. At the same time, Mackenna has some hard decisions in front of her….modern day Broadway, which has been her life since she was little, or Doon, where the love of her life and best friend are.

Suspense, magic, heartbreak, action…they are all in this book, and it drives the plot along at almost superhuman speed. And the end….cliffhanger….OMG…..I need the next book. Like need it with my next breath.