Category Archives: Book Review

Thief of Corinth

Thief of CorinthTitle: Thief of Corinth
Author: Tessa Afshar
Publisher: Tyndale Fiction
ISBN: 978-1-4964-2866-0

“I was not planning to make a life of thieving. My actions would be an aberration,” Ariadne confesses in Tessa Afshar’s novel, Thief of Corinth.

~ What ~
At four-hundred pages, this historical Christian novel targets those interested in a fictionalized story that includes the Apostle Paul from the New Testament. With no profanity, topics of thievery and rape may not be appropriate for immature readers. Using the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible, the NIV and NLT are also referenced. The ending includes a chapter of another book by the writer, author’s note, acknowledgments, ten discussion questions, and the author’s biography.

Written in first person, this engaging Biblical-backed tale is told by sixteen-year-old Ariadne, a young girl who has run away from her mean, unloving mother to her lonely father in Corinth, who has a deep secret that she unwittingly learns. Desperate to keep her father from being found out as the city’s infamous Honorable Thief, she emphatically assists him until the stakes become unbearable. As more family secrets are uncovered, she must decide what her and her family’s freedom will cost, especially when they met and befriend Paul, a Jewish convert with a fresh and unusual outlook on love and forgiveness.

~ Why ~
This love story not only shows the devotion between a daughter and father as well as a friendship of two who grew up together, but it also conveys how God’s grace and love conquers all, even when one has to forfeit and give up something they want. I enjoyed reading about the stadion races, community baths, luxurious pompous living of the wealthy, and broken family interactions. The budding romance between the Ariadne and a friend over the years was sincere and believable.

~ Why Not ~
Although the book is loosely based on Paul and I Corinthians 13, Ariadne is not a real character. As a predictable read regarding romance, it does have contain interesting historical content.

~ Wish ~
I wish more novels were written that promoted the Word of God and what it teaches in a venue that is Biblically related.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a fictional story that includes intrigue, romance, and Biblical application of God’s love, this one may grip your senses and make you think of your own relationships that need mending through loving and forgiving one another.

Thanks to Tyndale Blog Network for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/thief-of-corinth-tessa-afshar/1127416123

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Big Trucks: Getting the Job Done Together

Big Trucks: A Touch-and-Feel Book: Getting the Job Done TogetherTitle: Big Trucks
Illustrator: Sergio De Giorgi
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-4003-1058-6

“It’s time for trucks to leave the site.
‘We did our best. We did it right.
God bless … Good night to each of you,’”
states the ending of Tommy Nelson children’s book, Big Trucks: Getting the Job Done Together.

~ What ~
At twelve pages, this square paperback with rounded corners targets children ages four to eight years old who are fascinated with trucks. With no scary scenes, it is a story told in rhyme about several types of construction trucks and how they work together to get the job done. Including some complicated wording, it would be best read out loud to beginner readers.

Containing “touch and feel” sections on several pages, the rhymed tale explains how trucks named Dozer, Diggit, Tipper, and Stretch use their robust and powerful know-how to shove, dig, lift, and dump as they work together to finish a task.

~Why ~
This is a nice tale about working together, conveyed through several trucks. I like that children can touch the rubberized wheels, sand, mirrored windows, shiny axil and building beams, and rough payment. Mentioning God briefly is a thoughtful touch.

~ Why Not ~
Those who have no relationship with Jesus may not approve of the one time God is mentioned. New readers may find the two- and three-syllable words hard to pronounce.

~ Wish ~
While I appreciate the different construction trucks shown, I wish there were more of them such as cement trucks, gas trucks, firetrucks, and utility trucks to name a few.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book for young ones about trucks as team players, this may be a good choice, but I wish it were more comprehensive.

Thanks to BookLookBloggers for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/big-trucks-thomas-nelson/1127480856

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Monster Boogie

Monster BoogieTitle: Monster Boogie
Author: Laurie Berkner
Illustrator: Ben Clanton
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 978-1-4814-6465-9

“Everybody does the monster boogie, the monster boogie, the monster boogie,” Laurie Berkner writes her song in her children’s book, Monster Boogie.

~ What ~
This forty-page oversize hardcover book is targeted toward children ages four to eight years old, especially those who like to sing, dance, and are not afraid of pretend monsters. With no scary scenes, the colorful but sophomoric illustrations by Clanton cover the pages.

In this short story that is in rhythmic verse adapted by a song by the author, a supposed scary monster visits two children as they are in their dark bedrooms at night. The purple creature states he is the biggest monster they have ever seen, with purple eyes, green teeth, and one who is scary. While one child is frightened, the other is happy, the monster starts dancing a boogie around the room. When the monster tells the children they can do the boogie too, all start dancing. The monster repeats most of the song, changing a few words, and they all do the monster wiggle around the room until the purple animal and his monster friends leave.

~ Why ~
This book is a nice, light read in itself with lots of repeated words that new beginner readers can recognize. Although the child is frightened at first, the ending expresses how fun it is to dance the monster boogie and monster wiggle. The colors are bright and noticeable.

~ Why Not ~
Children who are afraid of the dark and monsters may not appreciate this book at first, but it can become a helpful tool about monsters being fun by seeing them dance. Others may prefer books with more details and background designs to look at while someone reads the book to them.

~ Wish ~
While I like the idea that under the jacket cover the hardbound has sheet music to the song with the same name, I wish the book included a free CD or online link to download since I am unaware of the song so will have to play it for my grandchildren when they visit and I give them the book.

~ Want ~
If your preschooler to early elementary school grade child is into dancing and loves monsters, this may be a good section for them if they already know the song.

Thanks to Waldmania for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/monster-boogie-laurie-berkner/1127208821

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Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Ice Worm Intervention (Board Book)

Title: Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Ice Worm Intervention
Author: Oneeka Williams M.D.
Illustrator: Valerie Bouthyette
Publisher: Mascot Books
ISBN: 978-0-9983045-1-9

“The Arctic animals, Earth and the Ice Worms BEAM!” Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo solves the problem in Oneeka Williams’s children’s book, Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Ice Worm Intervention.

~ What ~
This numbered twenty-page board book with rounded corners targets ages zero to four years old, especially those interested in the Earth and small worms. With no scary or violent scenes, it does contain complicated words that this age group may not fully understand or comprehend.

The story is about a young girl named Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo who is in Alaska for the Cordova Ice Festival with her team and learns tiny ice worms will not survive due to climate change, so she has to intervene to save them by refreezing the ice.

Having colorful and expressive illustrations, the tale incorporates educational pages regarding a map of ice worm locations, climate change, and three ways to protect the Earth.

~ Why ~
Although the tale is fictitious, it is educational and instructional, teaching young ones about protecting our planet. I had never heard of ice worms before reading the comprehensive version of the book for older children, so I was intrigued to find they are located in five places around the world, including the Cascades near where I live in Oregon. I love that very young children are offered the story’s resourceful information.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not want a complicated read with lots of wording and teaching concepts on every page will pass on this one as it is geared toward older children even though it is promoted as a board book. Young ones or those visually challenged may be overwhelmed with the busyness of its contents.

~ Wish ~
I had problems with this version as it is still too complicated for a zero to four year old. Since I have three grandchildren (2 under 2 and a 5 years old), I think they would not be able to understand most of the content of this book. Had it been sophomoric pictures of ice, worms, walruses, and more simplistic content, it would be higher rated, but I feel it is too comprehensive for the age level targeted.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a board book for a highly intelligent child under the age of four who can understand how climate change effects ice worms around the world, this may be a good selection for you.

Thanks to the author for this complimentary book that I freely am evaluating.

Check out the author’s website at www.drdeedeedynamo.com

This book can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Dynamo-Worm-Intervention-Board-Book/dp/0998304514/

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Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Ice Worm Intervention (Paperback)

Title: Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Ice Worm Intervention
Author: Oneeka Williams M.D.
Illustrator: Valerie Bouthyette
Publisher: Mascot Books
ISBN: 978-0-9983045-2-6

“The Ice Worms and the Arctic animals are extremely grateful,” Dee Dee Dynamo’s sidekick orb flashes on his screen after the young surgeon refreezes the ice in Oneeka Williams’s children’s book, Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo’s Ice Worm Intervention.

~ What ~
This numbered thirty-two-page oversized paperback targets ages four to seven years old, especially those interested in the Earth and global warming as it relates to ice worms. With no scary or violent scenes, it does contain complicated words that beginner readers will need help understanding or pronouncing.

The story is about a young girl from the Island of Positivity who visits Alaska with her friends for the Cordova Ice Worm Festival. They meet Toby, a smart autistic kid who knows a lot about climate change. When Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo and her crew are called into action, they learn from Toby about the ozone layer, troposphere, greenhouse effect, and the long-eye-lash-looking ice worms that may die due to the glacial temperature heating up. In the end, Dr. Dee Dee spins her magic to refreeze large areas of ocean ice to save the worms and Arctic animals.

Having colorful and expressive illustrations, the tale incorporates educational pages regarding the discovery of ice worms, the Earth’s atmosphere, greenhouse gases, effects of climate change, map of ice worm locations, aspects of autism, and the habit of positivity. Added at the end are a glossary of twenty-six words, thirty-seven learning words, and resource guide.

~ Why ~
The story contains scientific information on climate change that even adults can glean knowledge when reading it to a child. Although the tale is fictitious, it is educational and instructional, teaching young ones about protecting our planet. I had never heard of ice worms before reading this book, so I was intrigued to find they are located in five places around the world, including the Cascades near where I live in Oregon. I love that the story’s information could be used in a classroom or as a book report about the environment and what we humans can do to protect it. Another plus was the additional data included at the end of the book.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not want a complicated read with lots of wording and teaching concepts on every page will pass on this one as it is geared toward older children. Young ones or those visually challenged may be overwhelmed with the busyness of its contents, but it offers plenty of information.

~ Wish ~
I have previously reviewed the hardbound copy of this book, and this is reposted as a paperback version. I wish more educational books for children were available that taught and instructed within its story, although the surgery mentioned is make-believe.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for another engaging, intellectual children’s book about Dr. Dee Dee Dynamo that explains our planet, global warming, and autism, this is an excellent teaching tool in paperback format for young ones. Watch it, you may learn a thing or two too; I did!

Thanks to the author for this complimentary book that I freely am evaluating.

Check out the author’s website at www.drdeedeedynamo.com

This book can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/Dynamos-Worm-Intervention-Paperback-Book/dp/0998304522/

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I AM: The Names of God for Little Ones

I Am: The Names of God for Little OnesTitle: I AM: The Names of God for Little Ones
Author: Diane Stortz
Illustrator: Diane Le Feyer
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-4003-1079-1

“God’s names teach us that He is powerful, loving, and gentle,” the back jacket states in the children’s book, I AM: The Names of God for Little Ones, by Diane Stortz.

~ What ~
At twenty-four pages, this hardbound with rounded corners and sparkles on the padded front cover targets preschool children and older who want to learn more about God. With no scary scenes, the colorful illustrations are detailed and expressive on all pages, captivating a young one’s attention. Using mainly the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible, the ICB and NLT are also referenced.

With the top of the left side of the page listing a name for God with the Hebrew or English rendition, a Bible verse and short rewritten paragraph from the Word is written out, overlapping a corresponding drawing. A short one-sentence prayer is on the bottom right side of the page. All names reflect who God is and why.

~ Why ~
This is terrific way to explain to a child who God is and what names He is called. There are the Old Testament names of Elohim, El Shaddai, Jehovah, El Moshaah, Jehovah Jireh, and Jehovah Rophe, as well as the Son of God, Rabbi, the Good Shepherd, Savior, Friend, and King of Kings. I love how the book is formatted in the same order as the Bible and that some of the Jewish names have pronunciations. The prayers complete the thought as they refer to the Almighty’s names.

One example is The Lord Will Provide / Jehovah Jireh (jeh-HO-vuh JYE-ruh) that has Genesis 22:14 written out. The paragraph covers Exodus 16 about God’s people trusting God to take care of them by giving them manna. The prayer is “Dear God, thank You for giving me all I need! Amen.”

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not approve of this book as it focuses on God. Beginner readers may have trouble with the two- and three-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
I was so impressed with this book that teaches God’s names that there are no suggestions to improve it except to provide more names of Him. I love that an adult reading it to a child will be encouraged and reminded of our Lord’s names too. Those of Jewish faith may appreciate the link to their Messiah.

~ Want ~
If your child is starting to question who is God and what are some of His names, this is an excellent short book that promotes a dozen names, explaining each of them through a Bible passage.

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/i-am-diane-stortz/1127480799

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A Daring Venture

A Daring VentureTitle: A Daring Venture
Author: Elizabeth Camden
Publisher: BethanyHouse
ISBN: 978-0-7642-1882-8

“It was going to be a challenge to get him to reconsider the filtration plant, but it had to be done,” Rosalind determines in Elizabeth Camden’s novel, A Daring Venture.

~ What ~
The second of three in the Empire State series, this three-hundred-fifty-two-page paperback targets those who like historical fiction with suspense and romance during the early 1900s regarding chlorinating water for the first time in New Jersey. With some slang words, its topics of impropriety, physical abuse, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. A historical note, ten discussion questions, sequel information, author’s biography, and advertisements are included.

Set in 1908, twenty-eight-year-old Doctor Rosalind Werner is one of the few women biochemists who has a passion to cure water-borne diseases in drinking water. Upon coming to America, she hides her tainted past and works with Doctor John Leal to secretly add chlorine to New Jersey’s water, despite how New York’s newly-appointed water commissioner, Nick Drake, is vehemently opposed to the groundbreaking idea.

Between the lies and hidden truths of the doctor’s past and the professional’s uneducated background and anger issues, they wonder if they can fall instantly in love without compromising their core beliefs in how to have clean, healthy water for the people.

~ Why ~
I enjoy historical romance stories where I learn something new, and this one offers details about underground water systems, chlorination, and filtration. How the judicial system got involved and maintained decorum between the opposite approaches to the state’s water problems was interesting.

~ Why Not ~
Like the first book in the series, this one also contains a family feud dragging decades long and includes dealing with greed and personal wealth to gain status or favors. Others may not like the limited use of slang words. Again, there is little Christian influence mentioned in the story.

~ Wish ~
To me, it seems this tale has the same cookie-cutter format as its predecessor with the beginning interesting, informative, and engaging while the abrupt ending is about restoring relationships, family dynamics, and resolution.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a historical fiction dealing with overcoming shame due to the past and questioning mistakes made, this second in the series may interest you more than the prior one.

Thanks to Bethany House for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-daring-venture-elizabeth-camden/1127179090

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NKJV Children’s Outreach Bible

TiNKJV Children's Outreach Bibletle: NKJV Children’s Outreach Bible
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-4002-0895-1

“Every child needs his or her own Bible, and this affordable Bible in the trusted New King James Version makes the perfect gift,” the back jacket states of Tommy Nelson’s NKJV Children’s Outreach Bible.

~ What ~
Containing eleven-hundred-and-twenty pages, this thick paperback targets children seven to twelve years old who want or need their own Bible. Using the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, it has twenty-four full-color kid-friendly study pages.

After presentation, family history, why read the Bible, and timeline pages, two sections include how to know Jesus loves you, memorable Bible verses, a place to write in favorite verses, how to know Jesus better, and how to pray, forgive, and study the Word. The ending has names of God, miracles of Jesus and His disciples, children of the Bible, and four maps.

~ Why ~
Since the Bible is the most important book in history, this is a thoughtful and affordable way for a young person to be in the Word. I like how the font is easy to read and very dark black, so although it is small, it is readable, and the print does not bleed through the pages too much like other books. The written word has few interruptions of columns, references, or explanations, so it is kept simple.

~ Why Not ~
Some may not like the small print as it may be hard for some to read. Others may prefer a different Bible version, yet I find this one is more accurate than others.

~ Wish ~
Since the price is reasonable, it would last longer if this Bible was a hardbound, not a paperback.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a low-priced Bible for a young one who likes to read or is interested in knowing more about the Word’s contents, this is a great first Bible for a young believer.

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nkjv-childrens-outreach-bible-thomas-nelson/1127480818

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150 Best Toaster Oven Recipes

150 Best Toaster Oven RecipesTitle: 150 Best Toaster Oven Recipes
Author: Linda Stephen
Publisher: Robert Rose
ISBN: 978-0-7788-0616-5

“The recipes in this book have been developed to make the most of the toaster oven,” Linda Stephen writes in the beginning of her book, 150 Best Toaster Oven Recipes.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and-eight-page paperback targets those interested in making food dishes using a standard toaster oven. Containing one-hundred-and-fifty recipes, it offers a plethora of recipes that are mostly easy to make while avoiding using an oven.

After acknowledgments, introduction, and toaster oven information, the book is divided into ten sections that include content pages. Covered are the basics, appetizers and snacks, fish and seafood, poultry, meat, vegan main dishes, vegetables and side dishes, breakfast and brunch, breads, muffins, cookies, and bars, and desserts. The ending includes an alphabetical index. Sixteen full color, full page illustrations are added of the completed dishes in two parts of the book.

Covering one to two pages each, the recipes have bold titles on the top of the pages with paragraph descriptions that usually have the author’s personal opinions. The serving size and sometimes a tip or variation are on the left side of the pages with the ingredients in used order on opposite sides. Numbered instructions in paragraph form follow, occasionally with a highlighted suggestion at the bottom.

Some of the interesting recipes using a toaster oven include Vegetable Bean Chili, Roasted Almonds, Orange Pesto Fish Kabobs, Chicken Osso Bucco, Southwestern Spareribs, Zucchini and Feta Fan, Mashed Turnip Puff, Monte Cristo Sandwiches, White Chocolate Pecan Blondies, and Peaches with Amaretti Cookies.

~Why ~
This cookbook has a wide range of what can be made using a toaster oven. Since only my husband and I live at home now and I do not like to cook, this makes a nice resource to answer the “what’s for dinner.” I like that the recipes are so varied, with some of them being unique.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like to cook will avoid this book. Others may wish there were more than only sixteen photos only placed in two locations. Some may want caloric and nutritional information if they watch their diet.

~ Wish ~
I wish the book included the preparation time it takes to make the dishes.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a way to use your toaster oven not only to save energy but make delicious meals, this is a good choice.

Thanks to Bookpleasures and Robert Rose for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/150-best-toaster-oven-recipes-linda-stephen/1128283518

 

 

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The House at Saltwater Point

The House at Saltwater PointTitle: The View House at Saltwater Point
Author: Colleen Coble
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-8580-3

“I need to be concentrating on finding the cocaine and your sister, but the personal stuff keeps inserting itself,” Grayson explains to Ellie in Colleen Coble’s novel, The House at Saltwater Point.

~ What ~
Part of the Lavender Tides series, this three-hundred-and-forty-page paperback targets those interested in romantic suspense that involves searching for siblings while trying to stop a EMP bomb from exploding. Using slang words such as heck and darn, the topics of kidnapping, torture, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes a note from the author, eight discussion questions, acknowledgments, author’s biography, and advertisements.

In this current day tale based in the state of Washington, Ellie Blackmore loves restoring and flipping old houses. When her sister goes missing and it appears she has met with foul play, Ellie tries to overcome her guilt of the past and find out what happened to her sibling. Meanwhile, Coast Guard Grayson Bradshaw arrives in town, searching for stolen cocaine and gets involved in the hunt for Ellie’s sister as he learns about his own past.

~ Why ~
This is a quick read that has everything from romance, guilt, fear, and heartbreak to covering up the past, wanting to forgive oneself, and making stupid mistakes that could cost one’s life. Without focusing much on God, the underlying prayers promote that God knows what we are going through and is in control.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like mystery stories with predictable romances may not enjoy this book. I found the combination of the EMP bomb, connections to North Korea, and a relationship with a terrorist unbelievable.

~ Wish ~
Having read a prior book in the series, I liked reading about some of the past characters, but I wish the story was more realistic and not cookie-cutter.

~ Want ~
Similar to the other book in the series, this romantic tale about a small Washington town that is involved in terrorism, kidnapping, and murder as well as finding the truth about one’s parents and siblings may keep a reader’s attention.

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-house-at-saltwater-point-colleen-coble/1127455204

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