Category Archives: Christian

365 Devotions for a Thankful Heart

365 Devotions for a Thankful HeartTitle: 365 Devotions for a Thankful Heart
Publisher: Zondervan
ISBN: 978-0-310-08964-3

“Each daily devotional offers an encouraging Scripture and a closing prayer to help you focus on what God is accomplishing in and through you,” the back jacket states in the book, 365 Devotions for a Thankful Heart.

~ What ~
At three-hundred-and-eighty-four pages, this small hardbound for women meant to be read daily throughout a year encourages focusing on having thankful heart though God. Using mainly the New King James Version of the Holy Bible, also referenced are the CEV, ESV, KJV, MSG, NASB, NCV, NIV, and NLT. It comes with an attached mint green marker ribbon.

The book is separated by month with one page dedicated to each day of the year. Each date starts with a title and written-out Bible verse, followed by several paragraphs that usually begin with an everyday topic or idea, Bible story or character, or notable figure or happening. The page ends with a short one to two-line prayer of thankfulness.

As it concentrates on being thankful, some random titles include Seeing Past Our Stumbling, Being Like Mary and Martha, Two Simple Words, Everyday Courage, A Wardrobe Worthy of the King, A Little Salt, Precious to the Lord, s, Responding with Prayer, The Potter’s Task, In His Hands, No What-Ifs, Bloom and Grow, The Eeyore Within, More Precious Than Rubies, and In His Image.

~Why ~
So many devotions include a writer’s personal experiences, but this one does not. I am so thankful that its focus is on God and the Bible. I like that I could relate to the topics and how God is the One we should be thanking. The prayers are short but meaningful.

One devotion I enjoyed is dated September 16 titled “Rejoice … Always?” with Philippians 4:4 written out. The commentary lists several excuses we all make when things are going poorly and how we should rejoice and be glad because we can do “all things through Christ who strengthens us” including rejoice. The prayer is asking the Lord to teach us how to rejoice because each moment is spent with Him.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not believe in Jesus Christ as their savior may not appreciate this devotional. Some women may not like themed devotions so would pass on it. Others may prefer only reading the Scriptures as their daily reading. It should not replace daily Bible reading.

~ Wish ~
While I was impressed with the deep concentration on the topic of being thankful in this book, I wish only a few Bible versions were provided as some have rather liberal interpretations of Scripture.

~ Want ~
If you like devotionals that you can relate to throughout the year while reminding you to be thankful, this one will help you see how God is always there for us and wonderfully takes care of us. It would make a thoughtful thank-you gift for a loved one.

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/365-devotions-for-a-thankful-heart-zondervan/1127456090

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Book Review, Christian

Night Night, Sleepytown

Night Night, SleepytownTitle: Night Night, Sleepy Town
Author: Amy Parker
Illustrator: Virginia Allyn
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-4003-1003-6

“Come on down to SleeptownWhere the time is always right
For snuggling and for sleeping in,
And we always say, ‘Night night!’” the story begins in Amy Parker’s children’s book, Night Night, Sleepytown.

~ What ~
At twenty pages, this board book with a padded front cover targets children ages three to five years old. With no scary scenes, it is a nice story about Sleepytown, a place where everyone helps out and is thanked for the things they do. Full page color illustrations of the residents of the town cover the pages.

Written in rhyme with some complicated wording, this tale has a bear mayor showing newcomers Sleepytown. A farmer and his animals, an officer at a school zone, a teacher with her students, a mailman with parcels, firebears with bubbles, a doctor and nurse with a patient, and construction workers work together and are thanked for what they do. As the town goes to bed, they thank God too.

~Why ~
Having given our two-year-old grandson the prior books in this series, he loves the style of this book’s reading and rhyming while looking at the charming animals that live in the town, especially the fireman and digger driver. I appreciate how the book reiterates working together and being appreciative of one another, thanking them and God. The residents are cute, adorable, and engaging to look at for non-readers.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books that mention God may not approve of this book, but He is mentioned only once. Some young ones may not understand some of the actions such as an officer directing children across the street or a teacher doing math on a chalkboard.

~ Wish ~
There is nothing I would change about this read.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book to read at bedtime that is about a charming town of animals, this one may help children understand working together and being thankful for others.

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

This product can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/night-night-sleepytown-amy-parker/1127480985

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Animals / Pets, Book Review, Childrens, Christian

Imagine Heaven Devotional

Imagine Heaven Devotional: 100 Reflections to Bring Heaven to Your Life TodayTitle: Imagine Heaven Devotional: 100 Reflections to Bring Heaven to Your Life Today
Authors: John Burke and Kathy Burke
Publisher: Baker Books
ISBN: 978-0-8010-9362-3

“The Imagine Heaven Devotional has been written for personal application of the biblical promises of Heaven, in hopes of bringing Heaven’s blessings to your life today,” the introduction states in John and Kathy Burkes’ book.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-and-twenty-four pages, this hardbound devotional targets those who want to focus and learn from those who have had near death experiences (NDEs) and how they relate to Heaven and what it will be like. Using mainly the New International Version of the Holy Bible, also referenced are the GNT, MSG, NASB, NLT, and NLV versions.

After an introduction, one-hundred devotions cover two pages each and start with a written-out Bible verse, followed by a paragraph about a person who has had a NDE with quoted documentation from the person on what they saw, felt, and experienced in regard to eternity. There are several follow-up paragraphs by the authors about the experience, offering Bible verses while encouraging and exhorting how to look toward our being with God when we leave this Earth. A short prayer completes each devotional.

~Why ~
I appreciate devotionals that have little information about the author but focus on God, especially when it relates to Heaven; the after paragraphs do this. I like how the authors gently remind the readers to turn their eyes and hearts to Christ.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not want to get a book that discusses near death experiences and concentrates on going to Heaven. I may be one of the few who do not believe that NDEs are spiritual messages from God when one leaves their body, goes to Heaven, communicates with deceased loved ones, sees Jesus, and returns back to Earth as the concept is not Biblically based (read John 1:18 KJV – No man hath seen God at any time …).

~ Wish ~
With Heaven as the main topic, the book may put misplaced focus on the fantastic, charismatic experiences some have with a NDE instead of searching and studying the Word of God to find out what it says about eternity. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you believe NDEs are orchestrated by God and like to read about personal experiences regarding this topic, this thorough and well written book may entertain you, but although I find it interesting and engaging, I cannot recommend it.

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

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/imagine-heaven-devotional-john-burke/1127179150

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Filed under ** Think Twice - I Didn't Like It, Book Review, Christian

The Daily Question for You and Your Child

The Daily Question for You and Your Child: A Three-Year Spiritual JournalTitle: The Daily Question for You and Your Child
Publisher: WaterBrook
ISBN: 978-0-525-65092-8

“With questions that tap into your youngster’s creativity, interests, feelings, and spiritual insights, this journal helps you record daily details from your child’s unique perspective,” the back jacket states in the book, The Daily Question for You and Your Child.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-eighty-four-page small hardbound targets parents looking for a new way to communicate with their young children by using a daily three-year spiritual journal. Geared toward calm, enlightening, and peaceful conversations, children ages four to twelve years old would benefit, although any aged reader may find it interesting and creative.

After a front flap to insert a photo, ownership page, and introduction, one page is dedicated to every day of the year with monthly division pages. Having no pictures included, the top of each page has the date with a short question that is asked. There are three sections of five blank lines each that cover three years to write down answers to the question.

~ Why ~
This is an ideal way for an adult to read out loud the day’s question to a young child and write down his or her response. Because it covers three years of journaling, it records a child’s thoughts, fears, accomplishments, growth, and thinking about a topic. It would be an excellent socialization tool at the dinner table, bedtime, or during a time that promotes talking.

Here are some engaging questions asked:
What makes you feel brave?
What is the biggest thing you can jump over?
If you could be a superhero, which one would you be?
Who makes you laugh the most?
Do you think you are competitive? Why?

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like to journal may not want to spend the time and effort with this book. There are some questions that young ones may not understand based on its comprehensive wording. If you do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, you may not want to ask some questions to your child. However, there are only two to four per month, and they are not too in depth.

Some of the questions are:
What is your favorite Bible story? Why?
What do you think heaven will be like?
Who can you pray for tonight?
What do you need most from Jesus today?
How does God communicate with you?

~ Wish ~
A few of the questions may not be able to be answered in five lines.

Some of these include:
Write a story about a puppy.
Make up a short story about a robot.
Make up a short story about a talking grapefruit.
Make up a short story about going into space.

~ Want ~
By stimulating thoughts and concepts with young ones, this is a creative book that starts the process of not only thinking about how a young one acts, feels, thinks, and reacts, but it also promotes learning and knowing about God. Having read a similar shorter book to our five-year-old granddaughter who was captivated by being asked eclectic questions, I think this would be a fun parent/child project both would enjoy.

Rated: 4.5 of 5 Stars

Thanks to WaterBook and Multnomah Book Launch Team for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-daily-question-for-you-and-your-child-waterbrook/1128515160

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Childrens, Christian, Non-Fiction

Lethal Legacy

Title: Lethal Legacy
Author: Carol J. Post
Publisher: Harlequin
ISBN: 978-1-335-54400-1c

“If he knew Andi, she wasn’t going to give up until she had turned over every stone. She’d learn what had weighed so heavily on her father,” Bryce considers in Carol J. Post’s novel, Lethal Legacy.

~ What ~
Part of the Love Inspired Suspense series, this two-hundred-and-eighty-eight-page pocket-sized paperback targets those who enjoy inspirational suspense with devotion to a parent and love. With no profanity or sexual content, topics of physical abuse, car accidents, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The book promotes that God helps us when we trust and call upon Him. An author’s note and inserts of other Love Inspired series books are at the end.

Second in the trilogy, this current-day short story is based mainly in North Carolina where divorced Andrea Wheaton has returned to her father’s beloved but worn-down cabin after her parents die in a car accident. Unable to avoid the past, Andrea encounters her next door neighbor, policeman Bryce Caldwell, who was her high school sweetheart a dozen years ago, after there is a burglary in the cabin. When she learns someone is searching for something on the old property, she tries to protect her father’s legacy and respect while staying ahead of the perpetrators with Bryce’s help.

~ Why ~
The fast-paced tale shows how a young couple wonder if the flame they felt between them years ago can be reignited or smothered by the past circumstances. I like the author’s way of portraying her broken and imperfect characters who are urged to seek God for help. Like her other books, there is no eternal plan of salvation given, but the underlying story is about trusting God to protect and save.

~ Why Not ~
Similar to the prior book in the series, this one is as predictable regarding romance between two hurt people. Those who do know Jesus Christ personally may not appreciate the undertone of Christianity being a relationship with Christ, not a set of rules. Some may not care for the similarities in accidents portrayed and that the answer to her father’s dilemma was provided early in the book and easy to spot.

~ Wish ~
Since this short novel barely allows its characters to develop fully, it is good that there is a final book in the series that may bring conclusion, although there is little updating of the characters from the first book in this one.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a suspenseful fiction that includes romance and dealing with one’s past, this one shows how determined a daughter can be to clear her father’s name.

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

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lethal-legacy-carol-j-post/1127887382

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

100 Days of Thanks

100 Days of ThanksTitle: 100 Days of Thanks
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-4003-1113-2

“What is one small change you can make today for a more gratitude-filled life?” asks the question in the “Make It Doable” devotional in the book, 100 Days of Thanks.

~ What ~
At one-hundred-and-sixty-pages, this small hardbound book targets those who are seeking a three-plus monthly devotional about being more remindful of thanks and gratitude. Using mainly the New International Version of the Holy Bible, also referenced are the CEB, CEV, ESV, KJV, MSG, NASB, NCV, NKJV, NLT, NRSV, and The Voice. A gold ribbon marker is attached.

After a table of contents and introduction, this book contains one hundred devotions, each one being one to two pages long with the number of day and title in purple print at the top of the page with a Bible verse or two written out. Several paragraphs follow related to the topic. An applicable statement to apply personally is at the end along with 4 lines to write down thoughts. Colorful photographs, watercolor drawings, and flower and fruit designs are added on about half of the pages.

~Why ~
I appreciate devotionals that have little information about the author but focus on God, and this book does that. The topics are short and to the point, easy to be read in a few minutes. Some samples of the devotions are titled God Uses All Things for Good, Our God is in Control, One Egg or a Dozen, It’s More than a Dirty Dish, Boycotting the Blues, The Blessings Dry Chicken Brings, Make Music to the Lord, the ABCs of Gratitude, What Will You Spread, and On Forgiveness.

A favorite was Day 19 titled Our God is in Control, with the reference verse of Isaiah 41:10. The devotional discusses worrying and how it gives us the illusion of control. When we turn our heart toward God, we can thank Him for having everything under control. The question is “What are you worrying about or trying to control today?’

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not want to get a book that focuses on getting closer to the Almighty. Others may wish there were enough devotions that covered a full year. Some may find the content rudimentary and not in depth. I prefer prayers to read at the end of a devotional.

~ Wish ~
With a dozen Bible versions listed, the book often uses loosely translated verses. I wish there were less version used.

~ Want ~
If you like devotionals related to thanks and gratitude, this would be a nice gift for someone special.

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/100-days-of-thanks-thomas-nelson/1127455175

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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Christian, Non-Fiction

Candy Apple Blessings

Candy Apple BlessingsTitle: Candy Apple Blessings
Illustrator: Maddie Frost
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
ISBN: 978-1-4003-1779-0

“We’ll try the petting zoo.
The games are great fun too.
There’s so much we can do!
YAY, YAY, YAY!
Let’s have a festival!” states the near end of the children’s book, Candy Apple Blessings.

~ What ~
At twenty pages, this cut-out board book that is part of the Sweet Blessings series targets children preschool age and older. With no scary scenes, it is a partially rhyming tale of the blessings of fall. Full page color illustrations of cute animals in simplistic settings cover the pages.

Written in five-lines with some complicated wording that covers two open pages, this short tale reiterates the blessings of the fall season that include eating candy apples, riding a school bus, wearing winter clothes, decorating with wreaths, going on a hayride and to a pumpkin patch, corn maze, and petting zoo, and praying to God before eating a snack.

Each opened pages has three rhyming lines, followed by a word repeated three times and an ending line. The one-syllable keywords written three times are chomp, honk, snug, tap, chug, crunch, pick, turn, and yay. The book promotes things to due during the fall season.

~Why ~
Having grandchildren, I like how this book is the type to cuddle up with them when they visit, especially if it is fall. Through the rhyming, it offers activities to do when it is the particular season. There is plenty to look at for the non-reader or young one.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books that mention God may not approve of this book, but He is mentioned only one time at the ending. Due to the two- and three-syllable wording, it should be read out loud to beginner readers.

~ Wish ~
With the title being about apples, the topic is only mentioned on the first two pages. I wish the book was titled Fall Blessings so other books about the seasons could be done.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a children’s book that is calm and about the fall season of the year, this is acceptable, but I think it could have been presented better.

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/candy-apple-blessings-maddie-frost/1127480827

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Childrens, Christian

Formula of Deception

Formula of Deception: A NovelTitle: Formula of Deception­­­­­
Author: Carrie Stuart Parks
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-8385-4

“Hey, and listen. Be careful. Three people connected to this case are dead,” Murphy is warned in Carrie Stuart Parks’s novel, Formula of Deception.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-twenty-page paperback targets those who enjoy a Christian suspense fiction about a series of murders in Alaska. With no profanity, topics of abuse, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes an author’s note and biography, acknowledgments, eight discussion questions, and advertisements.

This tale set in current day Kodiak, Alaska, Murphy Anderson is hiding from a serial killer who she thinks has her sister. When she listens to an Alaskan hunter’s death bed confession, she pretends to be a forensic artist who draws his haunting memories of men who mysteriously died on nearby Ruuwaq Island. By assisting the local police, she helps uncover a World War II Quonset hut that may have been used for producing biological warfare. As those she meets tell her she is a “soul searcher,” those who are connected to the mystery are killed, forcing her to wonder who is on her side.

~ Why ~
This is a fast “who-done-it” read that makes the reader keep guessing and wondering as Murphy tries to stay one step ahead of the killer who is trying to keep the past buried. I like that it was well written without any errors.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories that contain a belief in God or are a mystery suspense will not be interested in this book. The romantic interlude between the protagonist and a cop was brief. Some may get confused by the plot as it jumps around with Murphy being the only one to figure things out before anyone else does.

~ Wish ~
I wish the last third part of the book was not rushed or scattered with the characters being tossed about as possible perpetrators. The conversations in Murphy’s head of her sister talking to her were confusing and disruptive to this reader.

~ Want ~
If you want to learn about some Alaskan World War II events that are shrouded around a murder mystery with one woman solving the crime, this may be a good read for you, but I finished it with a foggy brain, wondering how it was put together.

Thanks to Book Look Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am not obligated to review.

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/formula-of-deception-carrie-stuart-parks/1127455177

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

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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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Book Review, Christian, Fiction

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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Filed under **** Good - Will Be Glad to Pass On to Others, Book Review, Childrens, Christian