Category Archives: Christian

God Gave Us Family

Title: God Gave Us Family
Author: Lisa Tawn Bergren
Illustrator: David Hohn
Publisher: Waterbrook
ISBN: 978-1-60142-876-9

“Whenever somebody is loving and caring for another, that’s a family,” Little Pup is told in Lisa Tawn Bergren’s children’s book, God Gave Us Family.

 ~ What ~
This forty-page hardbound targets children ages three to eight years old who like to read stories about how God gives us each a special family. With no scary scenes, the book may be best read out loud to beginner readers based on the complicated two- and three-syllable words.

In this short tale, an inquisitive wolf named Little Pup wishes he had a sibling, comparing himself to other families that have several. His parents explain that there are different types of families and God makes us part of His family too. Adoption, single parenting, grandparents, and extended families are mentioned as the wolf and his parents travel to a family reunion. There, Little Pup plays with his cousin and realizes that although families are different, he loves the one God gave him.

~Why ~
I like how many different types of families are discussed and how God gives us the one we are in for a reason. The illustrations of the pack of wolves traveling to the reunion are full color, expressive, and detailed, keeping young ones engaged and entertained.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not believe in God may avoid this book. With many types of family units described, the story does not include those who have no children and those with blended families.

~ Wish ~
I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a children’s book that focuses on family and God wanting us to love and enjoy the one we are given, this is a thoughtful choice.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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

Lizzy the Lioness

Lizzy the LionessTitle: Lizzy the Lioness
Author: Lisa Bevere
Illustrator:  Kirsteen Harris-Jones
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-9658-8

“Sometimes the bravest thing you can do is to ask for help,” Lizzy is reminded in Lisa Bevere’s children’s book Lizzy the Lioness.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page oversized hardbound targets four to eight-year-olds who enjoy stories about a little lion learning about bravery. With potentially frightening scenes of baboons trapping a little girl and lions scaring them away, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers. The colorful and detailed illustrations grace both sides of the pages with an easy-to-read font. After an ownership and dedication page with a Bible verse, the story ends with a note to parents and short prayer.

Young lioness Lizzy wishes she was grown up like others in the pride. She loves to play and frolic but is frustrated having to obey rules being so small. When she falls out of a tree and meets a little girl and her mother, she realizes she has something in common with the child. One day she sees baboons encircle the girl; the child prays to God for help. Knowing the lion is too little to approach the baboons, she runs to the pride and asks for help. Her father and other lions chase the baboons away, and the girl thanks Lizzy for answering her prayer. The lioness is praised for being brave by coming and getting help instead of trying to take on the challenge herself.

~ Why ~
This book is ideal for young ones who are timid or unsure of themselves as it reminds them that God is there for us all the time and sometimes going to adults or others for help is the best answer. I like the frog depicted throughout the story that follows Lizzy and the expressive artwork.

~ Why Not ~
Some readers may not care for books about lions or be fearful that they and baboons can attack others. Beginner readers may struggle with some of the tw0- and three-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
Lions and baboons living in their natural habitat have to be violent to survive. The story has the mother and child walking around unprotected, so it may give some children a false sense of security when around the predators.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a brief tale about learning that bravery is more than standing up for oneself but also asking for help from others, this is a good starting point.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am evaluating by choice.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

 

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

One Christmas Bear

One Christmas BearTitle: One Christmas Bear
Author & Illustrator: Anne Vittur Kennedy
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-9014-2

“Little acts of kindness, our friends and families dear,
Merry time together – gifts from God to last all year!”
Anne Vittur Kennedy ends her children’s book, One Christmas Bear.

~ What ~
At twenty pages, this cut-out board book with sparkles on its front cover targets children ages three to six years old. With no scary scenes, it is a nice story about counting animals at Christmastime. Full page color illustrations of the animals in the snow cover the pages.

Written in four-lines of rhyme with some complicated wording that cover two open pages, this story begins with an adorable polar bear finding a friendly pup on Christmas day. As the reader turns the pages, the counting of animals and birds frolicking in the snow goes up to ten, including mice, foxes, squirrels, rabbits, eagles, snowmen, caribou, ginger cookies, owls, candy canes, snowballs, sledders, skaters, stockings, parents, stars, and friends. The scenes are charming and expressive as they show the bear and his friends enjoying the holiday.

~Why ~
Having grandchildren, I like how this book is the type to cuddle up with them on a cold winter’s Christmas day as we look at the animals playing in the snow. With page numbers on the bottom right side the pages, the book helps young ones learn to count as they search for objects in the illustrations. With the repetition, it is an educational tool that will delight kids.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books that mention God may not approve of this book, but He is mentioned only once at the end. The book has little to do with the birth of Christ, but it does mention Christmas trees, snacks, and stockings. Due to the two- and three-syllable wording, it should be read out loud to beginner readers.

~ Wish ~
I prefer a Christmas book that promotes Jesus’s birth, but the animals depicted in this one are cute.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book to read during the holidays when it is cold or snowing outside, this is a good selection, but be aware it does not mention the main reason we celebrate Christmas.

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

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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

A Brush with the Beast

A Brush with the BeastTitle: A Brush with the Beast
Author: Richard Sones
Publisher: Richard Sones
ISBN: 978-0-692-8161-2

“God always takes care of his people, even in the middle of persecution,” Sarah is told in Richard Sones’s novel, A Brush with the Beast.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-and-ninety-two pages, this paperback is a story about good versus evil between God and the Devil through three main characters who are living during the end times. With profanity, taking the Lord’s name in vain, alcoholism, drug abuse, pagan worship, and other adult situations, it may not be appropriate for immature readers.

This tale involves business mogul, Nick Gooseberry, and his chronic pain that disappears when he agrees to be part of the Order, a demonic sect that controls the world, its politics, and its religions. While a young Muslim man takes his vengeance out on destroying America, a female methadone addict is set up and chosen to be one of several who help promote the Antichrist’s coming to power. Mentioning the mystical, microchipping, loss of constitutional rights, and the Queen of Heaven, it gives the author’s viewpoint of the future Tribulation.

~ Why ~
Those who are fascinated with the end times and how Christians will be punished and tortured while the Antichrist takes over the world may like this read. Readers will root for the protagonist who realizes God is always in control as she finds comfort quoting and reading Scripture. Others may be interested in the international expanse of terrorism and hatred toward Christ, yet they know the final blessed outcome of our Savior as King.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have or want a personable relationship with Jesus Christ may avoid this book. Some, like me, may be disturbed by the profane and occult content. Others who know prophecy in the Bible will find the book anticlimactic as the ending is open-ended, with little closure. I found the writing to be scattered with too many stereotypical characters and unexplained loose ends. The plan of salvation is given, but there is little mention of Christ dying on the cross and shedding His blood for our sins and the rapture of the church (I am a pre-trib believer; the writer may not be).

~ Wish ~
There were many grammar, capitalization, punctuation, and spelling errors; the book should be professionally edited. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a fast-paced story of one author’s viewpoint of the coming Tribulation, this may be a quick read, but I cannot recommend it mainly due to the profanity.

Rated 2.5 of 5 stars

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

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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

God Loves Me: My First Bible

God Loves Me, My First BibleTitle: God Loves Me
Author: Susan Elizabeth Beck
Illustrator: Lisa Mallett
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-75931-7

“It’s never too early for little ones to learn that ‘God loves me!’” states the back cover of Susan Elizabeth Beck’s children’s book, God Loves Me: My First Bible.

~ What ~
This unnumbered thirty-four-page board book with a padded front cover that includes glitter targets preschool-age to third-grade children who want a beginner’s Bible. Containing sixteen stories rewritten in rhyme from the Old and New Testaments, there are corresponding full-colored, fanciful illustrations. It would best be read out loud to beginner readers due to some of the complicated three syllable words.

After an ownership page, each short story covers two open pages with a title in bold and four rhyming lines with an ending about God’s love. With eight from each testament, the stories range from Adam and Eve, Joseph, Samuel, and Esther to Mary, the twelve disciples, little children, and the risen Jesus to name a few.

~ Why ~
I like that each story is short and to the point in rhyme so they can be memorized by a young child while providing the opportunity to discuss them further in detail. Including the “God loved …” ending to each reinforces to a little one that God is love and loves each of us. The pictures have enough detail to keep a child’s attention.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not believe in God and His Son may not be interested a book of Bible stories. Others may be concerned that the shortened stories do not exactly retell those in the Word of God, but they are concise. Some may be concerned regarding Daniel and the lions and Jesus dying on the cross, but there are no vivid pictures depicting the violent circumstances.

~ Wish ~
I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a children’s book that has shortened Bible stories told in rhyme with engaging illustrations, this is a good choice.

Thanks to Z-blog Squad for this complimentary book that I am freely evaluating.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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

Seeing the Unseen

Title: Seeing the Unseen
Author: Randy Alcorn
Publisher: Multnomah
ISBN: 978-0735290792

“Life on Earth matters, not because it’s the only life we have but precisely because it isn’t—it’s the beginning of a life that will continue without end,” Randy Alcorn pens in the introduction to his book, Seeing the Unseen: A 90-Day Devotional to Set Your Mind on Eternity.

At two-hundred-and-eight pages, this paperback that is meant to be read daily for three months targets those who want to focus on life with Christ for eternity. Using mainly the English Standard Version of the Holy Bible, also referenced are the CEB, GNT, NET, NIV, NLT, and Phillips. After a table of contents and introduction, the ninety devotions are followed by the author’s biography, information on a non-profit ministry, and notes.

The book is separated into ninety two-page devotions that start on the right side of the page with a day number. Each chapter has a title and short statement, followed by several paragraphs that begin with a topic related to the subject and sometimes referencing Bible verses. The devotion ends with perspectives from God of written-out Bible verses and God’s people, usually well-known pastors, evangelists, authors, speakers, or individuals. Every devotion includes an epm.org blog link for more discussion.

~Why ~
I love devotionals that do not have commentary of the writer’s personal experiences and appreciate that this one contains little. Instead, there are current day topics and ideas that are blended with a Biblical tone of what we do here on Earth affects us later in Heaven. Samples of the titles include Only One Way, Homesick for Heaven, The Master Artist, Delighting in Him, The Audience of One, The Brief Window of This Present Life, The Universe’s Greatest Tragedy, and Under Grace, Not Sin. Able to read each in under a few minutes, the devotions are short and to the point.

One devotion that stood out to me was Finding True Contentment for Day 59. The writer mentions the way to contentment is to see the present advantages of the phases we are in throughout our lives and to trust God’s purposes in our circumstances. Keeping away from idols helps us find true contentment through Christ. The written out Bible verses are from I Timothy 6:6 and 2 Corinthians 12:10, and Charles Spurgeon and Joseph Hall are quoted with further reading on the noted blog.

~ Why Not ~
Some may not like themed devotions so would pass on this book. Others may prefer longer or deeper devotionals that explain Bible verses or concepts in depth or only reading the Scriptures as their daily reading.

~ Wish ~
With the title mentioning eternity, it would be more beneficial if there were more explanations of what Heaven will be like for us that is more akin to the author’s expected writing.

~ Want ~
If you like devotionals that focus on day-to-day living as we anticipate a future eternity with Christ, this may be a good selection. Due to its limitation, it should be read daily along with the Bible.

Thanks to Blogging for Books for this complimentary book that I am reviewing freely.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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

Coloring Christmas Devotions

Title: Coloring Christmas Devotions
Illustrators: Lizzie Preston, Claire McElfatrick, and Suzanne Khushi
Publisher: Zondervan
ISBN: 978-0-310-08809-7

“Because of Christmas, Lord, we can be made new,” the ending prayer states in the book, Coloring Christmas Devotions.

~ What ~
Part of the Coloring Faith series, this ninety-six-page small paperback targets both young and old whose creativity and artistic interests enjoy focusing on Christ at Christmas. The book has thirty-one devotionals with Bible verses and prayers on the left side of the pages and black and white drawings on the right sides. Including a few Bible verses printed in a fancy font, the versions used are the ESV, HCSB, NKJV, NIV, and NLT.

Each devotion has a title with a written-out Bible verse and several paragraphs followed by a short prayer. Some topics include the stress of Christmas, family traditions, ornaments and lights, memories, jammies, and the birth of Christ. Colorists can fill the pages of simple to complex drawings while relieving stress and doodling as they read the short devotions on Christmas. The illustrations include animals, birds, Christmas decorations and trees, churches, ornaments, shepherds, kings, and the nativity to name a few.

~ Why ~
With the book being smaller in size than others, I like that the designs are well defined and easy to interpret. Focusing on the true Spirit of Christmas and the birth of Christ are important when it is such a stressful, busy time. I was glad to see no pictures of Santa or his sleigh.

My favorite was the devotional titled Real Christmas Trees about artificial ones, correlating them to being fake and artificial with our walk with Christ. The Bible verse is from Matthew 15:8 with the prayer about asking God to examine our hearts. The illustration is patterned holly.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not care for coloring or doodling will pass on this type of book. Some may not like that there are only a few pictures of Jesus being born and the shepherds or kings visiting our Savior. Due to the paper quality, gel pens, watercolors, and felt tip markers may bleed through to the other side, but colored pencils and crayons may not.

~ Wish ~
I wish there were more scenes about Christ’s birth such as the star, angels singing, and the manger than what is included. It would be helpful if the pages were perforated or printed further out from the binding so they could be removed and framed as gifts.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for an adult coloring book that centers on Christmas, this may work for you, but I expected more scenes that included Jesus and thicker paper.

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

Grammarly was used to check for errors in this review.

 

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

I’m Not a Scaredy Cat

Title: I’m Not a Scaredy Cat
Author: Max Lucado
Illustrator:  Shirley Ng-Benitez
Publisher: Tommy Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7180-7491-3

“I’m a big cat. I’m a strong cat. I’m not a scaredy-cat … except when:” Max Lucado writes in his children’s book, I’m Not a Scaredy Cat: A Prayer for When You Wish You Were Brave.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page oversized hardbound targets six to ten-year-olds who enjoy stories about overcoming fear by trusting in God. With no blatantly scary scenes, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers. The bright and expressive illustrations of a cat cover both sides of the pages with an easy-to-read font.

In this short story, a skittish cat is afraid of anything from a squeaking rubber ducky, loud marching band, cabana monkey, leaves falling, and a slippery slide to an elephant at the zoo sneezing, a creeping caterpillar, donut sprinkles, ticking clock, or the splashing rain. By saying a quick prayer to God that acknowledges He is nearby, the feline fears diminish, and he feels brave and reassured.

~ Why ~
This is a charming tale about relying on God when frightened. I like how cat faces its fears and calls on God when afraid. The drawings are descriptive and expressive.

~ Why Not ~
Some readers may not care for books about being afraid. Beginner readers may struggle with some of the two- and three-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
I hope sensitive or extremely emotional children do not acerbate their fears by learning of other concepts or ideas to fear by reading this book.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a short, happy read about a fearful cat depending on God, this is a keeper.

Thanks to BookLook Bloggers for this complimentary book that I am evaluating by choice.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

 

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

Picturing Heaven

Picturing Heaven: 40 Hope-Filled Devotions with Coloring PagesTitle: Picturing Heaven
Author: Randy Alcorn
Illustrator: Lizzie Preston
Publisher: Tyndale
ISBN: 978-1-4964-2527-0

“As you ponder these pictures and participate in the art, you’ll more fully appreciate Christ’s promise …“ Randy Alcorn writes in the introduction to his book, Picturing Heaven: 40 Hope-Filled Devotions with Coloring Pages.

~ What ~
A part of the Living Expressions collection, this ninety-six-page paperback targets those who enjoy contemplating on Heaven while having down time coloring. With forty illustrations, the large book has written-out Bible verses, devotions, and black and white drawings with already-colored gold sections. The NLT, CEB, ESV, GNT, NCV, NIV, and The New Testament in Modern English versions of the Holy Bible are referenced.

After a table of contents, the left sides of the pages have a title and written-out Bible verse followed by one paragraph by the author about an aspect, activity, or character of Heaven. The opposite pages are detailed artworks to complete, each containing some gold-filled highlights. The book ends with acknowledgments, author’s biography, a blank page for sketches, and a lined page for notes.

Topics on Heaven include the New Earth, New Jerusalem, Eden, multi-racial people, and worshipping Jesus as well as concepts of time, weather, pets, work, dancing, singing, and joyfulness to name a few. Many of the illustrations have adults, children, animals, birds, nature, buildings, and activities with decorative patterns to color.

~ Why ~
I cannot wait to go to Heaven to be with God and Jesus, so a book like this is apropos. I like that the written words are short and to the point about so many Heaven-related topics, while the charming illustrations are creative and engaging.

One of my favorite devotions was the one about remembering Christ’s sacrifice mentioned in John 20:26-27. The writer reiterates that when we are in Heaven, we will never forget our sins nailed Jesus to the cross and He shed His blood for us to live there for eternity.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ or are not looking forward to Heaven may not appreciate this book. Others may not care for coloring or doodling. Those who are avid colorers may be concerned the cardstock will bleed through to the other side if colored markers or paints are used.

~ Wish ~
It would be nice to add a short prayer after each devotional. I wish the book would lay completely flat.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a special gift to give that special person who has their eyes on Heaven and love to color, this will make a wonderful present.

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

Grammarly was used to check for errors in this review.

 

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Filed under ***** Great - A Keeper, If You Borrow It, Give It Back!, Arts & Crafts, Christian, Non-Fiction

The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey

Title: The Dishonorable Miss Delancey
Author: Carolyn Miller
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4452-4

“For how could a humble sailor ever hope to win a viscount’s daughter?” Ben ponders in Carolyn Miller’s novel, The Dishonorable Miss DeLancey.

~ What ~
Third in the Regency Brides A Legacy of Grace series, this one-hundred-and-ninety-six page paperback targets those who enjoy Christian romance in the historical setting of England in 1915. With topics of alcohol use, physical and potentially sexual abuse, and death, the book may not be appropriate for immature readers. The beginning has a modified family tree, and ends with author’s note, acknowledgments, and advertisements.

When twenty-five-year-old Clara DeLancey is tainted by scandal, she and her penniless viscount’s family move to Brighton, trying to forget the societal past of gossip, innuendo, and shame. On a dark windy night of the cliffs of Brighton, the once toast-of-the-ballroom is rescued by an injured navy captain, Benjamin Kemsley.

As both deal with their paths of guilt and misunderstandings, they wonder at the possibility of finding true love in each other in spite of their financial and social status upbringing.

~ Why ~
With a detailed explanation of the London season with the elite ton, Prince Regent’s Pavilion, and the beauty of the land, the story focuses on learning how to forgive and trust that God is in control and with us always. Miller does an excellent job showing the societal norms, insistence on family honor, and faith in the Almighty.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not like the Christian influence the book offers. In an era where gossip, name-dropping, and up-one-man-ship were rampant, the story sometimes gets bogged down on frivolity, yet that was the protocol of the day.

~ Wish ~
With this being the third book in the series, there may be those who may not remember some of the characters previously written about, especially since there is not an extended character list of them.

~ Want ~
If you like historical fiction during the nineteenth century in England when name and lineage matters significantly, this would be a good series. It would be best to read the prior books first to understand the updated story.

GRAMMARLY was used to check for errors in this review.

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