Category Archives: *** OK – Don’t Love It, Don’t Hate It

How Much Money Do I Need to Retire?

Title: How Much Money Do I Need to Retire? 2nd Edition
Author: Todd Tresidder
Publisher: FinancialMentor
ISBN: 978-1-939273-06-2

“The amount of money you can afford to spend in retirement is dependent not only on your actual investment returns but also on the order of those returns,” Todd Tresidder writes in his book, How Much Money Do I Need to Retire: Uncommon Financial Planning Wisdom for a Stress-Free Retirement.

~ What ~
This two-hundred-and–twenty-six-page paperback targets those planning or getting ready to retire from work. After an introduction, the book is divided into three sections, ending with a conclusion, bonus material, afterword, glossary, and author’s biography. With a few black and white charts and numbered lists, bolded or italicized words are included.

The writer explains in the first section the smart way of conventional retirement planning, dividing the topic into five parts that discuss retirement costs, assumptions, essential questions, accurately estimating investment returns, and figuring out your “magical” retirement number. The other two sections cover obtaining a creative lifestyle and simplistic cash-flow planning.

~ Why ~
Although this book was published in late 2019, before the coronavirus and stock market fluctuations, I like that it advocates one should be aware of what is ahead as retirement approaches. Since I retired at age fifty (yet still maintain my small business) and my husband did two years ago, we heartily agree with the book’s many concepts about not taping into principal, assume plausible outcomes, and spending less than you need. I appreciate the details explaining the Monte Carlo calculator’s limitations, expectancy models based on valuations, diversifying with passive income, and scenario analysis.

~ Why Not ~
While the book is well-written, there is plenty of the writer’s referral to his early retirement and free online downloads or other books he has written (which does factor into his personal passive income suggestions). Some may be frustrated there are no charts or forms to fill out to obtain a magic number that technically does not exist. Those who only rely on their monthly pension and social security checks after retiring may panic over the potential of their dwindling funds not lasting. Others may prefer a traditional retirement planning with someone else doing all the footwork and monitoring it for them.

~ Wish ~
While reading this book, I noticed passive real estate and business incomes were often promoted as well as insurance and annuities. Since my husband and I were fortuitous in planning our retirements by paying off all debt including our house early and always living within our means, I did not find anything new in the book, only reinforcement that we made the right choices when it came to saving for retirement.

~ Want ~
If you are young and have years or decades to plan your retirement, this is a good read to help you understand how to save and be wise in your investments, but there is no full-proof way to ensure your wealth, especially with the current status of our economy in 2020.

Thanks to the author, Book Launchers, and Bookpleasures for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#HowMuchMoneyDoINeedtoRetire #ToddTresidder #FinancialMentors #BookLaunchers #Bookpleasures

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2Jp2Ag7

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Book Review, Business / Money / Education, Non-Fiction

Ishmael Covenant

Title: Ishmael Covenant
Author: Terry Brennan
Publisher: Kregel Publications
ISBN: 978-0-8254-4530-9

“But know this … the box has a mission of its own. Do not deny the box from its intended purpose,” the Gaon warns in Terry Brennan’s book, Ishmael Covenant.

~ What ~
The first in the Empires of Armageddon series, this three-hundred-and-twenty-page paperback targets those who enjoy political Christian suspense involving the Middle East. With no profanity except for the use of the word hell, topics of torture, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The beginning has a map and list of characters, while the ending includes acknowledgments, author’s notes, and an excerpt to the next book in the series.

In this read, Dipolocatic Secret Serviceman Brian Mullaney is banished to guarding the US ambassador in Israel, a man who has recently been given a special Jewish box that contains a centuries-old prophecy about the coming Messiah and destroys anyone who touches it. It is a race to get the unique box safely to a Jewish synagogue before Turk, a mysterious man, gets it first.

~ Why ~
I appreciate books about the future, especially if they involve the second coming of Jesus Christ. While this one is the first in a series, it shows how the Middle East is lined up for changes when the antichrist evolves and the Tribulation begins. I liked the portrayal of the main character and his struggles personally and spiritually.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like Christian-faith based novels or do not have a personal relationship with Jesus will not appreciate this book or care for its simple plan of eternal salvation. Others may already be aware of the Old Testament predictions, the history of the Middle East, and Biblical end-time prophecies.

~ Wish ~
While including detailed historical background information, the story often gets bogged down to the point the reader wants to skip sections if they already know about it. I found its unsatisfying ending abrupt, although I know it is only the first in its series.

~ Want ~
If you love a suspenseful and political read involving the Middle East, this first book in a series about its potential future may interest you, but I struggled to get through it and felt no closure at its rushed ending.

Thanks to the author, Bookpleasures, and Kregel Publishing for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#IshmaelCovenant #TerryBrennan #KregelPublications #Bookpleasures

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2WSplAV

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

Chasing the White Lion

Title: Chasing the White Lion
Author: James R. Hannibal
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3578-4

“Welcome to the Jungle. Take care you are not eaten,” Talia and her elite team are warned in James R. Hannibal’s novel, Chasing the White Lion.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-eighty-five-page paperback is targeted toward those who enjoy a suspenseful thriller involving CIA agents, master thieves, and a team working together to bring down a syndicate boss. With no profanity, topics of violence, kidnapping, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers.

As a page-turner, this lightly Christian-based tale focuses on Talia Inger, a CIA agent who has an eidetic memory and recently turned her life over to the Lord. With the help of a wheelman, she and a grifter, spy, thief, chemist, and hacker band together to be invited into the inner circle of a high-crime organization run by the White Lion and the Archangel in what they call the Jungle, a game of deception with high stakes involving thalers, arms deals, and child refugee kidnappings. As the highly-trained group chases down their marks, Talia must learn to lean and trust her rogue tribe and, most importantly, God.

~ Why ~
I like reading worldwide suspense that involves a female protagonist who has to deal and overcome her past as she relies on Christ. The story is fast-paced, with the band of misfits traveling from the United States to Russia, Africa, the Czech Republic, the Greek Islands, and Thailand to uncover a deadly crowdsourced crime syndicate.

~ Why Not ~
Those who are not followers of Christ and do not like stories about international crime blended with the underlying emotional impact of child trafficking may not appreciate this story. Others may tire of the bantering of the teammates, far-fetched scenarios, and limited relying on God.

~ Wish ~
Although I liked how Talia learned to depend on the Almighty through prayer, I felt the author missed the perfect opportunity to give the eternal plan of salvation. I found some of the team members’ quibbling and joking misplaced. Due to the plethora of characters, it would be ideal to include a list of them at the beginning of the book. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you are a fan of current-day international intrigue and suspense involving an eclectic group of clandestine professionals going after the bad guys, you may appreciate this read, but I found it confusing and complicated from start to end.

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

#Revell #JamesRHannibal #ChasingtheWhiteLion

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2wBS95M

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

Collision of Lies

Title: Collision of Lies
Author: Tom Threadgill
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3650-7

“You’ll see. Everybody lies, either intentionally or because of their skewed point of view. The witnesses. The suspects. Even the victims sometimes,” Amara is reminded in Tom Threadgill’s novel, Collision of Lies.

~ Wha
This four-hundred-page paperback targets those who enjoy a suspense story about a school bus traffic accident that may have been covered up. With no profanity, topics of exhuming bodies, murder, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes an excerpt from the next author’s book, biography, and advertisements.

In this tale based in SanAntonio, Texas, thirty-two-year-old policewoman Amara Alvarez wishes she could be promoted from stolen property to homicide, especially when she learns a local mother recently received a text from her son, who was supposedly killed in a bus accident three years ago. As the detective tries to uncover the truth about the incident and if the boy may still be alive, she puts her life and others in danger.

~ Why ~
This is an interesting read for those who like mysteries involving how the police handle local, federal, and international situations involving kidnapping, especially when they concern young ones. I appreciated the last third of the book tracking down the culprits and what had to be done to solve the problem.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like novels about children possibly dying may want to avoid this book. Others may find the often bantering between the protagonist and several of her co-workers campy or some of the resolutions skeptical. Some may consider the storyline predictable.

~ Wish ~
I found the first half of the book a struggle to get through due to its unnecessary filler content involving gym workouts, Downton Abbey, and innocuous flirtations between a few characters that were never resolved. If these were limited, it would have held my attention more to get to the ending.

~ Want ~
If you want a suspense thriller about complicated lies covering up a crime in a Texan town that takes you to Mexico, this may be a decent read, but I struggled to complete it.

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

#Revell #TomThreadgill #CollisionofLies

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2UkUAmY

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

Love You, Love You

Title: Love You, Love You
Written by: Mary Hassinger
Illustrator: Alison Brown
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76841-8

“’Love You, Love You,’ Mama squeaked. Into her nest she quickly peeked. Sleeping babies softly snore. ‘I’ve never felt such love before,’” Mary Hassinger rhymes at the beginning of the children’s book, Love You, Love You.

~ What ~
This twenty-page board book with rounded corners targets children ages three years old and older. With no scary scenes, it focuses on animals and their families as they go to bed.

After a presentation page to fill out, this cute tale told in rhyming format shows an animal mother, father, grandparents, aunt, uncle, and siblings showing love as they put their charges into bed. The animals include mice, bears, snakes, dogs, chickens, ducks, cats, and frogs.

~Why ~
This is a nice story for those who like bedtime reads about animals getting snuggly and cozy as they hit the hay. I like the pretty illustrations and sleepy-looking critters that are calm and serene.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do care to read to their young ones when they get tucked in bed may have no interest in this short tale. Others may find it too sophomoric in content, as it only has animals in their sleeping areas.

~ Wish ~
I wish this book had more than the families simply going to bed with four-line rhymes and was more realistic to animals’ bedtime rituals. For example: The Nana snake makes sure all her grandchildren are kissed and then turns off all the lights, yet it could have been more engaging if the illustration was in a dark den than has no lamps in it.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a nice bedtime story about animals, this may satisfy your child’s interest, yet I do not think it will hold our grandchildren’s attention for long.

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

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/35M62v0

#Zonderkidz #ZblogSquad #AlisonBrown #LoveYouLoveYou #MaryHassinger

 

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Animals / Pets, Book Review, Childrens, Christian

FuturePlusX Christmas Hat Beanie

COLORFUL LED LIGHT-UP SNOWMAN CAP

~ What ~
Made of 100% acrylic, this knitted Christmas beanie that has a snowman with trees and snowflakes comes with LED lights that can be turned on or off. In a blue with a yarn ball on top, it measures 9.5 inches tall and 8.3 inches wide. Supposedly included are 2 CR2032 batteries, with only one to be used at a time. No care or cleaning instructions are added.

~ Why ~
‘Tis the season for fun and cuteness with this hat that I know my adult son will enjoy wearing while we open Christmas presents this year. I like how its low-energy battery lights up to 70 hours.

~ Why Not ~
Some may not like that the online hat shows mostly a sky blue color, yet the one I received was a navy blue. Others may think it is not wide enough to put on the head, but the knitted fabric has a little stretch to it. The LED lights are only on the front of the hat.

~ Wish ~
It would be ideal if the online description were written better as it states it is red in color and there are typos. There was no extra battery included in my order nor a way to insert it into the hat.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a Christmas beanie that will get attention, this would be an inexpensive choice but be leary that the color may not be what is pictured and the extra battery may be missing.

Thanks to FuturePlusX for this discounted product that I am under no obligation to review.

#RankBoosterReview #SponsoredbySally #FuturePlusX #ChristmasHatBeanie

This item can be found at https://amzn.to/2rvefVl

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Product Reviews

A Very Fiona Christmas

Title: A Fiona Christmas
Author & Illustrator: Richard Cowdrey
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76773-2

“It was in that moment that Fiona finally understood. Christmas is friends and fun and snow and lights and trees … and love!” ends Richard Cowdrey’s children’s book, A Very Fiona Christmas.

~ What ~
At thirty-two pages, this oversized hardbound with a front cover that has glitter targets children ages four to eight years old. With no scary scenes, it is a nice story about one’s interpretation of the meaning of Christmas, experienced through the eyes of Fiona, a charming hippopotamus. Containing some complicated wording, it would be best read out loud to beginner readers.

In partnership with the Cincinnati Zoo, this story is about Fiona, a young hippo who lives at the zoo who is trying to understand the meaning of Christmas. As the animals start celebrating the holiday by talking about presents, decorations, trees, and more, Fiona slides down hills with penguins, plays with polar bears, and enjoys the festivities, but she does not understand the holiday. On Christmas morning the animal befriends Chloe, a koala, who is not given a Christmas stocking. Fiona lovingly gives the critter her favorite scarf as a gift and introduces her to others, later realizing that giving is the reason for Christmas.

~Why ~
This is a charming story with an adorable baby hippo who learns the value of friendship and giving. I like the engaging, interesting illustrations that include other zoo animals. The idea of giving gifts instead of receiving them is important to teach to young ones.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not care for these large animals or zoos may not be interested in this book. Others, such as Christians like me, may not like that there is no reference to the real reason for the season: the birth of Jesus Christ.

~ Wish ~
While I loved looking at Fiona and her cuteness, I wish the book explained the spiritual background and why we celebrate Jesus and His birth.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a beautifully illustrated children’s book about a thoughtful hippo named Fiora that has no mention of Christ being born, this may be for you, but I marked it down as I think it missed the point of the Real Reason to the holiday.

Thanks to Z-Blog Squad for furnishing this complimentary book that I am freely reviewing.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2NNxDE7

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

NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers: Polar Exploration Edition

Title: NIrV Adventure Bible for Early Readers: Polar Exploration Edition
Features by Lawrence O. Richards
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-72746-0

“Embark on a fun, exciting trek through God’s Word with the NIr4V Adventure Bible for Early Readers: Polar Exploration Edition, the same trusted Adventure Bible content in a frosty new theme,” the back jacket states.

~ What ~
At fifteen-hundred-and-eighty-four pages, this hardbound targets children ages six to ten years old who want their own Bible and like looking at polar designs. With added inserts, sidebars, illustrations, and maps, it is the New International Reader’s Version with full-color additions.

With almost two dozen thicker insert pages, their topics include how to use the Bible, a list of famous people, the Ten Commandments, Bible themes, Old Testament prophets, the Love Passage, famous children, how to pray, what is faith, the life of Christ, getting to know Jesus, how to be a Christian, and the twelve disciples to name a few.

~ Why
With book introductions explaining the who, why, what, and when, this version is a learning tool for young children. I appreciated the highlighted sections that concentrate on themes such as Words to Treasure, Did You Know?, People, or Life in Bible Times, and Live It! It was thoughtful to have the ending include a subject index, dictionary, charts, and maps similar to regular Bibles.

~ Why Not ~
This book should be cherished by the holder so giving it to a toddler or a young child who does not understand its value would not be ideal. Some may wonder how adding polar illustrations and designs have anything to do with the Word of God. The paper is thin, so often the words and designs show through which may be a challenge. Young readers may struggle with the two- and three-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
Being a fan of the King James Version, I wish this book was available in that format also. I do not understand how including illustrations of polar animals and the artic correlates to the Bible as only visual pictures are included. It would be helpful if the paper were a little thicker for viewing purposes.

~ Want ~
If your young child is old enough to get his or her first Bible, this is a thoughtful choice as it promotes reading God’s Word and has additional information that will engage and encourage learning about God and His love. However, the added polar designs may distract a reader.

Thanks to Z-Blog Squad for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#AdventureBible #Zonderkidz #PolarExpeditionEdition #Zondervan

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/33QDf7b

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

NIrV Adventure Bible Book of Devotions: Polar Exploration Edition

Title: NIrV Adventure Bible Book of Devotions for Early Readers: Polar Exploration Edition
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76509-7

“From the artwork, biblical truths, and hands-on activities, you will have a polar adventure,” the introduction states on Zonderkidz’s book, NIrV Adventure Bible Book of Devotions for Early Readers: Polar Exploration Edition: 365 Days of Adventure.

~ What ~
At three-hundred-and-eighty-four pages, this hardbound targets children ages six to ten years old who want a daily devotional regarding the Bible with a polar twist. The New International Reader’s Version is used. A Scripture and topical index complete the book.

With three-hundred-and-sixty-five devotionals, each numbered page has a title and written-out Bible verse or two followed by a short adventure story, usually asking a question first, followed by a few paragraphs regarding how the topic correlates to God and His Word. There are repeated illustrations of polar animals and artic scenery throughout the pages. The ending has a prayer, challenge, or activity.

~ Why ~
Emphasizing the Word of God to be read daily, this devotional for young ones is an ideal way to stimulate day-to-day reading. Although most of the stories have nothing to do with polar subjects, they draw the reader in, hopefully engaging them to read about knowing God better. I appreciate the included suggested activities and prayers.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not understand the purpose of reading a daily devotional over a year. Some may wonder how the written topics do not contain any expedition subjects yet have repetitive polar animals, arctic outposts, and icy landscape illustrations on the pages. Young readers may struggle with the two- and three-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
One suggestion I have is to include more stories that are already in God’s Word. This may not stimulate a young reader, but it would be more of a devotional about knowing God more. With nothing to do with a written polar exploration, I see no connection between it and the devotions yet appreciate its focus on Jesus. I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If your early elementary school-age child wants a daily devotion that will draw them closer to the Lord, this would be acceptable, but there is little correlation to polar events or cold-climate animals (which are rarely mentioned in the Bible). Often I feel the devotions could have included polar ideas or appropriate designs to match the day’s content (example #313 titled God’s Wings is about flying and mama birds yet the illustration shows white huskies).

Thanks to Z-Blog Squad for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#AdventureBible #Zonderkidz #PolarExpeditionEdition #Zondervan

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/33JTaUu

 

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Filed under *** OK - Don't Love It, Don't Hate It, Animals / Pets, Book Review, Childrens, Christian

5-Minute Adventure Bible Stories: Polar Exploration Edition

Title: 5-Minute Adventure Bible Stories: Polar Exploration Edition
Content: Catherine DeVries
Illustrator: James Madsen
Publisher: Zonderkids
ISBN: 978-0-310-72970-6

“But the adventure isn’t over. The most important thing has yet to happen …Jesus is coming back!” the ending states in Catherine DeVries’s book, 5-Minute Adventure Bible Stories: Polar Exploration Edition.

~ What ~
Part of the Adventure Bible series, this one-hundred-and-ninety-two-page hardbound targets children ages four to eight years old who are looking for quick Bible stories that can be read in five minutes or less and like illustrations of a few polar animals. Using wide-sweeping, full-color, full-page artwork, it references the New International Version of the Bible. The beginning has a table of contents, followed by thirty-four stories and ending with an advertisement.

In this oversized book with a padded cover, there are seventeen stories taken from the Old Testament and seventeen from the New Testament. With each covering four to six pages, the well-known stories range from Creation, Moses, Gideon, and Esther to Jesus’s birth, miracles, death, and resurrection to name a few. At the end of each story is a scroll with an adapted Adventure Discovery and Words to Treasure.

~ Why ~
Many young children love to read or be read a Bible story at bedtime. I love how this book is laid out with detailed, realistic characters and scenery while the paragraphs are written in a black font over part of the background. The stories are told simply but contain enough facts to understand and comprehend. Including the ending of each story with a fact or tidbit and a written out Bible verse is helpful.

~ Why Not ~
For those who want nothing to do with learning about God and the Bible, this would not be a good choice. Although there is no explanation of Mary’s virginity, the plan of eternal salvation of Jesus shedding His blood on the cross for our sins and rising again is mentioned. Some young ones may be frightened seeing the depictions of angry men and Jesus being crucified. Many key stories are missing such as David and Goliath, Jonah and the great fish, and Daniel in the lions’ den.

~ Wish ~
With the theme supposedly about a polar expedition, only the front and back cover and first few pages depict the regional animals so there no frosty polar accents within its contents as suggested on the back jacket. With no exploration content, it appears to be misleading; even though I appreciate its stories, I have marked it down considerably. I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If your preschooler to early elementary school-age child wants to read more vivid stories from the Bible, this would be a nice idea, but there is little correlation to polar events or cold-climate animals (which are rarely mentioned in the Bible).

Thanks to Z-Blog Squad for furnishing this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

#AdventureBible #Zonderkidz #CatherineDeVries #JamesMadsen #Zondervan

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/35KUicz

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