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

Arcade and the Golden Travel Guide

Title: Arcade and the Golden Travel Guide
Author: Rashad Jennings
Illustrator: Alan Brown
Publisher: Zonderkids
ISBN: 978-0-310-76743-5

“He wants the Triple T Token. He’s not going to get it. It belongs to me,” Arcade emphatically tells his friends in Rashad Jennings’s young adult novel, Arcade and the Golden Travel Guide.

~ What ~
The second in the Coin Slot Chronicles, this two-hundred-and-forty-page paperback targets those who enjoy magical time-traveling mysteries that contain Christian morals. With no profanity, the book is geared toward ages eight and older, especially tweens and preteens. The ending has fifteen discussion questions, acknowledgments, an excerpt from the next book in the series, and advertisements.

In this story based mainly in Virginia, young Arcade continues to time-travel with his sister using the Triple T Token. When they stumble on their parents being young and in love at a mini-golf course, they visit their previous hometown, trying to figure out why the entertaining location has fallen apart. With the help of Arcade’s friends, they travel to Egypt, Holland, India, the Golden Gate Bridge, Niagra Falls, and a hospital as they secretly repair the fun facility and are followed by someone who wants the magic token.

~ Why ~
This is an engaging, entertaining series that many third and fourth graders will enjoy and appreciate. I loved the way the author inconspicuously introduced topics such as choice, control, humility, generosity, and forgiveness without being preachy. The relationship dynamics between the kids are endearing and charming as the siblings watch out for each other and friends pitch in and help solve dilemmas.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like books that mention God, Jesus, praying, and the Bible may not like this read. While the book has references to Christianity, it does not offer the simple plan of eternal salvation. Others may find inconsistencies in some of the facts or the concept of time traveling through a glittered elevator unrealistic, but it is innocuous.

~ Wish ~
I thought the writer did a wonderful job connecting to his audience through the “dope” dialogue and interests of the age group targeted, but I was disappointed when he repeatedly used the supposedly cool word “namaste,” perhaps not realizing that its literal translation means “the divine in me bows to the divine in you,” which is based on Hinduism. Vulnerable young readers may now repeat the word, unaware that they are acknowledging false gods, not the One True God. I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like a series for young tweens and preteens who enjoy adventures, time-travel, and mysteries with an undertone of Christian morals, this would be appreciated by the young adult market, but I have marked it down a full point for possibly misleading others about false gods.

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

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2Hc35tp

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

One Big Heart

Title: One Big Heart
Author: Lindsey Davis with Beverly Davis
Illustrator: Lucy Fleming
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76785-5

“But the thing that matters most is something we can’t see. The touch of God that’s inside you and also inside me,” Lindsey Davis with Beverly Davis writes in her children’s book, One Big Heart: A Celebration of Being More Alike than Different.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page, oversized hardbound targets children ages four to eight years old who like to read stories about how God makes us unique yet the same. With no scary scenes, the book should be read out loud to beginner readers based on several three or more syllable words. Full-page detailed illustrations with expressive-looking young ones cover all pages.

After an ownership page, this story is told in rhyme about children at school who learn each are different yet similar. As the boys and girls notice their different skin tones, hair styles, and skills both in the classroom and on the playground, they also learn they are more alike than different in that they smile, move, run, jump, dance, and play together. As they discuss feelings and friendships, they learn the most important thing they have in common is that God is inside of us.

~Why ~
I like how this book is colorful and visually stimulating as each page has engaging illustrations that are fun and interesting while the rhyming words flow across the pages. Encouraging young readers to be aware of God is important.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not believe in God may avoid this book. Some children may have trouble accepting others, but this is a good way to overcome biases. Without explaining who God is, the Biblical aspect of accepting the eternal plan of salvation is missing.

~ Wish ~
With the book stating the concept that God is inside all of us, I wish it better explained the true God or Jesus and how we can “ask Him into our hearts.”

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a children’s book that focuses on children noticing what is the same and different among their peers, this one is acceptable. However, it may not convey how God’s “touch” gets inside of us.

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

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2Nf9Pup

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

The String

Title: The Strings
Author: Caleb Breakey
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3507-4

“I am your conductor. And that’s what you will call me,” the sinister puppetmaster dictates to his strings in Caleb Breakey’s novel, The String.

~ What ~
The first in the Deadly Games series, this three-hundred-and-twenty-page paperback targets those interested in contemporary Christian suspense. With no profanity, topics of physical and mental abuse, dying, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes acknowledgments and the writer’s biography with advertisements.

In this dark drama that is sometimes written in first person, Mark Haas has kept his past hidden from his girlfriend while being a university cop. But when he is sequestered to be one of the strings in a murderous plot designed by a person who knows all about him and others, many are forced to make choices of who lives or dies. With fear driving normal people to madness, the one in control leverages and toys with the will of unsuspected participants who all have hidden sins.

~ Why ~
This fast-paced read has a devious character who seems to always be one step ahead of those he has chosen and punishes for anyone who causes a knot in his plans. The story moves quickly along while the reader is pulled into the symphony of choice versus will, evil versus morals, and right versus wrong. I liked the protagonist’s determination and fortitude to search and destroy his enemy at any cost.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories of torture, murder, and twisted minds will not appreciate this book that involves a person who wants to control others. Some may not like the disturbing beginning or the graphic video depictions.

~ Wish ~
Although I liked the author’s writing style, I thought the ending was rushed and the unveiling of the conductor a bit unrealistic. I wish all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence. It would be ideal if the eternal plan of salvation were added.

~ Want ~
If you like a disturbing read of a person who would do anything to anyone to be in control, this one will keep you up at night, but it may not be for those who prefer innocuous, cushy, romantic suspense.

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

#DeadlyGamesTheString #CalebBreakey

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2SwGc8p

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

Light from Distant Stars

Title: Light from Distant Stars
Author: Shawn Smucker
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2851-9

“But especially, especially in regards to the death of my father,” Cohen pleads during his confession to his priest in Shawn Smucker’s novel, Light from Distant Stars.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-ninety-one-page paperback targets those interested in a Christian dramatic suspense. With no profanity, topics of abuse, adultery, dying, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes an excerpt of another book by the author, acknowledgments, and the writer’s biography with advertisements.

In this dark drama, middle-aged Cohen Marah is at a crossroads in life when he feels responsible for his father’s imminent death. After his ex-pastor dad is found in a pool of his blood at the funeral home where they work and live upstairs, the son must deal with the past to accept the future regarding dying. In reliving the unveiling of his parent’s sins and covering of his own, he spends days at his father’s hospital bedside, nightly escaping to a nearby church’s confessional, forcing him to face his fears and guilt.

~ Why ~
This book shows the heartbreak, emotional wilderness, and fear of death one goes through when losing a loved one. I appreciated the hymns of salvation, eternity, and Jesus’s love included that one can cling to for support. Since the book hones in on forgiveness of others and oneself due to life’s mistakes, it shows how guilt can eat away at the core of one’s soul.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories of dying or those that promote Christ is the answer to life’s complications may not like this book. Others may feel the story with Catholic undertones jumps around from past to present, including a strange Beast, two mystery children, and a dysfunctional family.

~ Wish ~
Although I liked the author’s writing style, I found the storyline somewhat confusing. It did not seem to answer all the questions, especially regarding Ava, a childhood friend who becomes a detective. It would be helpful if all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like tender but disturbing tales of dealing with the passing of a loved one while confronting the good and bad in a relationship, this read shows the process of overcoming the pain of the past. However, I found it a bit confusing when reminiscing the protagonist’s true or make-believe childhood’s events.

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

#ShawnSmucker

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2JT9t9o

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

Wooing Cadie McCaffrey

Title: Wooing Cadie McCaffrey
Author: Bethany Turner
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3522-7

“Well then, Cadie McCaffrey,  I think that’s just about the most romantic thing I have ever heard in my entire life,” the confused protagonist is told in Bethany Turner’s novel, Wooing Cadie McCaffrey.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-thirty-seven-page paperback targets those interested in contemporary Christian romance. With no profanity but the use of slang words such as heck and crap, topics of premarital sex may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes an excerpt of the author’s prior book, acknowledgments and the writer’s biography with advertisements.

In this quirky romantic tale, millennials Cadie and Will have been dating for four years without the promise of marriage to Cadie’s chagrin. Thinking that he is her one and only, she starts to question their relationship as she considers he no longer is in love with her as he climbs the corporate ladder where they both work. One who expects a happily-ever-after based on romantic movies, she misunderstands his intentions after they break the rules and she rejects him. With the help of his work cohorts, it is up to Will to win and woo her back, even if he is forced to look like a love-craved fool.

~ Why ~
I enjoy stories that are written in first person, and this one is partially from Cadie’s perspective. I like the author’s breezy writing style and references to movies, books, and songs of her generation (and some of mine). The book deals with love, sex, marriage, and relationships in a carefree platform that sometimes mention Christ and His forgiveness.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories of how unmarried Christians deal with disagreements, romance, and premarital sex may not like this read. Others may feel it does not focus enough on relying on God or going to Him for answers and help as there are no references to Scripture, just quick prayers to resolve ones’ problems. I found Cadie to be somewhat of a spoiled brat who was self-absorbed, never realizing many of the misunderstandings were her fault.

~ Wish ~
Although I enjoyed the author’s easy-breezy writing style, I found the main’s characterization often grating, where she is considered too perfect and wonderful by others. I prefer that all pronouns of God capitalized for reverence.

~ Want ~
If you like a romance between two young people in love who must mature by stepping back and reevaluating their relationship through mistakes and promises, this may be an innocuous read that is predictable.

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

#WooingCadieMcCaffrey #WooCaM

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2Q6gB4O

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

Homestead Friends: Trapper Loves His Daddy!

Title: Trapper Loves His Daddy
Author: Sheli Levi
Illustrator: Ros Webb
Publisher: Living Tree Press
ISBN: 978-1-7320355-8-4

“Although Trapper loves his momma, he spends all his time with his daddy. Sometimes it is like Big Bo has a shadow in the daytime because Trapper is always by his side,” Sheli Levi writes in her children’s book, Homestead Friends: Trapper Loves His Daddy!

~ What ~
This over-sized thirty-page paperback is book three in a series of five and targets four to ten-year-old children who like stories about dogs and family relationships. With no extremely scary scenes, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated wording.

In this short tale, a pup named Trapper is a mix of charm, personality, and looks, taking after both his parents. Looking up to his father, Big Bo, the canine follows him everywhere on the homestead, mimicking everything his daddy does. Whether the parent is drinking water at the pond, eating sweet peas from the garden, taking a nap on the porch, smelling the meadow’s flowers, watching the pastures, or curling up in a ball to sleep, the little guy is dutifully right next to him.

~ Why ~
This is a nice story about a child’s love for his parent and how he idolizes him, wanting to be just like his daddy when he grows up. I like that the Big Bo does not seem to mind that Trapper is there, by his side, throughout the day.

~ Why Not ~
Children who do not have pets or dogs may not appreciate the content of this book that promotes the love a child has for his parent. Others may not care for the illustrations as they seem rudimentary with some scenes having little detail. Beginner readers may struggle with the two and three syllable words or incomplete sentences that may teach them incorrectly.

~ Wish ~
The focus is mainly on the child loving his father, but there is no response or recourse from the dad that shows he loves his son. I wish the story included that God, our eternal Father, loves us too.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book that shows a son’s love for one of his parents, this may be a  nice series about dogs living on a homestead, but I felt there could have been more to it.

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

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

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

Settle My Soul

Title: Settle My Soul
Authors: Karen Ehman & Ruth Schwenk
Publisher: Zondervan
ISBN: 978-0-310-09540-8

“As busy women juggling lots of responsibilities just like you, we know how hard it can be to press pause and refresh your spirit,” Karen Ehman and Ruth Schwenk write in the introduction of their book, Settle My Soul: 100 Quiet Moments to Meet with Jesus.

~ What ~
A Pressing Pause Devotional, this two-hundred-and-fifty-six-pages canvas hardbound book targets those who are seeking a three-plus monthly devotional about being more remindful of Christ and what He has done for us. Using mainly the New International Version of The Holy Bible, also referenced are the AMP, ESV, CSB, KJV, and NLT. A green ribbon marker is attached.

After an ownership page, praises for the book, table of contents, and introduction, this contains one hundred devotions, ending with the authors’ biographies. Each chapter is two to three pages long with the number and title at the top of the page with a Bible verse or two written out. Several paragraphs in green print follow related to the topic. An applicable prayer is in pink at the end with one or two questions in green ink and several pink dotted lines to write down answers.

~Why ~
This is a lovely-looking devotional for a young Christian woman who wants and needs to spend a few minutes daily with the Lord after reading Scriptures. I like its prettiness, layout, and format of its contents. Some interesting topics discussed include Rethinking Solitude, Know the While Story, The Security of Self Control, Do Not Be Anxious, Find and Replace, Answer Envy, A Dime in My Pocket, Would You Follow You?, A House Full of Treasures, What Anger Reveals, and Pursue Joy.

One that stuck out in reading this book was #45, Everybody’s Got Something with Proverbs 19:11 ESV written out. The writer explains several things that irked her about her husband and how everyone has personalities, behaviors, or quirks that may irritate us, but by reading the Word of God, we can use good sense to slow down our anger. The prayer asks us to learn to let go of our loved ones’ missteps and ask Christ for forgiveness. The question is “Who sometimes bothers you with their behavior, and how can you overlook their offenses?”

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not want to get a book that focuses on spending more time with Him. While some may not mind the many references to the authors’ experiences, others like me do not relate to them. Some may not like the color font or small writing of the prayers.

~ Wish ~
If the book is to promote spending time with Jesus for a few minutes a day, this one has too many inferences to the authors’ lives. Since I am an older woman, I would prefer searching Scripture than reading about others. I wish there were more Bible verses and characters of the Word mentioned instead.

~ Want ~
If you like devotionals that often contain the authors’ experiences while reminding to spend quiet moments with God, this would be a nice gift for someone special, but please do not read it instead of the Bible, even if you are pressed for time.

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

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

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The Heart of a King

Title: The Heart of a King
Author: Jill Eileen Smith
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2240-1

“Sometimes foolishness is overconfidence in one’s own wisdom. And pride had changed everything,” the Teacher writes in the Prelude of Jill Eileen Smith’s Biblical fiction novel, The Heart of a King: The Loves of Solomon.

~ What ~
This four-hundred-and-twenty-five-page paperback targets those who enjoy an enhanced version of the Biblical story of King Solomon and four of his many wives. Containing no profanity or explicit sexual scenes, topics of murder and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. An author’s note, acknowledgments, biography, and advertisements complete the book.

In this loosely retold story taken from the Old Testament, Solomon marries his first wife and childhood friend before he becomes the king of Israel. An Ammonite who believes in Solomon’s God, Naamah is in love with Solomon and wants to be his only wife.

When Solomon’s father dies and Solomon becomes king, he marries Abishag, King David’s young wife, a Hebrew shepherdess who takes care of him before he dies. The marriage is not only to establish Solomon’s kingdom but also one based on love for one another.

Factitious Siti, the daughter of an Egyptian pharaoh, becomes another wife of Solomon as a political pawn to control Gezer. Although Solomon struggles with his new wife’s pagan foreign gods, he slowly allows her to keep her idols outside the city of Jerusalem.

Years later, Solomon is fascinated by Nicaula, the Queen of Sheba, who desires a husband and child yet cannot give up her status and position in her homeland. The two devise a way to love while not putting their countries in jeopardy.

All four of the marriages test Solomon as he looks toward God for answers. When he focuses on what wisdom can do for him and those he loves, he forgets the One who gave him the wisdom, later realizing the meaning of life is to fear God and keep His Word.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like fictionalized Bible stories may pass on this one as the author has used ample liberties to enhance the story. With the Queen of Sheba marrying Solomon and multiple added characters, the story is fabricated. Some may find the romantic love the king had for these four women repetitive in conveying although he supposedly loved them for different reasons.

~ Wish ~
I liked the detailed descriptions of life in Israel in the Old Testament, I found Solomon’s hunger for love and lust not what I expected compared to the Scriptures and wish the novel was more accurate (which may be hard since the Bible contains little information about his wives). With a plethora of characters, it would be helpful having a list at the beginning of the book.

~ Want ~
If you enjoy learning about King Solomon’s love of women in a fictionalized setting based loosely on Scripture, this historical story shows how the man became caught up in his wisdom while disobeying God’s law about marrying foreign wives and allowing them to worship their gods in Israel.

Thanks to Revell for this complimentary book that I am not obligated to review.

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

#TheHeartofaKing

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

The Book of Comforts

Title: The Book of Comforts
Authors: Caleb Faires, Rebecca Faires, Kaitlin Wernet, and Cymone Wilder
Publisher: Zondervan
ISBN: 978-0-310-45206-5

“… while all of our stories differ in circumstance, they don’t differ in the common goal: to find comfort in the God of the universe through the love letter He wrote for all of us,” Angie Smith writes in the foreword of the book, The Book of Comforts: Genuine Encouragement for Hard Times.

~ What ~
At two-hundred-and-twenty-four pages, this hardbound targets those who are seeking comfort and support after dealing with tragedy. After a foreword by Angie Smith and authors’ note, eighty-nine chapters cover various discussions of dealing with pain and sorrow by finding comfort in Christ. Using mainly the New International Version of the Holy Bible, the CEB, CSB, GW, KJV, and NKJV are also referenced. The ending includes a conclusion and the authors’ biography; a satin marker ribbon is attached.

Divided into five sections that concentrate on God alone, praise, dark places, restoration, and truth, the concept of comfort is reviewed through the writings of three individuals (the fourth author is the illustrator) who have suffered loss and have found encouragement through God and His amazing attribute. From one to three pages each, the chapters begin with a written out Bible verse, followed by several paragraphs about the topic. Full page large-letter poster-like inserts are spread throughout that are to bring encouragement to the reader.

~ Why ~
Most of us have had to deal with the sorrow, loss, and heartbreak of life, whether it is the death of a child, parent, or loved one. I like that this book mainly focuses on the positive while learning to deal with the pain, loneliness, and uncertainty by looking toward the Almighty as the answer.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not want to have a book such as this, but it may help give them peace as they deal with their issues. The book contains what I call “me” content, often being only about the writer’s experience while offering little relating to the reader or God and Scriptures. I found this particularly true of one of the writers.

~ Wish ~
Since this book is about God and how He is the best Comforter, I wish it contained more Scripture and how God answered the prayers of comfort and peace. Including personal information about likes, dislikes, childhood memories, and travels were hard to correlate to feeling God’s comfort. The pictures lacked vivid colors and seemed dull and flat.

~ Want ~
If you like a book that focuses on how three individuals sought God for comfort during trying times, this is a viable option that could be given as a gift to a loved one, but it may not be exactly what you are expecting.

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

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/2LfWTVH

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

Superstar Nutrition Glow Skincare Supplement for Women

NATURAL ANTI-AGING SKINCARE VITAMIN SUPPLEMENTS

~ What ~
Containing 30 supplements, these elongated clear veggie capsules with a light tan-colored powder inside are for women to help promote skin hydration, strengthen skin integrity, and contain an anti-wrinkle formula. The bottle states the dietary supplement should be taken 1 pill a day with 8 ounces of water and before a meal. The ingredients are 60 mg of Vitamin C and 100 mg of Phytoceramides Extract along with Cellulose and Rice Flower. The bottles were stamped Lot # PY305265and are best used by 03/2020.

~ Why ~
Now that I am in my 60s, my skin sags and I have plenty of wrinkles due to decades of the sun’s abuse. I appreciate that companies are trying to come up with ways to nourish and replenish aging skin. The pills are easy to swallow. Being produced in the United States at a GMP facility is a plus.

~ Why Not ~
Those that are skeptical of another “fountain of youth” vitamin supplement may avoid this product. Others may not appreciate that it takes 2-3 weeks to see any noticeable effects and that the bottle only contains one month’s supply.

~ Wish ~
Since this bottle contains only 30 capsules, it will last only a month. I wish more were included in the bottle.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a natural supplement that may help a woman look or appear younger, this may work for you after using several months, but I am on the fence about its value. I will be glad to update my review if I look 10 years younger in a month.

Thanks to Superstar Nutrition and KeepMeClub for this discounted product that I am under no obligation to review.

#SuperStarNutrtition #KeepMeClub #Phytoceramides #AntiAgingVitamins

This product can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2XTBeE9

 

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