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

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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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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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

Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole

Title: Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole
Author: Auralee Arkinsly
Illustrator: Julia Swezy
Publisher: Capture Books
ISBN: 978-1-951084-06-6

“We’ve each learned a lesson about the nature of things … Not every stranger can be a friend,” the little critter is told by her father in Auralee Arkinsly’s children’s book, Darling Hedgehog Goes Down a Foxhole.

~ What ~
This numbered forty-four-page paperback targets four to nine-year-old children who like stories about animals and befriending strangers. Being a three-chapter book, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers due to some complicated wording. Colorful but rudimentary illustrations are on each page.

In this short tale, a little hedgehog named Darling wakes up to find her parents missing so goes on a search to find them. When she falls down a hole and meets a fox, she tries all she can to friend the animal by helping out or doing exactly what it says. Only when the small spiny animal finds her parents in a precarious position does she realize that friendships may have the wrong intentions.

~ Why ~
This is a story about an innocent, naive creature who is beguiled by a fox for ulterior motives. The chapters are short and direct; the illustrations are easy to understand without providing too much detail.

~ Why Not ~
Children who are leary of strangers may become more fearful of them as the learn what intentions the fox has for the hedgehog. Some may get scared when it is discovered that the fox captures and imprisons small animals, later planning to eat them.

~ Wish ~
With this being a discouraging book about a fox tricking a hedgehog into doing what it wants, it did not address how the little animal easily forgot about its parents and never considered freeing the other imprisoned animals. Although the writer’s purpose may have been to be careful of strangers by stating not everyone can be a friend, it may establish insecurity and fear in trusting others.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a kid’s book that is about a hedgehog learning to be cautious when meeting strangers, this may work, but I think it could potentially frighten some children.

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

#DarlingHedgehog #AuraleeArkinsly #CaptureBooks #Bookcrash

This book can be found at https://amzn.to/30LIxik

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

Your Spark

Title: Your Spark
Author & Illustrator: Lisa Leonard
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76593-6

“Inside your heart there is a spark. It shines bright and true. It’s what makes you, you!” Lisa Leonard begins her children’s book, Your Spark: Celebrating the Brightest Part of You.

~ What ~
This thirty-two-page over-sized hardbound targets children ages four to eight years old who like stories about what makes them special. With no scary scenes, its focus is realizing that there is a spark inside that makes us the way we are.

In this short book that has broad, colorful illustrations, it concentrates on how God made each of us differently, with a unique spark inside us. Using designs of fireflies that glow, the book portrays that what is inside of you shines brightly for others to see and notice.

~ Why ~
This is a thoughtful book that promotes to look at the inside of a person, not on their looks or appearances. I like that it includes different nationalities, body types, and even those with disabilities. The book explains that the spark inside of someone makes them brave, clever, determined, gentle, kind, silly, and wise to name a few.

~ Why Not ~
Some may not a book that mainly focuses on oneself and no one else, although this may be helpful for an insecure, timid personality. Others may not like its reference to God, but His name is only mentioned once. A few may find some illustrations rudimentary with undescriptive backgrounds. Beginner readers may struggle with the three- and four-syllable words.

~ Wish ~
While I appreciate the concept that what is inside of us and how we treat others is more important than our outward appearance, I wish the book portrayed how God loves us no matter who we are and it is He that makes us shine brighter, not ourselves.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a book that encourages being the person you are meant to be by encouraging the inner you, this is a viable read for a young one.

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

#Zonderkidz #LisaLeonard #YourSpark

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2m6qa9r

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

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