Category Archives: ** Think Twice – I Didn’t Like It

Christmas in Winter Hill

Title: Christmas in Winter Hill
Author: Melody Carlson
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3610-1

“December was right around the corner. And Winter Hill was not a place to shirk from Christmas,” Krista considers in Melody Carson’s novel, Christmas in Winter Hill.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-seventy-six-page hardbound targets those interested in a romantic Christmas story. With no profanity or too adult situations, topics of Santa Claus may not be appropriate for those who do not believe in the concept. The ending includes the writer’s biography with advertisements.

In this quaint holiday read, Krista and her eight-year-old daughter have moved to a small town in Washington where the single parent lands a job as the city manager. Since it is right at the beginning of the Christmas season, the mother dreads the upcoming holiday due to her lonely past while the daughter looks forward to it, even entering into a writing contest. Through newfound friends, especially contractor Conner, Krista not only learns not to be afraid of the holiday, but she finds how loved she is by the community.

~ Why ~
This is a quick read that shows how a small town bands together to celebrate Christmasville. I like how the residents all joined together to work on the project and were forgiving when they were in the wrong.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories about Christmas that focus on Santa may prefer to avoid this book that never mentions the Real Reason of Christ’s birth. Others may get irritated on the Hallmark happily-ever-after story and that prayer is mentioned as fleeting moments.

~ Wish ~
Although I liked the author’s writing style, I found the book rather disappointing in that Jesus was mentioned only one time – there was no nativity scene, wise men, shepherds – nothing that related to the basis of Christmas – only made-up, commercialized seasonal topics. When only half of Romans 8:28 is mentioned, the book misses the opportunity to explain that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”

~ Want ~
If you like a cutesy-wootsey Christmas tale with all the right fixings and favorites, this may be for you, but I cannot recommend it due to is total lack of the True Meaning of Christmas.

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

#Revell #ChristmasinWinterHill #MelodyCarlson

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/30lC6Cm

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The Berenstain Bears: The Trouble with Tryouts

Title: The Berenstain Bears: The Trouble with Tryouts
Authors and Illustrators: Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76783-1

“Sister learned something very important that day. Things can go from bad to worse. But they can also get better. Sometimes they can even go from bad to great,” the ending states in Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain’s book, The Berenstain Bear: The Trouble with Tryouts.

~ What ~
An Early Reader Chapter Book, this numbered ninety-six-page paperback targets children six to ten years old, especially those that like a short story of the well-known family of bears. With no profanity or scary scenes, it is a chapter book with a few black and white expressive illustrations. Due to some complicated wording, it would best be read out loud to beginner readers. An excerpt to another book in the series is added.

This brief tale is about small-statured Sister wanting to be on the school’s soccer team but cannot get the attention of the coach. Because of her diminutive size, the young bear is offered the job as the team’s manager, which she must pick up balls, pass out water, and collect dirty towels and uniforms. Being repeatedly bullied by older team players, she picks up the balls with a kiddie wagon and accidentally spills a bucket of water on herself. It is only when she gets angry and kicks the bucket hard that the coach acknowledges her skills and lets her play on the team where she scores the winning goal.

~ Why ~
For years, the Berenstain Bears have filled Christian homes with their wholesome, morally-promoted, and God-focused stories. I love that the books have a similar pattern of the bears facing an issue and learning to deal with it; this one concentrates on bullying and not getting everything you want instantly. The illustrations are descriptive and interesting for the age group.

~ Why Not ~
This story is not in the usual Berenstain format in that there is little reference or reliance on God as it only concentrates on one’s capabilities. A few readers may find some scenes stereotypical, such as the coach being on her cell phone and the teammates’ constant mocking. Some may not appreciate that the main character, although made fun of by her teammates, whines, contemplates revenge, and ends up being physically angry, yet she is awarded for her behavior without considering that God can deal with the bear’s attitude and actions.

~ Wish ~
Only mentioning once that the coach gives a pregame prayer, it would have been more apropos if  Sister’s parents took the time to pray with her or show her that God is there for her; this was not included, not even a Bible verse mentioned like prior books. I was disappointed that the story rewarded the protagonist for her anger by getting on the team instead of dealing with any repercussions for her outbursts.

~ Want ~
If you or your child like the Berenstain Bears series, this may be another one for the bookshelf, but I am sorry; I cannot pass it on to our six-year-old granddaughter as its undertones convey to have a tizzy fit to get your way without suggesting how God can help you when dealing with taunting peers.

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

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/33I2qcP

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

May It Be So

Title: May It Be So
Authors: Justin McRoberts & Scott Erickson
Publisher: WaterBrook
ISBN: 978-0-525-65307-3

“Prayer, at its heart, is about the love of God. May it be that nothing, including prayer, stands in the way of your knowing that love,” the introduction states in Justin McRoberts and Scott Erickson’s book, May It Be So: Forty Days with the Lord’s Prayer

~ What ~
At one-hundred-and-twenty-eight pages, this paperback devotional targets those who want to focus on the famous Lord’s prayer and how it can impact relationships connecting with God. Using mainly the New International Version of the Holy Bible, also referenced is the New King James Version

After an introduction, the book is organized into four elements of guided prayers, contemplative imagery, mediations, and suggested practices. By dividing the Bible verses of the prayer into seven sections, there are several pages correlating them to personal experiences by the authors, each followed by five “May I” one-to-two sentence prayers with illustrations that are completed with a “Grant me” saying.

~Why ~
This book would be best for a young person or new believer in Christ with its forty short, to-the-point prayers. Many may like the personal stories told by the authors about their lives, children, and viewpoints.

Some of the prayers I appreciated include:
May I offer help far more readily and joyfully than I offer criticism.
May those I love know it unquestioningly.
May I offer my memory as a gift to those I love so I can call them back to themselves when they forget.
Grant me, once again, assurance of Your presence and love.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ may not want to get a book that is about the Lord’s prayer. Many may not like the format or content of this book as it seems the prayers are rudimentary and often the illustrations do not relate to them.

~ Wish ~
I am sorry, but I did not get this book at all. It could be that I am in my sixties, yet I found little content about what the Lord’s prayer means or what Jesus says about it in other parts of the Bible. I consider this an “I book,” meaning it is all about the writers. Of the seven sections that divided the Lord’s prayer, the correlating topics were about therapy, baseball, an airplane flight, gospel bead bracelets, a son breaking an item, a left-aside child, and a Halloween costume. While the “Grant I” prayer is to God, I found only 1 of the “May I” prayers mentioned His Son – most others were “all about me.”

~ Want ~
If you like the Lord’s prayer broken down into two author’s viewpoints without too much detail or prefer one-two sentence prayers that could be applied to almost any religion, you may appreciate this read, but I cannot recommend it.

Thanks to WaterBrook & Multnomah Launch Team for this complimentary book that I am under no obligation to review.

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2YM2Lw4

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

CalMyotis Baby Socks with Sayings

4 PACK PAIR OF FUN UNISEX BABY SOCKS

~ What ~
Made of cotton, this pack of 4 pair of socks are for male or female newborns and toddlers. The pairs come with 4 funny sayings made of an anti-slip material on the soles of the feet. Arriving in a designer gift box with a tissue and card, they come in cream, tan, gray, and mustard colors. Instructions on the box state they can be put in the washing machine and air dried.

~ Why ~
With another baby granddaughter arriving in a couple of months, we know she will need socks to keep her little feet warm and protected. I like that these socks are long so come to the calf area with a ribbed design. The ones received had these words on their bottoms:

50% Mom 50% ~ Dad 100% awesome
Hold me a little longer ~ Rock me a little more
When you see my bottle ~ Bring me some milk
DON’T LEAVE ME ALONG ~ UNLESS YOU WANT ME CRY

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like putting socks on their babies may avoid this item. Others may not appreciate that there are misspellings and poor grammar on one of the pairs of socks (should be DON’T LEAVE ME ALONE ~ UNLESS YOU WANT ME TO CRY).

~ Wish ~
I wish online had the written out sayings as they are vaguely mentioned, but this may call to attention the writing errors. It would help if online stated better descriptions (no blue color & foot size), what they were made of, and care instructions. Although I liked the quality and presentation of the socks in a gift box, I was disappointed that one pair will need to be discarded due to its poor writing so now I cannot give the set as a gift.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a cute shower present for a newborn that will get some smiles, these may be a nice selection, but I would not recommend buying them based on the one pair that has incorrect wording on both socks.

Thanks to CalMyotis for this discounted product that I am under no obligation to evaluate.

#RankBoosterReview #Sponsored by CalMyois #CalMyotis #cutebabysocks

This product can be purchased at https://amzn.to/30sg8Pe

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Rise of the Mystics

Title: Rise of the Mystics
Author: Ted Dekker
Publisher: Revell
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3599-9

“I was the 49th Mystic, and I was searching for the Five Seals of Truth before the Realm of Mystics could be destroyed,” Rachelle remembers in Ted Dekker’s novel, Rise of the Mystics.

~ What ~
Part two of two in the Beyond the Circle series, this four-hundred-and-eighteen-page paperback targets those who enjoy futuristic mystical fiction with other-worldly characters and analogies to Christianity. Using slang words such as crap and heck, topics of dream-control, imprisonment, torture, and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending has the author’s biography and advertisements plus Talya’s Journal on the Forgotten Way. Using mainly the New American Standard Bible, the ABPE, BLB, ESV, HCSB, ISV, KJV, NHEB, and NIV are also referenced.

In this sequel to the first book that is set in the future on two worlds that are two-hundred years apart, Rachelle continues to travel between the Earth and Other Earth whenever she dreams to overcome Vlad Smith and his evil plans. As she deals with two worlds of polarity, she surrenders herself to loving without judgment as her memory gets wiped in one world and she turns into one she abhors in another in her quest to uncover the fourth and fifth seal to save the Realm. It is only until she learns True Love that she can save those around her and herself.

~ Why ~
This is a sci-fi fantasy complete with good and evil, love versus hatred, and acceptance with understanding. The author writes with vivid detail, often in first person from the protagonist’s view of having forgotten who she is and what she needs to do. It promotes that true love holds no record of wrong and how hatred is devastating. I appreciated it contains a recap of the first book at its beginning.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like futuristic fiction that involves mysticism, allegory, and fantasy will pass on this read. Some may feel the book gets complicated with two ongoing worlds that do not track as well as the first book. Others may find its connection to Scripture not completely Biblical, sometimes confusing and conflicting.

~ Wish ~
Having read the prior book, I found this one even more of a challenge as it includes out-of-context Biblical theory and sometimes randomly. Some may question if it endorses an accurate plan of eternal salvation as there was no asking forgiveness of sin, Jesus shedding His blood on the cross, or His resurrection but more of a “follow your heart – all is love” concept. Although I liked some of both worlds’ characters, I found the conclusion baffling regarding universal redemption and the journal’s interpretations and applications sometimes misrepresenting. Due to stretching the Bible to accommodate the story and vice versa, I agreed with Vlad telling Aaron and David on page 68, “You must know by now that if you torture any scripture long enough, you can get it to say whatever you want.” I prefer all pronouns of God capitalized for reference.

~ Want ~
If you like a futuristic book about True Love in two dark worlds, this may interest you, but I found it too confusing, rambling, and perhaps distorted from Biblical theology so cannot promote it as Christian fantasy.

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

#RiseoftheMystics #BeyondtheCircle

This book can be purchased at https://amzn.to/2Yr3NsD

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Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel

Title: Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel
Author: James Markert
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
ISBN: 978-0-7852-1909-5

“Rumor is, at the Tuscany Hotel, you forget all your worries, so your creativity can thrive,” Valerie is told in James Markert’s novel, Midnight at the Tuscany Hotel.

~ What ~
This three-hundred-and-sixty-eight-page paperback is targeted toward those who enjoy a mystical read about memory, forgetting the past, and accepting outcomes of life. Using the slang word darn, topics of physical abuse and death may not be appropriate for immature readers. The ending includes a note from the author, acknowledgments, twelve discussion questions, another book excerpt from the writer, and the author’s biography.

Set in California after World War II, this story involves shell-shocked Vitto Gandy who returns home from war as a different man. When his aging father with Alzheimer’s disease is missing, the son knows exactly where to find him – at his defunct Tuscany Hotel. Abandoned for years, the hotel that used to be a haven of creativity turns into a magical nirvana where, by drinking its fountain’s water, one’s memory is miraculously restored with a catch.

As Vitto learns about his parents’ pasts and recalls the Greek and Roman mythology he was told as a child and is displayed throughout the statues, carvings, frescos, and paintings in the hotel, he must learn to paint “the real” to find redemption and inner peace.

~ Why ~
Written with well-defined characters, the book shows how often memories fade as age overtakes, wishing there could be a make-believe antidote for the body and mind by the simple act of drinking a magical potion. I appreciated the compassion of some of the characters and how several relationships evolved and changed when memories improved.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not like stories about mystical waters curing lost memories, humans who believe they are reincarnated gods, and mythological history should avoid this book. Some may not like that the true God, Jesus Christ, and the eternal plan of salvation are never discussed, even though there are touches of Catholicism, confessions, and requests of hail Marys.

~ Wish ~
My number one issue with this book was that its publisher, Thomas Nelson, is normally known to promote Christian concepts and themes, yet this book contains a plethora of mysticism involving gods, goddesses, and the underworld. Being a Christian, I am so disappointed in Thomas Nelson’s recent switch to these types of books that are supposedly “spiritual” without even mentioning a relationship with Jesus Christ. With the last two fictions I have read from this publisher being so far from the Truth, I am leery of reading any more of their published works so have drastically rated this one down. I did think the author did a good job telling his eclectic story; I strongly wish he took a different approach when it came to death and dying.

~ Want ~
If you enjoy a read that promotes belief in something (not Someone) while weaving a tale of memory loss and aging, this might be for you, but I found the gods and goddesses mentioned in it are not the Real Answer when searching for peace and happiness.

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/2UEvOie

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Zelus Exercise Floor Mat

DECENT YOGA MAT WITH CARRYING BAG MISSING ADVERTIZED STRAP

~ What ~
Made of healthy recyclable TPE materials without PVC, latex, Phthalates, silicone, and other toxic chemicals, this waterproof exercise mat is 72 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 1/4th inches thick. Available in rose red, deep purple, and violet, it arrives with a carry bag and matching strap.

~ Why ~
Recently I have started doing pilates and love how it helps my aging back. Using a thick underpad, I needed a thinner mat to cover it for my exercises and this one works nicely. I love how it is waterproof, does not have a chemical smell, and is thin enough to quickly roll up and put in the added bag. The cost is reasonable compared to others on the market.

~ Why Not ~
Those who do not do yoga, pilates, or floor exercises will have no use for this product. Some may find it too thin, but an extra thicker pad can be placed under it. Some may wish it came in more than 3 colors. The bag is thin also. With one photo showing a matching tie strap, it was not included in the package.

~ Wish ~
I wish it came in black, and I appreciate a little thicker padding. It would be nice if the tie strap was included.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a yoga mat and carry bag at a reasonable price, this one may work well, but it is thin and may be missing its advertised strap.

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

This product can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07923SKJ8

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Lots of Christmas Jokes for Kids

Lots of Christmas Jokes for KidsTitle: Lots of Christmas Jokes for Kids
Author: Whee Winn
Publisher: Zonderkidz
ISBN: 978-0-310-76710-7

Lots of Christmas Jokes for Kids is just the place to find good old clean and corny jokes that will have everyone around the Christmas tree snorting in the eggnog and giggling in their Christmas cookies,” Whee Winn writes in the introduction of his book.

~ What ~
This one-hundred-and-twenty-eight-page paperback targets children ages six to ten years old who enjoy silly and funny jokes, puns, and tongue twisters related to the Christmas holidays. With no profanity or adult situations, a few happy monster illustrations are added.

Every kid and adult love to laugh during the holidays; this one includes silly jokes including knock-knock” ones and corny puns. This pocket-sized book has one to five jokes per page.

~ Why ~
Since I have three grandchildren who visit from out of state during the Christmas season, I like having books to read, especially if they are funny or produce laughter. The book is divided into eight sections: Santa and His Helpers, Snow and Snowmen, Holiday Food, Deck the Halls, Animals, Knock-Knock Jokes, Bonus Jokes, and Tongue Twisters. With these jokes being clean, they are the type that need no explanation about an uncomfortable situation mentioned.

Here are examples of several jokes:
– What do you call a blind reindeer?
No eye dear
– What do snowmen eat for breakfast?
Frosted flakes
– What is the best thing to put in your Christmas cookies?
Your teeth
– What do you put in your Christmas stocking?
Your mistle-toes
– What’s a dog’s favorite Christmas carol?
Bark, the Herald Angels Sing
– Knock, knock  Who’s there?
Avery. Avery who?
Avery merry Christmas to you
– What should you give your parents at Christmas?
A list of what you want
– Tongue Twister:
Hollie hangs holly hoping happy holidays hurry

~ Why Not ~
Several of these jokes are pretty lame. However innocuous they are, the silliness will bring joy to children. Some of the tidbits may be too hard to understand for younger ones. A few may not like that so many jokes are about Santa and not Jesus’s birth, the real meaning of Christmas.

~ Wish ~
I am not a fan of Santa, so this book does not interest me. I wish there were more fun jokes that involved Jesus and His birth and were told with respect.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a Christmas joke book geared toward kids that often includes Santa, this may be for you, but I think it missed the point completely.

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

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/lots-of-christmas-jokes-for-kids-whee-winn/1128138069

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God Notes

God Notes: Daily Doses Of Divine EncouragementTitle: God Notes
Author: Jackie Trottman
Publisher: DreamSculpt
ISBN: 978-1-945949296

“What if you had someone who totally believed in you and reminded you daily through notes of Divine encouragement,” the back jacket states in Jackie Trottman’s book, God Notes: Daily Doses of Divine Encouragement.

~ What ~
At four-hundred-and-ten-pages, this paperback targets those seeking a brief daily read about getting closer to God. With no Scripture verses mentioned, it contains single words followed by short statements or paragraphs for each day of the year to focus on as the Almighty speaks directly to the reader. After an introduction, instructions on how to use the book, and a dedication, it has eight sections, ending with acknowledgments and the author’s biography.

Written by a remarried woman with a hurtful past, the topics are all written as if God is speaking. Covering one word per page, they are divided alphabetically into themes of nature, body, mind, spirit, guidance, healing, transformation, and truth.

With no dates or structure to follow, some one-word titles include Awe, Beauty, Tree, Eyes, Face, Lack, Learn, Angels, Bold, Between, Can, Joy, Let, Enlarge, Energy, Time, and Today. By reading the short content and meditating on the words, the reader will tune in to God’s encouragement throughout the day.

~Why ~
I like that these are very simple concepts with short readings that are uplifting and positive.

One example I enjoyed is Longing under the Guidance section. It has God stating that He will guide, provide for, sustain, help, fill you with love, and be the One to fulfill all of your longings.

~ Why Not ~
This is not an in-depth devotional so may work for new believers. Some readers may not like that there are no Bible verses written down or to look up or prayers to pray. With God speaking to the reader, it is all about what you get from Him, often missing the power and awesomeness of what He has done for us. Each page has a lot of white space with limited wording, which may frustrate some readers.

~ Wish ~
Since this book is formatted similarly to Jesus Calling by Sarah Young in that it purports God speaking to the reader (yet this one has no Biblical references), I struggled with deciding if I liked it or not. After reading the introduction to Sarah’s book and learning she had supposed strange visions that aided her writing her book, I stopped reading books in this format. I wonder if this author’s mention of her special meditation is in the same vein as she refers to it yet does not explain its source or background unless you buy one of her CDs. I strongly recommend looking up the word meditation on Wikipedia and see there is a multitude of false religions that practice mindfulness to new age to transcendental meditation. Not knowing what type of meditation Trottman used to get the words from our Creator makes me wary and cautious. I prefer reading directly from the Word of God to hear Jesus speak to me, so I am on the fence about rating or approving this book.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for a collection of words that are supposedly God speaking and encouraging you, this may interest you, but I cannot promote it since I do not know enough about the author’s validity since there are no Bible verses given and no information regarding her meditation techniques.

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

This book can be purchased at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/god-notes-jackie-trottmann/1126266404

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Comfi1 Smartphone GPS Tracker

 

TRACKS OUR DOG

~ What ~
Made out of ABS plastic, this small flat item can be attached to a child’s backpack or pet and tracked through an iOS or Android smartphone. It can also be used as a warning beacon to find an object with your phone. Available in blue, pink, and green, the unit measures 1.5 by 1.5 by 0.3 inches. It comes with a CR2032 battery as well as instructions in a small bag, ready for giving.

~ Why ~
We have a beagle that we walk up to 5 miles a day. Since my husband and I walk separately, this is a great device to check to see where they are on the walk by viewing their position on a smartphone. I like that I can also use it to find a misplaced object.

~ Why Not ~
Some may not like the concept of tracking a child or pet (or even an adult). However, it may come in handy in some situations where it is necessary. Others may get frustrated reading the directions and synching it to their phone. I wish it did not take a month to arrive from China. My biggest complaint is there is no hole to hang it to the dog as it is a flat disc so it has to be carried in our pockets.

~ Wish ~
With only 3 color options, it would be better if more colors or patterns were available. Like similar trackers, this should have a loop or hole and come with some sort of O-ring so it can be hung onto a chain, belt, lanyard, accessory, et cetera. As is, it can only be put in a pocket, purse, or car holder.

~ Want ~
If you are looking for an inexpensive way to keep track of an object or person via using GPS on your phone, this is a  solution but is inconvenient to carry as there is no way to hang it on to someone or something.

Thanks to Comfi1 for this product that was on sale and purchased at full price that I am under no obligation to evaluate.

This product can be purchased at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07H93MGKX/

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