Tuesday, September 30, 2014

The Beauty of Believing (Faithgirlz!)

Another kids' devotional to review! This time I chose one that is in the age range of my youngest daughter. This book, The Beauty of Believing is in the Faithgirlz series and is made up of daily devotionals taken from earlier books by the following authors: Tasha Douglas, Mona Hodgson, Kristi Holl, Lois Walfrid Johnson, Allia Zobel Nolan, and Nancy Rue.

Each daily devotion begins with a Bible verse at the top of the page and then a story or explanatory narrative to illustrate the topic at hand. The next segment is "More to Explore" which is additional Bible passages to read that will go along with the topic. Next is "Girl Talk" which is an application section ("Can you think of a time when you. . .?" which includes self-reflection. The last segment is "God Talk" which is a prayer idea to guide a prayer focus for the day.

These devotionals are easy to read and easy to apply. I think they would be great either for a girl to use solo or with her parent(s). Each day has a different topic, some examples of topics include: loneliness, prayer, God's power, selfishness, your relationship with God, relationships with others, obedience, etc. The suggested age for this book is 8-12 (I believe) but I think it would be good also for a little older girls as well. My oldest is 14 and I can see her reading, enjoying, and learning through this book as well.

(side note -- my girls LOVE Nancy Rue books, so they are excited to have this devotional!)

I received this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not required to write a positive review.

The One-Year Devotions for Active Boys by Jesse Florea and Karen Whiting

The One Year Devotions for Active Boys is a daily devotional book that is written for boys. The format is that there is a topic with a story (from the Bible or just a fictional story) which is then followed by some "weird facts" or an experiment, puzzle, or jokes. The next segment is a prayer starter and then a Bible verse that relates.

The narrative is written in an easy to read style, I think it would be easy for a boy to read himself or else a parent to read with their son. The topics are wide-ranging, from science to God's power to leaders to arguing to wisdom, and etc. The book is intended for 7-12 year old boys.

So how do I like this book? Fine, for a devotional. I think that it is engaging and that boys will like to read it. I think you would need to plan carefully when devotion time is (for instance, right before bed would not be the best time to begin an experiment or get out equipment to make something cool). I DO wish that there was a little more application focus in some of the days. Some days it is easy to understand how the verses and themes apply to your life, other times it's a bit more difficult. I guess it comes down to a couple of things. This is a good age to begin a habit of daily Bible reading and prayer, and I think that this book is a book that will encourage a boy to begin and stick with that habit. I have a preteen boy and we have seen several different devotionals for boys this age -- some I like better than this one, some not so much. I guess I'd give this a 4 out of 5 rating and hope that it helps to instill a good habit of spending time each day with the Lord.

I received this book from the publisher for free in exchange for writing a review. I was not required to write a positive review.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

"A Beautiful Mess" Happy Handmade Home by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman

Fun fun fun!!

"A Beautiful Mess -- Happy Handmade Home" by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman is such a fun decorating book! :) It is totally my kind of decorating! :) Really! I loved so much of it!

The book is filled with ideas for decorating different areas of the home: Living Rooms, Kitchens, Dining Rooms, Bedrooms, Studio Spaces, Outdoor Spaces, Playrooms, Small Spaces. The style of decorating is kind of quirky, bright, and fun. Totally my idea of great decorating! The book is filled with photos to inspire you with ideas of how to do your own spaces. There are unique wall coverings, bright artwork, interesting furniture and combinations, and lots of do-it-yourself projects!

Some of the projects have instructions, some are more like inspiration. None are very deep, and they allow wiggle room for your own touches.

Looking at the reviews on Amazon for this book, there are a lot of people who were disappointed with this book because they follow the authors' blog and didn't see much new in this book. Well, I had never seen that blog (!!) so these ideas were new to me! :) It's basically just a fun book that you can look through and envision new looks for your spaces in your home. The style is not for everyone, there is so much variation in people's tastes, but it certainly is for me!

There were a few typos which can be a little annoying, but you can get past them, and some projects that I thought were a bit too tacky for me (using electrical tape on a fridge or coffee table??) but hey! You shouldn't expect to love every single idea, right?!

I would recommend this book to someone who has similar tastes to mine in decorating (kind of free, bright, quirky, and colorful. Other people (such as my sister, who has much more "dignified" decorating tastes than mine) probably would not enjoy it quite so much, therefore I would not recommend it to them! But as for me--I like it!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Tried & True by Mary Connealy

Tried & True by Mary Connealy is a book about three sisters and their father who have moved out west following the Civil War to homestead land and gain property. The twist is that the three grown girls are pretending to be men, they are ex-soldiers (fought in the Civil War disguised as men) and are using an exemption for fighting in the war to cut down their required years of living on the land in order to claim it as their own. It's a little bit of a romance, a little bit of a western story, and a little bit. . .boring.

It was a fine book, kind of a weird premise, especially that three women could have lived as soldiers for a few years without their identities as females being discovered (one was in the hospital for awhile even. . .???. . .must've been some unobservant doctor!!) and also kind of weird that as grown women they were happy to pretend to be men just to obey their father's wishes. I didn't think there were any inappropriate parts, just that it was kind of boring and disjointed. There's a teeny bit of Christian-ness in it, but not too much -- mostly nearer to the end.

I don't know, it just didn't grab my attention. I'm sure it'll be of interest to some, but for me--I could take it or leave it. Would I recommend it? Probably not. There are lots more interesting books :)

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review.