Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Review of My Little Life of Jesus: A Book About the Life of Christ For Very Young Children

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

My Little Life of Jesus, written by Williamson and illustrated by Amanda Enright is an adaptation of the life of Christ from the New Testament, written for very little children. The book is small, easy to hold with little hands. The cover is the hard, padded cover typical of toddler books. Visually, the book draws in young readers with colorful pictures. The print is small to be in a young child's book; but it is probably assumed that the parent or adult will be the one reading.

I'm pretty picky about children's Bible adaptations. I'm very careful about having children equate the Bible with a storybook. So I look for children's Bibles that are biblically accurate. I wanted to review My Little Life of Jesus with the intent to use it when I teach the preschoolers at my church. As I read through, there were some things I liked and some I didn't.

I liked:
  • All of the tellings of events in the life of Christ were followed by a Scripture reference.
  • The events seemed to all be biblically accurate in the details. I was even pleasantly surprised that the wise men did not come to a baby in a stable but to a young child in a house (although there were three of them.)
  • The book highlights events in the life of Christ chronologically and even includes a simplistic map- great for the history lover in me!
I didn't like:
  • In the illustrations, Jesus and the disciples are the typically caucasian look of most children's books. The only darker skinned people are the wise men and the Good Samaritan. Despite any feelings about race or skin color, this isn't culturally accurate.
  • The fact of Jesus' Godhood doesn't seem to stand out. When the angel comes to Mary, it's about a "special baby." When Jesus grew up, He knew "God had a special job for him to do." When he went to John to be baptized, John said "You are the good one: you should baptize me." I don't know if this omission is deliberate or just wanting to skirt a heavy topic that little ones may have a hard time with, but it made me uncomfortable.
All in all, I might use this as a supplement to some of my teaching, but I wouldn't use it as a main resource. And I would be careful in how I read it to my own children so that I could emphasize the Godhood of Jesus Christ.

You can find My Little Life of Jesus at the Kregel site here. Or you can find it on Amazon:


Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way. 



Visit As We Walk Along the Road for homeschool support and encouragement.


Monday, January 26, 2015

Review of A Stich in Crime by Cathy Elliott

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

A Stitch In Crime is another in the Quilts of Love collection from Abingdon Press. These books have been a mix of historical fiction, contemporary fiction, and suspenseful fiction, but they've all featured quilts or quilting, and they've all had a romantic story. A Stitch in Crime was a mystery/suspense surrounding the featured quilt in a quilt show extravaganza.


Because all of these books have been written by different authors, there are many differences in the writing styles. Some of them I've really loved, and some of them...not so much. A Stitch In Crime, unfortunately, falls into the second category.

The story is told with a one dimensional relaying of facts. There isn't any character development. We don't get to know the characters at all except through what they do. There isn't much of a romance to this one either which was a little confusing with the Quilts of Love. All in all, the story felt choppy, and I had a hard time really relating to any of it.

I give this one 2.5 stars and a PG for content.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.


This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Stitch in Crime
Abingdon Press (January 20, 2015)
by
Cathy Elliot


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Cathy Elliott is a full-time writer who lives in northern California and whose cozy mysteries reflect her personal interests from playing her fiddle with friends to antique collecting and quilting. Besides collecting (too much) cool fabric, she also enjoys hunting for antiques and is several years into recovery from her eBay addiction. UPDATE: She backslid a while back, enticed to bid on a 1945 Singer Featherweight. (She won.) But now she’s back on the wagon. Except for the recent crazy quilt pillow purchase. She also leads music at church and enjoys time with her grandchildren.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Thea James has accepted an assignment as co-chairperson for Larkindale’s first quilt show extravaganza. Juggling the new assignment with running her antique business, she’s already feeling frayed when things start to unravel. Mary-Alice Wentworth, a much-loved town matriarch, respected quilt judge, and Thea’s dear friend, is covertly conked on the head during the kick-off Quilt Show Soiree, throwing suspicion on her guests. It also appears that a valuable diamond brooch has been stolen during the attack. The family is furious. But is it because of their mugged mother or the missing diamonds? When a renowned textile expert goes MIA and the famous Wentworth heritage quilt disappears, Larkindale’s reputation as a tourist haven is at risk. Thea attempts to piece the mystery together and save the town’s investment in the quilt show before Mary-Alice is attacked again . . . with far worse results.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Stitch in Crime, go HERE.



 Visit As We Walk Along the Road for homeschool support and encouragement.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Review of Always On My Mind by Susan May Warren

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

Over last year I started reviewing a series of books from Susan May Warren- The Christiansen family series. I've had the privilege to review these:
Take a Chance on Me
It Had To Be You
When I Fall In Love
Evergreen
I've loved all of these. Every time I read another one I think that it's the best. But this time I think I might be accurate in saying this one is my favorite- Always On My Mind.


This installment in the series is about Caspar Christiansen, one of the middle sons of the Christiansen family. From the book's description:
After a failed dig in Honduras, aspiring archaeologist Casper Christiansen heads home to Minnesota to face his unresolved feelings for Raina Beaumont, the woman of his dreams. But when he arrives unannounced on her doorstep, he receives the shock of a lifetime: Raina is pregnant with someone else’s baby.

Heartbroken, especially when he discovers the identity of the baby’s father, Casper tables his dreams and determines to be dependable for once, helping his older brother, Darek, prepare the family resort for its grand reopening. Casper longs to be the hero of at least one family story, but a never-ending Deep Haven winter and costly repairs threaten their efforts—and the future of the resort.

Worse, one of Casper’s new jobs constantly brings him into contact with Raina, whom he can’t seem to forget. A tentative friendship begins to heal fresh wounds, but can they possibly overcome past mistakes and current choices to discover a future together?


I love Susan May Warren's novels because of the character development. I've so enjoyed getting to know each of the family members as I've read through the series. Because of the way that she develops her characters, I feel as if I'm come to know each one. And her characters are great. They are realistic- not perfect people. Many of them are Christians, but they aren't so good that they are unbelievable. Instead they are realistic people that make mistakes but that are seeking to know God and be what He wants them to be.

I love that the story line of this whole series has been connected and that we've come to know the family throughout. Each book focuses on one family member, but there are threads of the story that continue on throughout the series. This really helps tie the books together.

Susan's novels- while Christian fiction- are never preachy. But they are thought-provoking and inspiring. And I usually walk away with something to ponder.

I can definitely recommend this one as a good read. I give it 5 stars and a PG for content.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.

Visit As We Walk Along the Road for homeschool support and encouragement.


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Review of The Evangelism Study Bible: A Tool To Help You Share the Gospel

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

I really love that there are all sorts of Bibles. There are Bibles for reading through in a certain reading plan. There are Bibles for kids. There are Bibles for parents. There are Bibles with notes. There are Bibles in different translations and paraphrases. I love it because it helps to make Gods Word real and relevant and applicable to our lives. So I was excited to review The Evangelism Study Bible.

This Bible, a New King James Version, is published by Kregel and is intended to equip believers with tools and information to help them share the Gospel more effectively.


The description of the Bible:

Evangelism can mean many things to many people. For some, it's something that requires special training or a calling from God. For others, it's something only done in a church building or arena. And for some, it evokes emotions of guilt and shame for failing to be a vibrant witness to unbelievers.
For more than forty years, EvanTell, Inc., an evangelism training and outreach ministry in Dallas, Texas, has focused on one mission: the gospel, clear and simple. Founded by Dr. R. Larry Moyer, EvanTell, Inc., touches millions of lives each year with evangelism materials, evangelism training, and outreach events. Now those four decades of experience in training believers to share the good news in a clear and simple fashion has been paired with the one essential tool for evangelism: God's Word. The Evangelism Study Bible provides all the tools needed for sharing the gospel in a clear, simple, and guilt-free way.
Using the highly regarded New King James Version®, The Evangelism Study Bible brings together a wide variety of resources, some never before paired with the text of Scripture. Users will benefit from:
• a brief, informative introduction to each Bible book, focusing on its contribution to evangelism
• more than 2,600 study notes pertaining to evangelism
• over 260 tips on practical issues in evangelism
• 125 in-depth articles on crucial issues
• 85 how-to features that provide hands-on advice
• 45 inspirational devotions
• easy-to-follow double-column format with explanatory notes
• helpful cross references
• biblical concordance
• full-color maps

The Evangelism Study Bible not only provides the training to explain and make clear the good news of the gospel, it also will motivate readers to evangelize out of grace rather than guilt.

 This study Bible has several features that make it an excellent tool. There are short devotionals throughout the Bible that are specifically geared toward helping believers share the Gospel.


There are footnotes at the bottom of the page that offer explanations and opinions about some verses.


There is an extensive cross reference section in the center of each page that relates verses to other verses that are relevant.


Each book has a short introduction.


There are "tips" throughout that relate to some verses and give believers information about sharing passages with others.


There is an extensive glossary at the end of the Bible with definitions of evangelistic terms.


There is a great method of sharing the Gospel that you can use in talking with others about Christ.


There are some great study maps with indices in the back of the Bible.


I was really impressed with the completeness of this Bible and the great tools that it includes. I like the "extras"- notes, cross references, tips, and other information. I think it can be a great resource for sharing the Gospel.

You can purchase this Bible from Kregel here or from Amazon here:


Disclosure: I received a free copy of this Bible from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.

Visit As We Walk Along the Road for homeschool support and encouragement.


Monday, January 19, 2015

Review of Blind Trust by Sandra Orchard

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

Blind Trust is a Christian fiction/suspense with a little romance on the side. It's the second in a series of books about the same small town. The books feature Kate- who, in this installment, is caught in the middle of a counterfeiting ring- and Tom- a police detective. There seems to be an ongoing story involving Kate's father and a pharmaceutical company. I haven't read the first installment, and this is a series where that seems to matter. I was able to pick up what was going on, but there was lots of back story that I missed.

I didn't really feel as if I got to know the characters in the story. There was more of a narrative of events than of development of the characters. It is possible that I may have missed out because I hadn't read the first book. The story was fairly predictable, and there were some pretty unbelievable things happening- not the least of which is the fact that Kate seems to constantly draw criminals of all sorts to be a danger to her.

I give Blind Trust a 3.5 stars and a PG for content. (It does involve homicide, but there really isn't much of a description of violence.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.








This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
Blind Trust
Revell (June 17, 2014)
by
Sandra Orchard


ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Sandra Orchard is a multi-award-winning author of mysteries and romantic suspense with Revell Publishing and Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense imprint. She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Romance Writers of America and The Word Guild (Canada). A mother of three grown children, she lives in Niagara, Canada with her real-life-hero husband and writes full time . . . when not doting on her young grandchildren.

ABOUT THE BOOK

Kate Adams had no idea she was carrying counterfeit money, and she can't believe that it came from her sweet neighbor. Or that it lands her in the middle of another one of Detective Tom Parker's investigations. Determined to prove her neighbor's innocence, Kate stumbles into a pit of intrigue that is far deeper than a two-bit counterfeit operation--and strikes too close to home for comfort. As family secrets come to light, her world--and her budding romance with Tom--begin to crumble. To Kate, it's clear that she won't be safe until she uncovers all of Port Aster's secrets. But is it too late for her and Tom?

If you would like to read the first chapter of Blind Trust, go HERE.

40 Days of Wait Only Upon God: 40 Days of Praying the Scriptures in the Waiting by Candace Crabtree

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

I've been blessed by the opportunity to see and to use resources for praying through the Scriptures from Candace Crabtree. I love the idea that she communicates of reading Scripture and praying what I'm reading. Before Christmas, I read through and reviewed Jesus, Light of the World: Praying the Scriptures Through Advent. It is a beautiful devotional, and you can read the review here.

Candace has now released Waiting Only Upon God: 40 Days of Praying the Scriptures in the Waiting. The theme is reading and praying through the Scripture as we wait upon the Lord, particularly in the season of Lent.


This forty day devotional is made up of Scripture, a short devotional, and a prayer for each day. There is also a journal page for each day. When you purchase Waiting Only Upon God, you'll also receive a link to a page of free bonuses that include a prayer journaling page, a printable copy of the poem at the front of the book, printable Scripture cards, and beautiful phone wallpapers.

I love Candace's praying through Scripture resources. They are a great way to focus my mind as I read through the Scriptures and devotionals. It's a way that I hadn't really used before, but it makes so much sense to use Scripture as a prayer. Her resources are also physically beautiful in a way that makes me feel relaxed just looking at them.

Wait Only Upon the Lord You can purchase Waiting Only Upon God: 40 Days of Praying the Scriptures in the Waiting from Candace's site here. It will soon be available as a paperback on Amazon. For the first week of its release- beginning Monday, January 19, you can purchase the book for $6.99. After the first week it will be $7.99. If you want to learn more, you can read about this book- and enter a great giveaway- on Candace's site here.







Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions expressed are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.



Review of A Saintly Killing by Martha Ockley

This post may contain affiliate links. If you purchase through these links, you may be helping to support a voracious curriculum buying habit. Be warned. And thank you for clicking through to purchase.

Last year I had the opportunity to review two suspense/mystery reads from Martha Ockley surrounding Faith Morgan, a female vicar in a very small English village community. I really enjoyed both, and you can read the reviews here: The Reluctant Detective; The Advent of Murder.


Faith is a compelling and interesting heroine. She was once a police detective and really wanted to get away from that when she trained for the ministry. But homicides just seem to follow her, and in this installment, lo and behold, another acquaintance of Faith is killed- strangled in fact. This time it's an artist who was commissioned for a painting for the church's 900th anniversary. From the book's description:

Faith Morgan is feeling settled and contented in her role as the vicar of Little Worthy. St James's is about to reach its 900th anniversary and to celebrate Faith has commissioned a new painting of the church from distinguished local artist Sal Hinkley. However, Sal, recently returned from Australia, is not a universally popular choice: outspoken and opinionated, she has made her share of enemies.
Before the painting can be completed, Sal is found dead at her easel. Suddenly, several respectable members of the church community are under suspicion and Faith finds herself thrown into the path of her former flame, Detective Inspector Ben Shorter, who, though he has no time for God-botherers, still seems to have time for Faith…

Although it's a little convenient that mystery and death seem to follow Faith, I like the stories. As I said, Faith is a very interesting character. The mystery is well done, keeping the reader guessing until the end about "who done it." There is a thread of a romance that weaves throughout the stories and is present once again in A Saintly Killing. Faith and a detective- Ben- have a long standing relationship and were once romantically involved. Faith's family is also ever present, and we've followed their story throughout the novels.

A Saintly Killing is the third novel in the series, but it can be read alone because of the background knowledge that is inserted casually in the story. I read the first after the second, and it wasn't a problem at all. The mysteries themselves are independent from each other, although the romantic thread and the story of Faith's family flow throughout.

My one disclaimer- Although these are "Christian fiction," keep in mind that the church in England may hold some different doctrinal beliefs and more liberal leanings than the typical evangelical churches we are used to here in the States. It didn't bother me because I just realized the difference and moved on. But if you can't or don't want to that, this may not be the book for you.

I give it five stars and a PG-13 for content (because of murder and violence).

You can purchase A Saintly Killing from Kregel Publications here or from Amazon here:


 
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book for review purposes. All opinions are entirely my own, and I was not compensated in any other way.

Visit As We Walk Along the Road for homeschool support and encouragement.