Book Review: “Looking for Lovely – Collecting the Moments That Matter – Bible Study” by Annie Downs

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Along with reading Looking for Lovely by Annie F. Downs (find my review here, I was interested in looking at this accompaning Bible study. It was easy to read, had lots of open-ended questions that caused internal reflection, and had some great relatable stories that I enjoyed reading. Being from the South, I loved knowing about certain areas she referenced. The study had a laid back tone and was visually interesting. Each week contains 5 days worth of material which helps if you get behind during the week. There are low-cost accompanying videos, but they aren’t necessary to complete the study. The scripture that is printed is mostly NIV, but I simply cross-referenced it to my King James Version Bible.

Woven throughout the study was the themes of perseverance and the idea of simply looking for the good in all situations. It is so easy to get wrapped up in negativity or only focus on the big picture. It was refreshing to be encouraged to notice the small things in life and the glimmers of “lovely” in my life. I found it interesting that she used people from the Bible, but organized them into groups that I could relate to, such as musicians, fishermen, farmers, and women.

There are 7 sessions:
Introduction
Farmers
Musicians
Fishing
Women of Influence
Jesus
Now What?

I enjoyed this Bible study, and I think others would too.

I received this book for free from B&H Publishing in exchange for an honest review as part of their Lifeway Bloggers Program. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “Looking for Lovely” by Annie F. Downs

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This book is a collection of the author’s personal stories that showcase her quest to find the “lovely” in all things. Woven throughout the entire book are the themes of perseverance and that we should be looking for the lovely in life, regardless of our circumstances.

The book is divided into 3 sections:
In the Absence of Lovely
In Search of Lovely
When I Found Lovely

The stories follow the author’s journey from what she describes as broken crazy to a life with improved perspective. The book is almost like reading the author’s journal. The chapters are short and easy to read on the go. It was great to be encouraged to look for the beautiful things in my life and looking for God in the everyday moments.

There is also an accompanying Bible study for this book. You can read my review of it here.

I received this book for free from B&H Publishing in exchange for an honest review as part of their Lifeway Bloggers Program. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “The Drawing Lesson” by Mark Crilley

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The premise of this book is intriguing: a graphic novel that teaches the reader how to draw. The book is easy to read and has great basic drawing lessons woven into a storyline of a boy who seeks knowledge from an impromptu drawing mentor that he has met at the park. The feedback from his reluctant mentor, Becky, is actually drawing lessons for the reader. The storyline is interesting and draws the readers attention from the fact that they are actually learning while enjoying the story. The illustrations are presented in sepia-like tones and showcase Mr. Crilley’s skill in shading and illustration.

I think this would be a wonderful addition to the library of tweens who have even an inkling of interest in drawing. Adults could learn something too just like I did. Each chapter ends with a challenge to the reader to get them drawing. I love that the challenges can be accomplished with just regular pencils and paper. This is truly an unique book.

I received this book for free from BloggingforBooks.org’s Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “Eating in the Middle – A Mostly Wholesome Cookbook” by Andie Mitchell

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I love the premise of this cookbook: one should not have to forego all desired foods for healthy food, but everything in moderation. I enjoyed reading the author’s story of weight loss and was encouraged to see her doing so well in maintaining that accomplishment through foods that appeal to me. I also enjoyed reading her introductions to each of the recipes.

The recipes in this cookbook are divided into the following chapters:

Starting Fresh (breakfast)
Lunchtime
Vegetables & Sides
Dinnertime
For Sharing
All Things Sweet

Each recipe has nutrition facts and serving sizes. There are lots of beautiful pictures. The recipes look fresh and appetizing to me. Most seem to be more sophisticated than an average family meal, but not overly fussy. I also like the binding of this hardback book that allows the pages to lie flat.

This looks like a good cookbook. I can’t wait to try many of these recipes. Specifically, I look forward to trying the Spice-Rubbbed Steak with Grilled Peaches & Blue Cheese, the Lemon Cream Risotto, and the Gooey Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie.

I received this book for free from BloggingforBooks.org’s Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review. 

Giveaway: “Parent Hacks” by Asha Dornfest

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It’s been a while since I’ve done a giveaway here. So, I’d like to offer a copy of Asha Dornfest’s Parent Hacks to my readers. It’s a great book, especially for new parents, that I reviewed several weeks ago. You can read my entire review at Parent Hacks Review. To enter, simply comment on this post. You can earn a bonus entries by either subscribing to this blog (current subscribers are automatically entered) or sharing on FB or Twitter (be sure to let me know that you shared it or tag me). I will hold the random drawing on Wednesday, May 25 at 8PM. I’ll contact the winner via email. You will then have 24 hours to respond, or I will draw another name.

Book Review: “The Midwife’s Dilemma” by Delia Parr

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I really enjoyed this last installment of the At Home in Trinity series. This book continues the journey of Martha Cade, a midwife, and her friends and family. The author continues the storylines from the first two books while continuing to weave in the themes of faith and sacrifice into the story. This book is filled with several surprising turns of events and does a good job of finishing several plot lines from the earlier books. Unfortunately, I just wish that there was more to come. After spending time reading these books and the awesome way that the characters were developed, I find myself sad to see them go. I definitely recommend this, especially for fans of the first books.

I received this book for free from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “Can You Relate? How to Handle Parents, Friends, Boys and More” by Vicki Courtney

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I absolutely love this book! I originally got it to read for later since my daughter wasn’t in the targeted age group of 9-12, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the book was already relevant for her. In fact, I plan to use the book as a tween-friendly tool to discuss the various topics that the book covers. It is divided into the four sections entitled Friends, Family, The World Around Me, and God. The sections are cleverly divided by differing color schemes to make finding the section you’re looking for easy. The book covers tons of great subjects such as mean girls, being a great sister, using your words wisely, being boy crazy, respect for parents, prayer, and so much more. It is also chockfull of colorful, pretty illustrations that appeal to tween girls. The inclusion of lots of fun quizzes, to do lists, and QR codes that link to accompanying videos are sure to appeal to tweens and provides a higher coolness factor that will entice them to dig deeper into these subjects. I am planning to take my daughter through this book and may even invite some of her friends and their moms to do so as well. After all, when I was reading it at ballet practice, another mom took the time to ask me about the book because the beautiful colors and fun fonts had caught her eye. I recommend it to the tweens in your life.

I received this book for free from B&H Publishing in exchange for an honest review as part of their Lifeway Bloggers Program. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “The Flower Workshop” by Ariella Chezar

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The Flower Workshop is essentially a recipe book for flower arranging. It is filled with beautiful pictures of classy flower arrangements. The book has the arrangements divided into seasons and types of arrangements that covers a variety of sizes, shapes, and occasions where flowers would add the perfect touch. Each one gives step by step instructions that even beginners can follow, lists the type of vase needed and floral supplies that are necessary, and also includes alternate flowers that will also work well in the arrangement. I tend to struggle with floral arrangement and I am inspired to try many of the suggestions in this book. In fact, I can’t wait to try these ideas with the flower garden I have planned for the summer. I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves beautiful flowers and wants to be inspired to add them to their living spaces to bring them joy.

I received this book for free from BloggingforBooks.org’s Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review. 

Book Review: “Burning Proof” by Janice Cantore

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This is the second book in Janice Cantore’s Cold Case Justice series. It picks off where the first book, Drawing Fire, left off. The lead character, Abby Hart, is a detective with a heart for victims after experiencing crime first-hand as a child. This book explores her internal fragility and angst after a tragic shooting in the line of duty. Having to come to terms with this newest shooting seems to bring up old emotions suppressed in the past. The shooting seems to throw Abby’s life into turmoil as she prepares to make decisions in her professional, private, and romantic life.

This book is filled with familiar characters from the first book and has the same great storytelling that I have come to love from Janice Cantore. As with the first book, the storyline had Biblical themes and verses woven into it and was clean. There were also plenty of twists and turns in the book. Some questions were answered from the first book, but plenty more are still a mystery. I can’t wait for the next installment in this series!

While the author does include a prologue to acclimate the reader to the book with a recap of the first book, I really think you should read it for yourself because it was great. You can see my review of the first book, Drawing Fire, here

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Book Review: “Having a Martha Home the Mary Way – 31 Days to a Clean House and a Satisfied Soul” by Sarah Mae

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I was drawn to this book because I’ve been looking a lot at the lives of Mary and Martha from the Bible. It also interested me to because I’m always looking for tips and tricks to make housekeeping easier and more organized. I really enjoyed how information in the book was grouped. For each of the 31 days, a different topic is covered. The author covers everything from learning your cleaning style to toy organization. Each day has a short story, a Bible study (named the Mary Challenge), and a hands-on activity to help with cleaning around the house (named the Martha Challenge). I love that all the information in the book is divided into small, doable sections so that you’re not overwhelmed with it all. I also love that the book is based on Biblical principles. The book is full of great ideas and helps to break up house cleaning into manageable pieces. For instance, one of my favorite parts of the book was in Day 10 – Slow and Steady. The author encouraged me by reminding that cleaning and household organization doesn’t have to be done all together at one time and that progress is better than perfection. On page 86, she says, “One step at a time, one day at a time, slow and steady, you’ll make it.” The book is filled with reminders of grace and was encouraging to me. I’d recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a quick Bible study along with ideas to tame the chaos that often surrounds homes of mothers of small children.

I received this book for free from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.