Monday 28 January 2013

Book review: Children's book, Uncle Jesus

Georgia Lee Anderson
ISBN: 978-1-57258-791-5

From the back cover:

Uncle Jesus is a heartwarming story that helps us imagine what it would have been like to be Jesus’ relative while He lived on earth. Jesus had brothers, including one named Jude, the author of the Bible book of the same name. In Uncle Jesus, Jude’s fictional son, Shem, visits Grandma Mary, the mother of Jesus, and relates some first-hand experiences he had with his Uncle Jesus when He was still on earth. An inquisitive, genuine, sweet little boy, Shem asks Grandma Mary about Jesus, about his other uncles’ view of Jesus, and about her own experiences.

My reflections:
 I was excited to read this book to my children, like all books I receive I pre- read them first. The ages of my children are 12, 10 and 5.

 While I enjoyed the pictures and vocabulary in this book for children, I can’t honestly say I would recommend this book for small children.

Though this book is a fictional story about Shem and his Grandma Mary (Jesus’s mother) and the memories and life they share about Jesus. I found the book confusing to the targeted age group. (2-8) 

I am no theologian or scholar, just a simple home school mom, but the fact that this book tells about Jesus’s older brothers, negates the fact that Mary was actually a virgin, when she married Joseph. 
I did some research and found nothing that states Jesus having older siblings, or that Joseph had sons when he married Mary. Here are a few verses I found.
Matthew 1:24-25 - "And Joseph arose from his sleep, and did as the angel of the Lord commanded him, and took as his wife, and kept her a virgin until she gave birth to a Son; and he called His name Jesus."
 Matthew 12:46-47 - "While He was still speaking to the multitudes, behold, His mother and brothers were standing outside, seeking to speak to Him. And someone said to Him, "Behold, Your mother and your brothers are standing outside seeking to speak to You."
 Matthew 13:55 - "Is not this the carpenters son? Is not His mother called Mary, and His brothers, James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?"
 Mark 6:2-3 - "And when the Sabbath had come, He began to teach in the synagogue; and the many listeners were astonished, saying, "Where did this man get these things, and what is this wisdom given to Him, and such miracles as these performed by His hands? "Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary, and brother of James, and Joses, and Judas, and Simon? Are not His sisters here with us?"
 John 2:12 - "After this He went down to Capernaum, He and His mother, and His brothers, and His disciples; and there they stayed a few days."
 Acts 1:14 - "These all with one mind were continually devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers."
 1 Cor. 9:4-5 - "Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles, and the brothers of the Lord, and Cephas?"
Gal. 1:19 - But I did not see any other of the apostles except James, the Lords brother."

I know this book is intended to be a fictional account, but we must be careful on how we interpret biblical truths, and the way we present them to young tender hearts.

I found It also misses the mark on explaining in a functional way the fact that Jesus arose from the dead. This is huge for me because without this clear and fundamental belief, our children can't grasp the concept of Jesus living on in our hearts, and is just not dead. A terribly hard concept to get at the best of times. The book did depict Shem praying to Jesus, but I would have loved to see a clear explanation.   

So all in all I will not be sharing this book with my children as intended.

All that being said I found the illustrations in this book to be pretty, they cover the entire page with bright and engaging pictures. Also the book is a nice size for story time at 22 pages of narrative. If nothing else this book would engage a good dialogue and help you to reinforce the aspects of faith that you want to teach your children.

I received this book free from the publisher through the book reviews program, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
Thank you BookCrash!

About the Author:

Although currently living in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Georgia Lee Anderson has called Chehalis,Washington, home for more than thirty years. Over the years she has been active in heading up the Sabbath School program at her church and leading out in women's ministry programs at her local church and at the conference level.
In her spare time, she enjoys writing poetry and short stories. Uncle Jesus has been forming in her imagination for quite some time. Once she retired it came to life. "My reason for writing this story is that I want children to know that Jesus has a family. He lived like most boys in his neighborhood. I want children to embrace the fact that they can relate to Jesus."

Sunday 27 January 2013

Book Review: The Air We Breathe

From the back of the book:
ISBN: 978-0-7642-0555-2
New from the Winner of ECPA's Fiction Book of the Year.

Seventeen-year-old Molly Fisk does not go outside. She's ruled by anxiety and only feels safe in the tiny tourist-town museum she and her mother run and call home. Yearning to live free but unable to overcome deep wounds from her past, she stays hidden away. Then the chance arrival of a woman Molly knew six years ago changes everything.

Six years ago, newly single Claire Rodriguez was an empty shell. Only in the unique friendship she strikes up with a young girl - a silent girl who'll only talk to Claire - does she see the possibility of healing. But one day the girl and her mother vanish, their house abandoned. What happened that drove them away? And how can Claire now offer Molly the same chance at finding at new life?

My Reflections:

Much like the wax figures in the museum Molly lives in, she has cocooned herself in a place where she feel ‘safe” and life is predictable.

 Although Molly’s Life feels dead and listless, and she yearns for the outside world, Molly finds herself unable to step outside and live life to its fullest.  

Could Claire be the one holding the key to living a full and normal life?

The Air We Breathe is an emotionally charged novel, which beautifully illustrates God’s leading in our lives. Are we passing up the small but life changing opportunities he is presenting us with each day?

I often found myself holding my breath through this book, as I read some sections of this narrative I experienced a sick sinking feeling deep within me. There was so much tragedy in the first part of this novel that I had to put the book aside for a couple of days. 
Knowing this author and her work, I was able to press on and get the message Parrish had for her readers, I can tell you I was not disappointed!

Parrish has written a masterfully sculpted story that truly made me feel that I was a part of Molly and Claire’s journey into healing. Although not easy to read, her work is tender, well written and thoroughly researched. Her Characters are real, and have an emotional depth rarely found.

Parrish has a way of weaving Gods truth’s and love into her books in an appealing and unanticipated manner. This is Christian fiction at its best!

I would recommend this book to anyone wanting a deep and meaningful read. I would however caution people with deep wounds from an abusive background though because it is such an emotionally charged book.

I look forward to reading more of Parrish’s books her talent is extraordinary!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".

About the Author:  

line Christa Parrish is an award-winning author of three novels. Her debut, Home Another Way (Bethany House, 2008) was a finalist for the ECPA Fiction Book of the Year. Her second novel, Watch Over Me, won the ECPA Fiction Book of the Year and the ForeWord Reviews bronze medal for religious fiction. Her long-awaited third novel, The Air We Breathe (Bethany House, 2012) has already been named a finalist for the 2013 Christianity Today Book Award.
When not writing, Christa is creative director of the modern contemporary worship service at her church and co-director of the youth group. She also produces a weekly radio show, helps facilitate DivorceCare and DC4K, chauffeurs her Grand Champion blue belt to and from Taekwondo clases, and chases a toddler. She and her husband, author and pastor Chris Coppernoll, have three children in their blended family: Gray (18), Jacob (11), and Claire (2).

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Review: Homeschool Awesome Science.

awesome-science-mt-st-helens-(dvd)Awesome Science – Explore Mount St. Helens with Noah Justice (Episode 5)
Published at Master Books
ISBN: 978-0-89051-679-9
About the DVD

The first DVD series for teens by teens showing how science & the Bible agree!
  • Hosted by the engaging 14-year-old host, Noah Justice
  • Evidence of biblical history and truth at some of the world’s most amazing destinations
  • Fast-paced and informative presentations with a biblical worldview are filmed on location at these national parks
  • Study guides create educational opportunities for home or church study
The Awesome Science video series takes teens and adults on a field trip around the world to explore geologic and historical evidence which supports the biblical record. Innovative, high-quality and designed to make science fun, this new series for the whole family helps discover evidences that the Bible is the true history book of the world!

The study guide is available for each Awesome Science DVD (a new series from Master Books). These help create a reflective learning situation after viewing each exciting episode, and are filled with substantial discussion questions, fill in the blank, true and false, as well as bonus activities. It can be used in Science and Religion class -and it would also be great for church youth groups.

 Our Reflections
Just as soon as I received this this DVD series in the mail, and my kids literally jumped up and down. Their excitement rose when I told them that I remembered Mount St. Helens erupting. They could not wait to watch it. What were you doing on May 18. 1980 at 8:32 am?
Since my grandmother lived in Oregon, we were able to collect some of the official mount St. Helens volcanic ash, that settled on her car. How cool is that?

The DVD is 30 minutes long and takes you through a fast paced learning adventure. It is lead by dynamic Noah Justice, who is only 14 himself. Noah is fun to watch and the kids really enjoyed his excitement and knowledge throughout the movie. We stopped the video quite a few times, as there was a lot of information to be processed. I believe to get the full benefit of this great resource it needs to be watched more than once. There is enough content in this resource to get one to two weeks worth of studying using the video and study guide.

My only wish on this one is that the study guide was in a larger format as it would be easier to hold and work through. Otherwise it is a wonderful resource that includes a word list, key concepts, fill in the blanks, true and false questions, discussion questions and bonus activities. Very inclusive and complete!

My older kids had no problems with the work (10 and 12) but I think this unit is more geared for over 10 years of age. I also enjoyed this study. My favorite topic was the lava cast forests. It was interesting to see the holes where trees once stood, and the kids loved when Noah crawled through the tunnel of a fallen tree, in theTrail Of Two Forests.

I would recommend this great study on Mount St. Helens to both homeschooling and public schooled kids. It can't get better than this, an entertaining video and learning wrapped up in one!

Disclaimer: Thanks to New Leaf Publishing Group for sending me the above mentioned product for review purposes. I was not monetarily compensated for this review. Please note that the review was not influenced by the Sponsor in any way. All opinions expressed here are only my own.

About the Author:

Kyle Justice

The Awesome Science series is brought to you by Kyle Justice, the same producer of the “X-Nilo Show” and “The Creation Network.” His work has appeared on such networks as National Geographic, ESPN, and The Outdoor Channel. A true family project, Awesome Science is brought to you by 14-year-old host Noah Justice, producer and father Kyle Justice, and younger brother Jeremiah Justice who helps with video editing and their website.

Friday 18 January 2013

Book Review: Vanished by Irene Hannon


From the Back:

Revell, ©2013, ISBN 978-0-8007-2123-7
(Book 1—Private Justice)
Reporter Moira Harrison is new on the job in St. Louis, but she’s no rookie to investigative reporting. She knows how to dig for answers and get results. But when she hits a pedestrian on a rainy night in a wooded area—only to have both the victim and the good Samaritan who stopped to assist disappear—she turns to P.I. Cal Burke, an ex-homicide detective, to help her sort out the puzzle. Cal is more than a little skeptical of her story, especially since the police have dismissed it. But as clues begin to surface, bringing them closer to answers, the danger mounts. Because someone doesn’t want this mystery solved—and will stop at nothing to protect a shocking secret that will destroy a life built on lies.

My Reflections:
Vanished is Irene Hannon’s newest Romantic suspense series. It is the first book in the Private Justice novels, but reintroduces characters from her other series Guardians of Justice.  

 This is the first book that I have read from this Author and I must say she has caught my attention hook line and sinker!
Former detective Cal Burke and his co-owners of Pi firm Phoenix Inc., take on Moira Harrison’s case even though her story is unconvincing at best as there is no real evidence of a crime.
When new discoveries unravel, will anyone be safe from the illusive villain?

The story starts with an explosive beginning and the plot is superbly written with action, suspense, drama and romance that will melt your heart. This masterpiece is all delivered in a tasteful, flawlessly presented package that you will not be able to put down….It has left me hungering for the next book in the series.
If you are a lover of romantic suspense I would highly recommend you read this book, it is now on my "favourites" shelf for this year and that is saying something with all the books I have read! 

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".
Thank you Baker Publishing Group and Graft-Martin Communications!

About the Author: Irenepic

Irene Hannon is a bestselling, award-winning author who took the publishing world by storm at the tender age of 10 with a sparkling piece of fiction that received national attention.
Okay…maybe that’s a slight exaggeration. But she was one of the honorees in a complete-the-story contest conducted by a national children’s magazine. And she likes to think of that as her “official” fiction-writing debut!
Since then, she has written more than 40 romance and romantic suspense novels. Her books have been honored with two RITA awards—the “Oscar” of romantic fiction—and she is a six-time finalist for that prestigious honor. Her books have also won a Daphne du Maurier award, a Carol award, a HOLT Medallion, a National Readers’ Choice Award, a Retailers Choice Award and two Reviewers’ Choice awards from RT Book Reviews magazine. One of her novels was also named by Booklist as one of the top 10 inspirational fiction books of 2011.
Irene, who holds a B.A. in psychology and an M.A. in journalism, juggled two careers for many years until she gave up her executive corporate communications position with a Fortune 500 company to write full-time. She is happy to say she has no regrets!
In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, gardening and singing.  A trained vocalist, she has sung the leading role in numerous musicals, including “South Pacific,” “Brigadoon,” “Oklahoma” “The King and I” and “Anything Goes.” She is also a soloist at her church.
When not otherwise occupied, Irene and her husband enjoy traveling, Saturday mornings at their favorite coffee shop and spending time with family. They make their home in Missouri.

Wednesday 16 January 2013

Book Review: The Marriage of Your Dreams

Cover Art

The Marriage of Your Dreams
A Woman’s guide to understanding Her Man

Publisher         Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group
Publication Date         10/2012
ISBN: 978-0-8007-2031-5
Author               Johnson, Rick
From the Back cover:
Men are fairly simple creatures with fairly simple needs. Yet women often find themselves frustrated trying to understand those needs in order to improve their marriages. Many wonder, "What does he expect from me? I'm doing everything the best I can. Doesn't he know I'm at the end of my rope here?" Relationship expert Rick Johnson ends the guessing game, giving women an open and honest look inside the world of a man's needs and helping them understand how best to use their influence to have a satisfying and exciting relationship.
Rick delves into the not-so-mysterious-after-all world of a man, highlighting his need for respect and admiration, his sexual desires, his communication style, his work, his emotions, and even his relationship with the "other woman"--his mother. Women will appreciate Rick's candor, humor, and insight as they discover that the marriage of their dreams is closer than they ever thought it could be.

My Reflections:
I was a bit skeptical picking this book up, as I had just reviewed another marriage book in the last couple of weeks. This book was definitely a distinctive kettle of fish!

The book is written from the perspective of a man, to women to better understand her partner and ultimately achieve a satisfying, exciting relationship that lasts a lifetime.
His views are honest, straight forward and his research is conducted via polling men and recording their answers. I think perhaps that an anonymous poll would probably yield fairly honest answers.

Upon reading the first chapter I was a little put off, I didn’t really agree with Johnson’s perspective on mother’s and sons, and how it this relationship affects  marriage..  But because I wanted to glean all I could from the book I persevered through.
I am glad I did, I learned quite a bit about how men think, on all sorts of topics I had never even really given much thought to.
I especially enjoyed reading chapter 5 “His Work”
It really opened up my eyes to the way my husband ticks, I mean he always states he works so much because he loves us, but I don’t think I really got it until I read this chapter. Very thought provoking indeed!
I also got a laugh from the “Real Questions from Real Women” It was so funny how quite a few of the answers were simply put and sounded just like how my husband would verbalize it.
Johnson forgot that us woman want details and not just a few! It was fun to read this section after each chapter, and the content often made me chuckle. I have to share just one in chapter 6.

Q: Will we ever have enough sex to satisfy him?
 A: Probably not.

Some of the other topics included in this book are:
~What’s with his mother anyway?
~His Father
~His relationships
~His Communication
~His work
~His sexuality (no I didn’t skip to this one first, but it is interesting to say the least)
~His need for respect and admiration
And more…
I think after I got over my initial knee jerk reaction to some of Johnson’s thoughts, I would recommend this book to married women. It is truly an out of the box by kind of book. I appreciated that it is written from a man’s viewpoint, not by the usual doctor, counselor or psychiatrist. It has easy to understand language, and includes Bible verses to solidify his “manly wisdom”.
So in closing if you are looking to understand your man a little better and you need a male view point on life and marriage this is your book!

"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group".
Thank you, Baker Publishing and Graf-Martin!

About the Author:
 Rick Johnson

Rick Johnson

Rick Johnson is a bestselling author of That's My Son; That's My Teenage Son; That's My Girl; Better Dads, Stronger Sons; and Becoming Your Spouse's Better Half. He is the founder of Better Dads and is a sought-after speaker at many large parenting and marriage conferences across the United States and Canada. Rick, his wife, Suzanne, and their grown children live in Oregon. To find out more about Rick Johnson, visit

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