Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Book Review: Junie B Jones First Ever MUSICAL Edition!

This cd set includes the audio book Junie B., First Grader (at Last) and 15 songs from Junie B. Jones, the Musical. We recently listened to the entire thing as a family on our road trip. I'll talk about the book in the first paragraph and the musical in the next.

The book Junie B., First Grader (at Last) is a cute story about a little girl starting 1st grade, and the problems that arise when she realizes she is having trouble seeing the board. My 7 year old enjoyed the story, and asked if we could get another one like it to listen to. My 5 year old said it was boring, but that's because she's more a visual learner and likes looking at pictures. I don't know what the 3 year old, 2 year old, or baby thought, but they were quiet throughout the whole thing! I think the lady who read the story did an excellent job making all the voices for the different characters, and there was only one part I didn't like: when one of the children said "shut up." (But that's because it's a "bad word" at our house). 

The musical was very... well, it definitely sounded like a musical. The music was catchy and the lyrics fit well and the voices were good. However, it really bothered me that a story about 6 year olds was sung by adults, especially when you have men singing little boys' parts. Also, none of the songs sounded particularly unique or memorable. All that being said, all my kids enjoyed the musical (though their daddy, who hates all musicals, breathed a sigh of relief when the song was over!).

To learn more about the author, click HERE

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Book Review: The 100 Most Encouraging Verses of the Bible

Troy Schmidt has compiled 100 encouraging Bible verses from Genesis to Revelation in this little book. Most of the verses are from the NIV, and each one is on its own page, followed by a few paragraphs of commentary by the author. 
I like things to be orderly, and so I appreciate that the verses are listed in order of how they appear in the Bible. Also, I think it's great that they are listed numerically, 1-100, instead of by date as in many devotional books. Often I get behind in my devotional readings, and it's discouraging to be reading devotionals for August when I'm in December! And if I skip ahead, I'll miss a lot! So it's nice to be able to take this book at my own pace rather than try to rush to keep up with a predetermined schedule. The criticism I have is that several of the commentaries are shallow, and I would prefer to go into greater depth in searching out the Scriptures. But all in all, a good little book to set anywhere someone might have a few moments to pick it up and read.  

To learn more about the author, click HERE. 

I received this book from Bethany House for this review.

Book Review: Storm

Note to self: When requesting a book for review, make sure the book is NOT book #6 in a series. 

Now on to the review. Selah and her friends are still in mourning after losing their loved ones on the Mountain, and now Selah must complete the Third Protocol before she fractures completely. She and a group of followers begin their journey west as they continue to face new threats. 

Does all that sound confusing? Well it did for me too. 

Author Bonnie S. Calhoun has created a fantastic distopian world, and like Harry Potter or the Hunger Games, one cannot easily slip into the middle if it without being a bit confused. The action is fast paced, the violence is a bit... umm... brutal (if you like that sort of a thing), and the characters are interesting (although I was irritated on more than one occasion by all the secrets people kept keeping from one another). All in all, a good read, but would've been better if I had known more of what was going on!

To learn more about the author, click HERE.

I received this book from Revell Books for this review

Book Review: The Bad Habits of Jesus

Ever think about how uncouth Jesus was? He was offensive to many people and frequently went against cultural norms. Here are some examples: He procrastinated, He hung out with bad people and partied, He spent time with children and women, He broke the rules and he told stories that didn't make sense. Jesus was a difficult Guy to understand! Author Leonard Sweet explores all of these "bad habits" and discusses some of the reasons behind Jesus' "bad" behavior. 

This is such a great book that I'm late in posting the review! I kept re-reading sections that I wanted to think about and pray over, and still haven't finished the last chapter (but the book sits next to my bed, where I can grab it each evening!) The only downside to this book is that the author says that he wrote the book in 6 weeks, and there is much evidence that this is true! There are several confusing parts that needed better editing. Though I don't agree with all of his conclusions, most of what he says is good, but how it is put together is not always clear. 

To learn more about the author, click HERE.

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers for this review.

Book Review: Wild Montana Skies

Pilot Kacey Fairing is just returning to Mercy Falls, Montana from a tour in Afghanistan where she experienced a traumatic crash. Country music star Ben King returns to Mercy Falls to help run PEAK Rescue while his dad recovers from an injury. Kacey and Ben end up in a situation where they must work together, and they begin the process of working through the injuries of their past.

This was a great read: Action, adventure, romance, and even a bit of mystery. The characters are realistically flawed and yet likeable. The action part is especially exciting, as the reader gets to experience life on a search and rescue team. Mostly though, I was drawn into contemplating the disaster that ensues when we fail to communicate effectively with one another, and how much hurt can be caused by ignoring a relational problem.

To learn more about the author, click HERE.  

I received this book from Revell Books for this review.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Book Review: Photographs from the Edge

From the 1980s to the present photographer Art Wolfe has traveled to exotic locations to capture people, animals, and scenery. In this compilation, each photo is set next to the story of how the photo was came to be. There are also two mini sections. One is entitled "The nature of the photo" and has facts about the location. A photograph for lava, for instance, says: "All Hawaiian islands were formed by volcanoes coming up from the ocean floor."  The other section is called "Photo tip" and contains advice for photographers, like, "To balance flash with existing light, you need to understand that essentially you are creating a double exposure--one for the existing light and one for the flash."

Here are a few examples of his photography:

This is such a beautiful book, and my husband and children have even enjoyed flipping through it. Perfect for a coffee table or a waiting room. 

To learn more about photographer Art Wolve, click HERE.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.