Saturday, September 22, 2018

NetGalley Surprise!

I have been a member of NetGalley for years and have worked with some wonderful publishers from there. I've requested, read and reviewed many of their posted books and will continue to do so.

I was a little shocked the other day as I had requested a book from a publisher and was turned down because of my stats. I didn't understand why, so I started browsing through my account yesterday and came upon a huge surprise - the count of my unreviewed books. I couldn't believe the total and started looking at what wasn't reviewed. Unfortunately, I never checked my tab for books that haven's been reviewed in more than 3 months, because I certainly didn't have any outstanding from that long ago. I mean, I keep up with my reviews. SURPRISE!!! It appears that the one book discussion group I was part of years ago, sent them from NetGalley. It was my understanding that this was just an easy way to send them out and since these were just to be used to have a discussion amongst our private group, no review was required. I guess NetGalley didn't see it that way, because I have to review them, or get them counted against me, which will keep me from requesting certain books I'd really love to review.

You will be seeing books being posted here from times gone by. Even though I've read them, they will have to be read again so that I can post an accurate review and not one that may read like this: "I read it. I liked it. A least I think I did" LOL These books may have questionable content or other matter in them. They were part of a book club and many of them I probably would have never read on my own. These were to broaden our scope of how we looked at things. So, if you don't care for the books that will be posted here from time to time, I do apologize. I have an agreement with NetGalley and my stats at this point can really hurt me.

Thank you for your understanding.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

ALIVE Gospel Sexuality for Students Review

Author: Cooper Pinson/Harvest USA
Publisher: New Growth Press
ISBN: 9781645270918
Pages: 167
$15.99 (discounts on publisher's website)

Note: This study uses the English Standard Version

About the Book:

Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students gives teenagers and young adults a biblical, gospel-centered framework to understand sexual issues. In a changing culture where feelings about our identity inform our sexual choices, this ten-week small group resource by Cooper Pinson of Harvest USA, applies biblical truth in a compassionate way to sexual struggles.

Cooper Pinson, with years of experience working with students, aims to bring the theological truths of our union and communion with Christ into the world of sexuality. Students are met where they are and encouraged to talk about the issues that are part of their everyday world. At the same time, they are guided to learn robust, deep, and strengthening theological content that will help them follow Jesus in how they express their sexuality.

Out of this framework, topics addressed include God's good design for sexuality, gender-related issues, singleness, dating, marriage, masturbation, pornography, and same-sex attraction, among others. Students are shepherded to understand their sexuality in the light of who Jesus is and to approach these issues with truth, faith, and compassion.


Harvest USA is a non-profit that has been ministering to individuals and families affected by sexual struggles since 1983. With over 100 years of combined direct ministry experience, Harvest USA staff also seek to equip the Church with their writing and teaching on biblical sexuality and how to help those who struggle sexually.

My Thoughts:

Sex and sexuality is probably one of the most thought about and talked about subjects in the world of a teenager. Society hits teens from all sides - be it gender, relationships, media, etc., our children are getting told lots of things through every aspect of their life. What they learn from their friends, schools, movies, books, special interest groups and other worldly influences is certainly not what we, as Godly parents, want our children to hear or worse - believe.

Alive: Gospel Sexuality for Students is a wonderful resource to help guide our youth to the Biblical truth about sex and sexuality. This leaders guide/student workbook looks at God's design for us and tackles many very sensitive issues. The leader's guide is laid out in a very user friendly manner for the youth leader (or even the parent who wants to use this as a guide to talk to their teens). There are questions to discuss, scenarios for the students to read, issues to cover and even touches on abuse and rape. This is designed for a group setting and would definitely be best in a gender specific group. I know, as a female, I certainly wouldn't want to talk about these things in front of a male!

I'm not sure how I feel about this book having both the leader's guide as well as the student workbook in one volume. It is nice for the leader, but the students have all the answers and information at their fingertips, taking the thinking and spontaneity away from the discussion. These kids really need to sit and think and consider how serious sex is and how God's design works for us!

I received a copy of these books from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

I Challenge You!

How many Christian books have you read lately? I've been working on a list at List Challenges and only read 17 of the books listed. According to the algorithm, the average is 3 off this list!

Good reading list for every Christian woman. List includes good fiction as well as nonfiction topics such as homemaking, marriage, family, spirituality, etc

How many have you read?

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

My Princesses - Learn to Be Brave & Lean to Share Book Reviews

My Princesses Learn to Be Brave
Author: Amie Carlson
Illustrator: Heather Heyworth
Publisher: Tyndale House
ISBN: 9781414396613
Hardcover - 21 pages
Juvenile Fiction

About the Book:

Friends Grace and Hope want to play on their favorite slide at the park. However, when they get to the slide, they meet a mean bully who won't let them. As the girls turn to leave, Grace recalls the story of Queen Esther, who bravely stood up for her people. Inspired by Esther's story, the girls ask the bully to be their knight and invite him to play with them on the slide. Recommended for ages 2-7.

My Thoughts:

This sweet book is extremely colorful, holds a good message and is short enough to hold the attention span of the younger child. The message is loud and clear that as children of God, we can learn from the Bible and use it to make good decisions. Grace and Hope meet a bully and use Esther and her position of Queen to stand up for what is right. These girls do the same and handle the bully in a brave and kind manner. A lovely lesson to teach a young child!

My Princesses Learn to Share
Author: Amie Carlson
Illustrator: Heather Heyworth
Publisher: Tyndale House
ISBN: 9781414396620
Hardcover - 21 pages
Juvenile Fiction

About the Book:

Princess Grace and Princess Hope want to wear the same pink dress when they play dress-up. They end up ripping the dress, but Mom has a story to help them learn to share. She tells them the story of Jesus and the young boy who shared his lunch. The girls get the picture, Mom mends the dress, and they learn to share. Recommended for ages 2-7.

My Thoughts:

Another sweet story from Amie Carlson. When Grace and Hope want the same dress, the find that their selfishness caused both hurt and damage. Hope's mom uses this incident to use the miracle of the fish and loaves of bread to illustrate how sharing can change things and make a difference. She also pointed out how one should try to be beautiful both inside and out and sharing is part of that. A great way to share a lesson from one of Jesus's miracles and learn a good lesson from it.

I received a copy of these books from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible Tour


The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible: Over 40 Stories of God's Power and Presence
Author: Doris Wynbeek Rikkers
Illustrated by Fernando Juarez
Publisher: Zonderkids
ISBN-13: 978-0310749738
Hardcover: 312 pages

About the book:
The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible brings to life more than 40 Bible stories that help readers understand that God’s Spirit has been with us since the beginning of time and continues to be with us today. From the glory of creation through the powerful letters of Paul, God’s Spirit is living in his people. Old and New Testament stories such as Adam and Eve, Abraham, Joseph, the Baptism of Jesus, and Pentecost come alive with dramatic illustrations by Fernando Juarez and moving text by Doris Rikkers. With a cover that sparkles and shines with foil, this is a special storybook Bible that will appeal to both children and parents alike.
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
If I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
If I settle on the far side of the sea,
Even there your hand will guide me,
Your right hand will hold me fast.

About the author and illustrator:

Doris Wynbeek Rikkers is a freelance writer and editor who has written many bestselling children’s books and Bibles. Although she loves the ocean, she lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, surrounded by her books, her flower gardens, and her family and friends.
Spanish artist Fernando Juarez illustrates children’s books and also works as an art supervisor at the Madrid studio Ilion Animation. The company produces 3D feature films for children. Fernando has three kids himself, and if he has any time left after work and family, you might catch him playing guitar in a rock band.

My Thoughts:

This book is beautifully illustrated and most definitely will grab your child's attention. I was taken by the artist's style and enjoyed looking at all the artwork throughout the book. Because of the artwork, I was sure I was going to love this Bible story book. Unfortunately, that was not the case.

My concern started with the first story: the creation. The author's first sentence states: "In the beginning, there was nothing but darkness ... and God." The first thing that popped into my head was, "Why would God live in darkness?" Darkness has always had a bad/evil connotation to it. This has a totally different feel to it than how my Bible starts out: "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth." (Gen. 1:1 KJV).

As the first chapter progressed on, I got the feeling the author does not believe the creation takes place in six days. " The seasons changed and seeds scattered and grew into plants." Then man was made." From what I take from this, man was made at least a year after to go through the life cycle of a plant.

I have other concerns as well - but won't go into them. It sounds quite picky - since this is only a child's book, but children are like sponges. They absorb so much more than we think they do. We need to feed them the correct information from the beginning. If that information doesn't exactly match what you believe, don't use it. If you do, you will only cause confusion later. Children learn and don't forget easily and so hard to correct later.

Although beautifully illustrated, this book is not something I'd use for my family.

Would you like to win your own copy of

The Spirit of God Illustrated Bible?

Win a children's book prize pack from Read with Audra!

The prize pack includes a copy of:

Spirit of God Illustrated Bible
Adventure Bible Book of Daring Deeds and Epic Creations
NIV Kids Visual Study Bible
Explorer's Bible Guide
Words to Love By
Love Letters from God

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review, but instead, one that gives my honest opinion.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Great Shopping Finds - One Unbelievable!

My son had to go out of town to take a managerial test yesterday and asked if I'd like to come along. How could I pass up an opportunity like that? The testing site was about 2 hours away, making it a great time for us to just spend some time talking.

Autumn Harvest Pancake Pan $19.98 at Sam's Club

While he was taking his test, I went to Sam's Club there. It was a lot bigger than ours and had some really neat items that I've never seen before. I bought the most adorable pancake pan. It make medallion pancakes with autumn designs on them. I did spend more than I normally would, but knew it would be used a lot!

Gurunanda Essential Oil Gift Set $22.91 at Sam's Club

The next find was also at Sam's Club. I use essential oils - usually doTerra brand, but stumbled across a Gurunanda Essential Oil Gift Set for $22.91. It comes complete with:
  • 8 Essential Oils - Lemon, Lemon Grass, Peppermint, Lavender, Tea Tree Oil, Frankincense, Rosemary and Eucalyptus (15ml each)
  • A wooden storage box that holds 8 oils
  • A travel box that holds 8 oils
  • A small booklet containing information about the oils as well as some recipes
  • A dropper
  • Dots to put on top of your EO's so that you don't have to pull them all out to find the one you are looking for
Storage box and travel box
I'm not sure if Sam's just got them in or are clearing them out. I couldn't find the set on their website nor on Gurunand's site. This price is really good. I looked at what each EO runs at Gurunanda, and they are listing at $7.99 each. Even their sets are not priced this good. I'm not sure how great the quality is, as I haven't used them, however, their website states they are safe to use on the skin and some are safe to ingest - but you should always talk to a certified/licensed aromatherapist before ingesting any EO.

BUT the BEST find of the day was at the mall. My son finished his exam (and passed - He's now certified!!! YAY!!! ) and suggested we stop at the nearby mall to see what was there. Sadly, a good 1/4 of it is empty and the last big store, Bon-Ton was in its final stages of clearing out their merchandise. There was barely anything left, but I did happen to stumble upon two sweaters that I liked.

I purchased the same sweater in 2 different colors - the blue shown here and a red one. They are soft and feel absolutely luxurious on. The neat thing about them - the cowls are separate, so you can wear them with or without the cowl, creating 4 different looks instead of 2.  I can also use the cowls with other sweaters as well!

The original price of the sweater was $68 and was marked down to $50.99. That price still would have kept it well out of the range of what I'd want to pay for a sweater. But here's where it becomes unbelievable - since it was a marked down item, they had an addition 90% off plus another $30% off that!! I really didn't do the figuring in my head, but knew it was going to be a great deal when I got to the counter. At the time I took the sweaters to be rung up, I had no idea there was the extra 30% off. When she told me the grand total, I just looked at her and said, "Are you sure that amount is correct? I have 2 sweaters."

My total after everything was all said and done was $7.14 for both sweaters! That's even less than they charge for sweaters at the Goodwill - and these were brand new!!

I am saddened to see another store close its doors. The mall there lost JC Penneys, Macy's, Sears, and now Bon-Ton, not to mention other stores and restaurants. After we got back from our lovely day out, I went online and found that Bon-Ton closed and is closing a lot of their stores. Check in your area and see if your Bon-Ton is one of them. If so, you might find some great buys, too.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

I Should Be Ashamed To Call Myself A Woman

I recently worked at a very well known university as a Dining Hall Worker. It's a physical job, but one I enjoyed. I had contact not only with the employees at the dining commons, but I also worked with student employees and had contact with the general student population. Sometimes I served them and sometimes I cleaned up after them. The job was good and so was the pay.

When I was hired, I went through all types of training and one was about diversity and tolerance. We have many international students and students with diverse backgrounds. I had no problem with the idea of respecting other's thoughts, ideas and beliefs. That's what makes the world interesting!

I enjoyed learning about other's cultures and hearing about families as well as their religious upbringings (and at times lack of). It made me more aware and thankful for my salvation. As much as I wanted to share things about my beliefs, I was not allowed to discuss them or politics. That was a fire-able offense. Although if someone asked, I was very happy to share. That's how I found out I should be ashamed to call myself a woman.

I was washing dishes in the commons' kitchen, when a student employee started a conversation about feminism. She turned to me and asked, "You're a feminist, aren't you?"

I shook my head and answered, "Far from it."

She gasped and then started talking very loudly and became very condemning. She said I was working, so I must be a feminist. But I told her there were situations that forced me to work. She became louder and said I was a hypocrite. I agreed with her. That appeared to make her angrier. This began drawing a large crowd of students and employees. The students stood with eyes wide and mouths gaping and one of the employees tried to tell everyone that this is the great thing about being diverse and tolerant - we can have differences of opinions and still discuss them. He was worried that this discussion may get me reported and fired.

I didn't raise my voice and only answered when she asked questions. She screamed of tolerance and equality and how as women we need to stick together and fight for each other. She went on to say that  I should be ashamed to consider myself a woman since I'm not helping female equality, but one that has backwards beliefs. I was stunned at how much anger and intolerance flew out of her mouth! She spewed so many foul words and she became louder and louder while doing so. If she tried to win points with her fellow student workers, she didn't. They appeared to be disgusted and after she walked out, many came to me and apologized for her.

I learned a lot that day. I found that tolerance from certain people with special interests, only seems to go one way. I also found that the college will stand behind that person with a special interest and no behind the Christian. Hence, I must tolerate the beliefs of others, but they are allowed cut mine up into pieces and put me down. As much as I loved my job and the people I worked with, I don't miss the double standards.


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