My honest review of books & other products

I love to read & I love to save money on good products for my family of six. Here, I'll share my thoughts on various books and other products in hopes it may help someone else!

Tuesday, April 8, 2014


I've long wanted to see the Holy Land.  I think it would be inspiring and truly awesome (not in the "oh wow, neato!" kind of way, but "awe-filled") to see the places my Hero and Savior once walked. 

I've also, more recently, enjoyed Lynn Austin's books.  Not long ago, I discovered her "Kings" books (that's just what I call them...they have much nicer titles in real life!) and thoroughly enjoyed them! 

Cover Art  (The book is available for purchase HERE, among other places!)

So, when I found the book, "Pilgrimage: My Journey to a Deeper Faith in the Land Where Jesus Walked" by Lynn Austin, I was excited!  And I was not disappointed after reading it!

Austin describes the places and features of the Holy Land with great detail and clarity.  I can see it.  She recalls the history, and includes the scripture references, of these places...who once lived there and why it is significant.  And she reveals its effect on her own life--how her own life was touched by the Savior because of the lessons learned there.  As I read, I often found myself nodding and agreeing that, "yes, I too struggle there" or "I want that in my life, too, Lord!".  Each chapter ends with a heart-felt prayer that was so much my own I know it was God-inspired.  The book helped me know and draw closer to my Jesus. 

I enjoyed the book "Pilgrimage" and would recommend it to anyone in a spiritually dry place or spiritually growing place--you'll be refreshed and encouraged!  Thanks, Bethany House for providing a free copy for my review.

Monday, April 15, 2013

When Zeffie Got a Clue

I enjoy mysteries.  I enjoy the suspense.  I enjoy the problem-solving.  I enjoy the deduction.  I enjoy the break-through when the motive comes together with the clues and the detective gets her criminal!  However, I don't enjoy the bad dreams that inevitably follow for me.  (I'm such a sensitive gal, I suppose!)  So, I was a little leery about reading Peggy Darty's "When Zeffie Got a Clue".  But this mystery was fun and entertaining.  It was not gory and graphic.  The reader was drawn into the mystery and its solution, but Darty keeps the story fairly relaxed and not terribly intense.  

The story line is logical and really not too predictable.  (This is another problem with mystery novels--who wants to know who-done-it before the end of the book?)  Several characters are suspects--and with good reason--yet I couldn't guess the perpetrator & motive for sure until the near end of the book.  (Ok--maybe I'm just not so smart...but in some books, I do figure it out far too soon...)  This made for a great read--enjoyable and captivating!

I appreciated the Christian flavor of the book, as well.  While it's not "preachy", Darty's book sends messages with Biblical basis and she keeps the scenes & conversations "clean".

Overall, it was a great read!  Thanks for the free copy to review, Waterbrook Press!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Discipline is a good thing! Learn how with Crystal Paine.

I've followed Crystal Paine's blog entitled MoneySavingMom for a couple of years now.
Her posts are always informative, interesting, and uplifting.  They're also quite helpful and encouraging.  She blogs about, well, you've probably guessed it--saving money!  But she blogs about balance and discipline in areas beyond just money.  She is a cash-only-spending, homeschooling, Christian mom who writes (and speaks) about finding frugality and balance within the family.  Her posts appeal to Christians and non-Christians alike.  To homeschoolers and non-homeschoolers alike.  To moms and non-moms alike.  Her information is just accurate and educational, regardless of one's circumstances, if you want to get a grip on your finances and sanity (she looks at issues such as time management and clutter control!).

So, while I've not read Crystal's new e-book entitled, "21 Days to a More Disciplined Life", I have no doubt that it is excellent and worthy of your 99cents!  (That's the current price...subject to change, I'm sure!) If this is an area of interest to you, I'd blindly, yet highly, recommend Crystal's book--which is available HERE!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Great Bible Storybook for Young Children!

Roma Downey's Little Angels Bible Storybook is wonderful!  I've examined and used many children's Bible books over the years, so I was a bit hesitant to try another--fearing it would not meet our high standard.  But this book is all that it's cover looks like it will be...and more!

Each lesson contains about three pages of story taken from the Bible and paraphrased so young children can understand it (the story also includes a Bible reference if you'd prefer to look it up, as well).  The pictures that accompany the story are bright and colorful and add a lot to the message for kids.  The lessons each have a paragraph or so entitled "I learned that..." which helps parents formulate a "take-away" lesson from God's word, something a child (or adult, I've found!) can learn from the Bible story and apply to his own life.    A fourth page with each lesson contains a section entitled "I can..." and it provides some ideas for questions, activities, crafts and games that can help reinforce the lesson learned in the story and help give a hands-on reminder for the children.  The last page of the lesson also includes a short prayer asking God to help us implement the lesson in our lives and it has a Scripture verse that correlates with the lesson (the verse is from another part of the Bible, generally).

The Bible book begins with creation and covers 100 stories throughout the Bible, ending with a story called "Jesus Will Come Back" from the book of Revelation.  The whole book is colorful and energetic and creates a sense of fun and invitation to its reader.  My children (ages 5 and 7) and I have enjoyed reading it each day and we all learn something from it.  I'd think other families with young children would enjoy it as we have!

Thanks Tyndale for sending me a free copy for purposes of review!   

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Hope for Organization?

I'd love to give "The Well Planned Day" software a try!  Looks like a great planner for homeschool!!  You can try to win a copy here!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Bringing Up Girls

I love this book!  Dr. James Dobson has once again written a top-quality parenting book--this time focusing on parenting and shepherding girls in today's society.

Dobson spends some time describing the difficult society and environment today's girls are subjected to.  He examines the hyper-sexualized America that teens and even younger children are exposed to every day--through school, television, and even grocery-store checkout lanes.  He also discusses the trend toward materialism, aggression, and de-feminizing girls today.  His study reveals the impact these factors have on not only our girls, but on our society overall.

But, while the evidence is disturbing, Dobson does not leave the reader in despair...he includes information to help parents help their daughters and other girls within their influence.  He encourages parents by sharing findings that parental influence is so much greater and influential than society's influence.  Dobson gives some practical ideas to help grow our girls into mannered, godly, and virtuous women...including a great story in Chapter 17 about a "dating" charm bracelet one couple gave their daughter on her 16th birthday.  While I'd highly encourage reading the entire chapter (and book) for many more details, the gist of the story was that each charm on the bracelet represented a special gift the girl had to offer.  A pebble was the gift of holding hands with a boy, a pink gem was her first kiss, and so on--right up to a diamond charm for the first time she said "I do".  Each time the daughter did something for the first time with a boy, she had to give him the charm.  The meaning was absorbed by the girl as she exclaimed that the bracelet was a crazy idea--those charms were very valuable and she didn't want to give them away...and her parents explained that she is even more valuable than the gems and they didn't want her to simply give herself away!  I loved this picture!!

I'd very highly recommend this book to anyone interested in helping our society--whether you're a parent of girls or boys or not even a parent at all!  The information and principles conveyed are helpful for all of us!

Thanks, Tyndale House Publishers for sending a free copy of this book for review purposes!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Sappy Song of My Heart

Not completely mind-numbing.  Kim Vogel Sawyer is an excellent writer and her novel, Song of My Heart, is well written and interesting.  She incorporates some great themes such as: love, forgiveness, honesty, and more love.  The characters are well developed and likable or despicable, as intended.  But I didn't really like the book.  It's just that the plot is so...predictable.  Of course, it's a romance novel, so what did I expect?  I guess I expected something a bit more, maybe a bit deeper, from such an accomplished writer (this is the first of her novels I've read--perhaps they are all this way and I should not have expected anything else?!)  I knew from the first page of chapter two how the book would end.  It's not my type of reading material.

I did enjoy parts of the book.  It was entertaining.  And I appreciate that Sawyer keeps the language and message clean.  But overall,  unless you enjoy sappy, predictable love stories, I'd probably not recommend it.

Thanks, Bethany House Publishing, for the opportunity to read this book for free!