Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pirates on the Farm

"Pirates on the Farm" by Denette Fretz is a children's book that centers on a family of pirates that move to a farm. The story is told from the point of view of a child living on a nearby farm. The story details all the problems that the pirates have adjusting to life on land, and how each person reacts to the pirates. The mother is annoyed by the pirates, and starts a "move away from pirates" fund; brother Joey thinks the pirates are cool; and good old dad is tolerant and accepting of the pirates.

In the end, the pirates and the family from the story become friends, and they learn to help each other and be accepting of their differences. Mom even uses her "move away from pirates" fund to help the pirates get out of a financial jam. Overall, I thought this was a cute story and it did have the theme of being tolerant of others. I didn't particularly care for the way that the mother was portrayed, as being so rigid and intolerant, but the overall theme worked well.

My five year old reads this book easily, and the vocabulary is appropriate for her age. The illustrations are colorful and fun to look at, as well. I would give this book a 4/5, and appropriate for ages 4-7.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookSneeze.com's blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Monday, November 11, 2013

NIV Ragamuffin Bible

The NIV Ragamuffin Bible by Zondervan is a Bible that is designed for the "bedraggled, beat-up, and brokenhearted". This Bible is a traditional NIV translation that contains both the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Bible is a hardback version, with average size type. What sets this Bible apart from other NIV Bibles are the reflections that are inserted throughout the text. These reflections are small or large boxes on the page that contain a thought, elaboration, or explanation. These thoughts are tied in to the theme of the text, and are placed throughout each chapter.

The reflections in the text of the Ragamuffin Bible are written by Brennan Manning, and feature his lifetime work. These reflections are meant to be inspirational, uplifting, and helpful to those who feel down. I thought that the reflections really succeeded in this area, and thought they were a way to help people who are feeling down really be consoled and feel content in the love of God. I would definitely recommend this Bible to anyone who could use the encouragement and inspiration that this Bible offers. The only downside is that I honestly could have read even more of these reflections. They were wonderful. 5/5!

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookSneeze.com's blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Take Flight!

"Take Flight! : A Sisterchicks Devotional" by Robin Jones Gunn and Cindy Hannan is a devotional written for women. The devotions themselves are a little longer than what I would have preferred. As a busy mom with only limited time to read, these devotions were a little more than what I could read in one sitting before I had to put it down and tend to children. The messages themselves were relevant, though, and I thought that Robin and Cindy addressed a lot of issues that woman face.

Each devotional focuses on one theme, and begins with a section titled, "From Robin's Nest", which is Robin's part of the devotional, usually containing a personal story or experience that she ties into a Biblical message. This is followed by a section called, "From Cindy's Perch", which is Cindy's portion of the devotional, which expands on Robin's theme, and sometimes gives another personal story and Biblical view of the theme. Each devotion ends with the "Take A Closer Look" section that gives further reading that ties in with the theme of the devotion, space for the reader to take their own notes, and a Bible verse that encapsulates the reading.

Overall I'd say that the message and content of this devotional is great. The readings are designed for women, and I enjoyed them. I didn't think this was really much of an actual "devotional", though. The readings are longer than what I would have expected for a daily reading. Between two young children at home, it was hard to actually read one entire chapter without having to put it down and go do something else. Other than that, I thought it was wonderful, and pertinent. A must read for any woman - inspirational, relevant, and soulful.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BloggingforBooks.org in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Wayfinding Bible

I was recently offered the opportunity to review The Wayfinding Bible from Tyndale House Publishers. I have to admit that I was very intrigued by the premise of this version of the Bible, as it promised three views of each book of the Bible - a brief overview, a slightly more involved overview, and reading nearly all of the text.

This is definitely my new favorite Bible version. The Wayfinding Bible offers direction and a road map of what to read. The three different reading options offer options to still be able to read the Bible and get something out of it even on limited time. The "flyover route" offers an overview of the major events that occur in the Bible; The "direct route" gives more of an indepth perspective on the entire Bible in 215 readings; The "scenic route" is 386 readings that give you the full understanding of the Bible that takes you through both the familiar and unfamiliar passages in the Bible. I loved this feature of this Bible because it allows you to have a sort of road map of what to read, which helps keep you on track.

I started out reading the "flyover" route of The Wayfinding Bible and found that it really helped me to understand the main events of the Bible without feeling like it wasn't a complete reading. I intend to follow the "direct route" next, and am super excited to go more in depth via the map that this Bible lays out.

Aside from the different routes you can choose from to read this Bible, The Wayfinding Bible is also jam packed with all sorts of extra information and resources to further your understanding of the reading. Colorful boxes, maps, and charts offer additional information, insight, and facts about what you are reading. I loved the splashes of color and helpful tools. Sometimes the Bible feels like pages and pages of black and white, and the colorful additions go a long way both aesthetically as well as functionally.

Each chapter of this Bible offers an informational page that introduces you to the events that are about to occur. It gives you any information you  may need about the setting, location, and time frame to help you get the most out of the reading. It also gives you a brief overview of the stops you will make for each of the different "routes".

I think that the Wayfinding Bible offers the ideal study Bible for anyone who really is seeking to get more out of their Bible. I found the NLT translation to be easy to understand, and really enjoyed the many additional features that were put into this Bible. This is my go-to Bible for studying and more comprehensive understanding of Biblical readings. Tyndale House did an awesome job making the Bible less daunting and easier to tackle. Love it. I honestly can't find anything about it that I don't like!! 5/5!

For more information about The Wayfinding Bible, please see the trailer HERE

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

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America's Greatest Virtue

"Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America's Greatest Virtue" by David Bobb is a book that discusses the need for humility in our current time, and compares the humility that some of the most loved American figures had in their character. In this book, Bobb makes the case that humility above all else is one of the greatest virtues that a person, as well as a country, can exhibit. "Humility: An Unlikely Biography of America's Greatest Virtue" offers an inside look at the humility of historical figures like Abraham Lincoln, James Madison, Benjamin Franklin, and Abagail Adams. 

It is clear through this book that David Bobb is deeply acquainted with the history and personal character of these historical figures, and upon reading his biography it is easy to realize that he is an expert. Bobb is a champion of constitutionalism, even one of founding members of a Center for Citizenship and Constitutional Studies. Bobb writes this book with an understanding of the challenges these people faced, and the character that helped them face them. 

I thought this was an awesome book. I truly enjoyed reading the short biographies of these people who I was only given a brief overview of in history class. To understand the character of these people and how humility played such a vital role in making them a part of history was fascinating. I would recommend this book to anyone who has an interest in history - the book itself makes a good point, and ties in the humility factor to the current day, but if you don't have any interest in history, it will probably bore you. I give it a 4.5/5.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BookSneeze.com's blogger program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.