Monday, June 30, 2014

The Chopped Cookbook

Food Network's show "Chopped" is all about taking random everyday pantry items and turning them into a delicious coherent meal. "The Chopped Cookbook" follows the same format - delicious recipes that are designed for the everyday cook, with most items in the ingredient list being items that most people will have on hand.

What I love about this cookbook is the variety of the recipes - Singapore Chicken Fried Rice, Nacho Bake, Jerk Chicken, Sausage, and Celery Fricassee, Linguine with Bell Pepper Marinara, just to name a few. I love how the recipes are not just one genre of food.

Another awesome feature of this cookbook is that the ingredients list is usually relatively basic - I hate when I have to go to three stores to hunt down one particular, obscure ingredient. Most of the ingredients on this list are already on hand, which I appreciate. The directions are easy to follow, and simplistic.

I also really love the photos of the meals that they included with most of the recipes. Not every meal has a photo, but most do, and it really helps me to see what I'm making, and how it should look! The recipes in this book cover pasta, chicken, eggs, vegetables, beef, salads, fish, grains, and desserts, so there really is something for every cook.

Overall I would rate this cookbook a 5/5. I love the show, and I am now in love with "The Chopped Cookbook". I have already picked out about five new recipes I want to try out! I would highly recommend this cookbook.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free from BloggingforBook's Blogger Program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook

The "Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook" is designed around the concept of having small community based potluck meals. Nancy Vienneau and her best friend created this concept in their own neighborhood, in an attempt to bring food lovers together to meet, socialize, and share in delicious foods.

What I liked about this particular cookbook is that its divided up by month, and the recipes coordinate with the seasons, holidays, and availability of different foods. There is a lot of thoughtfulness in planning out the various recipes in this book. Each recipe takes into consideration which ingredients are in season.

The recipes in "Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook" are all more of an upscale type of food, but simple enough for a home cook to make without a lot of trouble. This would be a fun cookbook to use to mix up a dull food routine.

I loved the story behind this cookbook, and thought that bringing people together through food was such a cool concept.


Monday, June 23, 2014

The Loving Kitchen

"The Loving Kitchen" by Leann Rice is a mouthwatering cookbook filled with "downright delicious Southern recipes to share with family, friends, and neighbors". I downloaded the e-reader version of this cookbook, and am so excited to try so many of these recipes. What I love is that the recipes are relatively simple comfort foods that will meet with approval from everyone in my family.

This cookbook has recipes for every meal - breakfast, breads, salads and appetizers, soups and sandwiches, entrees, vegetables, and desserts. I really liked that there were so many photos of the food in the cookbook - it makes it so much easier to decide what to make when you can see what the final product looks like! My favorite recipe in this cookbook is the fried chicken recipe. I have been searching for a "go to" recipe for fried chicken, and this one is definitely a keeper! What makes this cookbook so great, too, is that there are no obscure, hard to find spices or herbs to hunt down. In fact, most of these recipes include ingredients that I usually already have on hand.

Overall I would rate this cookbook as a 5/5. I loved the recipes, the comfort food, and the variety of types of food included in this cookbook. I would highly recommend this to anyone who is looking to change up some of their meal routine, and has more than one mouth to please.

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


The NIV Life Journey Bible is a traditional NIV translation of the Bible that attempts to connect some Biblical truths and principles to our journey through life. I used the e-reader version of this Bible, and really liked it. I was a little bit hesitant just because I wasn't sure how easy it was actually going to be to navigate through the chapters of the Bible, but it was super easy.

The table of contents lists each chapter of both the Old Testament and New Testament, as well as all of the additional features, and skipping to a particular chapter or study tool is as simple as tapping on the title of the chapter you want to skip to. Easy!

What I really enjoyed about this Bible was the feature called "Insight". These links appear within the text of the chapter, and then when you tap on the link, it skips to the "Insight" that connects with what you were reading in the Bible. This feature takes the Biblical references and connects these principles to modern day life, touching on topics such as blame, faith, righteousness, and marriage, among many others. I thought that these were interesting, and very relevant to my life. I liked that it was easy to connect these with the reading in the Bible text, and that they were really connected and rooted in Biblical truth.

This Bible also features many study tools and helpful hints, such as a subject index, table of weights and measures, as well as full color maps, covering everything from the Holy Land to the Roman Empire (14 maps in all). What I love about having these features on the e-reader is the ability to zoom in on these maps!

Overall I would give this Bible a 5/5. I loved the "Insight" feature, and how easy it was to use this Bible on the e-reader, despite my apprehension. Would highly recommend to those looking for a new NIV Bible.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this e-book for free through the BookLook Blogging program in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review.

The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting

Josie Jeffery's gardening handbook, "The Mix & Match Guide to Companion Planting" is one of the neatest and most helpful books I have come across in a long time. Planting a garden requires so much time in preparation, before the first seed is even planted, and this book helps you plan and organize your garden space in a way that is helpful to the plants.

What I love about this guide is that it is simple to understand. Each page of the actual guide is cut into thirds, so that you can flip through the photos various plants, vegetation, and herbs and mix and match which plants make good companions. The split page view is great, because each 1/3rd of the page has little circles with abbreviations in them that you simply match up to the next 1/3rd of the page in order to easily identify friendly plants.

What is also neat about this book is that is also gives you a brief overview of each plant, identifying when to plant, the location the plant prefers, growing tips, when to harvest, as well as information on pests and diseases, recommended cultivars, and also general comments about the plant. I found this to be really helpful in getting a brief overview of the plants before I plant them in my garden.

Overall I would say that this guide should be on every gardener's bookshelf. I thought that this book made it super easy to determine what plants should be planted together, and I loved the helpful information about the plants. I would give this book a 5/5, definitely! I would highly recommend this guide to anyone who does gardening - so helpful!

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

Friday, June 20, 2014

NIV Teen Study Bible

Zondervan's "NIV Teen Bible" is a New International Version Bible designed for teenagers. The Bible is a hardcover version, with a white and green motif on the exterior. This Bible has many additional study features that appear in addition to the traditional NIV translation of the Word of God. There is a question and answer box that appears throughout the Bible, entitled, "Dear Jordan", in which some modern day questions are answered using Biblical references (for example, one of these "Dear Jordan" letters asks about the legality of abortion and whether Christians should get them). I thought this was a great way to connect what many teens view as an "out of date" text with the modern day choices that many teens are faced with.

Another cool feature of this Bible is the trivia. Randomly placed throughout this Bible are small boxes with a trivia question about the Bible and Biblical times. The answer to the trivia question is conveniently on the next page of the text, so you don't have to go hunting through the Bible to find it. It's a good way to help keep teens engaged, by challenging their knowledge. There is also another study tool entitled, "Instant Access" which connects the particular reading to modern day life in a way that is easy for teens to understand and relate to. I thought this was especially useful in helping young adults understand how the Bible STILL applies to their lives through realistic connections.

Overall I thought this Bible was awesome. I would give it a 5/5, and really enjoyed all of the study tools that it featured. This would be a wonderful Bible for any teen, boy or girl. I believe it is very helpful in tying Biblical truths in to the daily life and choices of today's teenager.

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this Bible for free from BookLook Blogging in exchange for an honest review. I was not obligated to write a positive review. All views and opinions above are my own.

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Spoken For

"Spoken For" by Robin Jones Gunn and Alyssa Joy Bethke is a book that encourages you to embrace "who you are and whose you are". In this joint venture, Robin and Alyssa use Biblical stories, personal experience, and conventional wisdom to help uncover the ways in which an all-knowing God claims you as his own.

How many times have you thought that the path your life was on couldn't possibly be God-ordained? What you are going through is too much for you to handle? In this book, Robin and Alyssa use their own life experiences and the promises of God to show you that no matter where your life may go, you are always a child of God, and He is always with you.

I loved the personal stories that Robin and Alyssa share in this book. Some made me laugh, and some made me feel sorry for their situation. But through their experiences, and a Creator who relentlessly pursued them, this book shares hope, inspiration, and joy.

I would highly recommend this book to my female readers - married, single, divorced.. It's a wonderful reminder of the way in which our first love - our God has pursued us, and will never give up on us. Loved it! 5 stars!

FTC DISCLOSURE: I received this book for free through's blogger program in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Derision of Heaven

"The Derision of Heaven" by Michael Whitworth is a fresh look at the book of Daniel. "The Derision of Heaven" covers, chapter by chapter, the book of Daniel, using current events, Biblical reference, and historical context to give a more in depth explanation of the events, lessons, and truth in the book of Daniel.

The book is split up into ten chapters, with each chapter covering a specific section of the book of Daniel, and specific important lessons that we should be taking away from this amazing chapter. This book focuses on Daniel 1 through Daniel 9, and each of these chapters typically have their own chapter. Whereas, chapter 10 of the book encompasses Daniel 10, 11, and 12.

What I thought was really helpful about this book was the depth of the detail that Whitworth uses in order to give the reader a comprehensive and coherent understanding of Biblical information. One example of this is found in Chapter 9 of this book, which discusses Daniel 9, and the many ways in which it has been (incorrectly) translated over the years. When explaining Daniel's vision from Daniel 9, Whitworth takes special care to help the reader understand the historical events surrounding Daniel's vision. This type of care in explaining fully the circumstances of the times are one thing that sets this book apart from others.

I thought this book was very well written, with a lot of thought given to the details in an effort to help the reader expand their own understanding of the book of Daniel. I would highly recommend this book to anyone, as it offers so much insightful and useful information and explanations.

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