Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Book Review: The Story: 365 Devotions from Zondervan

"The Story" is described as book of 365 Devotions, but there are actually 366 devotions in this book (the extra devotion is a bonus, at least it is for me). The devotions do not have dates on them, so it can be started at any time of the year. It numbers the devotions from 1 to 366, has a title for each devotion, a main Scripture verse for each devotion, contains an encouraging devotion related to Scripture, and gives readers something to think about in closing each devotion, which sometimes include how you might want to pray, an insight, or words of encouragement.  The Scripture verses are in order as they appear in most Bibles, with the exception of at least one main verse I remember reading that I think was included to help with the topic of other another Scripture like it on another day. There is an appendix in the back of the book to go deeper into "The Story", and a notes section that highlights important notes throughout the book.

I like the format of this devotion book because of its orderly fashion with the Scriptures. The Scriptures written out often did not give the whole amount of passages for the verses given, so that was an encouragement for me to look up the whole section of Scripture and sometimes what was around it in my Bible. It also showed me in a different way than I already knew that the Old Testament is much larger than the New Testament because there were more devotions that applied to the Old Testament; only a little over one hundred and twenty of them come from the New Testament.

What personally got the most of my attention in this devotion book was learning that Paul and Silas sang hymns (based on Acts 16:25), which I had mostly given up on in the past and replaced it with more modern songs. I have had the hymns back in my life for a short amount of time but still find myself enjoying more modern songs that apply to the ancient Scriptures sometimes also. So I am glad for learning about a verse that applies to people in the ancient days singing hymns.

This is definitely a type of devotion that can be started at any time of the year. If you need to skip a day or want to read more than one devotion a day you can just pick up where you left off.

My review = 5 out of 5 stars

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this Bible free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers (http://booklookbloggers.com) book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.


Thursday, January 12, 2017

CD Review: Junie B Jones: First Ever Musical Edition! with First Grade At Last by Barbara Park

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

The Junie B. Jones: First Ever Musical Edition! contains the story First Grader at Last and 15 songs from Junie B. Jones the Musical.

First Grader at Last is read from Junie B. Jones' point of view.  First grade sure is different for Junie; a friend of Junie's is acting much differently than she did last year. Even though her world seems like it has taken a turn of the worst through various disappointments, Junie is faced with some new experiences that didn't happen the previous year. Junie writes about her experiences in a journal.

I think this audio book will be fun for children to listen to. I also think that first grade is probably too soon for most children to know how to write sentences in a journal like Junie does but things might have changed since I was kid. I like how the use of a journal is used in the story though to help readers see it from Junie's point of view. I like how Junie's voice sounds; in my opinion, it has a lot of animation in it.

Junie B. Jones the Musical sounds like a live musical to me. It is full of funny, energizing songs about Junie B. Jones and her life. Junie's voice sounds very animated in the songs on this CD also. It didn't seem to me like many of the songs came from the First Grader At Last CD so I think it must be a compilation of many of the different Junie B. Jones stories.

My review = 4.5 out of 5 stars

I received this CD book / musical free for the purpose of reviewing it.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Book Review: Watch by Rick James

Watch is book to help people wake up from their spiritual sleep.  It will help people to see how and why our world is fast asleep spiritually through different topics that apply to modern life. Some of the chapters titles are: Sensory Data, Sleepless Cities, Psychedelic, Homeland, Speak Now, etc. There are examples given from the author's experiences, other people's experiences, information from books, news stories, etc. It will help people understand better how to get past the awkwardness of living a spiritual life that are different than the norm. It highlights a lot of areas that are relevant to any era.

I liked the Scripture examples of being spiritually and physically asleep in this book; I believe I connected to the topic of being spiritually asleep well. I was hoping for some more ancient examples of how to come out of sleepfulness, and how they can be applied to today's times though and found myself getting lost in the various modern examples given.

I found myself interested in the "Why I Hate Community" points section in Chapter 4, since spiritual community has been a hard thing for me to get connected to pretty much my whole life. I liked that even though the author had some important reasons why he doesn't like community, that it seemed to help him spiritually to get over the uncomfortableness and experience community in spite of them. That is an encouragement to me to help me get over the uncomfortableness I often feel regarding congregation / spiritual community.

In my opinion, this book does a great job of showing how a lot of the world is fast asleep, but I really didn't connect with anything about how to become and stay awake spiritually. I loved learning that demonic (impure spirits) look for places to rest (based on Matthew 12:43-45), and it helped me think about how I should be on the watch for ways demonic spirits may try to come into my life, and to bring that to God when it happens so he can drive them away.

I felt like this book has a humorous tone, which will help people that like humor to find some truth in humorous ways, although I think the book did have a serious tone at times as well.

My review= 3 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of writing an honest and unbiased review.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Book Review: A Spectacle of Glory by Joni Eareckson Tada

A Spectacle of Glory : God's Light Shining Through Me Every Day is filled with 365 devotions, one for each day of the year. Each devotion contains a portion of Scripture to focus on, sometimes it contains one verse and sometimes more. There is also a prayer at the end of each devotion that is often said in the tense of author Joni Eareckson Tada, but can be applied to each individual reader's life. There are also footnotes at the bottom of some of the devotions that list other Scripture verses as they are brought into the devotions. Joni often uses examples of what she has endured in her life to help people find a lot of hope, encouragement, and truth through their circumstances. She also sometimes uses examples of other well known people to show a spiritual example or truth.

I felt a calm tone while reading through this devotional book. I often looked forward to pulling it out because the devotions often focused on one portion of Scripture at a time. I sometimes made notes in my Bible about verses related to hope, which I like to be reminded of when reading Scripture. Some of the devotions made me realize that no matter what life's circumstances I need to try harder to help people through their difficulties even when I'm going through my own. I often said the prayers listed at the end of devotions at night and my spirit often felt calmer. I also felt some spiritual excitement as a result of praying some of them, hoping God might answer what I was praying for. This devotion book has helped me to understand just how important it is to find time to connect with Jesus (Yeshua) every day, no matter what could distract me from doing so; I became encouraged to bust through the distractions that want my time, and find time to connect with Him each day.

My review= 5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Tribute to George Michael

Pausing for a week or so to remember George Michael. If he wasn't around here on earth I don't know if I would have become as much of a music lover as I am, since his was the first concert I remember going to in the late 1980's. I am sure there are many people out there with stories with how George touched them, and cannot find all the words to explain it, like me.

I heard "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go" while I was out watching the film "Sing" today at the theatre. When I got home I learned he had died. God is so good to put a song from him into my life the day he died, hours before I found out he died.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Book Review: If You Were Me And Lived In...Israel by Carole P. Roman, Illustrated by Kelsea Wierenga

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

If You Were Me And Lived In...Israel by Carole P. Roman is another great addition to the A Child's Introduction to Culture Around the World series! It follows the format of the other topics in the series, such as where Israel is located in the world, popular names for children, a famous city, a famous tourist attraction, a popular holiday celebrated, foods, and games. Names are given in Hebrew for words such as doll, market, and school. There is a pronunciation guide in the back of the book of words in English, their pronunciations in Hebrew, and their English definitions.

I like that a tiny section of the globe is highlighted in the illustration on the front cover so children can visualize just how small Israel is. The children that are featured on the cover of the book have darker skin than any Israelite I remember meeting or seeing. Throughout the book some people's skin looks lighter though, so maybe I just haven't meet or seen any darker-skinned Israelites before. In my opinion, the illustrations bring Israelite life more alive so children will be able to understand it better.

Both children and adults can learn from this book. I learned that football is popular in Israel, when I thought they were not into any sports. The Maccabiah Games are similar to the Olympics to find the best Israeli athletes. I knew about the shouk (shook) being an open market, although I didn't piece it together that they sold food, clothing, and other assorted products until I read this book, which are very much like a lot of the stores in the United States (without being outside). I also learned why Israelites read and write from right to left.

I wish that more of the holidays Israelis celebrate were explained in the book, although the one that is listed in the book (Purim) is a holiday that I think children get the most excited about.

I am glad they talked about the popular foods of hummus, pitas, and falafel. This will help children in the United States to understand when they eat a pita that a lot of people are probably doing the same thing in Israel, and it introduces them to another food that is often in their stores (hummus), and one that they might have not heard of (falafel).

A wonderful series that I hope will be translated into many different languages so children all around the world will be able to learn a lot from it!

My review= 4.5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Book Review: One To Ten: Squirrel's Bad Day by Carole P. Roman, Illustrated by Mateya Akrova

This review is meant for parents, teachers, and other people that work with children to read.

A squirrel drops some acorns in the water. They are probably lost forever. She is asked to rate the situation on a scale from one to ten, with ten being the worst. Squirrel and her friends are reminded of some other situations they have gone through, some of which were fun. They are asked to rate those on a scale of one to ten also. In the illustrations the different animals hold up the numbers from the rating system that they learn. At the end of the book they do something fun, I think to help get over the harder situations that they faced.

I believe this book will help children to learn how to rate with numbers and to also help them understand what kind of situations are harder to endure than others. It may also help them to understand that they don't have to stay focused on the harder problems, they can do things to help them get over them and they can also remember the good situations they have gone through after something really bad happens.

I wish there were some really, really good situations to compare the harder ones to in this book, although I think it does a great job of comparing harder situations like getting in trouble, disappointments, and even losing a loved one.

My review = 4.5 out of 5 stars

I received this book free for the purpose of reviewing it.