Friday, October 17, 2014

Your Family in pictures by Me Ra Koh

I love taking pictures of my family; call it a hobby. I have read a lot of books about photography but really appreciated this one.

This soft cover book contains 144 pages with tons of ideas and photos to help you take great pictures of your family during special times or just everyday happenings in your life.
Divided into 7 sections:

1. Setting yourself up for Success
This section give you the steps needed to make your photos successful. It gives you tips on great lighting as well as how to get your family in the mood for picture taking.

2. Developing a Photographers Eye
This section shows you how to shoot. Converting black and white. Discover color, line, shape and texture. Tells you how to become a storyteller.

3. Everyday Life
This section gives you 5 tips on photographing everyday life like outdoor sports, bedtime rituals and more.

4. Holidays
This section gives you tips for photographing 5 different holidays

5. Family Portraits
This section gives you tips for family portraits like pets, sisters, dad and more.

6. Tweens and Teens
This section gives you tips on photographing your teens friends, prom, graduation and more.

7. Family Vacations and Travel
This section give tips photographing snow days, sunsets, amusement parks and more.

This book gave me lots of great tips and ideas to photograph my family. I plan to pass this on to my niece who has an interest and talent for photography.

*This book was sent to me by Blogging for Books  in exchange for my honest review

Why Dogs Are... by Tana Thompson

Most everyone loves dogs! This darling picture book puts a wonderful spin on why dogs were created.
This hardback book has a wonderful cover that is appealing to any dog lover and the title is an easy attention grabber as well. Each page has a simple yet beautiful picture along with an easy to read story. Some of my personal favorites are the ones with the dog and a boy named Brian together.

This book combines the wonderful companionship of a dog with people. The boy Brian is actually blind/deaf. God wants to show Brian how much he loves him. The angels and several kinds of animals volunteer . But when God sees the dog he tells him he can help Brian. The dog doesn't think he is special enough. But God encourages the dog and tells him what he must do to show God's love to the little boy on earth. So Dog goes to earth with the promise if he does a good job that God will send more dogs to earth. (I will leave it at that; so I don't give too much of the ending away).

This is an adorable book that links animals and people together. My kids loved it and thought it was so sweet that God picked a dog to help a child. Dogs are so comforting to people. They are used all the time for the elderly, blind, veterans, kids with autism, and many other people with medical or mental disabilities. This is a perfect book that just explains Why dogs are.  

*This book was given to me by BookCrash  in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Raegan and RJ in Space: Colonizing the Galaxy for Christ by Richard Collins

"Raegan and RJ in Space" is the award winning series of 16 graphic novels which tell the story of the first Christians to leave Earth to colonize other star systems.  It was done to give Christian kids a fun and interesting story to read with a happy ending.  The storyline is that 50 Christian families got together in 2020 and formed their own town in the USA called Hope Tennessee, built a star port called 'Sanctuary', the first star ship called the 'Christian Star Ship (CSS) 001 Faith', all with the goal of colonizing space.  Once people started hearing about what they were doing, Christians from all over the world started to help them.  In 2025, after 5 years, they were ready to go!  Most of the stories revolve around Raegan, a 13 year old girl, and RJ, an 11 year old boy, and their life and adventures on the colony ship "CSS 001 Faith".  There are no aliens, guns, or battles, just out of this world adventure and excitement as Raegan and RJ help their families 'Colonize the Galaxy for Christ!'

I have to say, not overly impressed with this one. There was a lot going on for a graphic novel. The illustrations  were ok. I felt they were very colorful, but some of the actual scenes did not keep my interest; let alone my childrens'. There were so many words on each page that it seemed to overwhelm the pictures. The conversations were hard to follow because I couldn't tell who was speaking when.  I did love all the space jargon and integrated math problems, but there was just so much information it sounded more like I was reading a lecture than a novel to me.
I love the opportunity the writers took to have the characters always thanking God for something; whether it was keeping them safe, helping them accomplish a mission or allowing them to travel and colonize space. But overall, not a book I or my kids would continue to read. Great idea, just not executed well in my opinion.  
To find out more information on this series visit

*I received a free copy from BookCrash in exchange for my honest review.


Friday, August 22, 2014

The Big Flavor Grill by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby

Upon receiving the book The Big-Flavor Grill (No Marinade, NO-Hassle Recipes), I was immediately interested in the concept of not marinating meat that you were grilling. This idea went against the rule of marinating the meat to help tenderize and make the meat more flavorful.  The writers explained how to effectively grill the meat with very little seasoning, and then to add additional flavors when the meat is done. They explain how grilling can be very simple and by adding a few ingredients to finished meat, you can get a big flavor without a big effort. The additional flavors were very inventive, from pouring on the dressings to mixing the grilled meat with juices. I like how the book sectioned off each meat with a basic grill, and then you can pick from about 5 different flavors, or toppings. Having a vegetarian daughter, I was glad there was that there are about 15 different recipes specifically for vegetables and sides.
The instructions were very easy to understand and follow.  I did try one of the barbecue sauces that involved maple syrup, mustard, and orange juice. The sweetness was great on the meat and wife and I were actually impressed with the flavor.
Because this grilling book focuses on not marinating, it is definitely a worthwhile book to keep in collection of grilling cookbooks.
*Received a free copy for review from Crown Publishing Groups Blogging for Books program in exchange for my honest review.

Monday, July 28, 2014

The Gifted Sophomores by Terri Blackstoc

Being a mom of a teenage daughter who loves to read is hard. We have a difficult time finding appropriate reading material for her; surprisingly , even more with Christian literature. This book by Terri Blackstoc was one I just happened upon while looking online for books for her to read. I was skeptical at first; since we haven't had luck with the last several books we have picked up to read, but decided to give it a try.
This book is about 3 teen sophomores who are a part of the same church youth group and go to the same school,  all three are even part of the same yearbook staff. Although they have all this in common they are all very different and aren't even friends. When they are together in the film developing room at school during an earthquake, they start to take a good look at themselves while waiting for help to come. Though injured they are miraculously healed and along with the healing comes some special powers. One teen can look into peoples eyes and see there darkest moments, another is drawn to those who have a problem, and the last can not stop quoting scripture. These 3 realize that when combined these gifts are powerful and can move the world for the glory of Christ.
This was a great book to introduce spiritual gifts to teens and the purpose of the Church body using these individual gifts together to bring others to God. Although in reality we don't have these exact extent of these gifts; they are a reality, we can be more aware of the hurting and searching of those around us and have compassion on them and tell them about the One who can save them.
Loved it.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Knowing God by Name by Sharon Jaynes, Gwen Smith and Mary Southerland

First let me say it is always more fun and interesting to read books by more than one author especially women. This was an 8 week 6 day devotional for women to get a more in depth study and relationship with a God. This book dives into who God is and how we as Christians can relate to him; thus invoking a more closer and personal relationship with the Father. Each devotional is based on one of God's names.  
Each devotion starts with an applicable verse, followed by devotional reading full of scripture ending with a prayer.  At first look I had the attitude of "another devotional about God we have the Bible and church isn't that enough". But this book gave me the opportunity that church doesn't allow...time to sit read and contemplate my relationship with my God. Each author took turns writing different devotions, so it was a refreshing and different insight every day. They were funny, real and encouraging. I appreciate their humor, candor and truth.
This book would be perfect for personal study or a group study.    
*This book was sent to me from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing in exchange for my honest review.   

Monday, February 17, 2014

Seeking Christmas by Renee Robinson

I am all about family traditions; especially during Christmas. I wish I had been able to read this book before Christmas; but I will definitely incorporate all I have learned in Christmas 2014. This book is a short easy 41 page read. This is a series of family devotions and activities to bring you closer to each other and Jesus. This book is divided into 7 days(devotions) which could be used 7 days in row, 7 weeks or however your family wants to do it. Each devotion is divided into the following sections: Remember- section for adults to use to prompt discussion with child about favorite memories, Read-read aloud bible verses, Reflect-read aloud explanation and application of verse with questions, Research-read about history of holiday traditions, and Rejoice-activities for family to rejoice together in the Lord.
Don't forget to download and create corresponding ornaments at the website provided in the book.
Loved the simplicity yet structured layout of the book. Could be used for family members of all ages and could become a family tradition in and of itself.

*This book was sent to me by Bookcrash in exchange for my honest review.