Friday, August 29, 2014

The NIV God's Word for Gardeners Bible

The NIV God’s Word for Gardeners Bible is beautiful, with lovely lavender and green colors and a gardening-theme cover.  The binding is done well, as I always expect from Zondervan, and although the print is fairly small my old eyes did not have trouble reading.  The margins are also small. so there is no room for handwritten notes.  

It does seem a little disorganized to me, but that could be just because it is an unfamiliar format.  The introduction explains that the book is divided into three themes: The Garden Tour with 12 weeks of readings, Garden Work with 23 weeks of readings, and Garden Stories with 10 weeks readings.  There are also 7 weeks of Garden Tools which were not mentioned in the initial introduction.  Devotional essays are included on a separate page near the Bible verses.

Following the first week, first day of the Garden Tour, I read Genesis 2:8-15and then a devotional essay on the following page.  The study is not overwhelming and can easily be done daily.  The interspersed devotionals throughout the chapters threw me off a little when trying to find the correct book and chapter.

It may take a while to become accustom to the format, but this is a nice Bible that would make a beautiful gift for a gardener.

Book description:
Features: * 260 daily devotions and 52 weekend readings arranged in weekly themes and placed near relevant passages in the text to explore the biblical metaphors of gardens and gardening * Beautiful, durable hardcover * Topical Index (for 52 weeks) * Special sections on the Garden of Eden, the garden of Gethsemane and Jesus the Vine.

This book was provided to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review as part of the BookLook Blogger program.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Here is Where by Andrew Carroll

Author Andrew Carroll was inspired to write this book after visiting the spot where Abraham Lincoln’s son was saved by the brother of Lincoln’s assassin.  He sought out forgotten places filled with history.  The book is broken up into short chapters, each with a different topic.  It is a fairly quick read because you can read a little at a time and then go back to it later.

I’m not sure why some were included as “forgotten history” as the stories and places are fairly well known.  Some of the stories start out interesting, but then start to fizzle out. The stories sometimes tend to drift and I wish he had stayed on point!  Quite a few of the stories, however, are fascinating.  The ones I found most interesting: Mound City, about a disaster worse than the titanic; Hart Island, a huge potters field; and Robert Goddard’s Backyard, a real rocket scientist. 

I question the addition of a couple of the stories. One was a racial incident which made neither side look good.  A page of jokes about Jehovah’s Witnesses was the way the author chose to start a chapter on the abuse and discrimination against the Jehovah Witnesses. 

Overall, the book is an interesting and unique collection of stories.  

 Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance

I am very pleased to be part of the Remains of Innocence by J.A. Jance Blog tour. Although there are quite a few Joanna Brady mysteries, this was my first. I never thought I was missing anything so I can say that this is a good stand-alone book.

There were two stories going on at the same time that later merge into one. The storyline were never confusing, although there were quite a few characters, and I sometimes had trouble remembering who they were.  I liked most of the characters and the very normal family life Joanna has with her husband and children.  The story takes a few odd twists and turns and the Liza’s story isn’t very believable, but I am quite able to overlook the wild adventure and just enjoy the story.  I normally do not like long prologues or intros, but in this case the prologue gave a good background to one of the main characters.  I enjoyed Remains of Innocence very much and I look forward to picking up some more of the Joanna Brady series.

I received this book from the Partners in Crime blog tour in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Confession by Robert Whitlow

Assistant DA Holt Douglas has a tragic secret in his past that he has buried deep in his heart, but the people and circumstances in his life do not let it stay buried.  Holt discovers the files of an old case and secretly investigates was reported to be suicide.

This was a good story of relationships, honesty, guilt, and forgiveness. The story starts out strong,  gets a little bogged down in too many details in the middle, but then again builds to a strong finish.  I liked all of the characters and their interactions.  I always enjoy reading about good characters of faith that struggle, but live that faith outwardly.  While as the Assistant DA, he appeared before the judge, there was not much in-court action.  It was still a good legal drama, with a good message and a very satisfying ending.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook book blogger program in exchange for an honest review. 

Schism The Battle For Darracia

The planet Darracia has a growing social unrest as the divide between the upper and lower classes are growing. We watch Prince V’sair branch out from his education and grow as an individual and as a leader.  Battles with political motives, between family members, and internal struggles of the main characters made this a well-rounded tale that held my interest from beginning to end.

I read this series out of order and read the second book first.  Although the second did well as a standalone, going back helped me understand who and what each character was and learn more about their personalities. Everything seemed to fall into place. 

Michael Cash captured a strange world and explained it perfectly to this new reader of science fiction.  I recommend this book and the series for those who enjoy fantasy, sci-fi, or if you would just like to read something different.  This is a good story by a very good storyteller. 

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

Friday, August 1, 2014

Spider Woman’s Daughter, A Leaphorn & Chee Novel by Anne Hillerman

Had this been written as a first novel without claiming that they were a continuation of Tony Hillerman’s Leaphorn and Chee novels, I would have probably not been so disappointed. This book had no beautifully described landscape, no rich characters, and no interesting mystery to be solved that we were so accustomed to in Tony Hillerman’s books.  The characters in Spider Woman’s Daughter are cartoon-like, especially the “killer”. 

I don’t really understand why the author decided to butcher the characters of Leaphorn and Chee.  Joe Leaphorn is shoved into the background early in the book and then only referred to occasionally.  As for Jim Chee – what on earth happened to him?  This author made him a whiney lapdog for his rough and tough wife.  His constant use of terms of endearment and rushing home to cook were cringe-worthy.  The dialog between those two was laughable, and she decided to add jealous husband to his list of character traits.  He is also shoved into the background as his wife Bernadette Manuelito is the focus of this book.  Her character is rather bland and boring with no sense of a deep heritage I expected.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review.  

Treat Yourself, 70 Classic Snacks by Jennifer Steinhauer

When I think back to all of the yummy treats I enjoyed as a child, I never really thought about recreating
them as homemade.  Obviously, Jennifer Steinhauer did!

Not really a copycat recipe book, but just the author’s take on each of her favorite treats. Although some in the photographs look like the originals, others are much different – and actually look much better. Just to give an idea of the recipes included, here is one recipe title from each category:  Classic Cookies, Thin Mints; Sandwich Cookies, Oatmeal Crème Pies (the first I will be trying!);  Snack Cakes, Zebra Cakes; Fruity Treats, Fig Newtons; Savory Snacks, Soft Pretzels; Candy, Fannie May Mint Meltaways; and Frozen Treats, Orange Creamsicles. 

The layout of the recipes is easy to read and the recipes are easy to follow.  Many have full-page photographs, but a few are missing photos.  Some of the recipes are easy to make and others are a bit more challenging, but there is a good combination of both.

Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review.

World of Trouble: The Last Policeman Book III by Ben H. Winters

World of Trouble is the last of a three book series.  Although I had not read either of the first two, I never thought I was missing anything from the story. It is truly a great standalone book with interesting characters and very well written. 

Detective Hank Palace wants to solve one last case before the catastrophic asteroid hits Earth.  His sister is missing and he wants to connect with her one last time.  There were times I didn’t understand why Hank behaved as he did, but I was totally fascinated by his character. As I read through this book, there was a subtle gloom because we know what is coming, but as much as I wanted like a different conclusion, I am glad the author stayed true to the story. 

This will probably end up in my top 10 favorite books for this year.   I can’t wait to go back and read the first two of the series.
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