Monday, December 28, 2015

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World: How One Family Learned That Saying No Can Lead to Life's Biggest Yes

Raising Grateful Kids in an Entitled World ***
by Kristin Welch

The premise of this book is that giving our children everything they want, and protecting them from all hard things, isn't good for them. Kristin Welch spends a lot of time backing up this belief. I skimmed that part of the book...those weren't new ideas for me. She spends some time on technology and issues that are more present with teenagers. I skimmed those parts, too.
I did find some encouraging nuggets though. My favorite thing in the book is how her family eats beans and rice every Monday to remind them of people around the world who live on beans and rice. What a great, practical way to remind your family of how much we have and to be grateful.
I loved Kristin's first book Rhinestone Jesus, which was her story of Jesus' working in her life. This book was a bit slow in comparison. I liked the ideas, but I think I could have read one article instead of it being stretched through a whole book.
I would recommend this book to someone who is new to the idea of not giving their kids everything. Kristin does a thorough job of walking you through what it looks like to let your kids work hard, fail at things, and go without for the sake of growing healthy young people. This is a message that parents today need to hear.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage

Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage: 12 Secrets for a Lifelong Romance ***
by Greg and Erin Smalley

I try to read a book on marriage every so often to be challenged and encouraged. This book was such a disappointment. It wasn't necessarily bad, just boring. The book has twelve "Romance Secrets." However, the secrets were really just basic truths about marriage. For instance, you have to work out who is doing what chores. You have to both love and serve God to have a godly marriage. You have to be committed to your marriage. You have to live in relationship with other believers both younger and older than you, etc.
So, this may be an encouraging book for a newly married couple or a newly saved couple, but I found it just rehashed things I already know. And I'm not saying I know everything about marriage! I have read many books on marriage and keep learning new things. This just wasn't one of those great, insightful books.
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Just Add Watercolor

Just Add Watercolor  ***
by Helen Birch

This is a beautiful, hardcover book full of watercolor paintings and some descriptions. I'm hoping it will inspire our family's young artists to try different styles of painting. The only reason I gave it only three stars is because it is so small. The book is thick, but only about the dimensions of a postcard. I wish the paintings were a little larger.
I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Mouse Family Robinson

Mouse Family Robinson   *****
by Dick King-Smith

by Sabrina Staples, 7

The Robinson's move to a place that has no cats to eat them.They find a house. A boy named Bill Black lives there. He is a boy who loves mice.They have an old friend who had 78 kids, and his wife got eaten by a cat. The Robinson's have 6 babies. Their names are  Beaumont, Ambrose, Camilla, Desdemona, Eustace, and Felicity. And then they had 11 more!
Negative elements: someone dies
Conclusion: I think 7, 8, 9, and 10 year olds will like this book. It is cute, and there are no bad words. 

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Scary Close

Scary Close
by Donald Miller

Scary Close is a fascinating book about what hinders us from authentic, intimate relationships. The premise is that until we are confident in who God has made us that we won't be able to let people see us as we really are. And when we are hiding, we can't have true, deep friendships in our private lives, or at work, or in our communities.
I loved how this book is sort of like Donald Miller's diary. We watch him learn about these truths and then see how he applies them to his relationships. Miller's life until this point is a string of different girlfriends that don't last long. Now he is forty and realizing he needs to change some things if he ever wants to be married. The book ends telling about his wedding. You can even go on the book's website and see his wedding photos, which I did!
This book is very well-written, enjoyable to read, and full of practical insights.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Mexican Slow Cooker

The Mexican Slow Cooker *****
by Deborah Schneider

I  love Mexican food so I was really excited to try out some of the recipes in this cookbook. We tried our first three recipes tonight for dinner. I made the Pollo en Creme con Chipotle (chicken dish), Arroz Mexicana (rice dish), and Dulce de Leche (caramel).
This isn't a 'dump the ingredients in the crock pot and go to work cookbook.' I spent the day prepping items, putting them in the crock pot to cook a few hours, adding other things, blending sauces, etc. It was a lot of work but fun to make something new. I loved how the author explained why you have to do certain things and which extra steps are most important to do. I learned how to roast a pepper and then peel it, and I cooked with two new peppers I've never used before.
I would recommend this to a cook who loves trying new things and has plenty of time to cook.

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The 13 Clocks

The 13 Clocks  ***
by James Thurber

"I liked the characters and the pictures. The Golux's stories are really funny. And the lady that cries diamonds is a funny part. The princess is really pretty, and she saves the clocks."
By Sabrina Staples, 7

This book is written differently from any other book I've read. There are lots of made-up words which are challenging for younger readers since it's hard to tell what words are real and which are pretend.

The writing is almost poetic. Here's an excerpt to give you an idea:
"From the sky came the crying of flies, and the pilgrims leaped over a bleating sheep creeping knee-deep in a sleepy stream, in which swift and slippery snakes slid and slithered silkily, whispering sinful secrets."

This book is probably worth reading just because it is so creative. But with that said, I'm not sure that I even grasped the full meaning of the book. So, it's probably a book to read aloud and talk about. That's how our family read it.

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Just Show Up

Just Show Up  *****
by Kara Tippetts and Jill Lynn Buteyn

Overview: The book's subtitle is "the dance of walking through suffering together." I can't think of a better way to describe what this book is about. It's the story of two friends and their journey through suffering. However, it is more that just their story. The book is full of very practical advise on how to be a better friend to someone who is hurting. 
Themes: friendship, suffering
Negative elements: none
Positive elements: well-written, specific and helpful, encouraging, full of hope in the midst of a despairing story
Conclusion: I highly recommend this book for anyone to read. I did cry at the end...I couldn't help myself. But this truly is a well-written, helpful book. I learned some things that I am going to try to apply right now in my life in regards to some suffering people who are around me.