Saturday, March 28, 2015

A Plague of Unicorns: A BookLook Blogger Review

I remember getting the list of books I would read for my adolescent literature class in college and anxiously perusing the list of authors. I recognized most of the names, but Jane Yolen was one I had never read. After the one required book by Yolen I was soon checking out one after the other from the library knowing each would be an excellent read. I was over-the-moon excited when I saw her name appear with an opportunity to read another of her novels!

My oldest daughter, Rose who is 9, read this as part of her school work, but I can honestly say I know it didn't feel like school when she read it! More than once I caught her taking the book away from the schoolroom to read just one more chapter as she couldn't wait to get to the end!

The reading level was probably at 3rd-4th grade and while Rose's ability is a few grades above that, she thoroughly enjoyed the story and quality of writing. I had planned for her to read this over the course of two weeks but I was pushing it to make her stretch it throughout the week!

When I asked her what her favorite part was she told me she liked how they made up a plan to get rid of the unicorns. She really liked the adventure aspects of of this story. She really enjoys fantasy and I liked how the unicorns were given a different role than most stories. Instead of being a good thing in this land, the unicorns are actually like a plague which must be overcome. This coming-of-age story will delight all ages is a great introduction to the genre of fantasy.

I highly recommend this book and Rose has already loaned it out to her cousin to read with a glowing review!

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

I Can Learn the Bible: A BookLook Blogger Review

Ever since my oldest daughter was just an infant we have made an effort to teach our children biblical truth. Rose was barely old enough to sit on her own when we started having family devotions with her. I remember clearly the sweet little board book devotional I picked out from a Christian Bookstore which was going out of business. It had just a few sentences on each page and a song to go with each of the devotions. It was great for tiny tots and we enjoyed starting out with this. We also have multiple children's Bibles with pictures and stories and questions that we have used as they grew.

I have loved these previous resources, but I am ready for something more. Each of my girls has professed their faith in Christ and I have wanted something for our devotional time as a family which addressed more areas of discipleship.

I was so very excited to have the opportunity to review I Can Learn the Bible by Holly Hawkins Shivers. This children's version of the Joshua Code has been exactly what my husband and I have been looking for to use with our girls. The cover of the book struck me as being adorable, but I wasn't sure if it was going to really challenge my girls or grow them further in their relationship with Christ. They already know most of the Bible history by heart and I really wanted them to begin to engage more personally with Scripture. This sweet cover does not even begin to express the depth of truth my girls are gaining from it!

Subjects ranging from world view to your purpose as Christian are covered in a very real, yet understandable way for elementary children. Many of the topics were not ones I had really thought about addressing with my daughters who are 9, 7, and 5. I love answering their questions, but with this devotional we have been able to have a more direct, proactive approach to discussing certain topics. A key Scripture verse is included for each week as well as discussion questions and challenges for you as a family. It also ends with a suggested prayer to help you guide your children to know how to pray about what they are learning.

We are at war with our culture for the hearts of our children. I need as many weapons, both defensive and offensive as possible. Through resources like this we are more prepared for the battle and are preparing these sweet little hearts to know how to live godly lives.

Disclosure:  I received this book free from the publisher through the® <> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Explore Dinosaur National Monument from Awesome Science: Moms of Master Books Review

My girls love learning about dinosaurs! They are ages 9, 7, and 5 and we have often enjoyed a trip to our local children's museum to see life-size sculptures and have a chance to dig for fossils. I love giving them more opportunities to learn about these incredible creatures from the past and they just devour all the information I can give them. 

Awesome Science's newest DVD, Explore Dinosaur National Monument from Master Books (an imprint of New Leaf Publishing) is a great addition to our collection of dinosaur information. It's fun and engaging style really interests my oldest daughter especially. My younger two are not quite old enough to appreciate the great amount of scientific information provided, but they did enjoy seeing much of Dinosaur National Monument. 

Noah Justice is a dynamic communicator. My girls enjoy having a younger person explaining and teaching about history and science from a biblical perspective. I was recently asked how I expected my girls to handle learning about evolution in college when all they ever knew was Creation. I was excited to explain that my girls do know about evolution and understand both viewpoints to an extent. I'm not afraid of my girls hearing or learning about those who choose to remove God from the equation of Creation. I want them to be equipped and I want them to come to their own conclusions and beliefs because of their study of the evidence rather than try to force them to accept what I believe just because I believe it. Awesome Science just one of the items in my tool kit for teaching my girls how to incorporate the Bible into their understanding of science as well as what and why secular scientists believe and teach what they do. 

One of the best things about this DVD and others in the series is how my daughters get to experience some of the great wonders of America which they may not see anytime soon. Living on the East Coast makes traveling to some of these locations very difficult. We might one day get to travel to Utah and some of the other areas west of the Mississippi River, but until then we will enjoy learning with resources such as these. 

This incredible DVD series isn't just for children either. I'm often saddened by just how angry and vehement those who hold an opposing view of creation react and find myself unable to have a real conversation about science because of it. I'm not afraid to share my beliefs, but I do not care to converse with someone who fires hateful responses in my direction because I believe the Bible to be the inerrant Word of God. I'm very grateful to have the resources from Master Books which I do to help me learn for myself how I can balance my trust in the Word of God with evidence from science. I hope to one day have meaningful conversations with some of my friends on the matter and I want to be as equipped as possible. 

Sunday, March 8, 2015

Beneath the Forsaken City: A Tyndale Blog Network Review

Beneath the Forsaken City by C. E. Laureno is a young adult fiction novel, set in an ancient time with magic and intrigue. This Celtic fantasy is like no other book I've read and it has been an interesting trip away from my usual choice in fiction.

C. E. Laureno is an award winning author with an unending imagination. The world she has created in her series The Song of Seare is beautiful and inspiring. I struggled to really get into the book from the beginning, and so I did a little research. What I discovered is this is the second book in a trilogy. My main reason for having a hard time fully understanding what was going on was I have not yet read the first book in the series.

Beneath the Forsaken City begins with a newlywed couple escaping danger created by the evil Druids who rule Seare. The groom, Conor,  leaves knowing that he will have to return in order to free Seare from the reign of the Druids. Just when the couple feel a small breath of safety the tragedy of a storm at sea separates them, neither knowing if the other is alive. Aine, the bride, is washed ashore in one place and Conor in another, resulting in the fight to survive and find one another.

Throughout the novel both Conor and Aine must learn to follow the leading of Comdiu, the One we would call the God of heaven. Each takes a different path and must struggle to lean on Comdiu alone, a journey they struggle through.

As I said before, this is a great departure from the genre of literature I usually gravitate towards. While the story-line itself was engaging, I found myself bogged down by the unfamiliar names of people and places, having a hard time keeping it all straight. I think this may have been a bit easier had I read the first novel in this the trilogy. The other struggle I had as I read was the amount of description for the violence. I know I am personally more affected by both reading and watching violent things, even when they aren't very graphic. I have to say as far as that is concerned, the author did a good job keeping the amount of blood minimal compared to most popular novels, but it was still too much for me to comfortably read.

If you have an interest in reading Celtic fantasy, this is an excellent read for you. While it isn't one which particularly delighted me, the story is well written and in my opinion would be incredibly engaging for anyone who loves this genre. I have a strong feeling my oldest daughter will particularly enjoy this book when she is a bit older.

Disclaimer: I received a paperback copy of Beneath the Forsaken City from Tyndale Publishers as part of  the Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review and did not receive any other compensation. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Lila Rose Hair Stick Tutorial!

Ever wonder how to use those beautiful hair sticks to style your own hair? If you can put your hair into a small bun or twist you can use them! 

Then you can follow these 6 simple steps to beautiful hair! 
How to use hair sticks...

Wrap your hair in a barely loose bun in the middle or nape of your neck.
(use a pony tail holder if you need to!)

1. Push one stick up through the center with the point of the stick facing up towards the ceiling.

2. After the stick is in the bun, flip the stick around so it is point more towards the floor.

3. Push he stick down.

4. Push the second stick up through the bun just as you did the first. It can be in the same area or on the opposite side so you make an "x". I've done it both ways and the "x" seems to keep my hair more secure.

5. Push it up so the stick is point towards the ceiling, then flip the stick downwards towards the floor.

6. Push the stick through to secure.

Enjoy your creative and beautiful new hair style!

*This post contains consultant links*


Hi, my name is Melissa. Pour yourself a cup of tea and stay a while. I'm completely devoted to my Savior, madly in love with my husband, and joyously raising my daughters. I'm so glad you stopped by and I hope you enjoy your time here!