Saturday, May 21, 2016

From This Moment: A Net Galley Review

Elizabeth Camden is one of my new favorite authors! I recently finished her novel Against The Tide and instantly fell in love with her writing. I was very excited to have the chance to read another novel. 

From This Moment is set at the same time as the construction of the America's first Subway in Boston. The heroine, Stella Westergaard,  is seeking answers about her sister's death. She is convinced that her death was more than what is being reported. In order to investigate she leaves her world of artists in London in order to investigate in the same building as her sister worked when she died. 

Our hero, Romulus White, is the head of a scientific magazine along with his sister. He is fascinated by all things scientific and has built what was once a fledgling publication into a well respected serial. For years he had been contacting Stella West, her artist name, in order to commission her to create illustrations using the latest artistic technology. 

This novel had a number of unexpected twists and turns. I rather enjoyed the unpredictable twists and turns in the plot. There were unexpected relationships and turns in the story line that left me up waaay past my bedtime so I could see what happened next. This lengthy novel kept my interest. It was quite light hearted in many regards, but not in a flippant way as many modern authors tend to be. The banter between the characters was fun and enjoyable. 

I look forward to reading more novels from Elizabeth Camden soon!

Disclaimer: I received this title from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review.

The Gallaudet Children's Dictionary: A Net Galley Review


The Gallaudet Children's Dictionary would be a fabulous addition to any family's library. This beautiful full-color dictionary  shows very clearly how to create over 1,000 signs. A DVD is included, but as I reviewed the e-book version I did not receive that, so this is just a review of the book. 

Each page is beautiful. Most pages have three words, some at the beginning and end of a letter section have two. Included with each word entry is a sentence, picture, and clear demonstration of how to create the sign. Some words include synonyms as well.

What is great about this particular dictionary is that even if you have a child that is not reading yet, they should be able to mimic the pictures for signing while associating it with the illustration. I think this makes it one of the best resources for young children who are interested in signing whether out of curiosity or necessity. 

In addition to the fact that children can use this easily, I think this would be highly beneficial for adults just beginning to learn as well. The directions for how to sign are very clear with each color illustration having a second black and white overlay with it to show motion and direction. Besides in-person instruction, I've yet to see another book as clear. 

I would highly recommend this particular book to any family looking to learn the basic words in sign language. 

Disclaimer: I received this title from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review.

Fairy Houses All Year: A NetGalley Review

We have recently redone our the landscaping area directly in front of our house. It used to be all bushes, which I have never liked. Something about how meticulous they have to look in order to be attractive has never appealed to me. I've always been partial to more of an English cottage garden, less structure, more natural growth. I've been planning this new area for a couple of years and fell in love with the idea of miniature gardens and houses.

This sweet little book gives ideas for anyone, young or old, who want to build miniature gardens or houses throughout every seasons. One of the neat ideas is to keep a journal throughout the year where you can write down ideas for materials that you find. They also suggest noting if you think fairies have visited. While our family does not have a problem playing make believe this is not something I would encourage my daughters to do because we try to make a clear distinction between reality and make-believe. 

The photographs of children creating houses and pictures in nature are delightful. They are beautiful and fun. The children are clearly just having fun and creating, definitely not posed, which makes it more fun to read.

I really love the step-by-step guide right in the beginning for building simple enough for children to follow. I also like the suggestions for what to collect for each season. There are also some fun activities to make like dandelion chains and candied violets. 

The only downside to the book in my opinion is the encouragement to fully believe in fairies. I know not everyone will agree with me on this, but we have always tried to distinguish truth from fiction. Is there any harm in children hearing fairy tales? I don't think so. We love telling fictional stories to our kids, especially ones that reflect truth from Scripture like The Chronicles of Narnia. At the same time we make a clear distinction between make-believe and reality because we never, ever want our children to think we have told them a make-believe story about Jesus and the miracles He performed, most importantly His death and resurrection which provides our salvation. 

So, I did enjoy this book, but read with caution if you are concerned about how your children will perceive this book. 

Disclaimer: I received this title from Net Galley in exchange for my honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review.

Behold the Man: A BookLook Blogger Review

The most recent book I have been reading to review is from Bodie and Brock Thoene. Although they are a well-known writing team among Christian fiction circles this is the first book I've read by them. Behold the Man is the third in the Jerusalem Chronicles series which recounts the tumultuous time in Israel's history during Jesus' ministry. I have not read the previous two books, but this one covers the end of Jesus' ministry here on earth.
The Roman occupation is central to understanding much of what Scripture tells us about Jesus' ministry and this is an excellent book to help get a grasp of what was happening and what it meant for both the Jews and the Romans. There is a great amount of historical detail included. It is evident that the Thoenes spent extensive amounts of time researching in order to make sure this story aligned with biblical accounts and non-biblical historical sources.

I had a very hard time getting into the story. It felt a bit slow at the beginning and was filled with so much historical reference I felt I needed to spend some time looking up the names and references in order to really understand it. I love historical fiction, but it is hard for me to enjoy it if limited knowledge of a certain period prevents me from fully understanding it. This one thing frustrated me. I enjoyed the portrayal of actual historical characters. 

If you like historical fiction that delves very deeply into the historical period in which it is set both culturally, politically, and socially, you will most surely enjoy this book. It is well written and accurately presented even though it is fictional. Personally I was not a huge fan of the weightier material.

Disclaimer: I received this title from BookLook Bloggers in return for an honest review. I was not compensated in any other way. I was not required to write a positive review.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

Happy iNSD!

I think it is just perfect that International Scrapbooking Day (iNSD) is the same weekend as Mother's Day! How perfect is that? Here is what I've created today to celebrate...


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!