Sunday, May 15, 2016

The Prince Warriors by Priscilla Shirer

The Prince Warriors is the first in a new trilogy by Priscilla Shirer with Gina Detwiler. Written for upper elementary to middle school aged kids, the book is designed to make the invisible spiritual battles surrounding us come to life in a way that kids can be more aware that there is more to life than what can be seen. Based on Ephesians 6:10-18 (Armor of God), the importance of being prepared for spiritual battle is clearly laid out through the adventures of 2 brothers and their friends. 

Synopsis: As brothers, Xavier and Evan are used to battling each other. But now they’re discovering that there is a much bigger battle going on all around them. And it’s their turn to fight. Xavier, Evan, and their friends have typical lives until they enter a mysterious land called Ahoratos. There they meet their guide, Ruwach, who offers wisdom and direction as the kids’ initial adventure begins—an adventure filled with armor and danger and a very real enemy. (from the website)

My Review: Written for middle grade school aged kids, but this middle-aged woman enjoyed the book too! The adventurous stories are certainly appealing to boys and girls from 8-14, but there are truths to be found in the pages of this book for those way beyond those years. Naturally, I tried to read this through the eyes of a child instead of something I would choose for myself, but I did find myself getting caught up in the story and actually read it in one sitting since my curiosity of what would happen next got the better of me.

Storytelliing is an excellent way to teach a truth in a way that sticks with a person and I believe this book will provide lessons that can impact the reader. The fictional world of Ahoratos is an interesting place to explore and the characters created by the authors had a few surprising twists as we learned more about them. I highly recommend the book and I really want to see what will happen in the next 2 in the series.

Be sure to go to The Prince Warriors website to learn more about the characters, secrets, and more. 

I received a free copy of this book from Shelton Interactive in for review purposes. I was not required to write a positive review and all opinions are my own.

Priscilla Shirer is a homemade cinnamon-roll baker, Bible teacher, and best-selling author who didn’t know her books (The Resolution for Women and Fervent) were on the New York Times Best Seller list until somebody else had told her. Because who has time to check such things while raising three rapidly growing sons? When she and Jerry, her husband of sixteen years, are not busy leading Going Beyond Ministries, they spend most of their time cleaning up after and trying to satisfy the appetites of these guys. And that is what first drove Priscilla to dream up this fictional story about the very un-fictional topic of spiritual warfare to help raise up a new generation of Prince Warriors under her roof. And under yours.

Little One, God Made You Special by Amy Warren Hilliker

Little One, God Made You Special by Amy Warren Hilliker is a 14 page board book for toddlers inspired by Rick Warren's best-seller, The Purpose Driven Life. Written by his daughter, Amy, the book is just the right size for toddlers to old on to and has simple sentences that are just the right length for a toddler's attention span. You can even use interactions to correspond with each sentence to make it an additional learning lesson.

Cute adult and child animals give the book an appealing charm, thanks to illustrator Polona Lovsin, and a child is sure to be delighted with the drawings. This is also a sturdy book that holds together well (tested by my 8 month old great-granddaughter). Published by Zonderkidz.

I received a copy of this book from the BookLook Bloggers program at no cost to myself for review purposes. I was not required to give a good review.

Monday, May 2, 2016

Behold the Man by Bodie and Brock Thoene

Behold the Man is the final book in the Jerusalem Chronicles series. This is the story of Jesus’s last days as viewed through the eyes of three people: Pontius Pilate who knows that this assignment may be his final chance to redeem his political career; Claudia, wife of Pilate and daughter of the emperor who wants to protect her crippled son, Philo, from danger and the disinterest of Pilate; and Centurion Marcus Longinus, former childhood friend of Pilate who loved Claudia but is sworn his loyalty to the Empire.

My Review: I have not read the first 2 books in this series, so I really wasn't sure what to expect. Honestly, I have some mixed feelings. It was a compelling story with familiar historical characters as well as fictional ones to drive the story along. I confess that I did expect a bit more focus on Jesus as a main character although the effect he had on the other characters was more than satisfying. And since fictionalizing historical events needs careful handling, I can't really criticize; I would have been upset to see broad changes to the facts we have from the Bible and 1st Century historians. And, the relationship between Claudia and Marcus sometimes felt a bit forced. But, life is complicated, and I am sure that is one thing that has been true since the beginning of time.

As with all Thoene novels I have read, the details and historical accuracy, mixed with well developed characters, makes for a fascinating read...and left me wanting more. While this isn't my favorite book of theirs, it is an interesting look at one of the most impacting historical times of our lives, and gave me a new perspective and visualization when I reflect upon the life of Jesus and those who encountered Him in the flesh.

 *I received this free book from BookLook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Friday, April 15, 2016

8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids

In 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids, child psychologist, Todd Cartmell, walks you through basic tools for healthy, effective parenting. Todd gives eight essential and practical tools to help you:
  • Maintain a healthy relationship with your child
  • Develop a nurturing home culture
  • Correct behavior in lasting ways
Divided into five short chapters that include a summary tip and application questions, the book is designed to give you simple clear-cut applications to build a healthy, loving relationship with your child, guiding them toward maturity. Using these applications, you can plant Godly wisdom in the hearts of your children, and help them thrive in all relationships with others.

My review: Overall, it's a good book with practical advice and doable solutions. I admit it started a little slow for me, and sounded like it would be more along the lines of helicopter parenting, but after the first couple of chapters, common sense and good advice became much more apparent, so hang in there if you have doubts. (Keeping in mind that I am a great-grandmother and probably have a different mindset than many of today's parents)

My favorite part is one that I have tried to stress to many children with whom I have had any influence. THINK before you ACT! Dr. Cartmell refers to this as
S - Stop
T - Think of possible solutions
E - Evaluate the solution
P - Pick a solution
S - See if it worked

Naturally, this is going to work better with children past preschool age, but start training kids to do more than REACT as soon as possible. Dr. Cartmell does give wise advice in training children to redirect their behavior---and parents also. We all make mistakes.

While it is obvious that Christian principles and values are an inherent part of his methods of raising children, I think that even non-believers can agree with the solutions he recommends. However, a downside of the book is also a lack of useful tips for single parents, especially when other adults who are involved in parenting have a completely different outlook. But, that in itself is reason for a separate book. No matter what your situation is, I do recommend the book.

I was given a copy of this book at no cost to myself by Flyby Promotions for the purpose of writing this review. They are also offering a discount on the book through May 15, 2016. See details below:

DISCOUNT CODE!! You have access to a 50% Discount Code which is GREATKIDS16  This code is only good from April 15th to May 15th

Official Website-

Free access to the HEARTS AT HOME "ESSENTIAL WORKSHOP COLLECTION FOR PARENTS" with every purchase: (so readers not only get 50% off with the coupon code at, but also get access to a slew of freebies).

Saved By Grace DVD

Saved By Grace, starring Joey Lawrence as Rick, is the story of a former police officer who is still coping with the aftermath of the day his life was irrevocably changed. Released due to medical issues, Sam Jenkins (Michael Joiner) has Rick's wife held hostage to make Rick suffer for the part he played in Sam's imprisonment. During the ensuing struggle, his wife is killed, and Rick sustains an injury that disables him. Leaving his young son with the child's grandmother, Rick sinks deeper into despondency.

The story begins 5 years later when Rick is contemplating a dramatic course of action to ease his pain. But when a chance encounter with a persistent woman named Grace (Catalina Rodriguez) interrupts his plans, he is slowly drawn to open up and share his own feelings as she shares her life story with him. As the day progresses, Rick begins to re-evaluate his life and realize that he is the one who abandoned his family and faith.

Wonderful storytelling and great acting are the reason I always enjoy any film Johnny Remo makes, and this one is no exception. Of course I am more familiar with Joey Lawrence as a child star, but the promise shown then is certainly displayed in his portrayal of Rick. Both he and Catalina give believable performances as people who have faced tragedy, albeit they are at different places with how they handled it. The way they relate to one another and provide support the other needs is gradually, but naturally played out without seeming forced.

Muse Watson and Michael Joiner have smaller roles in the film, but both have powerful performances that definitely stand out. Both have made choices and gone through bad experiences, but demonstrate that attitude determines what you do with your past. Overall, the movie is a story of hope despite despair and that healing is possible when you turn to God. I really enjoyed this one.

Most recently the Spotlight Movie at the Oxford (MS) Film Festival, Skipstone Pictures latest release, Saved By Grace, also stars Muse Watson, Candice Barley and Christopher Michael. Johnny Remo directed, produced, and co-wrote the screenplay. Lance Bachelder and KennethLemm also co-wrote this story which shares that God has a purpose and plan for all things that happened.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Wildflower DVD

Creatively gifted, college student Chloe Moray (portrayed by Nathalia Ramos, known for BRATZ, Arrested DevelopmentHouse of Anubis) finds solace from a difficult childhood in her extraordinary art. But when an alarming dream begins to recur nightly, Chloe starts to believe that it might be a suppressed memory and that she may have witnessed a terrible crime as a little girl. Her search for peace takes her on a journey that forces Chloe to confront her past traumas and leads her to cross paths with Josh (Cody Longo, known for NOT TODAY, Hollywood Heights, Nashville), a young man dealing with his own painful loss. Together they find in each other someone they can trust as they seek to unlock a cold-case mystery from years before. But with the authorities blocking the way, Chloe's new-found hope is challenged in this powerful story of faith, triumph and healing.

My Review: Wildflower is a well made suspense film that is rated PG-13 for thematic elements and due to some scenes too intense for younger viewers. The tension increases throughout the film as Chloe has nightmares that are occurring with increased frequency. Unable to trust anyone, and with everyone involved believing that she is delusional and in need of mental health help, Josh chooses to become her friend. Dealing with his own demons of grief and shattered faith that haunt him, his compassion and support of Chloe eases his own journey toward healing and restoration. Trauma, grief, lack of trust, abuse, rejection, and fear are all explored in this film, some in a more subtle message, but leads to a message of hope and healing. The film is good for a conversation-opener for family or small group discussion. I really liked it and give it 4.25 stars. A relative who who was visiting me says it is one of the best films she has ever seen. She watched it several times, and I gave her my copy when she left...but good news below for another reader and movie fan!

I received a copy of this DVD from Icon Media Group at no cost to myself in exchange for a fair and honest review. They are also offering a DVD to one of my readers. Please comment to enter (or contact me to add you) no later than April 20, 2016.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

The Under the Sea Bible, NIrV

The Under the Sea Holy Bible, NIrV is a perfect gift for children ages 6 to 10. Themes of underwater fun and sparkling fish grace the interior of this wonderful children’s Bible. The outside is covered in foil and sparkle. The interior has color inserts featuring whimsical underwater scenes with themes of God’s care and love for each of us and all of creation. (publisher)

This Bible has some pros and cons to it. Of course, having the Word of God in an easy to understand version is the very best feature, and the book has a strong, durable cover that will hold up to daily use. But, the cover is more likely to appeal to the younger end of the age it is intended for (6-8 year olds) who aren't quite up to the reading level. By the time a child can handle the reading, the cover seems a bit garish. I remember the Bible I received when I was 6. I loved it, but it was 2 or 3 years before I truly appreciated the words and was able to comprehend. It is basically a regular Bible and that in itself is wonderful, but I feel like the cover and inserts are more for marketing than an attempt to put things at a child's level. I am also disappointed that there are no maps. That was my favorite part of my first Bible when I first got it. But, the fact that it lies flat instead of pages flipping when you are reading it is a major plus. Overall, there is more to like about the Under the Sea Bible, so I would like to give it 3.5 stars. Without the cover, 4.25.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment to be entered into a random drawing to win a copy. All entries must be in by Sunday, April 10, 2016. Thank you to FlyBy Promotions for my review copy and for the giveaway copy. These were given at no cost to myself.

Buy now at Barnes & Noble, Walmart or Family Christian Stores.  

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