Sunday, November 17, 2013

First Ladies of the White House (Ideals Children's Book)

About the book:  Learn about the life and impact of each First Lady, from Martha Washington to Michelle Obama. A portrait or photograph of each First Lady is provided along with a one-page summary of her life and tenure as the hostess of the White House. 88 pages, softcover.
Review:  This book was engaging from the start. I was able to learn many new facts about the First Ladies. It was interesting to read how many of the First Ladies were a tremendous asset to their husband's Presidency. It was wonderful to read how some of the First Ladies loved being able to entertain and thrived off the attention given to them. Other First Ladies missed their lives from before becoming a First Lady. I would recommend this book to children in 4th grade and up. I would also recommend it to adults. (rev. S.Wall)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Ideals in exchange for our honest review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Our Presidents - Their Lives and Stories by Ideals Editors

ISBN-13: 9780824959166
Paperback - $12.99
About the book:  Learn about each president with this easy-to-read overview of the "Commander-in-Chief" role. Short two-page spreads inform readers how these men became president, the events that defined their terms, and what they did after leaving office. Speech excerpts as well as photos or art reproductions of the president are also included. 88 pages, indexed, softcover. Covers Washington through Obama.

This book is a wonderful read for kids in 4th and up. It will allow them to see how the life of a President is full of many decisions. Each President brought something new to the office. They were able to help and mold our country. The facts in this book will engage you and want you to read more. I would recommend this book to adults and children. 

The illustrative photography is absolutely beautiful and brings to life each of the presidents and their terms of office.  A great resource for home study, reports, or simply perusing for one's enlightened enjoyment.

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Guideposts to facilitate this review. Opinions expressed are solely those of the reviewer. No compensation was received for this review.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

The Ideals Guide to American Civil War 1861 Places 1865 By: Julie Shively

Paperback $15.99, 274 pages
ISBN-13: 9780824959135
About the book:  Walk the battlefields of Shiloh and Gettysburg; kneel at the graves of men who wore blue and gray; and visit the museums and national parks---either on foot or from your armchair! Part history and part travel guide, this lushly illustrated book includes descriptions of more than 300 sites in 21 states; maps; and travel information. 272 pages, softcover.

Review:  This book proved pictures and information about battles that were fought in each state. It would be a wonderful book for those students doing reports. It would also be a great book for those who are interested in history. It will provide insight to some battles that you were unaware. I would recommend this book for older children. (rev. S.Wall)

The photography is beautiful and text thorough for a history buff that enjoys pictorial displays. 

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy was provided by Ideal Publications for the purpose of this review. No compensation was received or positive review required.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Return to Me (The Restoration Chronicles – Book 1) by Lynn Austin

About the book (description from back of book) – After decades of exile, the prophesies are coming true – King Cyrus has declared the Jews may return to Jerusalem.  Iddo, a priest, is sure this is a sign of God’s renewed favor.  For too long they’ve remained in Babylon, and many, including Iddo’s sons, are losing the faith that sets them apart.  And so only a few choose to leave everything to return – return to their home and their God.  Nothing about their journey to the Promised Land is easy.  As hardships mount, even the faithful, like Iddo’s beloved wife, Dinah, question the sacrifice of following God’s leading.  Zecharaiah, Iddo’s oldest grandson, feels torn between his grandfather’s ancient beliefs and the family they left behind.  But one life-changing encounter with the Holy One gives him insight that will change Zechariah – and history – forever.

Review:  Return to Me is a very good book.  This is the first book I have read by Lynn Austin and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  This is book one in her new series – The Restoration Chronicles and I look forward to reading more in this particular series.

Although the book is fiction, it is based on Old Testament scripture which tells of the Israelites’ being taken captive and their exile to Babylon after many years of disobedience to God and their return to the Promised Land after the 70 years of exile.  I enjoy reading this type of book because it causes me to really think about actual characters and events within Scripture and how the people may have dealt with their circumstances. 
Iddo remembers being taken captive and removed from the Promised Land.  He remembers all the horrors and the people who died along the journey from Jerusalem to Babylon.  Although he has a “good life” in Babylon, his heart longs to return, just as Scripture told they would someday.  He has married, raised a family, and is now trying to instill in his grandchildren who God is and the promises from God.  When King Cyrus gives the decree that the children of Israel may return to rebuild the city of Jerusalem, Iddo is beyond ecstatic.  He is ready to leave right away, but his family has great reservations.  They have become very comfortable with their lives in Babylon and have forgotten all that Iddo has taught them concerning their true heritage.  Outside of Iddo’s wife Dinah, his oldest grandson, Zechariah is the only one of the family that leaves with him.  Iddo’s children promise to come later once Jerusalem is rebuilt, but their lack of faith in the God of Israel forever leaves a mark upon their lives.

One of the main reasons I enjoyed this book is that it reminds me so strongly of the scripture in Deuteronomy 6, where the children of Israel were instructed/commanded to teach their children about God so that their “days may be long.”  It reminds me how often we turn to God in trouble and He “rescues us” and then we forget Him when things are good.  Although this story is written in the setting of Old Testament days, it could just as easily have been set in our modern day.  Even though this book has been labeled fiction, it carries a whole lot of truth!

I highly recommend “Return to Me” – I most definitely will be reading more by Lynn Austin! (rev. P. Howard)

DISCLOSURE: A complimentary copy of Return to Me was provided to us by Litfuse Publicity Group on behalf of the author, Lynn Austin, and publisher Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group in exchange for our honest review. No compensation was received for this review.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

All God’s Children by Anna Schmidt

  • ISBN-13: 9781620291405
About the book:  Living in Munich with her relatives was supposed to result in a dream fulfilled.  Instead, Beth Bridgewater, A German American, finds herself in a nightmare as World War II erupts – a war in which she takes no side, for she is a Quaker pacifist.

Apprehension rises in the household of Beth’s Uncle Franz and Aunt Ilse, and the presence of Josef Buch only adds to it.  Josef seems a good man, a passionately patriotic German and a medical student who rents the attic space above Beth’s uncle’s apartment, but his father is a high-ranking government official.  Could Josef by spying on them?

Just as she gains opportunity to escape Germany, Beth decides to stay, feeling called to help the helpless.  And Josef is becoming involved in his own secret ways of resisting the Nazis…Despite differing motivation and beliefs, Beth and Josef join together in nonviolent resistance, and they cannot deny the spark between them.  But in the midst of such evil, does their love stand a chance…if they even survive at all?

Review:  “All God’s Children” is the first book by this author that I have read.  I did not enjoy this book.  It’s not that it’s a particularly bad book, but I struggled to follow the story.  The timeline within the story did not flow and it was challenging to believe the characters.  There were moments within the story that caught my attention, but these were few and far between.  For some, this book may be very interesting.  Unfortunately, I did not find it so.

DISCLOSURE: A copy of All God's Children was won on the program. A review was not necessary but is a courtesy to the author.