Brave Girls Confidential Review

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Synopsis: Join Brave Girls Faith, Hope, Glory, Gracie, and Honor as they discover how much they are loved and they learn what it means to live godly lives in their homes, schools, and communities.

Faith, Hope, Glory, Gracie, and Honor are five regular girls with regular lives. They have frustrating siblings and friends who fight sometimes, even though they love each other a lot. They have strong subjects in school, but they have struggles too. They love Jesus, and sometimes they have questions about Him. They’re just like you!

Brave Girls Confidential is a collection of stories meant to encourage and inspire. Through tales of what it means to be brave, strong, and faithful in everyday life, the Brave Girls show young readers how exciting faith can be. With engaging stories, strengthening scriptures, and takeaway discussion points to encourage meaningful conversations, Tommy Nelson’s Brave Girls Confidential has something for every girl who longs to live brave.

The great content and beautiful full-color design make Tommy Nelson’s Brave Girls Confidential wonderful gift for any young girl.

My Thoughts: There are so many things to love about this book. It has a very inviting cover with sweet illustrations. The characters are delightful, each one different with their own unique personality and challenge to face.

Broken down into several stories, it follows the 5 “Brave Girls”, a group of friends who go to church together and meet together for a small group. Each story highlights a challenge the girl is facing (rejection, fear, divorce, fitting in, etc) with a prayer and Bible verse that relates to the story.

Each character is different and the reader should be able to relate to one or more of the girls in the book. I would have adored this book when I was a tween…the girls are fun and real, and face normal struggles of girls today. These girls reminded me a bit of my old fictional friends, the members of The Babysitter’s Club…they each were different and shared a great friendship.

The book is full of beautiful illustrations and the cover is very visually pleasing. There’s even a cute cupcake on the spine that would look adorable on a bookshelf. Little touches like these make me happy. My 10 year old self would have definitely gravitated to this book by looks alone.

Overall, I highly recommend this book to any girl ages 8-12…it would make a great gift.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers to review.

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Secret Keeper Girl: The Power of Modesty for Tweens by Dannah Gresh Review

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Synopsis: 

Is your tween prepared for what’s ahead?

It used to be that middle school was the time to talk to kids about topics like modesty and body image. Unfortunately, the at-risk demographic for distorted views on the body is now girls ages 8–10. Fortunately, Dannah Gresh has provided a resource for this need.

Secret Keeper Girl is geared to helping tween girls understand their dignity in Christ. It features a creative self-help text format that includes sidebars, quizzes, games, exploded quotes, and graphics to help them absorb the message.

Here’s what author Dannah Gresh has to say about the motivation behind the book: “My past fifteen years of studying at-risk teen and tween behavior has over and over again led me to good news: girls who are exposed to an age-appro­priate, Bible-based understanding of beauty and fashion between the ages of 8-12 tend to be less likely to engage in early sexual activity or have body image issues. They are also more likely to have healthy friendships, excel academically, and become positive social contributors in their com­munities, all while expressing their beauty and value appropriately.

“It’s not rocket science. It is social science paired with a whole lot of prayer and Bible study. We can change what tween girls see when they look in the mirror by changing what’s inside their hearts.”

This is the heart behind Secret Keeper Girl:a desire to teach tween girls how valuable they are and how to honor their God-given dignity. Ultimately, it’s about grounding girls in their identity in Christ so the tumultuous teen years don’t uproot them.

This book pairs with Secret Keeper Girl Mom-Daughter Devos, allowing moms a helpful resource for walking through this formative time with their tween girl.

My Thoughts: As the mother of an 11 year old girl, I was thrilled to get this book. This is a harsh world to grow up in as a young lady and this book guides girls in how to dress but also stresses the importance of seeing ourselves the way God sees us. This book is a great resource for not only girls in the “tween” age but was also a nice read for this 37 year old girl. I still find myself looking at my flaws with sadness or frustration and this book reminded me that true beauty comes from the inside.

Broken down into several “secrets” of true beauty and modesty, the book is easy and very fun to read. Each secret includes a biblical reference and Dannah Gresh really breaks each concept down in an easy to read, fun way that is relateable to young girls.

The book is full of colorful pictures and visual aids that make it very inviting and fun to read.

Gresh illustrates sin in a way that I have never seen before and it was a great way to analyze the “grey areas” of our lives (like the clothing we choose to wear). I also loved how Gresh emphasizes that we should be looking to glorify God and not ourselves, which more and more is the opposite of what the world tells us.

I highly, highly recommend this book to all girls, ages 8 and up. It would be a great book for mothers and daughters to read together. It would also make a great Bible study or Sunday School curriculum. This is such an important topic that doesn’t seem to be addressed enough.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Moody Publishers to review.

Jesus Loves You! by Christine Topjian Review

jlySynopsis: God’s only son, Jesus, wants you to know that He loves you. He loves you more than you can ever imagine.

He watches over you to make sure you are okay and knew you even before He created you. That’s how special you are to Him.

Won’t you spend some time with Jesus today?

My Thoughts: I enjoyed the main idea of this story, which is that Jesus loves you and has been with you in each moment of your life. It also reminds the reader that He knows how you’re feeling and understands. It’s a great reminder for Christians and brought up memories in my life and times that I’ve felt His presence.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the artwork, it looked juvenile and a bit distorted. I also am confused as to who the audience would be for this book. It seems like it would be aimed towards children, but the story goes from birth to adulthood and addresses some issues that children might not understand yet.

I also found the story lacking in Biblical content…I wished that there was an explanation for how to invite Jesus into your life as well as possibly an explanation about who Jesus is and what He’s done for us.

My Rating: 2 stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book to review.

A Forest, a Flood, and an Unlikely Star by J.A. Myhre Review

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Synopsis: Follow along with thirteen-year-old Kusiima in the third book of J.A. Myhre’s The Rwendigo Tales.

Just thirteen years old, Kusiima has no time for school, sports, or hanging out with the other boys in his African village. With no father or mother to take care of him, he works long hours to support his grandmother and sickly baby sister. Then one day, Kusiima’s life suddenly changes when he travels into a nearby protected forest. In the forest, Kusiima is presented with many choices, all with uncertain outcomes. Should he go along with illegal logging? Help to save an endangered baby gorilla? Follow a donkey to who knows where?
With each choice, Kusiima has to make yet another decision about what is right in front of him. As he does, he meets a mysterious doctor who holds the key to his past and his future. In the end, Kusiima is faced with the hardest choice of all. Can he forgive a great wrong and heal a broken relationship?
Readers of all ages won’t want to put down this exciting book that addresses current realities like AIDS, malnutrition, and environmental destruction, all set in a richly detailed African adventure story. Following along as Kusiima makes his decisions, readers will find themselves considering their own choices and growing in empathy for others. This action-packed tale of a boy, his sister, and an orphaned gorilla is also a clear call to give up bitterness and forgive deep hurts, restoring broken lives and relationships.

J. A. Myhre serves as a doctor with Serge in East Africa where she has worked for over two decades. She is passionate about health care for the poor, training local doctors and nurses, promoting childhood nutrition and development, and being the hands of Jesus in the hardest places. She is married to her best friend and colleague Scott, and together they have raised four children for whom many of her stories were written as Christmas presents.

Find out more about J.A. at http://paradoxuganda.blogspot.com.
My Thoughts: I have never read a book like this before and it was delightful. The story follows Kusiima, a 13 year old boy who lives in Africa with his grandmother and younger sister, who is severely underweight and unhealthy. I loved the author’s descriptive writing…I was able to picture the scenes in the book very easily and felt like I was transported to Africa while reading. This book was what I think of as an “escape book”…it’s written in a way in that the reader truly escapes their current environment and enters the world of the book.
The plot was full of adventure, suspense, and drama. I found myself on the edge of my seat several times while reading. The illustrations were also delightful and provided a better glimpse into the world.
I adored Kusiima, he was a very strong, courageous young man of amazing character. I think this would be an excellent story for boys to read. It causes the reader to see that there are people in the world that don’t live as comfortably as those in the western world. In spite of Kusiima’s poor circumstances, he still persevered.
There was a bit of violence and some scenes that might be scary for younger readers.
I highly recommend this book and plan to pick up the other 2 in the series (this is book 3).
My Rating: 4.5 stars
I received this book from Litfuse Publicity Group to review.

Love Letters from God: Bible Stories for a Girl’s Heart by Glenys Nellist Review

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Description: In this heart-warming picture book designed for girls, author Glenys Nellist tells the inspiring stories of incredible women in the Bible. With beautiful illustrations by Rachel Clowes and sweet lift-the-flap envelopes, each story delivers a special message for children to open as they read their own personal love letters from God. Full of warmth and love, this picture book will fill girls’ hearts with the wonder of the Lord. The stories of Eve, Miriam, Rahab, Mary, and many more will delight children and remind them of the bond they can share with God, just like the women of the Bible.

My Thoughts: I was very impressed with how beautiful this book was when I received it. The illustrations are whimsical and fun and the colors are very pleasing to the eye. Because it’s such an inviting cover, I think many girls, young and old alike, will gravitate towards this book.

The stories are longer than I expected, which was a nice surprise. My 10 year old daughter found it to be enjoyable and not too “young” but I think younger girls would also enjoy it. I enjoyed the stories as a 37 year old girl, it’s a book that girls of all ages would enjoy.

Each story highlights a woman in the Bible and how God used her and illustrates His love for her and, in turn, us. Women in the book include Rahab, Eve, Mary Magdalene, Martha, and Mary, mother of Jesus. There is also a letter with a flap that you lift on each page that can be personalized. The letters are from God and add a nice touch to each story. At the end of the book there is a letter that the girl can write to God.

This would be an excellent gift for any young girl. I would highly recommend it.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

The Berenstain Bears Friendship Blessings Collection Review

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The Berenstain Bears Living Lights, series continues to attract young readers through creative and engaging stories that not only entertain but teach values and life lessons. Now, five of the series’ favorite titles are available in a great new hardcover. This Berenstain Bears Living Lights treasury called Friendship Blessings Collection is sure to be a popular choice for Berenstain Bears fans.

This collection includes:
The Perfect Fishing Spot
Reap the Harvest
Faithful Friends
Kindness Counts
God Made You Special

My Thoughts: I grew up reading and loving the Berenstain Bears books. I remember checking many of them out of my library and sounding out the words as I was just learning to read. Recently I have rediscovered these books, which have been taken over by the late Stan and Jan’s son, Mike Berenstain and I have purchased a few for my children to enjoy. I am delighted to see that the new books contain Christian themes and Biblical lessons.

This book contains 5 stories, in a very nice hardcover book. The illustrations are the same as the original books but there is a new character, Honey Bear, who I assume is the youngest sister (I don’t remember her in the original stories that I read).

Each story was well done. My least favorite was The Perfect Fishing Spot, which is told in poem format and the moral of the story is a bit muddy. Reap the Harvest was about the benefits of working hard, Faithful Friends was a great story about making new friends but keeping old ones (I am planning on sharing this one with my 10 year old daughter as she’s facing a similar situation). Kindness Counts was my favorite of the stories, it talks about being kind to others, even when it goes against our first instincts, God Made You Special was another great story about a bear cub who has special needs but discusses how God has made him special and the bears learn from him.

Overall, this is a very good book for all children. I am thrilled to see that my beloved Berenstain Bears have stood the test of time.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Booklook Bloggers in exchange for an honest review.

Larger Than Life Lara by Dandi Daley Mackall Review

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Synopsis: This isn’t about me. This story, I mean. So already you got a reason to hang it up. At least that’s what Mrs. Smith, our English teacher, says.

But the story is about ten-year-old Laney Grafton and the new girl in her class–Lara Phelps, whom everyone bullies from the minute she shows up. Laney is just relieved to have someone else as a target of bullying. But instead of acting the way a bullied kid normally acts, this new girl returns kindness for a meanness that intensifies . . . until nobody remains unchanged, not even the reader.

In a unique and multi-layered story, with equal parts humor and angst, Laney communicates the art of storytelling as it happens, with chapter headings, such as: Character, Setting, Conflict, Rising Action, Climax. And she weaves an unforgettable tale of a new girl who transforms an entire class and, in the process, reveals the best and worst in all of us.

My Thoughts: This book pulled at my heartstrings and is a story that will stay with me. It is narrated by Laney, a 10 year old girl who is extremely bright and witty and instantly likable. Laney has a very difficult home life and although she tends to gloss over some of the details, it’s clear that she is not treated well. A new girl named Lara comes to Laney’s school and is instantly targeted by the entire class because of her size. To Laney and the other kids’ surprise, Lara seems to let all the ridicule slide off  and takes the “kill them with kindness” approach.

First of all, I loved Laney…she is very honest about everything she sees and the reader can see the pain she feels, even when she tries to disguise it. Lara is also a lovely character…she “lets her light shine” in the face of adversity and strives to make people feel better about themselves even as they taunt her.

There are some very raw and sad moments in this story but I think it accurately portrays how cruel children (and adults) can be. It also shows the consequences for our actions…although this story ends with lessons being learned, it’s not a completely happy ending, it’s very realistic.

I highly recommend this book for kids ages 8 and up, there is eluding to cursing and alcoholism as well as abuse.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishing in exchange for an honest review.