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.

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She Reads Truth Christian Standard Bible Review

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Description: The She Reads Truth Bible aims to live at the intersection of beauty, goodness, and Truth. Featuring devotionals by the She Reads Truth team, and Scripture reading plans that include supplemental passages for deeper understanding, this Bible invites every woman to count themselves among the She Reads Truth community of “Women in the Word of God every day.” The She Reads Truth Bible also features 66 key verses, artfully lettered to aid in Scripture memorization.

Features include: almost 200 devotionals, 66 artist-designed key verses, 35 full-color timelines, 20 full-color maps, 11 full-color charts, reading plans for every book of the Bible, one-year Bible reading plan, detailed book introductions, key verse list, carefully curated topical index, smyth-sewn binding, two colored ribbon markers, and wide margins for journaling and note-taking.

The She Reads Truth Bible features the Christian Standard Bible (CSB) text. Translated by more than 100 scholars from 17 denominations, the Christian Standard Bible features an optimal blend of accuracy and readability that’s faithful for serious study, and written with heart-stirring clarity that inspires readers to live and share it.

My Thoughts: I was overjoyed when I had the opportunity to review this Bible. I hadn’t heard of the She Reads Truth Bible until very recently and I am very impressed by it.

My first impressions were great…I received the Gray Linen version but it comes in various beautiful colors. It comes in a sturdy slipcase…the Bible has a very hard cover that seems durable. The Bible itself is rather heavy, but that is because it is full of goodness. There is beautiful artwork throughout the book, which just makes me happy, I always feel like color adds joy and fun to anything, so the artwork is one of my favorite features. There are also maps in the Bible, but what I love is that they are in relevant places…they are placed in chapters that pertain to the maps instead of all in the back of the book (which is what I’ve usually found in other Bibles). The same concept goes for timelines and charts, there are several timelines and charts placed in relevant places throughout.

Another of my favorite features is that there are 189 devotionals placed throughout the Bible. I haven’t had a devotional Bible since I was a teenager and I’ve forgotten how nice it is to have the devotional included in the Bible…it makes studying your Bible much easier. There are also reading plans for each book as well as a yearly reading plan with check boxes in the back of the Bible. There are not one, but two ribbon bookmarks in this Bible, which I think is a great idea as there are many times when you need to mark more than one place in your book.

Each book of the Bible has an introduction, which helps the reader understand the context and characters of the book. The artwork is also at the beginning of each book, which highlights a key verse, which overall sums up the book.

There are wide margins, which are great for note-taking or Bible journaling, which I’ve recently dipped my toes into. It also has a great topical index in the back, which can be very handy.

The translation is Christian Standard Version, which I wasn’t familiar with. I’m finding that I enjoy it quite a bit. It’s very reader friendly and has good footnotes. I also like the font that is used for the text of the Bible.

Overall, this Bible has everything I would wish for. It is a Bible that I could see myself using for years to come and I’m delighted to own it.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from BH Publishing Group to review.

The 5 Love Languages for Teenagers by Gary Chapman Review

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Synopsis:

Socially, mentally, and spiritually, teenagers face a variety of pressures and stresses each day. Despite these pressures, it is still parents who can influence teens the most, and The 5 Love Languages of Teenagers equips parents to make the most of that opportunity.

In this adaptation of the #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages(more than 10 million copies sold)Dr. Gary Chapman explores the world in which teenagers live, explains their developmental changes, and gives tools to help you identify and appropriately communicate in your teen’s love language.

Get practical tips for how to:

  • Express love to your teen effectively
  • Navigate the key issues in your teen’s life, including anger and independence
  • Set boundaries that are enforced with discipline and consequences
  • Support and love your teen when he or she fails

Get ready to discover how the principles of the five love languages can really work in the life of your teenage and family.

My Thoughts: Being a parent of a teenager can be very tough. When my son entered adolescence, my husband and I found ourselves wondering who this new person was that lived in our home. He was not the same little boy that we knew…he didn’t want hugs, he found us embarrassing, he questioned everything. I would feel so helpless at times and frustrated, feeling like I was failing as a parent. This book has helped my relationship with my son in so many ways!

I had heard many things about the 5 love languages but had never read about them. The concept is accepted and used by both Christian and non-Christian circles. It really helps to know our love languages when relating to each other. This book breaks down each love language and helps you identify your teen’s primary love language. I immediately used the things I learned with my son and I feel like our relationship is already improving. There is also a very helpful chapter on anger and teenagers that was very informative.

The book is an easy and quick read. I highly recommend it for all parents of teenagers. It was truly a blessing for me to read.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Moody Publishers to review.

The Keto Reset Diet by Mark Sisson Review

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Description: Mark Sisson–author of the mega-bestseller The Primal Blueprint–unveils his groundbreaking ketogenic diet plan that resets your metabolism in 21 days so you can burn fat forever.

Mounting scientific research is confirming that eating a ketogenic diet could represent one of the greatest nutritional breakthroughs of our time–and that it might be the healthiest and most effective weight loss strategy ever. Going “keto” by eating high fat, low-to-moderate protein and low-carb foods enables you to break free from the disastrous effects of carbohydrate dependency by resetting your metabolism and promoting metabolic flexibility–where your body learns to burns fat instead of sugar for energy, even when you go off plan.

Unlike many other ketogenic programs that require challenging restrictions and deprivation or offer misinformation, Mark Sisson, bestselling author of The Primal Blueprint and publisher of the #1 paleo blog MarksDailyApple.com, presents a unique two-step, scientifically validated approach for going keto the right way. He first reveals the real secret to rapid and sustained weight loss, which is in becoming “fat-adapted” before entering full nutritional ketosis. This process allows your body to learn to burn fat more efficiently, resulting in increased and sustained weight loss over the long-term. It takes as little as 21-days to reprogram your metabolism to burn fat for fuel, by ditching processed grains, sugars, and refined vegetable oils in favor of nutrient-dense, high fat, primal/paleo foods–and you’ll see immediate results. Next, you’ll fine-tune with Intermittent Fasting and then foray into full ketogenic eating for a further weight loss boost and improved health.

With The Keto Reset Diet, you can eat to total satisfaction by enjoying rich, high-satiety foods, and even weather occasional slip-ups. You’ll use keto as a lifelong tool to stay trim, healthy, energetic, and free from the disastrous health conditions caused by the typical American diet. With step-by-step guidance, daily meal plans and a recipe section with over 100 delicious keto-friendly recipes, this is the definitive guide to help the keto-beginner or the experienced health enthusiast understand the what, why, and how to succeed with ketogenic eating.

My Thoughts: I have tried many diets in my life and the one that always works the best is a form of carb reduction. In June I jumped into the Keto diet plan with both feet and am happy to report that I have lost 25 pounds since then.

Up until now, I had found all of my information on the internet regarding Keto, and, like many other diet plans, there is a lot of conflicting information. So when this book popped up for review, I was very excited to request it.

This book breaks down the Keto diet into layman’s terms and makes it seem much less confusing. With this plan, you start with a 21 day metabolism reset, which helps your body become fat adapted. Each week is explained clearly with tips on sleep, stress relief, and food replacements.

There are also many recipes that look very tasty and use common ingredients. There are some color photographs for the recipes but I would have liked more. There are also meal plans and a guide to intermittent fasting, which is explained very well.

The writing style is very easy to read and conversational.

I love this book and will keep it for a very long time as a resource for my new eating lifestyle. When followed properly, Keto works and this book explains it very well. Highly recommended!

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books to review.

The Action Storybook Bible Kindle Fire Giveaway

About the book:

The Action Storybook Bible invites families with children ages 8 and under explore God’s redemptive story together.
From the sleek and amazing creatures God created at the beginning of the world to the powerful kings who reigned over ancient Israel to Jesus’s gift of eternal life for you and your family-God has a beautiful and exciting plan for the world. Where do you fit into that plan? How are the truths found in God’s Word reflected in your life?
This Bible storybook features 15 episodes highlighting key milestones in God’s story, packed with dozens of scenes-combining stories from God’s Word with brand-new captivating illustrations from Brazilian master-artist Sergio Cariello, illustrator of the bestselling The Action Bible. Discover your family’s place in God’s redemptive story and together put your faith into action!
Interactive features include:
-Fifteen episodes loaded with over 350 brand-new illustrations from master-artist Sergio Cariello.
-Short and easy reading for all ages. Take turns telling God’s redemptive story!
-The Life, Faith, Action! feature wraps up each episode and helps your family recognize how God is moving through each story, discover how that relates to your daily lives, and feel inspired to put your faith into action.
-Heroes Hall of Fame index, where you can look up your favorite Bible characters and discover their stories!
About the authors:
 

Catherine has written more than twenty-five books for children, including the bestselling “Adventure Bible Storybook.” As publisher of children’s resources at David C Cook, she leads product development for The Action Bible® collection, which has sold more than a million copies. Catherine lives with her husband, their three children, and their big furry dog in the Colorado forest. ||**|| Brazilian-born Sergio Cariello has been an accomplished artist since childhood, drawing a regular comic strip for his city’s newspaper at age 11. He spent many childhood hours poring over “The Picture Bible” (Portuguese edition), never dreaming he would illustrate an updated edition (“The Action Bible”) decades later. Sergio has worked for Marvel Comics and DC comics and has illustrated Batman, Spiderman, Superman, Iron-Man, Wonder Woman, Fantastic-Four, and dozens more comic book characters.

Find out more about Catherine and at http://www.theactionbible.com.

 

Discover your family’s place in God’s incredible story and together put your faith into action with the new The Action Storybook Bible from David C Cook! Explore God’s redemptive story together with your children ages 8 and under in the 15 episodes highlighting key milestones in God’s story. Master-artist Sergio Cariello created more than 350 brand-new illustrations to captivate your family and help you recognize how God is moving through each story.

Join the adventure to begin to figure out where you fit into God’s beautiful and exciting plan for the world by entering to win the Kindle Fire giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive:

Enter today by clicking the icon below, but hurry! The giveaway ends on September 29. The winner will be announced October 2 on the Litfuse blog.

My Thoughts: Graphic novels are extremely popular right now but I’ve found that “clean” graphic novels are few and far between…what could be better than the Bible in graphic novel form? 
There is something special about seeing illustrations beside well known and loved Bible stories. It adds something to the story. I was moved by the story of Joseph, seeing him on the selling block with chains on his neck and wrists really helped me picture the story in a new way and made it feel much more real. The artwork is very well done and the stories are written in an easy to understand format.
This would be a great gift for many people…from those who are starting out with reading the Bible, or those who are familiar with the Bible. I think it’s geared toward children and teenagers but I think people of all ages would enjoy it, I certainly did.
I highly recommend The Action Storybook Bible!
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Litfuse to review.
My Rating: 5 stars

 

Loving My Actual Christmas by Alexandra Kuykendall Review

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Synopsis: The Christmas season is a particularly difficult time for women to slow down and relish what’s right in front of them. An annual marker for many, it is a holiday that can often remind us how life is not going as we’d planned. Our family relationships remain strained, our finances stretched, and our schedules stuffed with too much to do in too little time.
Following the formula of her successful Loving My Actual Life, Alexandra Kuykendall shares with readers her own personal experiment to be completely present in her life as it is during the holiday season. Addressing the themes of Advent and Christmas, she reflects on hope, love, joy, peace, and relishing the season, with practical pullouts on common Christmas stressors, such as finances, schedules, and extended family. Kuykendall’s signature candor helps women go easy on themselves, remember what truly matters, and find joy in their imperfect Christmases.

My Thoughts: When I found this book, I knew I needed it in my life. I love Christmas but always wish I could enjoy it more because my enjoyment is dulled by the stress and busyness that is always inevitable.

The author breaks down each week leading up to Christmas with instructions on how to slow down and plan events leading up to the big day. She is honest and relatable in each day, sometimes struggling but learning through it all.

There are also great tips at the end on finances, scheduling, party planning, and more.

I enjoyed this book and found some information that I plan on implementing during the upcoming Christmas season.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from the publisher for review.

The God-Shaped Heart by Timothy R. Jennings Review

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Synopsis: The key to spiritual and emotional health is to grasp the truth of God’s transforming love for us and then let that reality influence our own hearts and relationships. It seems simple, but we are experts at complicating simple things. Instead of living lives characterized by love we find ourselves trapped in cycles of shame, violence, and addiction that steal our joy and keep us from loving others–so much so that, by all indications, Christians are living no differently than anyone else when it comes to abuse rates, use of pornography, alcohol and drug addiction, and more.
Christian psychiatrist Dr. Timothy Jennings wants to release us from this prison. With powerful illustrations from case studies and from Scripture, Jennings shows believers who are stuck in addiction, violence, fear, and broken relationships how to experience true freedom through God’s transforming love to experience greater health, fulfillment, and well-being.

My Thoughts: For the first about 30 pages, I expected to really like this book. Unfortunately, it went downhill from there. It is clear that the author (a medical doctor) is very intelligent, but as a result, there were a lot of info. dumps and a lot of things were too scientific for my liking.

The book has a good overall lesson…love is the key, but I got lost with a lot of the facts and the writing style. I also felt a bit defeated after reading this…it did not give me a hopeful feeling like most Christian non-fiction books I’ve read. There was a lot of criticism of the Christian church and Christians in general which I didn’t like.

I also disagreed with a few things presented in the book…scripture is used but I wasn’t on board with his interpretation of some of it.

The scale for spiritual maturity was interesting, I found it informative.

Overall, I was not impressed with this book and probably wouldn’t recommend it.

My Rating: 2 stars

I received this book from Baker publishers for review.