Archive for Books

Best Colleges 2014 Book

This is a sponsored post.

Best Colleges

 

I am entering a new phase of parenting in that I have a child looking at colleges! Very weird for me! Bobbie is doing all the research for college requirements, SATs, applications, etc. U.S. News & World Report provides college rankings every year. I thought their new Best Colleges 2014 book would be helpful to my daughter as she narrows down her college choices.

About Best Colleges 2014

Here are four things Bobbie took from the book and the rest of the post is basically written by her, not me:

• It provides information on colleges all across the United States for students of all backgrounds and interests.

• Gives advice for students who don’t have straight A’s and encouragement and support for getting into college.

• Provides a checklist for preparing for college, which she thought was really helpful.

• It offers information on everything from the application process, getting financial aid, to finding the right school.

Best Colleges 2014 was very helpful and gives you a good idea of what you need to do to prepare for college, as well as offering encouragement and advice from high school students who have already gone through the college process.

The checklist provides a detailed step-by-step list of everything you need to do starting at 9th grade and ending with acceptance into college.

They didn’t limit the advice to students seeking to gain entrance to an Ivy League college; they had several sections dedicated to helping B- students get into a great college.

The sections on gaining financial aid were incredibly helpful and something we definitely need help with in knowing how to apply for the different financial help available to us.

If you would like to pick up a copy of Best Colleges 2014 , use the following code SCHOOL25 to receive a discount!

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When The Cypress Whispers by Yvette Manessis Corporon

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When the Cypress Whispers

This review was done by my daughter B and contains affiliate links to support our family.

When the Cypress Whispers is about the daughter of Greek immigrants, Daphne. She was brought up to believe in the American dream. After a tragic event leaving her basically at rock bottom, she puts her all into opening a Greek restaurant. She returns to Erikousa, a magical Greek island she grew up visiting and to her Yia-Yia (grandmother).

When the Cypress Whispers is a good book. I would read it again. I figured out almost everything before the end, but I’m used to that now since I read a lot. I wasn’t even trying.

This book made me cry. The characters were good and well rounded. I loved the setting and the use of the Greek language. I wrote down four pages (small pages), eight front and back, from it.

There was a “oogie” part (Theresa here, I think she’s referring to a kissing or intimate scene), I wasn’t sure if it would become anything else so I skipped it.

Greece felt real, it was like I was there and it was amazing.

I loved the myth stories from ancient times, I’m big on that anyways. I loved learning about Greek mythology. I loved Daphne’s connection with her Yia-Yia (grandmother).

I didn’t think the end would happen quite like it did, but I was glad and liked the ending.

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Keep the Faith – Berenstain Bears Book Review

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This post contains affiliate links to support our family.

FFR Keeping the Faith book

If you spend any amount of time on my site you know we love books! I stopped getting children’s books to review just because we have so many books already but I couldn’t resist The Berenstain Bears Keep the Faith (Berenstain Bears/Living Lights) book.

Our younger children all love this book and have asked to read it over and over again. The message is simple. Brother and Sister Bear come across a friend, Ferdy Factual, who does not believe in God and they are not quite sure what to do or say for that matter. They were kind to their friend, though they asked him questions. I thought Mama and Papa handled the issue quite well, though they could have done a better job of explaining what faith is themselves rather than going to Preacher Brown. However, I understand that may have just been there to help children know when mom and dad do not know the answer a member of the clergy is there to consult with on the tougher questions.

This book was a good reminder to me to help our children understand that not everyone believes the same way or the same things as we do.

I give it two thumbs up for Keep the Faith for any family of faith with young kiddos in the home.

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Twigtale

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Do your kids enjoy looking at photos of themselves? My kids absolutely love looking through photo albums of themselves and talking about what they were doing and who is in the picture with them.  What if you could design a book completely centered around photos of your children and written for your child? Twigtale has made this possible, and it’s very easy to do!

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Twigtale makes personalized children’s books focused on early transitions such as moving, parents going on a vacation, or gaining a new sibling. They also make “anytime” books that build self-esteem and promote child development.  Your first step is to go to www.twigtale.com and choose which book you would like to create. I chose “Who Loves Me?” It’s a book all about the many people who love my daughter.  Once you choose the book you want you can begin building the book or see a list of photos you will need to complete the book.

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I found that viewing the image list helped me to gather all of the photos needed before I started the book. I saved them all in a folder to my desktop so they were easy to access.  You can either upload all of the images you have right away or add images as you go. Since I had already picked out my images I created a new gallery and uploaded them all at once.  It was really easy to just drag them from my desktop into the program for uploading.  Next you answer a few questions such as who the book is for, who is creating the book, and the gender of the child.  The book then populates with all of this information and you’re ready to start writing the book.

You begin with the cover page and go page by page until the end. Simply drag a photo to the desired page, edit it if needed, and insert text. Most of the story is there, you just need to insert people’s names.  Honestly it took me about 20 minutes to make the whole book. It was so fast and easy.  When you get to the end of the book, you’re able to preview it and check for errors you may have made. That’s it! Input your personal information and billing information and the book will be mailed to you shortly. I received my book in three days, it was very fast!

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The finished product was of very high quality. The colors are bright, the quality of the images were great, and the pages were nice and thick.  All of the books are only $20 each, and would make great gifts.  I plan on giving my daughter hers for her 1st birthday.  The site was very easy to navigate, and creating the book was very user friendly.  I even made a few mistakes and had to delete photos and upload new ones. I was very pleased with how fast the process was. Overall, I would definitely recommend Twigtale personalized books.  A high quality, personalized book, for a very affordable price!

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Hidden Falls by Olivia Newport

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Hidden Falls by Olivia Newport

Review by B, my almost 15 year old, who found it really hard to review this ebook

Thirty years of small-town secrets—now the key to the mystery is gone. The small town of Hidden Falls is abuzz. Former students, friends, and loved ones are prepping for tonight’s big event to honor Ted Quinn’s many years of compassionate service. Quinn is reluctant about a night in the spotlight–but is tenderly prodded by Sylvia, mayor of Hidden Falls and Quinn’s dearest friend and confidante.

I thought Hidden Falls by Olivia Newport was good, but rather confusing. There were eight point of view characters that came across as too much even for me, and I’m a fast reader. I found myself forgetting about half of the characters as we hopped back and forth between point of views and inside the different character’s minds.

However, I did find Quinn to be interesting and liked his character as well as Dani, Nicole, Liam and Ethan. I wish we had gotten to see more of Dani as she came across as a really unique character and added something special to the novel. I felt bad for Liam and enjoyed Nicole and Ethan’s character point of views.

Unfortunately I couldn’t even rate this on terms of plot due to how much was going on. I couldn’t focus or even find the main plot line because of all the extra character point of views. It was a very slow read, but I loved the ending. It was quite surprising.

I’d give it a 2.5 out of 5 stars, but I would probably read more in this series due to the characters that I did like. I’m intrigued as to what will happen to Quinn and Dani in future books.

You can read the first episode of Hidden Falls here.

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You’re Going to be Okay by Holley Gerth Book Review


Faith and Family Reviews received the following product in exchange for writing a review. While we consider it a privilege to receive products to review, our reviews are our honest opinion and thoughts of the product.

okay

You’re Going to be Okay is a novel that uses scripture and the encouraging words of Holley Gerth to lift women up emotionally and mentally.

Covering topics ranging from depression to feeling insecure and unworthy of love, she writes with words of love and understanding.

She acknowledges the fact that life hurts and sometimes we feel down, or that bad things do happen. And while she doesn’t attempt to sugar coat it, she writes in a way that makes you feel as though there is hope when things feel dark.

Using examples from her personal life, she makes the reader feel as though you are talking to a close friend. The scriptures that she uses are uplifting and back up everything that she says through the novel.

She also offers tips and advice that she has found helpful through her personal struggles. Some good points that she made were that we were not made to settle for anything less than joy, exercising to help lessen our stress levels, and eating better to help improve overall health.

I recommend this to anyone who is looking for encouragement, and to know and realize that they are enough and that they will be okay.

“Available February 2014 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley

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Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley

Shadows of the Past by Patricia Bradley is a romantic suspense and the first book in the Logan Point series.

Taylor Martin, a Psychology professor and criminal profiler, experienced abandonment when her father up and left their family when she was a little girl. That event in her life left her with so many unanswered questions she sets out to find her father. Little does she realize that in doing so she would put herself and others in danger.

The book details how Taylor and her family find closure to the biggest mystery of their life. Taylor also finds love in an unlikely place, Nick Sinclair, the brother of one of the suspects in one of her murder profile cases.

Patricia Bradley really kept me on my toes. I was guessing until three quarters the way through the book. I was torn between who was behind the threats thrown at Taylor, the violence and the murders. There was only one murder mystery I figured out right away. I liked the twists and turns the plot took. As always the romance was pretty predictable, but how many different ways can you spin boy meets girl or girl meets boy and likes, then loves each other?

I really like these kinds of books not only for the mystery and intrigue but the character’s development and growth, as well as the fact there is no coarse language or raunchy sex. I believe sex is good, even great, (insert smiley face) within the boundaries of marriage, but I don’t need to read stories about sex when I have my own intimate life. Just saying, and thought I’d point out a different aspect to like about this book series and others like it.

Two thumbs up from me.

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Dabby Dill & The Hiccup Pickle iPad App Plus $50 iTunes Giveaway

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This is a featured review.


Dabby Dill & The Hiccup Pickle iPad App Review

by Brande
 

 

Dabby Dill & The Hiccup Pickle App
Dabby Dill woke up in a Pickle, she had the hiccups! Follow Dabby on her journey to find the remedy for these hiccups. This book app is recommended for kids 4 to 8 years old. This iPad app requires a 6.1 operating system or later.

There are 4 modes in the book app.

Story Mode – You have a narrator reading to you and you touch the arrow for the next page.

Read Along – You narrator will read to you again. However this time each word is underlined as the narrator reads, helping your child as they read & follow along.

Self-Read – Your child will read by themselves. Allowing your child the freedom to read at their own pace.

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Play Game – Great memory game! Follow the hiccup pattern with Dabby and her 3 friends. It’s very similar to the game Simon.

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I found this book app very educational. My favorite is the read along. With the words underlined it really helps my daughter learn her words and vocabulary. I love each mode, this book app can grow with your child.

Click here to find Dabby Dill & The Pickle Hiccup in the iTunes store!


Dabby Dill & The Hiccup Pickle App Giveaway Plus $50 Giveaway

by Theresa

Five of you have the opportunity to win an iTunes’s code to download Dabby Dill & The Hiccup Pickle iPad app for free, plus each of you will also receive a $10 iTunes e-gift card with the app code! Enter to win below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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With Autumn’s Return

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With Autumn's Return

As you know from past book reviews, I enjoy Christian historical fiction. With Autumn’s Return by Amanda Cabot is one of those books. I wanted to read it because I have read the first two books in the Westward Winds series (Book 1 and Book 2). This book was about Elizabeth Harding, the youngest sister in the Harding family.

Elizabeth Harding is a female doctor in Cheyenne, Wyoming during the 1800′s. I appreciated her fortitude to do what she felt called to do despite the disapproval of many. Women doctors were not popular or accepted easily in that time in history. Dr. Harding’s fortitude is something I could use a good dose of on my bad days! Ha! I also related to her struggle as a working woman and her fears and concerns over having a family with her chosen profession. She had working mom guilt before she was even a mother, but I think many of us must struggle with this when we choose to work or are forced to because of circumstances out of our control.

Dr. Harding showed godly character when she chose to treat the ladies of one of the local brothels. She treated them with respect and dignity despite their profession. I think this is something lacking in today’s Christianity. As Christians or followers of Christ, we are called to love, yet there’s still so much hatred in the world against those who may be different from us and that’s not just outside the church it is within it as well.

I enjoyed the friendship between her and Jason. I think friendship should be the basis of any romantic interest and like it when it’s portrayed in that light.

The book wasn’t all a bed of roses. Mystery, murder and deceit were woven into the plot to spice up the book and make it more than just a romance novel. Don’t get me wrong it was not a mystery novel but it definitely those elements made it more than just another boring romance.

Was the book predictable? Admittedly, yes. Was it interesting? I’d have to say so since I like reading about that time period. Was it one of my favorite books to read? No, not really, but I enjoyed it and give it a thumbs up.

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The Calling

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The Calling Suzanne Woods Fisher

The Calling by Suzanne Woods Fisher is another great book by Suzanne Woods Fisher. It is the second book in The Inn at Eagle Hill series. It is a clean, all round good read.

As you all know, I am intrigued by the Amish and appreciate their deep sense of community and commitment to one another and this story exemplifies this in a very real and strong way. I cannot tell you how or I’d reveal part of the mystery of the book.

I really enjoyed getting to know Bethany’s character better. I loved how she played hard to get with her “friend” Jimmy. :) She also displayed wisdom and how she learned from her past mistakes.

The mystery, twists and turns surrounding Bethany’s mother kept me guessing and wondering. I also cried buckets over the revelation of that whole story line.

Another part of the Amish community I enjoy is the respect the younger have for the elderly. In this series, there is a group of five spinster sisters who stand out for their service and commitment to the community, but they also stand out for the way in which they care and interact with the younger generation. The younger in turn cares and respects them. It seems more rare than common in our society today.

I love Bethany’s sister Mim and how she secretly provides advice in her Mrs. Miracle column of the newspaper and how supportive Bethany was of her endeavor.

The growth of Bethany’s brother, Toby, was revealed in this book and I was relieved when he turned out to be a “good” person and chose to do the right thing in spite of the consequences. That’s not always an easy thing to do but it is the honorable thing to do.

The guest, Geena, who visited the Inn at Eagle Hill in this book was a central part of the book and I appreciated her struggle with her “calling” but also how she allowed herself to be used where she was and how she integrated into the Schrock’s family and community.

If you haven’t guessed already, The Calling gets two thumbs up from me!

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