The Legend of the Christmas Cookie By Dandi Daley Mackall, illustrated by Richard Cowdrey

The Legend of the Christmas Cookie
By Dandie Daley Mackall
Illustrated by Richard Cowdrey

ISBN 978-0-3107-4767-3
Age Range: 4-8
32 pages
Retails for: $21.00

As Jack stepped inside, the heavenly scent of sweet bread and licorice wafted from the kitchen. Cookies! But it couldn't be. Mom put every penny dad sent home straight into the cookie jar. There hadn't been a single cookie in that jar for over a year...

What a cute Christmas book with and even better message. The Legend of the Christmas Cookie is about sharing with others the true meaning of Christmas. Sharing with those less fortunate than ourselves about the birth of Christ the Lord, was the over-all message.  The little boy in the book named Jack has been missing his father while he was away for work, and he had been hoping for his return home. Instead a stranger came to the house looking to share a meal. Jack takes it upon himself to share his realizations about the true meaning of Christmas, and he delivered a cookie with a story behind it, ultimately sharing of Christ's birth.  

A couple of simple recipes can be found in the back of the book also so we can make our own Christmas cookies. 

I recommend this to all parents of young children, especially those looking to start new traditions with their children, and those looking to spread the true meaning of the Christmas with others. 

*FTC DISCLAIMER: This book was provided to me complimentary by BookLookBloggers in exchange for my honest review.*

Book Review: Blessed, Blessed, Blessed by Missy Robertson

By Missy Robertson
ISBN: 978-1-4964-0570-8
Retails for: $25.99

Missy Robertson knew that marrying duck-hunting Jase Robertson would be an adventure... and she was up to the challenge. Their life together was good (even after Jase grew the beard). They had two children, worked hard to help build the thriving Duck Commander business, and loved to serve GOD.
But after a difficult and risky pregnancy, their daughter, Mia, was born with a cleft palate-a serious condition requiring multiple cranial and facial surgeries. As their baby struggled to breathe, and Missy and Jase faced a life that suddenly looked very different that the one they'd planned, they found themselves staring down one of life's biggest questions: Where is GOD in all this pain?


For starters, I have never watched Duck Dynasty, so I was not familiar with the author's fame until this book and researching their show. I chose this book because of the title and how I felt like I could relate to this book based on it's description.  

A little personal backstory, I too have a disabled child, 9 years old. She's had 17 surgeries so far! Times have felt tough and I have often been angry at my relationship with GOD through all the tough times. But through those tough times I have found strength. My own. I marvel at how much my little girl has been through but still manages to have a sweet and constant smile on her face.  I too am very blessed.  

Now for this memoir, I'd just like to say I really enjoyed the way Missy and Jase shared their experiences candidly.  Their honesty, and love for eachother and their family was refreshing.  I loved the cover photo of the two of them and the wonderful 8 page color insert spread. More people should include those in memoirs! 

This book was a reminder that should stop and realize that celebrities are people too, with real lives and struggles like some of the rest of us. We should always celebrate family, and be humble through all the good and the bad challenges we face. 

GOD Bless Mia Robertson. The way her mother wrote about her journey had me in tears because I could relate.  I hope this little girl has a full recovery from all of her procedures and therapies.  What really makes you tear up is Mia's speech that was included at the very end of the book. She wrote about GOD calling her for special purpose just like he did Moses in Exodus. (Exodus 4:10-12) And encourages us to remember that GOD is bigger than our struggles. 

I recommend this book to any Duck Dynasty fan, and to any parent of a disabled child. Very insightful read. 


*FTC DISCLAIMER: I was provided this book complimentary by the Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for my honest review. *

Book Review: Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty By Angela Hunt

Bathsheba: Reluctant Beauty
By Angela Hunt
Biblical Fiction
Retails for: $14.99

Carefully researched,  Author Angela Hunt reimagines the story of Bathsheba,  
 a notorious woman from the Bible known for being a beautiful woman, the wife of  King David and the mother of Solomon, with a lot of loss and sadness in her life. 

I love learning about women from the Bible times.  I was drawn to the cover of the book immediately. The cover photo was gorgeous. The words Reluctant Beauty really stood out to me when I chose to read this book and I can say now after reading it that Bathsheba was exactly that. 

As a young child, a prophet named Samuel said Bathsheba will grow to be a beautiful wife of a man of Israel and will bear a son who will do great things for Israel. 
When Bathsheba is grown, she is married to Uriah the Hittite, one of King David's soldiers, but she has not given him any children, so she assumed the prophecy was wrong. 

 King David sees Bathsheba bathing one day and lusts for her beauty, and decides to have her summoned to rape her. She tells the King she was married to Uriah, and the King ignores her pleas and has his way with her. Bathsheba becomes pregnant. 

To cover his actions the King calls for Uriah to be sent home to be with his wife whom he hasn't seen for 5 months, but Uriah refused to go home. Instead, he continues to fight for the king and his men. King David then decides to plan for Uriah to be killed. 
Later we learn that Bathsheba's grandfather had told Uriah of the King's doings and that is why he didn't go home. 

After Uriah the Hittite's death, King David takes Bathsheba as one of his wives where she is taken care of and carries out her pregnancy. 

Prophet Nathan comes into the picture and tells King David that he knows of his sins and to redeem himself the infant son must die for his sins.  The unnamed  boy baby dies shortly after birth.  Bathsheba is terribly pained by not one, but 2 losses. The King mourns the loss, but the next day returns to his normal self as if the loss didn't happen.  She blames her beauty and starts to hate the king, but desperately tries to forgive him. 

King David apologizes to Bathsheba and then vows to fulfill the prophecy by giving Bathsheba another son and naming him as his heir.  Their second son was named Solomon, who was made King when King David was on his deathbed, keeping his promise. 

What I really liked about this story was how no matter the sin, GOD still forgives and wants us to love our sinners and forgive those who sin against us. Bathsheba had to learn to trust in Him.  HE made her beautiful and to her that was considered to be a curse since her beauty came with a price to pay although she was not the sinner.  

In the end David had paid for his sins and Bathsheba found herself content with her inner beauty and the prophecy came true. 

Most of what you will read in this book come directly from the Bible, but some of it was made up to give some insight into what the characters would have probably been like. I really enjoyed this story because sometimes reading about different people in the Bible, we often forget to imagine them being every day people just like ourselves. Their stories were real, just like our lives are today, even though they happened a really long time ago. This story played out in my head as if it were present day.  Anyways, great read. 

*FTC DISCLAIMER: This book was sent to me complimentary of BethanyHouse in exchange for my honest review.*

Book Review: M is for Manger By Crystal Bowman & Teri McKinley

M is for Manger
Written by Crystal Bowman & Teri McKinley
Pictures by Claire Keay
ISBN: 978-1-4964-0195-3
Retails for: $7.99
Juvenile Non-Fiction
Religion/Bible Stories

M is for Manger is an ABC rhyming book for children which also tells the 
story of Jesus and his birth. 

This book is absolutely adorable. It's a hard-cover book and it's cover is blue and the lining on the inside has stars on it.  The illustrations by Claire Keay are simple and sweet. The book is free of clutter and very tidy. I like this. The style throughout is kept the same the whole way through. 

Page 1 has a "HOW TO USE THIS BOOK" section that details the purpose of the book, and to summarize, basically this story is told chronologically and uses Scripture to help tell the story of Jesus, the events surrounding his birth and the real meaning of Christmas. 

A is for Angel
B is for Believed
C is for Carpenter
D is for Dream
etc..  (Don't want to spoil them all!)
The authors did a great job at telling Jesus' story and I think this book would make a great addition to any child's library and would make wonderful gifts, or stocking stuffers. 
I loved that the Bible verses were short and memorizable by little ones. 

*FTC Disclaimer: I received this book complimentary from Tyndale Blog Network in exchange for my review.*


Book Review: She's Almost A Teenager By Larson, & Arp

Essential Conversations to Have Now
She's Almost A Teenager
By: Peter & Heather Larson
David & Claudia Arp

ISBN: 978-0-7642-1136-2
Retails for: $12.99

This faith-based parenting book is suggested for parents of pre-teen girls to help their daughters navigate through the difficult years by presenting a series of  meaningful conversations and talking points. 

This book was beautifully written. The cover photo was cute. I enjoyed the bright orange-yellow cover. This book is an easy read. The authors are relatable and share their own experiences throughout. 

As a Mom of 3 young daughters who will eventually become teenagers & almost teenagers, this book will help me out in the future when my children are faced with emotional challenges and have difficult questions to ask. I feel this book will be more of a tool and I can use some of the advice from it, to communicate expectations effectively with my daughters. There were 8 conversation topics throughout and different conversation starters.  I think these are great prompts.  I don't know yet what will apply to us later on, but it's good to have a reference book handy. The 8 Conversations included were: 
1. Big Picture Talk
2. The Friends Talk
3. The Academics Talk
4. The Body Talk
5. The Faith Talk
6. The Boys Talk
7. The Money Talk
8. The Tech Talk

  I will suggest this book to my friends with adolescent children, and not just those to daughters. I feel sons could benefit from the same type of conversations. 



*This book was sent to me complimentary from Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.*

Book Review: The Time Garden-A Magical Journey and Coloring Book by Daria Song

The Time Garden
A Magical Journey and Coloring Book
By Daria Song
ISBN-10: 1607749602
80 Pages
Recommended Ages: 10+
Retails for: $8.79

The Time Garden is a magical story about an imaginative little girl who follows her curiosity at the stroke of midnight through the antique cuckoo clock her grandfather brings home from Germany, where she sees a red-haired fairy and discovers a fantasy world.   The little girl couldn't understand the concept of electricity so she decides to explore this clock to learn how it worked without batteries. Through her journey, she must find the door back to reality. 

The Time Garden is a grown-up inspired coloring book which is not like your typical coloring book that is meant only for children. Instead, this book reaches out to a more grown up audience. Perfect for grown ups to renew their love of coloring. This book has a story written on a couple of it's pages and each coloring page tells part of the story.  I really liked the uniqueness of the whole concept of going off into dream world and then coming back to reality.  The cover was beautiful. The pages were very good in size. The art to color was varied, but beautiful.  
I expected this to be a book about gardens. I was pretty surprised though what lied on these pages instead.  Am definitely considering repurchasing this and the follow-up books by this author for gifting.  I would suggest thin markers or colored pencils for these pages. 


*This book was sent to me complimentary of Blogging For Books 
in exchange for my honest review.