December 06, 2016

Six Reasons Reviews Dominate My Blog

I am a little ashamed of blog lately.  What used to be a personal blog, has morphed into a bunch of reviews.  Although my reviews do drive traffic to my blog, and I think that they can be helpful, it is a little bit lame.

I am offering some excuses for the switch, which I think are rather valid.  

  • I am not a good enough blogger to monetize.  Plus I did a blog post about being a masochist because I take pregnancy tests even though I know they will be negative, and Google flagged my blog as having adult content.  So, if I want to get anything from my blog, I have to do reviews.  The best of this has been Mother Goose Time (I am on "maternity" leave right now after getting a newborn), but I have also had an opportunity to read some very good books.  
  • Oftentimes, I suffer from writer's block.  As an infertile, the posts just flowed from me (by the way I had a very disgusting pun here that I deleted for you guys.  You are welcome!), but now that I don't really care about my infertility very often, I don't always know what to write.  I am a pessimist by nature, and it is hard for me to know what to write without complaining about the best things in my life: my husband, my son, and my (foster) daughter.  I don't want you to think I hate my family, I adore them, but if/when I use my blog to vent about them, I am not being a respectful wife and mother.
  • I don't like pictures of my son's face on public pages of the internet.  So sometimes something fun and adorable happens, but since a picture is worth a thousand words, and I don't want to share the picture, I don't write the words.
  • Many, many of my opinions are controversial.  While I won't publish any comments that I find insulting to me or my religion, in order to monitor them, I first have to read them.  I am NOT sure I am ready to put on my big girl pants when I write about things that people will vehemently disagree with me on, and then call me ugly and stupid.  Sometimes on other people's websites I will voice my opinion.  People don't like it.  And that is okay, but I am not tough enough to take it in large doses.
  • I am not an expert.  I have great ideas on parenting, but I also don't follow through on many of  the things I start doing.  Chores are great, but chore charts last like two weeks tops.  Behavior charts are the same. I have great ideas on housekeeping as well.  But those grand plans usually only last until the weekend when Michael is home and playing World of Tanks most of the day and I don't feel its "fair" for me to have to work while he plays.  I know, life isn't fair, I have told numerous kids that fact countless times, and yet my own sense of fairness comes and bites me on the butt every weekend.  It also kills my diet plans.  I am an expert at making excuses.
  • It is kind of disappointing to spend an hour writing a blog post, and editing pictures for it, and putting it on link-ups, and then have no one comment on it.  Writing is kind of therapeutic, but if I wanted to write just for myself, I would get a journal!
So, there you have it, the six reasons I use to justify having a blog entirely full of reviews.  I am going to try to have more personal stories.  More unsponsored content.  More real life.

December 03, 2016

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Ace Collins - A Review

Christmas is a busy time.  It can be difficult for people to step back from the decorating, baking, shopping, wrapping, and visiting, and remember the reason we have a Christmas celebration at all.  Devotionals can be a wonderful way to give yourself a quick reminder of the real meaning of Christmas, in a few minutes every day. 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year by Ace Collins is more than a basic devotional book.  In addition to having quality reflections on Jesus, each day there is also a look at the story behind a Christmas hymn, as well as a recipe.  Some of the recipes are for food, and some are for gifts you can give to pamper the people you love. 

The daily devotions were well written, the song studies are very interesting, and the recipes seem nice (I didn't actually try any of them).  I read through quite a few days in quick succession in order to write a review, and I found the content to be wonderful.

I did think it would be really cool if there was a CD to go along with the book, with each day's hymn.  I am sure I could just make my own, but it would be a cool tie-in item, especially if you were giving this as a Christmas gift.

I was given a free copy of this book to facilitate writing an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

The Remnant by Monte Wolverton - A Review

I don't really know what it is about dystopian futures that intrigues us, but judging from the popularity of books like The Hunger Games, 1984, and The Giver, not to mention numerous video games (like the only "real" game I can play - Fallout!), we are drawn to the worst.  Perhaps it is an appreciation for how wonderful things really are now, or we like to have our worst fears confirmed, that we are spiraling downhill to a horrible future.  Either way, humans are drawn to dystopian novels, movies and games. 

Monte Wolverton has given us a fresh look at the apocalypse in The Remnant.

From the Publisher:

In the year 2069 the Apocalypse came and went, but Jesus didn’t show up, as some expected.
Instead, a cataclysmic war, natural disasters and pandemics eradicated 90 percent of earth’s population. Now, in 2131, a totalitarian government rules the world from the majestic, opulent capitol of Carthage, Tunisia. Blamed for igniting the war, religion and religious books are banned. Citizens who will not renounce their religion are sent to work camps.

Grant Cochrin, imprisoned in a bleak petroleum camp in what was once North Dakota, leads his family and friends to escape and embark on a long, dangerous quest for a Christian community. Their resource in this journey? A cherished page torn from the now banished Bible—a remnant of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount handed down from Grant’s grandparents.

The Remnant is a good book.  It was a page-turner, I read it in only a couple of days.  The pacing was great, something I have learned I value in books.  I don't like them to drag on, I like to have forward motion.  No matter how well developed your characters, or well thought out your storyline, if the pacing is slow, I probably won't finish the book.

Character development is adequate.  When it comes to Grant, the main character, and his best friend, you can see lots of growth and change.  Many of the other secondary characters are not as developed as they could have been, but not to the detriment of the story.  It was difficult to connect with the characters for some reason, but I can't pinpoint why.

The story is really good.  It makes you think a little bit about religion, and why people worship in the ways that they do.  God's hand in their adventures is always present, whether in obviously miraculous ways, or just in meeting the right people at the right time. 

I have two complaints about the book:

One: There is an unnecessary remark degrading the King James Version Bible, and those who feel that it is the most accurate English version of the Bible.  As someone that prefers the KJV, I found this to be rather insulting. 

Two: The ending.  I am not going to tell you the end, no spoilers!  While the ending was interesting, it was not neat and tidy, wrapping up all the loose ends.  I am the kind of person who wants all the answers at the end of a book or movie.  I like the epilogues that tell you what every character in the story is doing now, or better yet did with the rest of their lives, which this does not do. 

Overall I would say that The Remnant is a well written book that many people would enjoy. 

I was given a free copy of this book in order to write an honest review.  All opinions are my own.

November 15, 2016

Cold-Case Christianity for Kids by J. Warner and Susie Wallace - A Review

So I signed up for a few different books that were more applicable when we had the girls, and this was one of them.  But I am glad I got it, because it is a really great introduction to apologetics. 

From the publisher:
Between the ages of 8 and 12, kids often start to wonder if Christianity is true.
In Cold-Case Christianity for Kids, detective J. Warner Wallace draws readers into the thrill of high-stakes investigation by showing them how to think rather than telling them what to think. In this children’s companion to the bestselling Cold-Case Christianity, detective Wallace gets kids excited about testing witnesses, examining the evidence, and investigating the case for Christianity. Includes author illustrations and links to a website where kids can download activities, fill in case notes, and earn a certificate of merit.

The book is really interesting, because it is a great mix of fiction and non-fiction, but does not confuse the two.  When the book starts out, it is a story about some children joining a junior detective class, and to be honest I was a little thrown off.  It was not the start I was expecting, but it soon made great sense.  In the book you look at how to examine evidence, and those skills are used to look at evidence for a kid-friendly mystery case, as well as Christianity.

It is a quick read, but still gives a very in depth (for children) explanation of why we can believe that the New Testament is true.  I enjoyed reading this book and it made me want to get the Cold-Case Christianity book to read for myself.  I also was intrigued at the thought of using this junior detective format to run a real life apologetics class for children.

Christmas is coming soon, and if I had anyone on my list that was the appropriate age group for this book, I would definitely purchase Cold-Case Christianity for Kids.

I was given this book free of charge from the publisher via LitFuse.  All opinions are my own.