Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to be of service and bring you content free of charge. In order to do this, please note that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission. In addition, many of the books reviewed on this site were received free from the publisher through various book review bloggers programs. I am never required to write a positive review. On ocassion I will review a book that was not provided by the publisher. If that is the case I will note it on that particular post. Otherwise, assume that it was. All opinions I have expressed are always my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

A Bug Collection

I know, I know...not a book.  Still, Booksneeze was kind enough to send it so here I am to review it.  As usual let's read what the publisher had to say:

Some grumpy bees, silly ladybugs and a non-praying mantis . . . all from the best-loved Max Lucado's Hermie & Friends® series!
Buzby and the Grumblebees—it’s about bee-having.
Haily & Bailey's Silly Fight—it’s about getting along.
Milo, the Mantis Who Wouldn't Pray—it's about prayer.
Enjoy the voice talents of Tim Conway, Melissa Disney, Richard Kind, and Sam Mercurio at their very best in this one-of-a-kind box set.

Not really helpful is it?  Let me tell you what I think then.

First, Buzby and the Grumblebees.  This looks to have been originally released around 2007 and is the story of Buzby who ends up bee-sitting his niece and nephew.  Both are incorrigible and are often shirking their duties and behaving in a selfish manner.  They complain about the food, about having to put away their things, about having to listen respectfully etc.  So Buzby and his friends decide to give them a taste of their own medicine and let them see what it would be like if everyone acted as they do.  Not a pretty picture!  Great lessons and the niece and nephew said quite a few things that I have heard come out of my own kids mouths a time or two. The song was pretty good and my kids seemed to get the message that it isn't all about you.

Haily & Bailey's Silly Fight - Haily and Bailey decide to help out the less fortunate ants by bringing them some food when they realize that the ants are hungry.  The good intentions however turn into an argument over which food is better and would be more enjoyed by the ants.  They both end up storming off to do what they think is best.  They soon learn that it is no fun to argue though.  Again my kids and I heard some expressions that were familiar to us and it was great to see Haily and Bailey work through this to find a resolution that worked for everyone.  The song is also pretty good.

And Milo, the Mantis Who Wouldn't Pray - I have to admit this was my favorite.  Poor little Milo loses his snack shack in a storm and his friends suggest he pray.  Milo admits he doesn't know how to in a wonderful song.  In the song he goes through many different ways to pray that just aren't sincere such as using big and impressive words since God is so big and impressive.  He even gets shot into space so he can be closer to God and maybe God will hear him better.  In the end though he learns that all he needs to do is talk.  I like that the movie also addressed the fact that sometimes we don't get an immediate answer and that sometimes we overlook the answer He does give because it isn't the one we want to hear.  In the end though, Milo's prayer is answered.  God has taken the things Milo has done and uses them to give Milo a bigger and better restaurant.  The movie takes it even farther and shows how God uses things that we no longer need to help others as well.

Each DVD includes a singalong song, a "storybook" (another story that is read to you and the pages turn as the story is read) and a few other extras.  Silly Fight even includes some computer activities as well.

So, I give the set a thumbs up.  My 2 year old enjoyed all of the movies and my 11 year old hurried through her chores to watch them with us.  Even my 13 year old joined us for the viewing. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, February 18, 2011


I had been very excited to see that I had the opportunity to review this book.  I had seen mixed reviews at sites such as and relished the idea of reading such a controversial book.  Unfortunately I turned the last page feeling very disconnected and was left with a lot of questions about Mr. Platt's theology and disappointed in his call to action.

Chapters 1-3 were wonderful.  I read them avidly, often shaking my head in agreement and often quoting some of what was written to my husband and friends.  I agree wholeheartedly that "contemporary Christianity sales pitches don't seem adequate anymore" (pg.26)  "...I cannot settle for anything less than a God-centered, Christ-exalting, self-denying gospel" (pg 39)  I stopped and prayed and examined myself when Platt wrote, "the question for us, then, is whether we trust in his power.  And the problem for us is that in our culture we are tempted at every turn to trust in our own power instead." (pg. 45) I found that there were areas of my life that I was not trusting God.  I had to admit after reading, "would you say that your life is marked *right now* by desperation for the Spirit of God?" (p. 60 emphasis mine) that I wasn't desperate, that I had become content.

Then we reach chapter four where I began to disagree with my interpretation of what Mr. Platt wrote.  I say that it is my interpretation because I hope that it had not been his intent to conjure such thoughts in his readers.  However, this was a concept I had struggled with before giving my life to Christ and it has been drug up again.  Platt writes that, "God centers on himself," "he saves us, not for our sake, but for the sake of his holy name." and "God is at the center of his universe, and everything he does ultimately revolves around him." (pg 71)  Which caused thoughts of God as a being a selfish creature back to my mind.  Platt's answer to such thoughts is "whom else would we have him exalt?" and he continues in an attempt to convince us that he does love us deeply but his "passion does not ultimately center on his people.  It centers on his greatness, his goodness and his glory being made known globally among all peoples." (also pg. 71)  The rest of the book continues with ways in which members of his congregation have attempted to make God known globally.

Platt agains turns me off when he tries to impress upon us the importance of becoming world missionaries for Christ in the chapter entitled There is No Plan B.  In this chapter he draws upon the book of Romans and lists 7 points that are supposed to demonstrate that even if you have never heard of Christ or don't have knowledge of his sacrifice you are still condemned to hell and that is why it is our mission to spread the Word.  I disagree with this in that this belief condemns young children to hell because they can not understand the gift, it condemns others to hell due to a lack of knowledge.  This just doesn't ring true with a loving God. Platt argues that this belief implies that there is a way to God other than through Christ.  I disagree.

The book continues with a call to bring the Word to other parts of the world, implying that sharing the gospel in this country is not enough and should not be enough for American Christians.  He concludes with a one year experiment that calls us to pray for all of the countries of the world, read the Bible in a year, sacrifice financially for a specific purpose (here he calls us to do something that builds churches rather than simply help the poor), spend a week in "another context" which should be outside your own city, and concludes with joining a church body.  While you may label me as a person stuck living the American Dream rather than that of Christ's I am reminded of another statement of Platt's, " ...when Jesus summarizes his work on eath, he doesn't stat reliving all the great sermons he preached and all the people who came to listen to him.  He doesn't talk about the amazing miracles he performed...Instead he talks repeatedly about the small group of men God had given him out of the world.  *They were the work God had given to him.*  They were, quite literally, his life." (p. 88-89)  These men were the disciples.  They didn't come from some far off land and Jesus didn't travel to some far off place to recruit them.  God placed them where Jesus would come in contact with them.  I believe some are led to travel and share God where they go, while others are to share and teach where they are.  In the end I felt like this book was rejecting my efforts to share God with my children because they were not foreign to me.  I feel like I should feel guilty for the blessings God has given my family because we live on 50% of the income rather than 10%.  I felt judged and I felt like Platt was saying that if I didn't bring God's Word to other countries then I was responsible for them going to hell.  For me, this just didn't ring true with the God of my Bible.

I was reading a blog written by Hilary Alan, author of Sent, and she was responding to those who said that when her family chose to sell their home, give up her job and move to Southeast Asia to help people there was "radical".  While she was not responding to David Platt's book, I feel it is, in many ways, a response to Platt's call to be radical.  Here is what she wrote:

Obedience is NOT radical. Its a response. A response that comes from love. From a right understanding of a relationship. That relationship being mine with God. Who He is in relation to who I am. To be perfectly clear, He is God and I am not. He is Lord and I am not. He is my Father and I am His child. He is my shepherd and I am just a dumb sheep. He is all knowing and I know nothing. I think you get the picture..
A Christian is someone who repents, believes in, trusts, and obeys Christ.  A Christian is someone who has surrendered their life to Christ. So does it even make sense that you wouldn’t obey and follow someone you had surrendered your life to? How can we say “Jesus is Lord” and not then put our YES on the table to go where ever He tells us to go, and do whatever He tells us to do? If that YES comes with conditions, then there is a misunderstanding about who really is Lord.
In the simplest terms, if Curt and I ask Jordan and Molly to do something and they then do it, would we say, “Wow! You kids are so radical for obeying your parents! That is awesome!” Sorry, Jordan and Molly but you know you would never hear that response from me and Dad:-) Its what we expect from them, based on a right understanding of our relationship.
You can read more about Hilary Alan at her blog here.
I believe that this sums up my objections to this book.  Some of us are truly called to distance missionary work and they obey.  That doesn't make them radical.  Some of us, however, are called to work where we are-with our neighbors, our children, our co-workers-that doesn't make us any less obedient than distance missionaries.  To point a finger and tell us that we aren't living up to what Jesus expects of us assumes that the finger pointer knows what Jesus has spoken to our hearts.  

You can read chapter one of this book and view the free resources by visiting 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Couples Who Pray Together Review

Book Description:
In this entertaining, highly readable book, couples learn that a fabulous marriage can be the outcome of learning to pray together, causing a 20 to 30 percent increase in romance, conversation and happiness.
Best-selling author Squire Rushnell and his wife, entertainer and talk show host Louise DuArt, take readers step by step through The 40 Day Prayer Challenge™ in which couples commit to praying together five minutes a day for forty days. Backed by compelling research from Baylor University and Gallup Poll, the true-life experiences of 24 test couples, including Denzel and Pauletta Washington, Kathie Lee and Frank Gifford, Donna Summer and Bruce Sudano, Scott and Tracie Hamilton, reveal that daily prayer is a "life changing experience" in which most couples report positive outcomes in less than two weeks.

Couples Who Pray includes an easy questionnaire prepared by Baylor University to help couples to chart their own progress during The 40 Day Prayer Challenge™.

My Review:
First, let me say that the title is a bit misleading.  When I requested this book I had expected more of a "how to" type thing than this is.  I was a lot like the police officer who asked the authors after listening to them at a conference, " wife and I pray.  She prays separately, and I pray separately, but how do we do it together?"  To be honest, I don't think that this book answers that question.  Sure, I read that you can begin with just one of you praying and the other listens.  We should make time to do it.  We should thank God for our blessings together and confess together and other advice.  It is right on.  However, it still feels like and uncomfortable thought to me even after reading this.  That probably isn't a reflection on the authors as much as it is on my comfort level with being that open in a public way.

This book does have a lot of examples of couples (almost all of them have been in a newspaper or magazine at one point or another.  I don't recall any average everyday people mentioned) and how they feel praying together has affected their lives and marriages.  The authors also include statistics about how praying together can make your marriage better. There is a lot of good advice on how to create a strong and lasting marriage in the pages of this book.  Usually the advice is followed by something along the lines of how praying together helps with that.

I found the most help in Appendix 2 which includes 40 Bible passages to read together and incorporate in couple prayer time.

Thinking over this book, I think I had expectations that this book was about how to become a couple who prayers together rather than what it truly is, a book about couples who do pray together.

One thing about this book that I want to mention, this did not take me through a step by step of the 40 day prayer challenge.  What it did was refer me to a website ( which allowed me to sign up for the step by step prayer challenge.  This was what I had been looking for in the book!

So in the end, the book is an encouragement to pray together without a lot of the how-to's included while the website is the nuts and bolts.

I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review, either negative or positive.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The truth about dating, love and just being friends....

The Truth About Dating, Love, and Just Being Friends

From the publisher:
Chad Eastham, with his typical wit and wisdom for teens, brings much sought after advice on girls’ favorite topics including dating, love, friendship, and other important stuff.
Chad shines some much-needed light on these major issues for teens. Rather than let their feelings navigate them blindly through their tumultuous adolescence, Chad offers clarity, some surprising revelations, and answers to some of their biggest questions: How do I know who to date? When should I start dating? How should I start dating? Is this really love? And, Why do guys I like just want to be friends?
Packed with humor that adds to the sound advice, this book will help teens make better decisions, have healthier relationships, and be more prepared for their futures. Just a few things girls will learn include: Five things you need to know about love; Eight dumb dating things even smart people do; Ten reasons why teens are unhappy; and Ten things happy teens do.
Any teen can live a happier, healthier life: they just need to hear The Truth.

My review:
First, I am not a teen....far from it. However I do have teens (15 yr old girl and 13 yr. old son as well as younger children) and I am glad to have this book in my library. Mr. Eastham may approach the subject from a "cool uncle" perspective that may annoy some readers, but it could also draw others in. I personally liked it and found that my teenagers did too. (As a matter of fact one said the way he talked reminded them of their aunt!)

Mr. Eastham addresses real issues and questions teens have with a biblical perspective without stressing it so much that it turns them off. He combines statistical facts (53% of teens are NOT having sex) with quick fact lists (10 great ways guys turn girls off) with real life questions teens have and real life answers to them and still manages to throw in seemingly random facts, anecdotes, quotes from famous people and even Bible verses. There are reflection sections for you to stop and consider where you fit into the scheme of things and to examine why you think/feel the way you do about other things.

The chapters and headings are interestingly titled (in the chapter Miserable Teenagers Mr. Eastham discusses Being the "Maker Fun-er-of-er") which are just silly enough to get you to read and figure out what he is talking about. But don't think that the book is just one big silly-fest. Serious topics such as domestic violence are discussed as well as "it's not okay to be dumb" as in choosing to make bad choices or no choices.

All in all I think that this book should be on every teen girls book shelf. I don't know that the guys would take the time to read it as it does feel a little like it is geared towards girls but there is a lot of info just for the guys also (Why do girls go the the bathroom in groups or pairs?) I just know that my son felt it was girly.

I received this as a free book from BookSneeze in return for my honest review and opinions of it. A positive review was not required, but this book definitely deserved it!