Friday, October 10, 2014

Book Review: Southern Foodie's Guide to the Pig

Southern Foodie’s Guide to the Pig: Culinary tour of 50 of the South’s best restaurants and the recipes by Chris Chamberlain is exactly what the title says.  It’s a book with recipes and stories from 50 of the greatest BBQ chefs/pit masters in the south. This book combines recipes, with personal stories, history, and culinary lessons. 

When I opened this book I was expecting a cookbook with a few cute tips and stories.  This is so much more.  This book includes real history and knowhow from some of the most acclaimed BBQ/pig connoisseurs in the country.  The first couple chapters cover the anatomy of the pig and how to build your own pit to roast a whole pig.   They describe techniques, reasons why parts are cooked one way and not another, and lots of amazing basic recipes.  I am so excited about this book.  Plus it’s more than… “Here’s a BBQ sauce recipe. Here’s a pulled pork recipe…”  It’s got how to make your own bacon and hams too.

I am so excited about owning this book and adding it to my collection. I have already told my husband to be prepared to build me a BBQ pit.  The material list (approximately) is included in the book.  I cannot wait to try out all the new recipes; Rubs, injections, sauces, etc.  They all look so good.

Note: I was given a copy of this book by the publisher to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Book Review: Noah

Noah by Mark Ludy is a picture book depicting the story of Noah.  This is not like any other picture book I have ever received for my children.  I would say most picture books are marketed for the 0-3 year old range. In other words kids who cannot read.  This book appeals to all kids.  The pictures are beautiful and detailed.   He has done a wonderful job visually showing all facets of the story.

There are a few very minor things I saw in the pictures that I may not agree with or was not expecting.  For one he included dinosaurs in some of the pictures of Noah working on the boat. Ok, maybe.  He showed some people swept up in the water when the rain came (scared look on face, drowning).  At first I thought this was a bit too much but it ended up leading into a great discussion with my kids.  What happened to all those people?  They died.   They drowned.  That is an important part of the story that we as parents usually gloss over.  Lastly Noah and his family were very happy on the boat.  In my opinion, a little too happy on day 40 to be smiling that big while eating dinner with lots of animals sitting and scurrying all around them. 

All in all I enjoyed this book immensely.  I am glad I can add this book to my children’s library for us to enjoy.  It was amazing to see/hear them tell me the story of Noah using his beautifully drawn pictures.


Note: I was given a copy of this book from handlebar publishing to read/view and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Book Review: Their Name is Today

Their name is Today by Johann Christoph Arnold is a plea to the people, future, parents, grandparents, teachers, etc. to remember our children’s wellbeing.  In the world there is so much for the future generations to overcome.  Children now have new distractions with video games and televisions everywhere, escalating violence in the world and in their entertainment, obesity and loss of healthy food in the homes and schools, education being taken over by government regulations instead of loving teachers, parents torn between success and quality time with their children.  With all of this Mr. Arnold wants us to remember it’s not too late.  There is still hope. The hope can be found in those children if we give them the tools that we need.  We need to love, teach, instruct, guide, encourage, and build out our children so they know how to become the adults we want them to be. 

I have read books by Mr. Arnold before and have always found his books very interesting.  I usually agree with most of this conservative viewpoint.  You can feel his passion for the subject in every word.  But I always find his books a little hard to read.  There is so much in every word and page it is not a quick or easy read. This is a book that looks small but can take a while to read and you are sometimes forced to reread a sentence two and three times before you fully grasp all that he is saying.

In general I enjoyed this book.  I look forward to digging a little deeper into what he writes and using what I learn to encourage and build up my own children.

Note: I was given a copy of this book from handlebar publishing to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Sarced Year by Michael Yankoski

The Sacred Year by Michael Yankoski is the story of the Author’s journey to find peace and balance in his life.  Michael had worked his entire life to be successful at work. He traveled all of over the world to speak. But there was always a frantic feel to his life and a well of discontent.  In the peak of the storm he decided to change his life and go on a one year journey to find peace, contentedness, and his true self.  His journey took him to a monastery, a cave, and his office. 

I know this book is about slowing down and finding purpose in life but this book was too slow for me.  It was too much like a lulling voice describing the minutest detail of everything.  Because that’s what he does.  To slow down he observed and ate an apple.  It took an hour to do and 3-5 pages to describe in the book.  An apple!  I realize for him it was profound and eye opening experience but to me as a reader it was very long.

Because of the excessive detail and disconnected flow of each passage I was unable to read this book for very long in a single sitting.  Honestly, I was unable to finish it.  After 5 minutes of reading I was almost asleep. 

I know this book for a lot of good review and I am happy for the author.  Unfortunately I do not think I was the target audience and could not get into the subject.  I wish him the best of luck with this new life.

Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free from the publisher.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Move On by Vicki Courtney

Move On by Vick Courtney is an inspirational book that helps women (and men) evaluate their life and come clean about all the mess in it so we can move towards grace.  Once we face our messes, God is able to do his work in us and help us move on.

I really enjoyed this book.  I think one thing that was important to making this book and message really work was for the author to be real about her own struggles and messes to the reader.  Vicki Courtney does just that.  She presents this message that you can see has truly impacted her own life. She is not looking for pity for her messes or a pat on the back for moving on. 

She is just open about what God has revealed her in her, and her close friends, struggles.  We all have them and yet so often we are afraid to reveal them.  We fear judgment, pity, abandonment, etc. so instead we lock them up making them a barrier between us and the world…  AND GOD.  But God will not judge, abandon, or pity us because he already knew them. Before we were born he knew them.  Instead of giving those to God and letting his use them for His good, we hold onto them and fester in out self-pity of them.

I really enjoyed this book.  I thought her writing was easy to read. She was insightful, honest, friendly, and encouraging.  I am glad I read this book and hope to pass it on to a few friends whom I think could benefit from this message.

Note: I was given a copy of this book, for free, to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Book Review: Let's all be brave by Annie Downs

Let’s All Be Brave; living life with everything you have by Annie Downs is a book about how we should be brave in our life.  Not jump out of a plane brave but feeling secure in Christ so you can do anything for Him brave. 

I really enjoyed this book. Here writing style is very easy to read and conversational.  I feel like I just had a great pour out your heart, punch you in the gut, while having a coffee with a close friend kind of conversation.

What I love most about this book is her way to easily present how easy it is to be brave when you know God is there for you.  With his love and support we shouldn’t be afraid to make a life change, donate generously, pursue our dreams, etc.. 

My favorite quote from this book is…

“I believe in the me God made and in the me God can make.  I believe he made me on purpose and didn’t make any mistakes when it came to my creation.  I believe he is doing a good work in me, and in you. And that though I am flawed, God is loving me and refining me and reminding me that God in me is where I can place my trust.

And that is the place where I find my courage.”

I will definitely reread this book and buy copies for my friends. I enjoyed it that much.  Thank you, Annie Downs, for writing from your heart, exposing your weaknesses, and uplifting all who struggle to be brave.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Book Review: The healing quilt by Wanda E Brunstetter

The Healing Quilt by Wanda E Brunstetter is another book in the Half Stitched Amish Quilting Club series.  This time Emma and Lamar have moved to a small community close to Sarasota Florida for the winter.  As Emma is restless in the new town, Lamar encourages her to start another quilting club.  Joining her club is Jennifer who is pregnant with her first child and worried her husband won’t find a job before the baby is born, Erika a teen who was wheelchair bound after a diving accident, Noreen a retired teacher and widow looking for something creative to do, BJ an artist who is visiting Florida before his terminal cancer prevents him, and Kim a single woman who isn’t sure what life has for her after a recent break up with her boyfriend whom she followed to Florida.

I have not read the other quilting club books before reading this one and I loved it.  I want to go back and read the previous two books.  The love the flawed characters and how we see them go as individuals and as a group throughout the book.  Yes, you can expect the huge coincidences like the other books (aka what the girl I’ve been sewing next to is actually my daughter I haven’t seen in 20 years).  Yes, you know in the last couple chapters everyone will have a change of heart and it will all work out.  But I think it’s good to hope that that can happen in life.  Good things can happen.  Relationships can be mended.  Hearts can change.

This book is 310 pages long and I read it within a couple sittings.  I could not put it down.  I am a huge fan of most of Wanda E Brunstetter books but I have to say I think this is one of my top 10 favorites.

Note: I did receive a copy of this book for free to read and review.  The opinions above are my own and I was not compensated for a positive review.