Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Would a Worm Go on a Walk? -- review

When FlyBy asked if I would review this book, I was so smitten with the illustrations that I had to say yes. I don't think I even read the description of the book before responding!
Doesn't he look cute!?
It took awhile to arrive, so I'd actually forgotten about it by the time it came, but was super excited to open it and read it to the boys. The pictures are just as gorgeous as I expected!

However. The text of this book leaves something to be desired. It's an attempt at a really fun book with a good cadence to the text, but it just falls flat. The text doesn't quite rhyme and in some places, the words they use create a bit of a SoapBox in my opinion (do we really need to be telling kids that boys can't use lipstick?). I could let most of those things slide, but then there's a scripture usage error at the end! As I read through the book, I was thinking "ok, not my favorite, so it's a 'like it' book" and then with the second to the last page, the scripture error made this a "leave it" book.

If Biblical accuracy isn't your thing or important to you, I'm sure it's a fine book. But since the ending is an attempt to make a point based on scripture, it seems like the point should be a correct one, right!?
rhyming cadence
one of several "soapbox" moments
God did not say animals were "very good."
He only said that about people. There is a difference.
Overall, Leave it!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

ESV Family Devotional Bible -- a review

FlyBy asked if I was interested in reviewing the ESV Family Devotional Bible and I could barely reply fast enough to the email! However, I was immediately disappointed when I got the Bible in the mail. Let me explain that...


From the title of the book, I expected a book of devotions. That is, something like the Jesus Calling Storybook Bible where the scripture has been put into little bite sized segments which we could read over with our kids. This Bible does have those, but it is not only those. It's a few of those plus all the rest of scripture. I guess that seems like a good thing, having ALL of God's word there, but it doesn't make this product much different than the Bibles we already own and the text of the devotions is too difficult for our boys' ages (1, 3, and 5) to understand it. Plus, the pages are super thing, just like regular Bible pages, so it's not something I would want the boys to play with, either.

 Showing a devotion above and regular text on the next page below
Another devotion example

Overall, I like it. The reviews on Amazon are really good, so it must fulfill something for some families, but it's not a good fit for us. Maybe we're too young of a family, maybe we don't read the Bible aloud enough, I don't know... this will not get used in our house. I hope that by reading my review you've at least gotten more acquainted with this product and can use it to help you decide whether it would be something you family would use.

Monday, May 9, 2016

None Like Him -- book review and GIVEAWAY



When FlyBy asked if I wanted to review the latest Jen Wilkin book, None Like Him, I felt like I'd won the lottery! I had the book on my Amazon wishlist (which is where I store all of my books I want to read... my wishlist is about 8 pages long these days!) and I've been a Jen Fan for many years. Plus, the cover of this book is GORGEOUS. I mean, I know we aren't supposed to judge a book by its cover, but if the cover is pretty to look at, doesn't that make you that much more excited to read the contents!?
The book cover is my favorite color plus it has some shimmer to it!

When I got the book, I immediately plopped down on the couch and cracked it open. And then, as it always happens, the boys got rowdy and distracting and I had to put the book down. Life got hectic so it was several days before I got a chance to pick it up again, and it just sat there on the table looking all beautiful, beckoning me to open it and read some more.

Overall, I like the book! Maybe I'm in a place where I needed some more humor in the books I read, but while I love the content and Jen's message, I found myself not eager to pick up the book like I thought I would. I've been wanting to read it for quite some time, but when I actually made some time to read it, I would half-heartedly pick it up and read it. I enjoyed it, I just didn't love it. Does that make sense?

Having said that, I have access to a FREE copy to GIVEAWAY, so if you're interested in reading None Like Him, please comment below. I'll pick a random winner on May 12th!




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Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.

Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”


Thursday, April 14, 2016

8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids -- book review and discount!

Anytime anything has to do with parenting or raising kids or marriage-of-people-who-have-kids comes across my path, I jump at the chance to get my hands on it. I feel like no one is ever a perfect parent, but believe that the more information I take in, I can refine my philosophy so that IT is as perfect (and God-directed) as I can get it. What do I mean? Well, I just mean that I want to be raising my kids the way God would want me to raise them. I don't expect myself to execute said way flawlessly--I know I'll lose my temper, I know I'll forget something, I know I'm not a perfect person. However, if my set of goals and my methodology aligns with what I believe to be God's heart, then I'm ok if I mess if up every once in a while. That doesn't bother me as much since I know the foundation I'm standing on is a good one. (Not that I am dismissive of me messing up, I just have more grace for myself in those moments.)

Enter 8 Simple Tools for Raising Great Kids that FlyBy sent me.


This book seemed like a perfect fit for us right now for several reasons... "simple" because we're up to the brim busy these days raising these boys, "raising" because I believe there is a distinction between "parenting" and "raising" (I'm not just parenting children, I'm raising adults.), and "great kids" because who doesn't want their kids to be great??

I was immediately excited when I got it in the mail because this is book is SMALL. It's essentially the size of my hand and about a half inch thick. It has 190 pages and the chapters are itty bitty (three pages sometimes... a front, back, and next front). The great thing about short chapters and the physical size of this book is that I could carry it with me in my purse and catch a chapter here and there while waiting for the boys to finish xyz... when I arrived a few minutes early to something... a quick snippet before bed when a few pages was all my eyelids would allow me. It's perfect for a parent who wants the information but doesn't have a bunch of big chunks of reading time. (I mean, I would LOVE to have hours on end to read, but most of the time my reading time comes in tiny segments.)

I've included pictures of the contents pages below because several people have asked how there could be 8 tools and more than 8 chapters. I can understand the confusion and wanted to help clear that up. Each tool actually has 5 little chapters associated with it which is why they are so short.

The writing style was very easy. I've never heard of Dr. Todd Cartmell before (though the information packet I received and book jacket would make you think he's John Piper or something), and I loved the easy breezy style. Most chapters would start with a story, either from his personal life or from his counseling practice and I could immediately understand the point he was trying to make.

The tools, I would argue, aren't exactly "simple." I mean, "simple" is a very debatable word! What's simple to you might not be simple for me and vice versa. The first two tools are "talking" and "listening"--those things can be very complex! The information contained in those two sections weren't much of anything new to me and are things I try to do already, but it served as good reminders. (I think when you have a MA in Counseling, those are skills you have researched and studied and practiced maybe more than the average person. Which makes me very curious to have y'all read this book and give me feedback about that!)

Having said that, though, I think the tools that are presented here are the nuts and bolts of parenting and are presented in a way that is very relatable/understandable and I thoroughly enjoyed the book. I truly think the way everything is presented raises my opinion of the book (physical size and chapter length) not only because I could get more of it read in a timely fashion but also because it allows time between topics to marinate on them each by themselves. If you're looking for an easy-to-read parenting book that will talk you through different important aspects, this book is for you!

In short, I love it!

If you want to try the book for yourself, I have a discount code that can be used at moodypublishers.com for 50% off the retail price. Just ender "GREATKIDS16". Please note! The coupon code expires May 15, 2016, so you only have about a month to use it. If you end up reading, please let me know what you thought!

small!
 the contents

ps. Does anyone else think the way she's leaning away from the kid in the cover picture seems weird? I can't stop staring at it wondering why she's pulling away from his leaning on her. ?

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Under the Sea children's Bible -- Review and GIVEAWAY


FlyBy gave me the chance to get a free copy of the new Under the Sea Bible* from Zondervan and I was thrilled. Austin is on the verge of reading and I assumed this would be a perfect fit for us right now. With what I was able to find online, I expected lots of beautiful pictures alongside the scripture, bringing the text to life for my three sons (5, 3, and nearly 1). However. This Bible is just a Bible with THREE fun/colorful pictures inside. So, 6 total pages of additional information alongside a basic Bible. (It doesn't even have red letter and has zero footnotes.) I like the inserted pages and what they have to say, but I think that the marketing for it was a little misleading.

Don't be fooled into thinking this is a Bible for a preschooler who will get something out of the pictures. It's not. This is a Bible for a kid of reading age that might be into fish/sea stuff. The translation was very slightly more easy to read and understand (so if you're in the market for a kid Bible, I would recommend that), but that can be found without the sea theme, I'm sure.

So, what's my take? I like it. I think if you have a kid that can read that needs a Bible and they're into sea stuff, this is a perfect fit. We just weren't a fit for this particular item. This time, I'm actually doing TWO GIVEAWAYS. I'll give you my copy if you're local plus enter you for the one Zondervan is sponsoring if you're not local.

How do you enter to win?? Simply comment below (by April 4th!!!) that you're interested and who you have in mind to receive it. I'll do the drawing and then contact you to let you know you've won. (And, if you're local, coordinate getting this copy to you.) Good Luck!

The cover has actual glitter on it which is fun.
 two of the three double-side pages inserted into the Bible

*Amazon link. Not a paid link.


"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”


Thursday, January 21, 2016

Captive -- Movie Review and GIVEAWAY

Honestly, I had never heard of this movie before they reached out asking whether I was interested in it. I read the following description and was super intrigued!

"Based on a miraculous story about the power of faith, Captive is an "amazing, inspiring" drama about the spiritual collision of two lost souls, Brian Nichols (Golden Globe Nominee David Oyelowo), on the run from police and desperate to make contact with his newborn son, takes recently widowed mother Ashley Smith (Kata Mara) hostage in her own apartment.  Fearing for her life and desperately hoping to see her daughter again, she turns to Rick Warren's The Purpose Driven Life for guidance.  Ashley and her captor face a crossroads where they discover hope and light in the midst of despair in the moving film that Dick Rolfe, CEO, Dove Foundation hailed as "powerful." "

I sat down to watch this movie with the hubs one night after the boys were all in bed and I honestly felt like we had gone out to the movies. I had expected there to be some bad acting, some bad lighting, some bad lines... poor production quality things. BUT, this did not have any of that! It's a good quality movie and I was really into it the whole time. I loved learning about this story (which I don't recall ever hearing about when it happened and wasn't even aware of the movie being made). Plus, I enjoyed God and faith being presented in a way that wasn't so sweet it makes your teeth hurt.

My husband and I both found it interesting how they made us feel empathy for a guy who's made some pretty bad choices (I can't share more without really spoiling it!). I've actually done some internet searching to find more information about him/this story because I felt so connected to him in the movie. I highly recommend watching Captive. It's possible for you to do so for free! Just enter my GIVEAWAY below.

So, what is the Belle's Take? I love it!

In order to enter the GIVEAWAY, leave a comment on this blog post. To gain an additional entry, share this post on your Facebook page (be sure to tag me so I can know you did it!). I'll draw a winner on January 25th at noon, so act quickly!

UPDATE 1-26-15:
Karissa won the giveaway. Congrats!

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway.  If you have won a prize from our sponsor Propeller / FlyBy Promotions in the last 30 days, you are not eligible to win.  Or if you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.”