Friday, April 21, 2017

Coloring book review: The Night voyage

This third adult coloring book in Daria Song's Time series follows the little girl on a new nighttime adventure when the conductor of her toy train comes to life and helps her distribute gifts across the world.

The Night Voyage is an evocatively illustrated story of a little girl who is swept away on the eve of her birthday by her toy train conductor on a magical journey to distribute gifts around the globe. Taking devotees of The Time Garden and The Time Chamber on an imaginative new adventure, The Night Voyage continues Daria Song's wildly successful series with the beautifully intricate art that her fans have come to love, featuring a world of paper cranes, penny-farthing bicycles, trolleys, cityscapes, and hot air balloon-filled skies.

This is the perfect gift!!! I so thank the publishers for sending me a free copy to review. This book has a beautiful cover, sturdy pages that don't bleed, and a fabulous mix of small and large areas to color in. Those who have used coloring books regularly know those teeny tiny details may look pretty but are HELL on your wrists.
Added Bonus: Not religious. I love religious books, don't get me wrong, but if a book is obviously religious it rules out as a gift for a lot of people. 
Overall: If you're going to gift a coloring book, gift this one. 5/5

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Booklook bloggers review: Say and pray devotions

Say and Pray devotions with your little ones today!
Your youngsters want to be just like you. How exciting! Help them grow in their faith and learn more about God’s love with Say & Pray Devotions.
Say & Pray Devotions features short devotions and lots of labeled illustrations so your little one can practice identifying objects and words on their own! This book is a great tool to start a devotional time with little ones, as it will help you teach them about God, and the labeled pictures will help start a life of faith.
This is a nice complement to the bestselling Say & Pray Bible.

My Review:
Children's books are tricky. I did find one child's bible that we loved reading together once, but it had paper pages and is now in pieces. One day my 2 year old will grow and not instinctively rip things--her winnie the pooh anthology has nearly all the pages in it still.
Until then, hard pages are a must. This book has them! After reading the book with your little one and pointing out words, actions, and things, your little one can safely look through this book on their own.
This book is also a great reminder to be thankful for the little things -- colors, smells, food-- all the tiny things we (well, I) forget to include in my prayers. Things I take for granted. 
Overall, this is a durable, colorful book that will be enjoyed by all babies of any gender. 

Monday, January 9, 2017

Booklook Bloggers review: 365 Devotions to Rest

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

—Matthew 11:28

Rest.  You crave it. Your body needs it. Your tired soul longs for it. But in the madness of your day-to-day rush, how can you possibly find it? Truth be told, when life’s demands overwhelm us, the first thing we sacrifice is our own rest. But God has a different plan for us: He made us to enjoy deep, reviving refreshment in Him. 365 Devotions for Finding Rest will guide you in a yearlong journey toward embracing His rest in your life. You’ll be amazed as God’s peace and restoration transform you.

My Review:

I read a book fairly recently (Not recently enough to remember the exact title, something along the lines of Minute Tips for Moms) that enlightened me to the idea of 'rest'. Not the type of rest where it's your day off so you dress up and go out with your spouse and then spend 30 minutes packing up your toddler to go to the park, but real actual rest. 

As you grow up you hit this stage where you almost miss being sick, because you remember sitting in bed, no responsibilities but to take care of yourself, and you sleep and color and eat things your mom brings you. And then you realize you're all grown up and no one is going to bring you anything, and if you eat then you also need to make something for your toddler and then you have to help your toddler sit potty and before you know it, it's been three hours into your optimistically-planned 'rest day' full of chores and cleaning and being a mom.

My husband and I have developed a plan where I get three hours (la, not a whole day) of uninterrupted rest where I might take a bubble bath, might nap, or might just read or color. We do the same for him on my days off as he has the harder job of stay at home dad.

This devotional is a wonderful way to remind yourself to take a beat and instead of three hours a week, maybe take a half hour each day as well before the kids wake up or after they've gone to sleep. Just like 365 devotions to finding Peace, this book is well presented as a hardback with a foiled (shiny!) cover and bookmark to keep your place. Much recommended. 

Saturday, January 7, 2017

NetGalley Review: The Pie Life

The Pie Life is the ultimate self-improvement playbook for women who work. Now is the time for you to banish the guilt and start living a life you love! Havingworked withthousands of womenover the past two decades, Harvard MBA and best-selling author Samantha Ettus shares the secrets for how you can sustain a thrivingpersonaland professional life at the same time.

Incorporating personal stories from hundreds of women including TV writer and producer Shonda Rhimes, news anchor Gayle King, Wall Street maven Sallie Krawcheck, Barnard College President Debora Spar, entrepreneur Liz Lange and Marie Claire Editor-in-Chief Anne Fulenwider, The Pie Lifewill turn everything you know about work/life balance on its head.
Transform your life into one that is more satisfying, rich, and delicious than you ever thought possible and join the thousands of women already living The Pie Life.

Samantha Ettus

My Review:

You don't know how much this book helped me. Not just with organizing things and prioritizing my life, but with the guilt and the self esteem that happens as a working parent.

It's all very well to say "Lean in, Do it ALL!" but to actually attempt to do it ALL is probably unhealthy if you try to make your home-work balance exactly 50/50.

Samantha Ettus is the logical best friend that says "if you work ten hours, commute 2 and sleep 8, you're not going to fit another 10 hours of home time in a 24 hour day."

Everyone's pie is different. A coworker of mine actually does have a commute longer than an hour because she lives out of state. Another has a daughter, but no wife. Still another has like three dogs. All of our pies are different. My commute slice is actually about 15 minutes. I don't have a walk the dog slice. I do have a book review slice, and a year-round prepare-for-Christmas slice.

If you feel overwhelmed from Leaning In, Grab a slice of Pie with Samantha Ettus. (you see how I made that sound like a commercial? fancy!)

Monday, January 2, 2017

NetGalley Review: Lists to Love by for Busy Wives

It's no secret that there is a wide emotional gap between men and women. Couples crave love, but don't always know how to express it to their spouse. 
LISTS TO LOVE BY FOR BUSY WIVES presents creative, practical ways for wives to bridge that gap and improve their marriage. These thirty lists will carry wives through an entire month of learning to love their husbands more deeply--advice they will come back to again and again. Highlights include:
8 Expectations for a Great Marriage
5 Things Husbands Wish Wives Knew
10 Things Husbands Want to Hear from Their Wives
7 Things You Should Stop Doing to Your Husband in Public

My Review:

1. Lists. Just, in General, I like lists.
2. The emphasis on Communication and watching your words

1. The 'lie back and think of England' approach to sex the author seems to have.
2. Really, this really got on my nerves. I hated it.

Take these lists with a grain of salt. There was a lot I didn't agree with or didn't fit my particular beliefs or ideals. I will back up the author on the importance of asking your spouse questions, watching your words when talking to them, the importance of saying "thank you" and "I appreciate you", etc. Words are Power, but we all know that.

Overall: not a TOTAL waste of time, but still a bit disappointing. 

Saturday, December 31, 2016

NetGalley Review: Threads of Silk

When I was a child, I thought my destiny was to live and die on the banks of the Xiangjiang River as my family had done for generations. I never imagined that my life would lead me to the Forbidden City and the court of China’s last Empress.

Born in the middle of nowhere, Yaqian, a little embroidery girl from Hunan Province, finds her way to the imperial court, a place of intrigue, desire, and treachery. From the bed of an Emperor, the heart of a Prince, and the right side of an Empress, Yaqian weaves her way through the most turbulent decades of China’s history and witnesses the fall of the Qing Dynasty.

My Review:

Once upon a time there was a young girl who wanted nothing more than to take care of her silk worms all day. Then her mother bound her feet. Driven by pain and boredom, she discovered she liked--and was good at-- something else. She was a natural embroiderer. She goes to school, makes a lot of money, and even becomes a very important embroiderer in the Palace.

But things are not all well. There are scenes of assault. There are sacrifices made. There are lies told, and lives lost. And through all that, a mother who never quite acknowledged her daughter as a person.

1. Asian stories always get a star, even if it's east Asian.
2. I liked this. I liked it almost as much as SnowFlower and the Secret Fan.
3. She named her daughter for a Tiger. 

1. Yaquin's mom! Really, now.
2. The FEELS. But that'll happen.

Overall, I need more books like this. SO MANY MORE BOOKS. I need ALL the books even remotely like this. Definitely something to consider as a gift, but maybe not for younger or easily triggered readers. Some pretty adult stuff happens to our little Yaquin.

Monday, December 26, 2016

NetGalley Review: A Mortal Song

Sora's life was full of magic--until she discovered it was all a lie.

Heir to Mt. Fuji's spirit kingdom, Sora yearns to finally take on the sacred kami duties. But just as she confronts her parents to make a plea, a ghostly army invades the mountain. Barely escaping with her life, Sora follows her mother's last instructions to a heart-wrenching discovery: she is a human changeling, raised as a decoy while her parents' true daughter remained safe but unaware in modern-day Tokyo. Her powers were only borrowed, never her own. Now, with the world's natural cycles falling into chaos and the ghosts plotting an even more deadly assault, it falls on her to train the unprepared kami princess.

As Sora struggles with her emerging human weaknesses and the draw of an unanticipated ally with secrets of his own, she vows to keep fighting for her loved ones and the world they once protected. But for one mortal girl to make a difference in this desperate war between the spirits, she may have to give up the only home she's ever known.

My Review:

1. Sora, and Sora's Cahracter, and her dedication to help the people who lied to and betrayed her.
2. Chosen one finds out she's not so Chosen, but tries her best anyway.
3. ASIAN Representation, yo!

1. Chiyo: Come on. Like really, come on. She got on my nerves more than a few times.
2. Takeo: Clingy, much? 

Overall: I liked the plot, the worldbuilding, and the writing itself. But a lot of things (Chiyo and Takeo and almost everything they did or said) annoyed me. And the Dragonfly! The dragonfly wasn't annoying, but deserved better.

I can't say it's my favorite book on my shelf right now, but I will say I wouldn't hesitate to gift it to someone else. My sister, maybe.