cats, mystery

A Very Meowy Christmas (Klepto Cat Mystery – Book 38)


Author: Patricia Fry
Publisher: Matilija Press
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Cats
ISBN: 978-1-7332772-2-8
Pages: 273
Price: $8.95

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Rags, the cat, is back to work again in A Very Meowy Christmas. First, Alicia requires his services to help locate an important object from her past. But in the process, he’s injured and is forced to travel with the Ivey family on their Christmas vacation in the mountains.

When ten year-old Adam and his best friend, Simon, go missing on a family hike, it’s a good thing Rags is there, as he’s called back into action to try to find the boys. And what he ends up finding is a surprise to everyone. Christmas spirit is alive and well as the group of family and friends celebrates in a unique and meaningful way.

This was my first introduction to the Klepto Cat Mystery series, and as a novice reader, I was instantly lost in a myriad of family and friends who have probably been around since the very beginning. The opening pages, which jump ahead to a particularly tense moment in the story before returning to set the stage, didn’t help my feelings of confusion. But those who have been following since book one will probably settle happily into this latest read. The Christmas celebration was a heart-warming moment, and it was also nice seeing everyone’s warm welcome to Simon, the newest member of the family. A Very Meowy Christmas would be a great Christmas read for fans (current and new) of the Klepto Cat Mysteries.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian

NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls


Publisher:  Zondervan
Genre:  Bible
ISBN: 978-0-310-76355-0
Pages: 1472
Price: $34.99

Free coloring pages
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This beautiful NIV Bible is pink hardcover with a leather-like feel, and the book lays flat when open for ease of coloring. The pages are thick enough to hold up to colored pencil or crayon coloring, but not thick enough for markers. There are hundreds of coloring pages scattered throughout, and they are simplistic in style, suitable for younger girls. Other pages have blank lined sections for note-taking.

I colored four images in colored pencil, pictured above, and had fun doing them. They weren’t overwhelming in detail, and took less than a half hour each to color. For more artistic girls, I recommend the Complete Guide to Bible Journaling to add even more personalization to this Bible. Girls will really enjoy making this Bible their own through color.

Please be sure to enter the giveaway going on from December 2-16. I received a copy of the NIV Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls from Zondervan (HarperCollins Christian Publishing) for this review. This post is sponsored by Zondervan.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian

A Generous Life


Author: David Green
Publisher: Zondervan
Genre: Christian / Stewardship
ISBN: 978-0-310-45257-7
Pages: 176
Price: $18.99

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David Green began Hobby Lobby in a garage in 1972, and he never dreamed it would end up as successful as it is. But along the way, he realized that he needed to make some important decisions about the company. How could Hobby Lobby best leave its legacy in the world, while also helping to support his family?

A Generous Life shares some of Green’s thoughts on managing a successful business while also living in a way that glorifies God and benefits other people. These ten steps to living a life money can’t buy include recognizing that everything is God’s, putting people before profits, and developing a vision for generosity, as well as many others.

Hobby Lobby is a multi-billion dollar enterprise, and Green had to make decisions that the majority of people will never face. Readers may struggle to relate to some of the issues that arose for him, but overall, they will get the message that it’s possible to be more generous no matter what their circumstances.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian

The Cross Before Me


Authors: Rankin Wilbourne and Brian Gregor
Publisher: David C. Cook
Genre: Christianity
ISBN: 978-0-7814-1333-6
Pages: 288
Price: $22.99

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For many today, living a good Christian life means having everything they want and need. They reason that God will reward them for their good behavior. But is that what Jesus actually taught? Didn’t he ask his followers to take up their cross and follow Him?

We seem to be hard-wired to follow our bliss. But do we even know what that might be? Is it possible to give up everything in the name of Jesus, only to find out we didn’t even need anything but Him? Rankin Wilbourne and Brian Gregor have shared a compelling argument that we will be happier once we give up the notion of having it all, and instead, try to imitate Jesus on his journey to the the cross.

The Cross Before Me is not an easy read, as it invites us to look closely at how we live our lives and attempt to reform our thinking from within. One read was not nearly enough for me to absorb the depth of these concepts. I highly recommend it to all those who are seeking true peace and happiness.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children

Henry and Bea


Author & Illustrator: Jessixa Bagley
Publisher: Neal Porter Books
Genre: Children
ISBN: 978-0-8234-4284-3
Pages: 32
Price: $18.99

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Henry and Bea are best friends. They love to play together, and they always seem to know just what the other is thinking. But one day, Henry doesn’t want to talk to Bea anymore. Instead, he sits alone in silence, avoiding everyone. Bea doesn’t know what happened, or if she did something wrong, but she keeps reaching out to see if there is anything she can do.

Finally, on a field trip to a farm, Henry tells Bea why he’s upset. His cat, Buddy, died, and he’s very sad. Bea gently comforts him, and they share a companionable silence. Then they decide on a symbolic act to honor Buddy’s memory, just as a storm begins. They both hope they will see a rainbow.

Children are understandably sad when a pet crosses the rainbow bridge. Henry and Bea demonstrates how to handle a friend’s grief in a positive and supportive manner, even when it appears that the person no longer wants to be friends. This touching and sweet book would be a perfect addition to any child’s collection.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, marriage, relationships

Love Lock


Authors: Rich Rollins and Marty Trammell
Publisher: Crosslink Publishing
Genre: Marriage / Christian
ISBN: 978-1-63357-158-7
Pages: 159
Price: $11.95

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Marriage needs good communication to thrive, but we’re all flawed human beings, incapable of perfect behavior all the time. Love Lock helps couples correct some of the wrong patterns they’ve fallen into, as they navigate life together.

Eighteen chapters touch on specific problems in the categories of: I need to feel understood, I need to feel valued, I need to feel a part of you, I need to feel appreciated and cherished, I need to trust you, and I need more resolution, less conflict. Each short chapter addresses a problem and ends with an exercise to be completed together. The authors write from a Christian perspective, and Bible verses are provided to support their viewpoints on creating a happy marriage.

Maybe you’ve noticed the locks couples leave on bridges, declaring their unending devotion to each other, and you want a marriage like that for yourself. If so, Love Lock would be a great guide for both you and your spouse to follow.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

acting, children, tween

Monologues for Kids and Tweens


Author: Mike Kimmel
Publisher: Ben Rose Creative Arts
Genre: Acting / Children / Middle-grade
ISBN: 978-0998151328
Pages: 150
Price: $14.99

Author’s website
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Practice makes perfect in the world of acting, so it’s no surprise that kids are always looking for good pieces to perform. Monologues for Kids and Tweens gives them some great new material to work with.

Kids think and speak differently from adults, and these monologues are written with that concept in mind. But young actors are also encouraged to personalize the monologues if they want, to make them truly their own. Most of the monologues are designed to be around one minute long, although some could run two to three minutes. They contain humor and drama, as well as some really good advice for kids. All contain positive messages, and there is no inappropriate humor or vulgarity.

Monologues for Kids and Tweens would be perfect for young actors looking to improve their skills. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger