Cookie Cutters & Sled Runners

Author: Natalie Rompella
Publisher: Sky Pony Press
Genre: Middle Grade
ISBN: 978-1-5107-1771-8
Pages: 272
Price: $15.99

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Ana and Lily have been best friends since second grade. Cooking is their passion, and they’re looking forward to doing their middle school Explorations project together. But they never anticipated they’d be separated and forced to work with other partners.

Lily has always accepted Ana’s obsession with cleanliness, and her OCD hasn’t been a problem. But now Lily is friends with her new partner, and Ana is convinced no one else will accept her, quirks and all. Dasher, her new partner, wants to do their project with sled dogs, which forces Ana to face her compulsions and try to work with them. But what if Dasher finds out the truth about Ana’s OCD?

In Cookie Cutters and Sled Runners, kids will meet a girl who desperately wants to be normal, while dealing with unreasonable fears and the compulsions that go along with them. Ana is a really nice, likeable character that kids will naturally root for, as they watch her grow stronger through the trials she faces in completing her project. I highly recommend this feel-good story.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Complete Physique

Author: Hollis Lance Liebman
Publisher: Hatherleigh Press
Genre: Fitness
ISBN: 978-1-57826-718-7
Pages: 192
Price: $21.95

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Hollis Lance Liebman is a professional body-builder who wants to share the secrets of his success. In Complete Physique, he lays out a 12-week program that includes workouts and a meal plan designed to transform our bodies.

First, the author explains exactly what he will cover in this program, including the mental edge and the meal plan. This is not a diet to lose weight, but instead its goal is to maximize lean muscle and minimize body fat. The exercise program is broken up into three 4-week phases, each phase building on the previous one, for a 12-week total program. These exercises rely heavily on weight equipment, and a gym membership is required. Photos and explanations are provided for each exercise.

Liebman is a qualified guide, having achieved a level of fitness most could only dream about. But he encourages the rest of us to do the very best we can, even if we never see muscular definition like his. This is a great resource for serious fitness enthusiasts.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

children, crafts

Doll Crafts

Author: Laurie Carlson
Publisher: Chicago Review Press
Genre: Children / Crafts
ISBN: 978-1-61373-778-1
Pages: 144
Price: $14.99

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Kids love to play with dolls, but they may not realize they’re also fun to make. Doll Crafts introduces kids to the many different kinds of dolls they can craft all by themselves.

Simple patterns and instructions are provided to create dolls from fabric, felt, paper, sticks, socks, and other materials. And kids can customize faces, build houses, and create clothing for the dolls they build. Even doll restoration is explained, giving kids a chance to give new life to old, worn-out dolls.

Doll making is not a craft I’m familiar with, and I would have liked to see photos of these projects, rather than just drawings, so I would have a better picture of how they should turn out. Kids who love dolls and crafts will enjoy Doll Crafts.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

Christian, self improvement

Sacred Rest

Author: Saundra Dalton-Smith, MD
Publisher: FaithWords
Genre: Christian living
ISBN: 978-1-4789-2167-7
Pages: 240
Price: $20.00

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Do you feel frustrated and worn out much of the time? Are you lacking enough energy for your own self-care? If so, Sacred Rest may be the resource you need to identify the areas in your life that aren’t working and where you need more rest.

First, begin with the rest quiz, which is found at the end of the book or at the author’s website, for a personalized assessment. Rest deficits fall into the following categories – physical, mental, emotional, spiritual, social, sensory, or creative – and each manifests itself in a different way. While it’s easy to simply assume we need more sleep when we feel weary, we may be surprised to find that our lives are actually lacking other types of rest. An addition of some exercise, a creative project, or time in nature might energize us far better than a nap.

Sacred Rest reminds us that God commanded us to rest on the Sabbath, yet so few of us actually do. Incorporating some of the ideas presented in this book would go a long way toward restoring us to the wholeness God intended for us. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger