sports, tween

The Middle School Rules of Brian Urlacher

Author: Sean Jensen
Publisher: Broadstreet Publishing Group
Genre: Middle grade / Sports / Football
ISBN: 978-1-4245-4979-5
Pages: 176
Price: $14.99

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Just because an NFL player has made it to the pros, it doesn’t mean he’s forgotten how he got there. In this unique biography, Sean Jensen captures some of the memorable moments of Brian Urlacher’s Middle School career.

This children’s story reads like a novel, as the timeline progresses through Urlacher’s Middle School years. Touching on basketball and football games, along with family and friendships, it shows us a snippet of this great linebacker’s life. Good sportsmanship and fair play is highlighted in a non-preachy manner.

The Middle School Rules of Brian Urlacher is part of a series of books sharing the Middle School years of sports figures. Chicago Bears fans will enjoy this look at Brian Urlacher’s Middle School career.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


A Holiday by Gaslight

Author: Mimi Matthews
Publisher: Perfectly Proper Press
Genre: Victorian Romance
ISBN: 978-0-9990364-7-1
Pages: 172
Price: $8.99

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Sophie Appersett needs to marry well in order to help her family. When the affluent merchant, Edward “Ned” Sharpe, chooses to court her, she readily agrees, despite the difference in their class. But their courtship leaves much to be desired.

After making a decision she comes to regret, Sophie finally speaks frankly to Ned. Giving him one last chance, she tells him what she needs in a relationship, and hopes he’ll see the light. And as her family hosts their traditional Christmas gathering, wonderful surprises await them all.

A Holiday by Gaslight is a delightful Victorian holiday romance. I highly recommend it.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


The Dumbbell Workout Handbook: Weight Loss

Author: Michael Volkmar
Publisher: Hatherleigh Press
Genre: Fitness
ISBN: 978-1-57826-754-5
Pages: 144
Price: $15.00

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A customized dumbbell workout is a great way to gain muscle and lose fat. In The Dumbbell Workout Handbook, Michael Volkmar provides several different workouts in varying levels of difficulty that are designed for weight loss.

The opening pages provide information about dumbbells and how they are effective in strength training. Mobility warm-ups are shown as essential to be performed before any of the fat burning workouts. Then all of the exercises in these workouts are listed.

While I’m not a workout guru, I expected to see photos or diagrams of the various exercises in this book. Instead, the reader receives just a list of the names of the workouts, with no explanations or pictures. If he’s not already familiar with these exercise names, he would have to do the research to find out how to do them.

If you’re already a pro at strength training with dumbbells, this book will provide your own customized weight loss workout. But if you will need to look up every exercise, this is probably not the best book for you.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Amish Wisdom: Lined Journal

Created & Published by: The editors of Quiet Fox Designs
Genre: Journal
ISBN: 978-1-64178-027-8
Pages: 144
Price: $9.99

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This hardcover lined journal contains full-page snapshots of Amish life including horses, buggies, fields, and head coverings. Each two-page spread has a Pennsylvania Dutch design located in the corner, plus witty advice and practical wisdom sayings at the bottom of the pages.

Amish Wisdom: Lined Journal is the perfect journal for recording prayer intentions and gratitude lists, as well as day-to-day thoughts. This beautiful book would also make a great gift for the Amish fiction reader.

Reviewer: Alice Berger

animals, children, nature

Hidden Critters

Author: Stan Tekiela
Publisher: Adventure Publications
Genre: Animals / Nature / Children
ISBN: 978-1-59193-812-5
Pages: 48
Price: $14.95

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The ability to blend in with its surroundings can mean the difference between life and death for many animals. In Hidden Critters, Stan Tekiela shows kids some of these animals that survive by hiding.

Tekiela is a gifted nature photographer who has captured images of the animals in hiding and in plain sight, so kids can see them in their natural settings. In the first picture, kids need to try to find the hidden animal. The second picture shows it in plain view. Closing pages provide fun facts about each of the animals featured: burrowing owl, gray wolf, southern flying squirrel, American alligator, brown creeper, short-tailed weasel, bullfrog, praying mantis, white-tailed deer, and polar bear. A key to the hidden critter pages is also included, showing exactly where to spot these animals.

Nature lovers of all ages will enjoy this book. I highly recommend it for home and classroom.

Reviewer: Alice Berger


Inspire Catholic Bible NLT

Created by Tyndale
Genre: Catholic NLT Bible / Creative Journaling
ISBN: 978-1-4964-3657-3
Pages: 1740
Price: $49.99

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The Inspire Catholic Bible NLT is a hardcover Bible with a built-in elastic band that wraps around the cover when not in use. It also comes packaged in a sturdy open-ended box that can be used for storage. The Nihil Obstat & Imprimatur appear in the first pages, authorizing this Bible for Catholic use. The deuterocanonical books are arranged in the ordinary sequence found in Catholic Bibles, not grouped together between the Old Testament and New Testament.

For those unfamiliar with the New Living Translation, here are comparisons of three Catholic translations of Ps 23:1:
NRSVCE: The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
NABRE: The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I lack.
NLT: The Lord is my shepherd; I have all that I need.

The Lord’s prayer in Matt 6:9-13 is translated as: Our father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.

Margins are 2″ wide on the outside edge, and while many are left blank for the reader to makes notes and decorate, many are also filled in with designs suitable for coloring. Pages are thin and delicate, and will stick together because of the beautiful printed edging. They’re also not suitable for painting or magic markers, since those would most likely bleed through. A perfect companion to this Bible would be Complete Guide to Bible Journaling which provides a set of templates to use when decorating.

To see a sample of the book of Esther, click on the Website link above and scroll down to preview the interior. More information about the Inspire line of Bibles is also provided there. I was really impressed by the quality and beauty of the Inspire Catholic Bible NLT, and I’m looking forward to using it for many years to come.

Reviewer: Alice Berger