Category: Book Reviews by Tiffany

We Choose Virtues (product review)

There are times in life when you wish you would’ve heard of a product or a way to do something A LONG TIME AGO. I recently had this experience.

I started following We Choose Virtues on Facebook a while ago, but never got around to purchasing the product. A few months ago I got the opportunity to get the product and review it.

Oh.My.Goodness.

In just a short amount of time I have seen some major changes in not only my children, but in ME.

So what IS We Choose Virtues?

We Choose Virtues is a way of instilling character in our kids in a simple and inspiring way.

I have had a lot of talks with my mom friends about how HARD it is to teach things like contentment, patience, gentleness, self control, ETC. To me, contentment is something I have had the hardest time trying to understand how to teach. 

That is exactly why We Choose Virtues is the perfect match for my family and any other family struggling with out to teach these virtues to their young children.

Let me set up the Family Kit and how it works for you:

– There are only THREE rules. I think this is so important because young children don’t respond well to tons of rules. The three rules are Obey, Be Kind, Be A Helper. That’s it. And yet, it is all you need.

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– 12 Virtues. There are twelve virtues and each have an easy “catchphrase” to help children be able to understand what the virtue means easily. There is also a memory verse for each virtue!

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Here are two examples of the Virtues – these are the virtues I’ve been working the hardest on in our home because WE need it:

 I am Content. I have my “WANTER” under control. I am NOT… bored, greedy or always wanting more and I don’t beg or whine. “I have made myself calm and content like a young child in its mother’s arms. Deep down inside me, I am as content as a young child.” Psalm 131:2 (NIrV)

 I am Gentle. I speak quietly and touch softly. I am NOT… rough, harsh or loud and I don’t destroy things or hurt people! “A gentle answer turns anger away. But mean words stir up anger.” Proverbs 15:1 NIrV

(Whew. WHO DOESN’T NEED TO LEARN THESE VIRTUES?! I know I need to work on them just as much as my children.)

– Everything is set up as a positive experience. There are rewards and encouraging words. I love that it uses the Caterpillar, the Butterfly, and the Magnifying glass as examples for the virtues. Each of these have a catchphrase too that helps us to show examples that our kids understand easily:

Caterpillar: “I don’t have to stay the way I am! I am born to change, and change I will!”

Butterfly: “I will choose to use virtue, and become strong and beautiful on the inside!”

Magnifying glass: “I will never stop looking for virtue in YOU!”

The Family Kit includes:

  • Parenting Cards (these are “teacher” cards for families)
  • Virtue Flashcards for Families (play games and memorize easier with these cards!)
  • Kids Virtue Poster
  • Three Rules Poster
  • Butterfly Awards (downloadable)
  • Family Character Assessments (downloadable)
  • Kids of VirtueVille Coloring Pages (downloadable)

So how do we like the product? We love it.

Rory is at the stage where she is soaking up all the information like a sponge. I can see her little wheels turning and thinking about virtues and whether or not she is choosing them. Sometimes I literally see her stop and think and then walk way before she does something she knows she shouldn’t do. And she is also reminding Ryder to be gentle or whatever too. Let’s face it. Ryder is a threenager and is having a bit of a harder time than Rory. But she is still loving it too.

Ryder loves the coloring pages so much. She creates personalities in her head for the characters and colors them accordingly. I love that they send you a file so you can print the coloring pages out an unlimited amount of times.

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I think one of the very best parts to me is that it is teaching ME to choose virtues too. It has reminded me that I can tell them to be virtuous all day long but if I am not SHOWING them virtues in my actions it is a waste of time.

And GUESS WHAT, Y’ALL?!

My readers are getting 15% off anything in their store! Just enter this promo code at checkout: VIRTUE15 for 15% off anything in their store!

But they are having a special Black Friday through Cyber Monday too! The promo code is HOLIDAY30 for 30% off anything in their store. (Only one promo code per order.)

I love that they have family kits, children’s church kits, homeschool kits, etc! You just cannot go wrong and they have so many choices! If you do purchase the product, please tell me what you get, I would love to know! I have several friends who use We Choose Virtues in their homes and all have rave reviews!

 

*I received this product as compensation but, as always, the opinions are my own. I would never lead you astray, dear readers!*

Book Review: Trust Your Eyes

Thomas Kilbride is a map-obsessed schizophrenic who spends almost his entire day (besides bathroom and meal breaks) memorizing the streets of cities without ever leaving his home. He uses a site called Whirl360, much like our Google Earth, and is convinced that he is doing this as his job for the CIA because of a big disaster that is going to happen that will wipe out all the maps in the world.

Then, one day he stumbles upon what he thinks is a woman getting murdered in a window in New York City. What follows as they try to solve this mystery is a mixture of political conspiracy, kidnapping, murder, and more.

 

I’ve got to be honest, I haven’t read many thriller novels in my day. Sure, a few books I’ve read had a few twists in them that would make them more “thrilling”, if you will, but I haven’t actually picked up a real suspense/thriller to read.

So when I received my copy of Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay, I was a little hesitant to start it and honestly wasn’t looking forward to it.

And man, was I pleasantly surprised. This book was so much better than I expected. Once I started this book it was hard to put down. The first few chapters were a little slow, but once you get a fourth to half way into it you can’t stop reading. I read it over 3 days and it was definitely an easy read. Honestly, I think the book would make a terrific movie.

I definitely recommend this book, but I do want to say that it does have some crude language and “scenes” in it. Just a warning if you do pick it up (note: my mom and aunts! ha)!

This is a paid review by BlogHer Book Club, and as always, the opinions are strictly my own.

 

book review: Diary of a Mad Fat Girl

Y’all. I got my copy of Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee in the mail just before leaving on our two week vacation. I packed it up and didn’t touch it until I got on the flight to meet Andy in Ohio and OH MY WORD it was the absolute best flight of my life.

Seriously, the flight flew by and I was wishing it would last longer so I could keep reading. And the dude next to me kept staring at me funny because I kept laughing OUT LOUD on the plane.

Here’s the deal- Diary of a Mad Fat Girl is the best book I’ve read in a long time. I laughed until I cried at several parts and was so sad when the book ended. It was a fast read because I simply couldn’t put the book down. I will keep this in my night stand to read again and again.

Diary of A Mad Fat Girl is about a girl, Ace Jones, who moved to Bugtussle, MS when she was a kid, moved off to college (at MISSISSIPPI STATE! see, another perk to the book!), and ended up back in Bugtussle teaching Art at the highschool. The story is about revealing the truth and shedding light on many circumstances like the truth about Chloe’s abusive, cheating husband,  what is really going on with Principal Catherine Hilliard, and even recognizing the truth about Ace’s love for Mason McKenzie.

Another reason I loved this book was because it was set in Northeast Mississippi and so I knew all of the towns she mentioned and routes they took to get here and there. I absolutely loved the thick southern accent the book had from start to finish. And she hit the nail on the head with the names in the book like Mason McKenzie, Ethan Allen, Gloria Peacock, Molly Belle, and the list goes on. Those southern names were absolutely perfect. After reading the book I was ready to pack up and move back to Mississippi!

Basically, if you couldn’t already tell, I adored this book. It was wonderful in so many hilarious ways. Run, don’t walk, to get this book!

And y’all, just as a side note- Stephanie McAfee, the author, self-published this book as an e-book on amazon first and it got on the New York Times best seller list! How amazing is that?! I can’t wait until her next book comes out!

(I was compensated for this review by BlogHer but the opinions are strictly my own.) 

 

 

 

Book Review: The Weird Sisters

When I got the email to sign up to read The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, I immediately clicked to sign up. A book about three sisters who are totally different and “weird”… HELLO! My life!

Being one of three sisters, I totally related to this book. Though we have never gone to extremes like these sisters have, we are all so different and so much alike all at the same time. We may not talk every day, or even every week, but when things get hard and life takes us to unexpected places I always know that my sisters are who I can run to.

Summary from Penguin:

Three sisters have returned to their childhood home, reuniting the eccentric Andreas family. Here, books are a passion (there is no problem a library card can’t solve) and TV is something other people watch. Their father-a professor of Shakespeare who speaks almost exclusively in verse-named them after the Bard’s heroines. It’s a lot to live up to.

The sisters have a hard time communicating with their parents and their lovers, but especially with one another. What can the shy homebody eldest sister, the fast-living middle child, and the bohemian youngest sibling have in common? Only that none has found life to be what was expected; and now, faced with their parents’ frailty and their own personal disappointments, not even a book can solve what ails them…

I loved how this book was written, in 1st person plural. This part was the most brilliant in my opinion. I loved how Brown weaved in and out of each life without breaking too much. I loved how she introduced Shakespeare in it and included their love for literature.

I would definitely recommend this book to my friends, especially for an easy read to take them away from having to think too hard. And although that sounds like a backhanded compliment, it isn’t. I love an easy read to take my mind away from the decisions and hardships of the day. That’s exactly why I loved this book so much- it moved me without my having to be burdened by it.

Join our conversation on this book at BlogHer Book Club.

Note: I was compensated for this book review by BlogHer Book Club, but as always, the opinions are my own.

 

The Magic Room

I recently had the privilege to read The Magic Room: A Story About The Love We Wish For Our Daughters by Jeffrey Zaslow for the BlogHer Book Club.

And when I say that I had the privilege to read it, I mean it.

It was such a beautiful book that grasped my attention from the first page and kept it until the last page.

The Magic Room is a book about a real-life bridal boutique, Becker’s Bridal. The book captures the small town of Fowler, MI and the impact that Becker’s has on it. Zaslow tells the story of Becker’s beautifully. The Magic Room is a real place inside of Becker’s that is wall to wall mirrors with the perfect lighting. Every bride looks stunning in that room.

He tells the story of the brides who come into Becker’s beautifully as well. He tells the real-life stories of several brides and their journey to the Magic Room in Becker’s. Each story is wonderful, all with some heartaches and pain. You will cry and smile as you read the journey each family takes.

I loved that even though the book talked about the harsh statistics of failed marriages, it still clung to the hope and realization that marriage can and was meant to be a wonderful, lifelong thing. The book was positive about marriages even though the world has turned marriage into a game and even a joke at times.

Having two daughters myself, I got so teary eyed at times thinking about going dress shopping with them. I wonder if spunky, sometimes very tomboy-ish Rory will want something girlie or simple. I picture her laughing and cutting up the entire time we are there. And then I think of Ryder. I think of telling her heart story to the saleswomen. I think of how her scar looks now and wonder if we will even see it when she tries on her wedding dress- more than likely you will have to search very hard to see it or you won’t be able to see it at all.

I absolutely loved reading this book. It made me want to plan a vow renewal ceremony for Andy and I just so that I could do the whole “find the right dress” thing again.

Fun Fact: When I found THE DRESS, I was with my sister, Tasha, and I was just trying on “for fun”. We both knew it was the one immediately and my mom came the next day to see it. I loved that dress and wouldn’t change it for anything.

What was your dress shopping experience like? I’d love to hear your stories!

Go get a copy of The Magic Room- you won’t be disappointed!

*I was compensated for this review by BlogHer, but as always, the opinions are my own.*

 

 

Sea Change

BlogHer Book Club’s latest novel up for review is Sea Change by Jeremy Page.

Sea Change is a book about tragic lost and trying to find your way through it. The main character, Guy, suffers from a loss that all parents fear- the loss of a child. Throughout the book he is trying to find his way literally and figuratively through life aboard a ship at sea.

The solitude of the sea is his hiding place and healing place. He creates a fantasy world in his journal that takes you through what might have been if his daughter was still alive and his family was still together as a whole.

Jeremy Page brilliantly paints a descriptive picture throughout the entire book. The way he writes every detail makes it easy to imagine being in every scene of the novel.

That being said, it was not an easy read for me. I usually fly through books absorbing every detail. With Page’s book, Sea Change, it took me a long while to be able to get into it. There are times when the details are just exhausting to read. I picked this book up and put it down so many times before being able to finish it.

I would suggest this book to those who love something that isn’t just a day or two read, as most of the books I love are. It is a lovely book, just not an easy read.

**I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review but all opinions expressed are entirely my own.**

DVD Read and Share: The Jesus Series, Life and Miracles

We recieved a copy of  DVD Read and Share: The Jesus Series, Life and Miracles to watch, courtesy of Book Sneeze.

It is an animation of the popular children’s Read and Share® Bible.  The Jesus Series introduces children to the life of Christ. It is a half-hour, four part presentation of Jesus’ ministry. Children will see Jesus call His disciples, feed 5,000 people, heal the sick, teach about God’s kingdom and introduce the Lord’s Supper.

I was really excited about getting this DVD in and watching it with Rory. I can say that the mellow music and vibrant colors were great, but it was very hard to keep our attention. I love the message, but it would have been nice if it weren’t so slow throughout. There were a lot of long pauses after each “character” spoke.

If you have a child over the age of three I think it’d be a better fit. Overall, simply because of the stories, I’d recommend this DVD. I think it’d be especially great for church programs for children. Just a warning, though, it may be hard to keep the younger kids’ attentions!

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

66 Love Letters by Dr. Larry Crabb

Dr. Larry Crabb’s 66 Love Letters is the perfect book for new believers and long time Christians. Dr. Crabb takes you through the “66 Love Letters”, which are the 66 books of the Bible, as if God is specifically talking to you and explaining why He wrote each book of the Bible. Each chapter of the book is a different “love letter” and Dr. Crabb does a wonderful job breaking down the text of the specific book and relating it to our life today. He asks God questions about what He wants us to learn from each love letter and shows God’s “reply” or what he felt God was saying to him about each book.

Let’s face it- there are books in the Bible that seem like only the likes of Billy Graham would truly understand the meaning. All the lineage breakdowns in the Old Testament can be hard for anyone. This is exactly why 66 Love Letters is a wonderful book because it really breaks down each book and tells you in plain, every day language what God is really trying to teach. The book is very easy to read and very easy to understand. If anything, at times, its just a bit cheesy with the dialogue to me. I do highly recommend this book. I especially think it would be wonderful for new believers because it makes the Bible less daunting if you read this along with the books of the Bible.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com <http://BookSneeze.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”