Friday, December 18, 2015

Children's Book Review: Angels in the Bible Storybook by Allia Zobel Nolan, illustrated by Alida Massari

Book Description:
Where were the angels when God created the world? Why did an angel force a donkey off a road? Who did the angels get out of jail twice? Young readers will find answers to these and other questions in this exciting storybook, written by bestselling author Allia Zobel Nolan with illustrations by Alida Massari. Angels in the Bible Storybook gives children a fascinating look into how God’s powerful behind-the-scenes helpers interacted with Bible greats from Abraham, Lot, and Gideon to Zechariah, Mary, and Jesus himself, acting as messengers, protectors, warriors, and more.
TheAngels in the Bible Storybook, written by bestselling author Allia Zobel Nolan and illustrated by Alida Massari, is filled with vibrant illustrations and engaging text that brings beloved Bible stories to life.

My Review:
This sweet book filled with amazing stories about the angels in the Bible will entertain young people. Nolan has done an excellent job telling the stories of the incredible miracles the angels were a part of. I think as humans we forget the part the angels have played and continue to play in the lives of believers. The narratives have everything a child would want from a story; excitement, entertainment, and truth. Massari's whimsical art adds beauty to the stories. I'd recommend Angels in the Bible Storybook for children 10+. My grandmother loved the stories of the angels and often shared them with me. This would be a great way to share angels with a special young person in your life.

I received this book in exchange for a fair review.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Twinkle and Sparkle

John 8:12
When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Along the village streets twinkling wreaths hang from the light poles. The new trees in the medians are decked with strings of multi-colored beauty. Greenery twined with lights drapes along the concrete bridge. I get to see this beautiful sight every morning on my way to work. The other night Tim and I took a spin around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights. Some homes looked like gingerbread houses. Sparkling trees peeked through the windows.

Every light I see reminds me of why we celebrate Christmas. The true light of the world came as a baby and grew into the man who would sacrifice his life so I might have grace. I love what Jesus said to the people, "Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." Even when circumstances bring despair and gloom, I have Jesus' light inside me. He guides my path with his light. Praise God for light!

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Those Brown Paper Bags

We were shopping after church at Aldi's today. As usual we bought more than we had boxes for. My husband grabbed two paper bags and placed them on the conveyer belt. At that moment, I flashed back in time.

As a child, I remember going to William's grocery store with my mom in December. My little girl eyes sparkled when I watched the bagger place bread and milk in brown paper bags stamped with Merry Christmas, and the baby in the manger, Santa, or a Christmas tree.

Those simple brown paper bags, printed with an offset holiday design, ushered in the beginning of the Christmas season. I knew they'd be filled with chocolate chips, marshmallow cream and butter for my mom's fudge. Candy canes and the smell of popcorn would soon fill our home. Just the sight of them brought joy to this little girl's heart. The magic of the season had begun.

That moment of memory reminded me of the childlike joy I love at Christmas. Amidst the hustle and bustle, I want to keep my eye out for the simplest touches of the season. The ones that remind to keep a smile on my face.

I love finding the beauty in every day things.

What simple Christmas memories do you have?

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Historical Fiction Book Review: Whispers in the Reading Room by Shelley Gray

Book Description:
Just months after the closure of the Chicago World’s Fair, librarian Lydia Bancroft finds herself fascinated by a mysterious dark-haired and dark-eyed patron. He has never given her his name; he actually never speaks to a single person. All she knows about him is that he loves books as much as she does.

Only when he rescues her in the lobby of the Hartman Hotel does she discover that his name is Sebastian Marks. She also discovers that he lives at the top of the prestigious hotel and that most everyone in Chicago is intrigued by him.
Lydia and Sebastian form a fragile friendship, but when she discovers that Mr. Marks isn’t merely a very wealthy gentleman, but also the proprietor of an infamous saloon and gambling club, she is shocked.

Lydia insists on visiting the club one fateful night and suddenly is a suspect to a murder. She must determine who she can trust, who is innocent, and if Sebastian Marks—the man so many people fear—is actually everything her heart believes him to be.

My Review:
I don't read a lot of historical fiction, but this one intrigued me because the main character, Lydia, is a librarian and the story is set in Chicago. I like Lydia. She's spunky and goes against the societal rules of the day in order to stand for her beliefs. She's also got an insatiable curiosity about life, which leads her to get to know a man she'd most likely not give the time of day. Sebastian Marks is a self-made man with a mysterious past. The two are an unlikely match which makes the story that much more fun to read. Part of The Chicago World's Fair Mystery Series, the book stands as a read alone. Shelley Gray does an incredible job placing the reader into the scenes of the city, both the good parts of town and the seedy. I learned a great deal about the time period, which I wasn't familiar with.

I received this book in exchange for a fair review.

Purchase a copy

Blog Tour

About the author: 
Shelley Gray is the author of The Heart of a Hero series. Her Amish novel (written as Shelley Shepard Gray), The Protector, recently made the New York Times best seller list. A native of Texas, she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in Colorado and taught school for ten years. She and her husband have two children and live in Southern Ohio.

Friday, December 4, 2015

The Promise of the Angels

Luke 2:9-10
An angel of the Lord appeared to them [the shepherds], and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people."

I snuggled on the couch with my seventeen-month old granddaughter, Ella Cate, on my lap and my grandson, Eli, beside me. On TV the Grinch tortured his poor dog, Max, by plopping reindeer antlers on his head and forcing him to pull the sled. As Max flipped and flopped through the air Ella Cate giggled. The more the poor dog struggled and acted goofy the more she laughed out loud. The tinkle of her laughter filled my heart with joy. And isn't that what Christmas is all about. The joy of the season.

Too often the stress of the holiday and the sadness of life overwhelm. Then I hear the sweet sound of a child's laughter or the tender voice of a grandchild saying he loves me. I see friends hug as they greet one another. I watch a mom love on her kids. Jesus came to earth to bring peace and joy. Though the world is not at peace right now and sometimes joy is not obvious, peace and joy remain in my heart because the Holy Spirit dwells in me. As Christmas draws near, I'll cling to the promise of the angels. Jesus brings good news that will cause great joy. Praise God for his precious gift.