Jesus Calling Adult Coloring Book – A Review

Jesus Calling Adult Coloring Book: Creative Coloring & Hand Lettering By Sarah Young

I was quite excited to try out this book as adult coloring has become the ‘it thing’. Also, I was given Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling devotional, so I knew the author and was excited to see how she took parts of her work and added them to a coloring book.  The book is large, being 10″ x 10″, with pages that are perforated and can be torn out.  Each page contains very detailed drawings of God’s creation, and or a phrase or statement from Jesus Calling.  There is a basic introduction and guide on how to use the book at the front and a practice page at the end of the book to work on lettering. The drawings are elegant and intricate enough to hold meticulous colorers, as well as having plenty of pages with larger spaces to color. Some pages have the sayings outlined for filling in, while others are shaded to practice lettering.

The book is quite elegant with metallic coloring on the cover. The feel alone of the book is lovely.  The introduction and practice pages left me a little confused as to how I am specifically supposed to do lettering, and I haven’t taken the time to look online.  The pages take colored pencil well, though I would say that just plain Crayola colored pencils are actually easier to use than my Prismacolor pencils. The Prismacolor pencils tend to ‘grab’ the page and create a drag that make it harder to color. Crayola is slicker and dryer; less oily.

My attempts at the lettering stopped the minute my fountain pen ink bled through the page. I have a light hand with fountain pen ink, so I figured it would work like a marker. Personally, I would be afraid to try markers or watercolor paints for fear it would bleed through.

While every page is perforated so that it can be torn out, a spread seems to coincide with each other, so if you tore it out, then you lose the aesthetic of the saying with the image. Maybe I’m too picky about this. Maybe most people wouldn’t want to frame these and they use them more for meditation, but I have a bit of an OCD thing where I like things to match up. Also, due to the page size, I’m not sure you could ever frame it. Though I could see a charming display tacked up to the wall. Very country-esque.

All in all, I would probably give this book a 3 out of 5 stars. The biggest complaint being the bleedthrough, which a lot of adult coloring books seem to have.  As well as losing pages due to the dual sided quotes on pages.

Kate

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Waiting Here For You: An Advent Journey of Hope – A Review

_225_350_Book.1777.coverDuring the holiday season, we are so focused on the holiday in general that we forget what the true season of Christmas is about. Waiting Here For You: An Advent Journey of Hope by Louie Giglio is an advent devotion book meant to help us slow down, stop, and reflect what Christmas and the advent are really about. Each day starting with November 26th, Paster Giglio guides us in scripture, a reflection relating to the scripture, meditation (which is usually a Christmas poem or song) and finally a prayer.  So 30 days of thinking about how we are waiting for Christ  and the remembrance of his birth, which for Christians, is a very sacred time of year.  So, when we get a little too busy with buying the gifts, preparing the Christmas meals and dealing with family and travel and all the frustrations that may come, this very thing, almost pocket sized book is just right for pulling out. Lighting a candle and meditating and focusing on Christ.

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu.

Christmas lights on Aleksanterinkatu. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I have loved advent since I was a little girl when we would read the Christmas story through the four weeks of December, lighting a green candle each week for the wise men, Mary and Joseph, The shepherds, the angels, and finally a red candle for Jesus. There were the colorful calendars and it was a very memorable and sacred time of year for me. I eagerly looked forward to it. As time as gone by, I have slowly let that slipe away, and this book is perfect for putting you right back into the calming frame of mind of what Christmas is really about. While I am terrible at devotions and having a daily schedule for reading my Bible, and I didn’t technically finish this book in a daily order, it’s still a lovely small book, perfect for the season. There is something incredibly calming about the red, black, white and grey colors of the book. So calming in fact that I ended up writing a sonnet about red berries with the colors of black, white and grey. This book is perfect for any Christian that want to get back to what advent is about. I love it’s slim size and I love that the meditations are songs I know, but may not know all the lyrics. I liked that it was a very Christmas themed book in that it had the traditional songs that Christians know for the season. From Oh Come All Ye Faithful, O Come Oh Come Emmanuel, Silent Night, and O Holy Night. Lovely hymns Christians know and love.

I would highly recommend this book to any Christian who wants do practice adven but feels too old for the calendars and childish themes. This is a lovely book. Five out of Five stars.

Kate

This book was sent to me free of charge for my honest opinion and review from HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Thomas Nelson, and BookLookBloggers.

Goodnight Manger – A Review

_225_350_Book.1731.coverGoodnight Manger by Laura Sassi is  Laura’s sophomore picture book following her Goodnight Ark.  The book is illustrated again by Jane Chapman and the story follows the singsong story rhymes that Goodnight Ark had within it’s pages.   This time, it’s baby Jesus who can’t get to sleep. The animals are too noisy and the baby starts to wail.  Back and forth the animals try to help Mary and Joseph quiet  a squirming, twitching baby.  From hay for the baby’s head from the donkey, to feathers from the hen. Just when the baby is quieting down, the heavenly angels start singing their Hosannas, and soon he’s awake again.  Goodness all this noise in the stable!  Shepherds arrive along with sheep, then come wise men from far and wide, that baby’s sleep will be denied….. Okay, silly rhyme there, but reading the book to write this review had me rhyming myself!   Soon Mama Mary suggests a song and all the wise men and shepherds start singing a lullaby that gently lulls baby Jesus to sleep at last.

This picture book is quite similar to Goodnight Ark, which I did a review on.  As with the Ark, this book is geared towards children 4-8 in my opinion. Parents can read it to their younger children as a lovely Christmas rhyming story, while older children can use it to learn to read marvelous rhyme.  And while I enjoyed the book, I did find a couple of the rhymes a bit discordant with the rhythm, as I would have to turn the page to finish the rhyme and it caused too much of a pause. I felt a little jarred and harder to read than Ark.  Along with that, while the pictures of the animals, Joseph, the shepherds, and wise men were right on par with Jane Chapman’s other work, I was severely disappointed with her portrayal of Mary.  All my life I have pictured Mary as being this beautiful woman. I figure if God chose her to carry Jesus and have him as her son, she has to be beautiful.  And I think there are absolutely stunning Israeli women. Beautiful women.  So to have Mary look very plain and worn out was disappointing. Yes, I know she just had a baby, but well, it doesn’t matter about that aspect when illustrating a book. I would have preferred her to look prettier.  That is just my opinion.

All that being said, this is a lovely rhyme book again.  I think it would be a marvelous story to read young children during the month of December to prepare for Christmas. It’s sweet and charming enough that I could see children learning the whole rhyme to recite.  I would definitely give it 4 out of 5 stars. A little less than Goodnight Ark due to the illustrations and the jarring rhyme. But all in all a very good book

This book was provided to me free of charge for my honest opinion by HarperCollins Christian Publishing. I have in no way been compensated for my opinions.

Kate

Telling Fortunes

Published in the US - 1895, US Playing Card Co...

Published in the US – 1895, US Playing Card Company (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I’m not someone that believes in the occult, nor do I go for all that mystical thing or fortunes or tarot…. I am honestly a Christian.  But I am still fascinated by things like fortunes or tarot.  Just because. I can’t explain it. And even in the Bible, games/lots were thrown. It technically wasn’t biblical, and it doesn’t follow along with trusting God.

But again, it still interests me.

Someone in my life is frustrating the heck out of me and I just found out today I don’t rate as high in his life as he does in mine.  It’s rather depressing and I’ve been trying to mentally deal with that.  A few years ago I found this fun way of determining who you will end up with using playing cards.  Yes, I suppose it is rather ridiculous in the scope of things, but I decided to play with it today.

Here is the original link.  How to tell if he likes you, and other sleepover occult games

So, I just ran my cards, picking the main person, someone new and a possibility, someone who I don’t consider but like talking to, and then someone I can’t stand.

The results….. Um, I ended up with the one I wanted, and it was relatively decent in the scope of things.  I suppose if one believed in this, it would be hopeful…..

But I don’t believe in tarot………. Do I?

Christmas Stars

Twinkle, Twinkle little star, what a miracle you are, wonder how you ever came to be…

 

Stars at Christmastime is almost as synonymous as snow and Christmas. Clear, crisp nights with stars so bright you could almost touch them. Little diamonds in the sky. Orion shooting across the sky, trailing Taurus, and Leo chasing him.

Snowy nights with the stars above. Twinkling, twinkling, always twinkling.  Yes, stars are winter, and stars are Christmas. And it finally dawned on me the other day, why stars are so important this time of year. It’s all because of one star. The star in the sky that led the wise men to Bethlehem where Jesus was.  That was one very important star. The star the shepherds saw in the sky that led them to the stable. The star that remained in the sky for two years, leading those wise men west.

How very important a star can be.

And while I know stars are just flaming balls of hot gas in space, somehow I can’t ever seem to remember that scientific fact when I’m looking up at their magical diamond-ness.  No, I just can’t look at it as anything but a magical, very important thing.

I love the stars. I love looking at stars and the constellations.  The stars are my ‘friends’. I never can get enough of the night sky. And I think of the majesty contained in those sparkling pinpoints of light. They were put there for a reason, and I thank God for them. Somehow they seem to bring Him just a little bit closer.

William Blake wrote, ‘To see the world in a grain of sand, and heaven in a flower, Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand And Eternity in an hour.”

The stars are infinity and eternity.

Anyways, it’s that one star from so long ago that was so important.  I have the Gaither Trio’s song in my head. “When they saw the star, they rejoiced with great joy….” It used to be one of my favorites.  And at this time of year, as Christians, we rejoice.

Kate

Love Letters From God: Bible Stories – A Review

91QjaJsWoXLLove Letters from God: Bible Stories by Glenys Nellist, illustrated by Sophie Allsopp, is a collection of short Bible stories for children published by Zonderkidz. Each of the 18 stories has a companion ‘love’ letter to the reader written by “God” hidden under a flap with a charming ‘stamp’ as if it had just been mailed. There is a blank spot to fill in the name of the child for each letter, making this a highly personalized book. There is also one last letter at the end of the book asking the reader to join Jesus’s team and a blank letter for the reader to pen a response to Jesus.

Of the 18 stories, some are classics, like the Creation, Noah, Jonah and the Whale, and the birth of Christ. Then the less ‘popular’ stories such as Samuel, David’s Anointing, the lost sheep, and Zacchaeus. The pages are filled with full page illustrations, that are unique to each story, some having a more photograph feel set in with the drawings. The overall feel of the book is very elegant with heavy pages and a glossy and mat dust jacket. The choice of a turquoise as the main color makes it incredibly soothing in its own way. It’s a very well done book.

I found this book, though, hard to review. I found the premise of the book was creative with the personalized letters to the reader, yet I found each story to be ‘dumbed down’ to the point of being cutesy instead of containing enough depth to really teach anything. Most Bible stories are not what I would call ‘happy’, but Ms. Nellist has made every story exuberant in some way. The story of Noah, while one of my favorite stories, is all about God destroying all but a few people. It’s not about just Noah’s family and the animals in the ark. Nor is it exactly exciting for the lions to be soooooo happy because they are going to get to eat Daniel, in the story of Daniel and the Lion’s Den. I just think there should have been better content in regards to the stories instead of making them so ‘happy’. ( I feel like I should cue Pharrell Williams and his song “Happy”)

That being said, I think many Christian families will enjoy this book. I myself was raised with a more traditional backing where we read the Bible instead of learning the stories from other books. I think that there are methods to Bible stories that make it more simple for a child to understand without making it ‘fun’. For instance, one of the best methods I remember being taught the stories was with large flashcard pictures, that were works of art in themselves, while the story was read. The content wasn’t taken out, but the pictures helped coalesce the whole story. I found this book to be just cute and I wonder if once the stories have been read over it will become old. Also I would say with what I have seen of most children reading books, don’t let your 4-8 year old alone with this. The letters will get torn because there is great care needed in reading this book.

I’d would probably give this book at the most 3 out of 5 stars. And I can honestly say I hate to write more negative reviews.

I was provided this book free for my honest opinion and review from Harper Collins Christian publishing.

Signing off

Kate

Loveology – Book Review

Loveology – God. Love. Marriage. Sex. And the Never-Ending Story of Male and Female By John Mark Comer

Let me start off by saying, any book that has a grey cover with bright pink writing, and the words, love, sex, marriage, and God, is going to catch my attention.  Not to mention pink font inside, bright pink bubbles and just an all around really girly pretty book.  The cover alone makes me want to ‘swoon’ a bit it’s so nice.

Loveology is the theology of love by the pastor of Portland’s A Jesus Church -Bridgetown.  It’s relatively basic biblical theology on the relationships we have with our partner/lover/spouse written in a very comfortable easy, and almost watered down manner.  With background on the original Greek translations, in John Mark Comer’s style (if you ever listen to any of his sermons, you will understand what I mean). Five chapters on Love, Marriage, Sex, Romance, and Male and Female, including a Q and A section, the book is a fast read geared towards young marrieds, singles and dating couples.

Okay, now the gushing will ensue.  I LOVED/LOVE this book.  When I got it after waiting almost three weeks, I just could not put it down because it was so pretty. I mean, this guy, really knew how to appeal to women. This book is just marvelous to hold and run your hand over. It is a really nice size to slip in a bag and you just want to keep reading it.  John Mark Comer is brilliant in getting a more conservative Christian theology across. Without sounding preachy, he really gets you laughing at some of the funnier aspects of love. That being said, you are a Christian and you don’t already know this, then this book won’t help.  It’s a fun thing to read if you already know the theology, but you should already know it if you are reading this. But that’s my own take.

I enjoyed the book immensely, but that being said, I don’t always agree with the ‘watered-down’ take on the bible.  I find John Mark Comer has a great sense of humor and makes you want to read more, but it’s almost incredibly basic.  Maybe it’s because I was raised in a Conservative Baptist church, but this is much more moderate in style.  But on a scale of one to five, I’d give this a five star rating.

This book was provided to me through Harper Collins  for my honest review.

Signing off

~Kate

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The Wedding Dress : A Review

A dress with a history; four women with a connection.  The Wedding Dress by Rachel Hauck intertwines the lives of four women  living in the south and the one dress that seems to have magic all on its own.  Charlotte, a woman who runs a successful bridal shop has been jilted; Emily, a young woman with dreams and ideas in 1912 becomes engaged to one while hoping for another; Hillary, a war bride of the late 60’s; and Mary Grace is a woman without options for a pretty wedding  in 1939, when a miracle happens.  The dress is special, made for a special bride, and the way it passes down through time, never yellowing or aging, creates a story that is magical and heartwarming. The story of these four women intertwine to create a sweet story.

 
While the premise of this book had me anxious to read it, I found myself getting annoyed at the way some of the women thought throughout the story.  Especially Charlotte, the main heroine, and Emily.  I am not someone who enjoys characters that come across as helpless and naive to a fault.  I don’t want a character that feels it’s too much work to have a bit of a mystery, and doesn’t want to solve it.  While I may have these faults sometimes, I don’t want to read about it.  I started out the story wishing Charlotte would meet her true match, and I felt that how she worked through her engagement, being jilted, then ending up with her wedding, a disappointment.  I didn’t realize when I requested the book that it was a Christian based story.  Usually I turn away from such stories due to how Christ is represented.  There was some amazing aspects of God and Jesus, but like most Christian books I’ve read, I was left wanting.  I would recommend this to my Christian friends, but I myself would only give it 3 stars out of 5.  That’s fairly high, but it was sweet.  Just not my usual favorite style.

Signing off

~Kate

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.”