Thursday, October 9, 2014

Journey of a Soul

     Journey of a Soul is the autobiography of Pope John XXIII, It is over 400 pages long and I'm sorry to say not my cup of tea. I tried reading this on multiple occasions but it just didn't capture my interest. The book is comprised of personal letters, spiritual notes and meditations gathered by Thomas Cahill and it's just too deep for my brain to wrap itself around.
   I imagine a more scholarly reader would enjoy this book.

 "I received this book for free from Blogging for Books for this review."

A Worrier's Guide to the Bible


     A Worrier's Guide to the Bible: 50 Verses to Ease Anxieties written by Gary Zimak is a book for all of us since despite what Scripture teaches, many of us still fall into worry over past events, the present and most especially the future.
     When I requested this title, I expected to receive little more than a folded pamphlet but Zimak was able to take the topic of worry and find so much in scriptures to produce a book of over one hundred pages to guide us toward peace in our lives. There are eight chapters: Confusion, Despair, Doubt, Fear, Persecution, Sickness, Trials & Tribulation and The Secret Weapon. Each chapter begins with an introduction followed by multiple Scripture verses, explanations (in many ways a devotional) and finally a prayer. The reader can go from page one until the end or jump around to a specific topic that speaks to one's heart. There is something in this book for everyone.
   Although I have yet to read all the entries, I have found nuggets of wisdom in each entry I have read. I was reminded that 'the most important lesson for us is that we should always turn to the Lord in times of confusion" and that "if something is in accordance with God's will, you'll often experience a feeling of peace and contentment".
  This book is one that would be perfect to leave in a doctor's office, a hospital waiting room, or even just on a park bench. Worry is such a constant presence in our lives and we all need the reminder that we are to turn to Him at all times in all situations.

I wrote this review of A Worrier's Guide to the Bible for the free Catholic Book review program, created by Aquinas and More Catholic Goods. Aquinas and More is the largest on-line Catholic bookstore. I receive free product samples as compensation for writing reviews for Tiber River.

Monday, July 21, 2014

ENOUGH - Book Review and Giveaway

You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.
In a book based on her run-away blog post “Ten Things I Want to Tell Teenage Girls,” which garnered more than 2 million views in two weeks, Kate Conner calls us to action in Enough. We all have teenage girls in our lives who we love, whether it’s a sister, friend, or daughter. Kate has identified 10 things these girls need to hear today from someone who loves her.
Peppered with wit and laced with grace, Kate’s list tackles relevant issues like Facebook, emotions, drama, tanning beds, modesty, and flirtation. Woven into each chapter is a powerful message of worth that transcends age, and will touch the souls of women, young and old alike: You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are enough.
A former youth-worker, wife to a college minister, and a young mom in her twenties, Conner stands squarely in generational gap, the perfect place from which to bridge it. Conner offers herself as a translator, helping you to speak your teenager’s language and equipping you with a fresh perspective from which to engage your teenage girl—one that may enable her to truly hear your heart (and your wisdom) for the first time since puberty.
My Thoughts:  I requested Enough as I have two teen daughters as well as one young adult daughter. Not surprising I didn't find anything I hadn't told my girls but I can see how this book could be useful to a new mom of a tween daughter. I especially liked the chapter on modesty and the approach the author took towards this topic. I was hoping that there would be more guidance on how to discuss these topics with our daughters but it was limited. I did discover that the author has written 10 Things for Teen Girls; I'm hoping the topics match. This book is an easy read and one you'll want to have your highlighter out to mark the author's gems such as: "Teach her to use modesty as a tool to pursue that which is greater: admiration, respect and love."
GIVEAWAY:  Leave a comment about why you want to win a copy of Enough. For a second entry, comment with your best piece of advice to moms of teen daughters. Winner will be chosen by random drawing on August 1, 2014.

"Disclosure (in accordance with the FTC’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising): Many thanks to Propeller Consulting, LLC for providing this prize for the giveaway. Choice of winners and opinions are 100% my own and NOT influenced by monetary compensation. I did receive a sample of the product in exchange for this review and post.
Only one entrant per mailing address, per giveaway. If you have won the same prize on another blog, you are not eligible to win it again. Winner is subject to eligibility verification.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The Girls of August

About the BookEvery August, four women would gather together to spend a week at the beach, renting a new house each year. The ritual began when they were in their twenties and their husbands were in medical school, and became a mainstay of every summer thereafter. Their only criteria was oceanfront and isolation, their only desire to strengthen their far-flung friendships. They called themselves the Girls of August. But when one of the Girls dies tragically, the group slowly drifts apart and their vacations together are brought to a halt. Years later, a new marriage reunites them and they decide to come together once again on a remote barrier island off the South Carolina coast. There, far from civilization, the women make startling discoveries that will change them in ways they never expected.

My Thoughts: The Girls of August was an easy summer read but not a top notch book. I felt that the story was too contrived. WHY would these women go on vacation with this newcomer when their tradition had always been as long time friends? It just didn't make sense to me. The three friends treated Babe worse than a pesky toddler; I felt they were taking advantage of her for the free use of the beach house.  I also felt like I was left hanging with the ending; I need to know more in order to feel satisfied with the story lines.

I'd like to thank the publisher for making a review copy available via NetGalley. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

The Power in Your Hands Writing Nonfiction in High School

     Year after year I am on the prowl for a better writing curriculum; it is definitely the weak link in my teaching repertoire. I was thrilled to be offered the opportunity to review Sharon Watson's The Power in Your Hands - Writing Nonfiction in High School which is designed for those in grades 9-12. This writing program comes with both a large Student Text and a Teacher's Guide. The text provides the instruction as if the instructor were talking directly to the student. Some assignments can be completed in the text but a 3 ring binder with plenty of loose-leaf would be helpful to keep assignments organized.
     I spent quite a few hours reading through many lessons to be sure this would be worth attempting in the new school year and much to my daughter's dismay, Theresa will be using this program for the upcoming school year. This program doesn't spend time working on sentence writing but we focused a good deal on that this past year so now we can turn our efforts to more essay writing from a variety of persuasive essays to compare/contrast. I love that some more practical aspects of writing are included such as condolence and thank you letters while at the same time providing college prep writing experiences such as a position paper and literary analysis.
     The Teacher's Guide shows more clearly to the parent the major writing assignments of which there are twenty-one which might be more than one needs for an academic year but that leaves one free to leave out those that are least beneficial to the individual student. For instance, we will probably skip learning how to write a devotional and a testimony as those are not as academically focused nor something that would interest my daughter. There are over 30 pages devoted to assisting the parent in grading writing assignments; included are various evaluation forms, examples of A-F essays, and practical info about editing, proofreading and reluctant writers.
    Want to see more for yourself? There are samples available from both the Student's Book and the Teacher's Guide. Not only is this a top notch program it's reasonably priced at under $60 for both volumes (or under $50 if you buy from a discount curriculum company).

Product Info Summary:
The Power in Your Hands Writing Nonfiction in High School @
$39.98 Student Book & $14.98 Teacher's Guide

You can read more reviews of this product as well as those of a middle school writing curriculum and fiction writing curriculum here.