Sunday, September 14, 2014

Riley Mae and the Sole Fire Safari by Jill Osborne

Book 3 of the "Good News Shoes" series follows Riley Mae and her friends on another great adventure -- this time to the other side of the world -- to Africa!

"If you want to go fast, go alone.  
 If you want to go far, go together."
Kenyan saying

"Riley Mae and the Sole Fire Safari" by Jill Osborne is the 3rd book of a series that should be read in order to be fully enjoyed.

With the African setting, Riley is faced with different challenges, but the themes are still close to home.  The theme of prayer and God not always answering in the way we expect is revisited.  Riley has a bit of a bad attitude about being in Africa at first -- especially when she has to eat strange food and wake up incredibly early in the morning.  Despite her prayers to get back home, Riley finds God has a different plan for her.

Part of God's plan is for Riley to think about what she wants to be when she grows up.  Faith, Riley's friend who is a Kenyan native, has a strong commitment to education and is sure of what God has called her to do with her life.  Faith inspires Riley to find out what God has called her to do and to trust that God will guide her.

The importance of sharing the gospel (even though you feel afraid) is readdressed.  In this book, Riley has the opportunity to tell the good news to a young, Kenyan orphan.

One thing worth mentioning is the extra emphasis on Riley's crush, Sean, in this book.  She writes a letter to him that she doesn't intend to send saying: "I hope you don't "like" her like you "like" me." and even talks about marriage as a possibility in the future.  Sean comes up a few more times in the book -- for example when Riley's friends say they are praying for her and Sean to get together.  This seems a bit of a jump from the previous two books which talked about doughnuts more than serious feelings.  

This book will inspire soft hearted reader to think about things globally -- topics like elephant and rhino poachers; the accessibility of clean water; and the availability of quality education for those in other countries.  The threat for young girls in Kenya of being kidnapped and taken for wives is also addressed.

Riley and her friends will once again encourage pre-teens to have a closer walk with God; to focus on prayer; and to consider His plan for their lives.  And, of course, there's the added bonus of reading about adventure and mystery against an African backdrop!

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

"Body and Soul" by Bethany Hamilton with Dustin Dillberg

"Body and Soul: A Girl's Guide to a Fit, Fun and Fabulous Life" by Bethany Hamilton with Dustin Dillberg is a great resource for pre-teens, teens and even adults!

Bethany has become famous for her amazing surf skills and for overcoming adversity through her faith in Jesus Christ.

At the age of 13, Bethany was attacked by a 14 foot tiger shark while surfing with friends.  Bethany lost her left arm, but not her determination or her faith.  One month after the attack, Bethany returned to the water and to surfing -- ultimately achieving her dream of becoming a professional surfer.  Bethany's inspirational story made headlines and was turned into the 2011 movie Soul Surfer.

But -- back to the book!  "Body and Soul" encourages young girls to develop a healthy lifestyle by focusing on body, mind and soul.  While other health books might focus only on food and fitness, this book focuses on improving overall health, keeping a positive mindset and trusting in God's love and support.

I really appreciate that Bible verses are interspersed throughout the book to continually emphasize the importance of faith in Jesus and of being spiritually healthy!

"Body and Soul" has amazing photographs throughout which give step by step instructions for workouts and yummy looking results for recipes.  Having these pictures makes it so much more inspiring!

The exercises in "Body and Soul" are great for pre-teen and teen girls (though anyone can do them).  There is an emphasis on strengthening your core, balance and posture.  One section of the book has a 'q and a' section and a fun quiz that you can take to find out your exercise style.

The recipes in "Body and Soul" have a Hawaiian influence and will encourage you to try new things on your plate.  I like how there is even a section about what to skip -- things like artificial sweeteners and trans fats -- with examples of the specific names and an explanation of why they're bad for you.

While the book has a focus on exercising and eating healthy, there is no condemnation here.  Bethany suggests an occasional treat and says: "Even if you can't squeeze in a workout, starting your day with a prayer and some soulful deep breathing is almost just as good."

Overall, "Body and Soul" is a great inspiration for any "gal" who is hoping to become healthier and looking for motivation.  The book's focus is on being healthy -- inside and out and accepting yourself as God made you.  What could be better than that for young girls in this day and age?

Check out: Bethany's website for more information and inspiration!

"Instead of comparing or complaining,
take time to appreciate what you have,
the good in you and others, 
and most of all, how God has created the uniqueness of Y-O-U."
- Body and Soul

Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Alone, Yet Not Alone" Novel Giveaway

"Alone, Yet Not Alone" by Tracy Leininger Craven is based on the true story of two young sisters who are captured by Allegheny warriors during the Penn's Creek Massacre of 1755.

The Leininger family immigrated from Germany to escape religious persecution and start a new life in Pennsylvania.  Little did they know that their lives were going to be turned upside down.  The novel "Alone, Yet Not Alone" tells the story of the capture of Barbara and Regina Leininger (ages 12 and 9 at the time) and how "their faith became their freedom."

The message of faith comes through in the novel loud and clear.  Barbara believes they can make it through with Christ's strength and that no matter what happens their faith in Jesus Christ can never be taken away from them.

Barbara reassures her younger sister, Regina: "God will always be with us - even in our most difficult trials."  Unfortunately the sisters are separated.  Barbara is left clinging to the hope that her sister's faith will remain strong and that she will not lose the song in her heart: "Alone, yet not alone."

This novel is an easy read and is aimed at pre-teens.  Keep in mind that it has some mature themes that may not be appropriate for all readers -- although those scenes are not described very graphically.

This novel is a "Special Movie Edition" and so it also includes photos from the movie which came out this summer.  Here is a look at the trailer for those who have yet to see the movie:

Some interesting topics for discussion include the origin of the world according to the Allegheny people and their spiritual beliefs.

The novel has a strong emphasis on the need for a Saviour and on the redemptive power of Jesus' blood.  Tracy Leininger Craven states: "It is my prayer that those who read this book will be encouraged to run the race of life with undaunted faith and endurance -- drawing strength from the author and finisher of our faith, Jesus Christ."

Check out:
Alone, Yet Not Alone Website

Win it:  One Sowing Dandelion Seeds reader will win a copy of the book "Alone, Yet Not Alone".

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I was given a copy of this book from Media Connect in exchange for my honest opinion.

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

"Persecuted" Novel Giveaway

"Persecuted", by Robin Parrish is a novelization of the upcoming Daniel Lusko film which will be in theaters this summer.

John Luther is an evangelist who ultimately wants to share the Gospel.  John's ministry is built on the message of redemption.  He unashamedly states he is a sinner saved by grace and transparently shares that has made numerous mistakes in his past.

But, John's past comes back to haunt him when his reputation is brought into question by those hoping to destroy his ministry.  John is asked to give his support for a new religious equality bill.  When he refuses to endorse this bill, the powers that be decide to frame him for murder to get him out of the way.  John becomes a fugitive as he searches for the truth to clear his name.

Once I got past the prologue -- which focuses on the assassin's point of view -- the rest of the novel was more to my liking.  The novel has flashback chapters that highlight John's troubled past, his tumultuous relationship with his father and his conversion.  These flashback chapters give insight into the present day and to the current circumstances.

Overall this novel was thought-provoking in that it deals with standing up for the Truth no matter the cost and the touchy issue of tolerance-turned-equality.  One of the antagonist of the novel declares: "... Christians and Jews and Muslims standing together in solidarity... this is the future of our evolution in this nation..."  But, loving others (as the Bible instructs us to) and joining with other faiths in solidarity are not the same.

I've heard so much about tolerance lately -- for everyone, but Christians that is.  Christians should not be accused of intolerance because we hold fast to what we believe and to what God's Word says is the Truth.  Hopefully this novel will inspire Christians to be prepared to stand up for Jesus and for the redemptive power of His death and resurrection.

The novel is full of action and suspense and I look forward to seeing the movie when it come out.

"The question is not if attempts will be made 
to limit religious freedoms, 
but when.  
And when that day comes, 
will you stay silent?"

Check Out: 
Persecuted -- The Movie -- Coming to theaters July 18, 2014
Persecuted on Facebook

Win it:  One Sowing Dandelion Seeds reader will win a copy of the book "Persecuted".

a Rafflecopter giveaway

"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.” 

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Monday, May 26, 2014

Signed, Sealed, Delivered -- New Hallmark Television Series

"Signed, Sealed, Delivered" is a new Hallmark television series which tells the story of four postal "detectives" who figure out the intended recipients for undeliverable mail.  Each episode tells the story of a different letter and consequently touches on the lives of the different people affected by each letter.

I have watched a few episodes to prepare for this review and hope to catch up on the others I've missed.  It's amazing to see how a handwritten, "snail mail", letter can affect the life of someone -- especially in this day of technology and "social" media.  The show is heartwarming and touching and there is a worthwhile message to each episode.

While it can be slow moving for my husband, it takes a turn and reclaims his interest just in time.  Personally, I'm liking the change from the typical detective type shows on tv.  This show isn't graphic or offensive.  My kids, (ages 8 and 10), came into the room when I was watching an episode and joined me.  Since then they've asked to watch other episodes too.

The episode we watched together most recently is entitled: "The Future Me".  This episode tells the story of a young lady with Down Syndrome, Ellie, who writes a letter to her future self.  Ellie realizes she needs to make some changes in her life when she receives the letter that her highschool self wrote about her future hopes and dreams.  My son, Elijah (age 8), says the moral of the episode is: "It doesn't matter who you are -- everyone should have love."  

Another underlying message of this episode is to be who you really are.  "To thine own self be true" is a Shakespearean phrase quoted in this episode.  This moral is one that Ellie and Rita, one of the postal "detectives", both learn in different ways.  When Rita is competing in the Miss Special Delivery pageant she decides it's more important to be who she is than it is to try to win at all cost.  Even though the atmosphere around her is competitive and even a little intimidating, Rita knows that with her good friends supporting her, it's as if she's already won.

"Signed, Sealed, Delivered" also has great guest stars: Valerie Harper, Marilu Henner, and, in an upcoming episode, Carol Burnett!

Not only is the show a breath of fresh air in terms of its appropriate content, but the American Bible Society has created a Bible Study to go along with each episode of the series.

The show airs SUNDAYS, 8/7c on Hallmark.  Don't miss the opportunity to check out this new, heartwarming show.

Here's more information:

Website:  "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" Official Website
Facebook:  "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" Facebook Page
Facebook for the show's creator:  Martha Williamson's Facebook Page

~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Friday, May 2, 2014

Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek by Jill Osborne

Book 1 of the "Good News Shoes" series introduces us to Riley Mae, the spokesperson for a new collection of sport shoes.

In Book 1: "Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek", Riley realizes the importance of keeping her commitments when photo shoots and publicity events prevent her from playing softball.  Riley deals a lot with friendships as her new commitments lead to conflict between Riley and her best friend, TJ, who doesn't understand her circumstance.  Riley also meets (and helps) a new friend, Rusty, who is struggling financially because her dad is out of work.

A strong theme in "Riley Mae and the Rock Shocker Trek" is the importance of praying to God about decisions and about praying to God when you are scared.  I like that Riley isn't an example of perfect faith.  She asks the age old question we all wonder from time to time "How do you know if God says "Yes"?".

Another strong theme in the book is the importance of being prepared to share the gospel.  At one point Rusty has questions about the Bible and Riley feels ill-equipped to answer them.  Watching a little girl in the Sunday School class answer Rusty's questions inspires Riley to become better prepared to share the gospel with those around her.

One thing that I didn't love about the book is that Riley keeps some secrets from her parents and asks others (including adults) to keep secrets from her parents.  These aren't major secrets, but still kids keeping secrets is something I don't agree with.  The fact that she forgot to apply sunscreen and that her new friend is without food are two examples of the secrets Riley keeps from her parents.  This isn't enough of an issue to me to not recommend the book -- but it is a topic that could/should be discussed with your pre-teen when she reads the book.

Another concern I have with the book is that God is referred to as "small 'h' he" instead of "big H "He".  I prefer when God is referred to with a capital "H" because I think it shows more reverence.

Riley learns in Book 1 that things aren't always as they seem.  With the help of her friends and family, Riley uncovers a mystery -- all while experiencing an adventurous climb up Half-Dome in Yosemite.

Although the cover doesn't hint at it -- mystery and adventure go hand in hand in this book.  It will be sure to keep the interest of your pre-teen readers and inspire them in their faith at the same time.
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
  ~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids by Jill Osborne

Riley learns that life is unpredictable as she goes on an adventure with her friends and family in book 2 of the Good News Shoes series: "Riley Mae and the Ready Eddy Rapids" by Jill Osborne. Aimed at pre-teens -- this adventure novel is a great mix of humour and spiritual morals.

Riley Mae is the 12 year old spokesperson for a line of shoes.  To promote the new Riley Mae river sandals, Riley heads to Montana for a photo shoot and there the adventure begins -- or rather -- continues.

Sometimes you can pick up a book 2 in a series and figure out where you are, but this is a time when I wish I had realized this was book 2 and read book 1 first since there were references to the first adventure throughout this novel.  What this book needs is a great big "2" in the upper corner!

Some of the pluses in this book were a reference to sponsoring children and writing letters to them as well as references to making a difference in the lives of others through helping them or sharing the gospel with them.  One quote from the novel that highlights this is 

"God cares more about what we give than what we have."

Some points worth mentioning are the mature themes that are referred to.  Murder and death threats are both mentioned as well as a child who is abandoned by her mother.  Riley's friend, Sunday, has leukemia and, while that is dealt with more in depth, it is handled very positively.  In fact, Sunday is a beacon of hope to everyone around him.

The squeamish (like my daughter) should know that there are references to needles a couple of times and references to an injury as "hamburger".

I like that Riley at one point flips open the Bible to a random page hoping for the answer to her question and she discovers that that doesn't work for her.  Some Christian books have all the answers readily available for the characters and I like that this novel is more true to life.  Sometimes you don't have the answers you hope for right away, but you can still trust that God is with you and is orchestrating things for your good.  

While there is some talk of a crush between two adults, Riley's interest in a boy back home is simple and innocent.  Riley isn't gushing about boys or makeup or fashion.  She doesn't try to impress anyone by acting older than she is.  

Riley is a girl with a growing faith who learns that she has been called to share God's Good News with those around her.  She and her friends are the kinds of Christian role models you want your preteen to read about.  And considering the great adventures Riley and her friends have, the Good News Shoes series are the kinds of book your preteen will want to read.
Disclosure: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookLook Bloggers 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 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
~❀~ Chelsey ~❀~
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