Review of Candle Bible for Kids: Toddler Edition by Juliet David illus. Jo Parry


Genre: Children’s Books/Bibles

Not Recommended.

The quality of this Bible is really nice. I especially like the soft, hardback, “bubble” cover. And the pictures are really cute, with bright, toddler friendly, colors and caricatures.

Unfortunately, the book did not hold my toddler’s attention. He liked some of the pictures, but was very restless every time we attempted to read the story, and asked to read other books instead. He often does enjoy biblical story books, so I was surprised he did not connect well with this one. He did not want to read even one of the very short stories all the way through, despite several tries on different days.

My parent perspective of the book was not much better. This “Bible” seems typical of any other collection of Bible stories. It covers most of the more popular Bible stories, from the creation of the world to Jesus’ ascension. I liked that each page had only one sentence, as long paragraphs are hard for toddlers; and I enjoyed the illustrations, as I mentioned earlier. But, otherwise, there was nothing to make this book stand out to me.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Kregel Publications.


Review of Isle of Shadows by Tracy L. Higley


Genre: Historical Fiction


Isle of Shadows is set in ancient Greece. Tessa of Delos serves as a hetaera (educated prostitute) to a powerful man; and when he dies, her welfare is threatened. As the sole witness to his death, she will either be held responsible for his death, or she will be sent to serve an even worse man. Desiring both physical and emotional freedom, Tessa searches for a way to escape. But as more complications arise, she finds herself with only two allies: a Jewish servant, Simeon, and a mysterious Greek man, Nikos.

This story is actually one of a few books inspired by the author’s interest in the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Isle of Shadows centers on the Colossus of Rhodes, a statue to the Greek god, Helios, which was destroyed in an earthquake. In fact, the book was first published as, The Shadow of Colossus.

I enjoyed both the story, and the historical element. I really emphasized with Tessa’s character: she reminded me a lot of how I felt before I encountered Jesus. The dynamic between the characters, and the swift movement of the story also made for a captivating read.

An added bonus is the author’s interactive website, which provides pictures and videos of Rhodes, Greece, so readers can better envision the location and historical context of the story. I anticipate more from this excellent storyteller.

I received a complimentary copy of this book as a part of the Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogging Program through


Review of Secrets by Robin Jones Gunn


Genre: Fiction/Contemporary/Romance

Series: Book One of the Glenbrooke Series


Secrets is a light, relaxing, romance, set in small-town Glenbrooke, Oregon. Jessica Morgan is new in town, and running from her past secrets. As she struggles to both make friends and hide her true identity, charming firefighter, Kyle Buchanan, makes it hard for her to simply slip into the background. The story progresses as Jessica comes to terms with her feelings, explores her beliefs, and becomes confident in her new identity.

Readers who, like me, enjoy the somewhat clique, lightly romantic atmosphere of the Christian Romance genre will enjoy this book. The characters were excellently developed and provided just enough in dialog and interaction to keep the story interesting. Readers who want a bit more depth or suspense probably will not care for it as much, as it is a light story with a predictable storyline.

As a side note: I am confused by the cover picture. The main character, Jessica, is described as having shoulder length blond hair and a peachy complexion; so who is the long-haired brunette model on the cover? It’s a small thing, but I found the cover art distracting and bothersome.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah.


Wrapping up 2012 and My New Word of the Year


Some years ago, I began the tradition of choosing a word of the year–something I could reflect on or practice throughout the year. Last year, the word that came to me as I was praying was arise. I was immediately reminded of two verses: “arise my darling and come with me…” from the Song of Solomon, and “arise and shine for your light has come” from Isaiah 60. I considered that arise might be a call to intimacy with God through prayer or spiritual adventure; and certainly, my prayer life did deepen throughout the year, especially with some of the physical health struggles I faced that were complicated by my pregnancy. I had also considered that the word might be a physical description of the year, since I had just begun leading a small Bible study of women, and had also just started a business of sorts.

Toward the end of 2012, I felt a tangible shift both spiritually and physically. I fulfilled three of the personal assignments the Lord had given me, gave birth to a healthy son (child number two), started attending seminary, and, even beyond these, have experienced an interesting juxtaposition of the closing of one season, and the opening of a new one. In November, amidst these changes, the word arise began to take on new meaning for me, as I felt the Lord calling me to action–especially to face my life with boldness and vulnerability.

After prayerful consideration, my word for 2013 is engage. I am excited to explore what this will mean for me throughout the year. So far, I desire to engage more deeply in the friendships and relationships I have been building, to engage more purposefully with my family and with our congregation, and to be engaged with the many aspects of my life in spite of my frequent health challenges.

Does anyone else have a word or resolution for the year that they would like to share?