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Welcome! The ultimate luxury for me is curling up with a good book and a warm blanket. The next best thing is reviewing books and sharing them with others.

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18 02, 2015

Review: The Teenage Brain by Frances E. Jensen, M.D.

By | February 18th, 2015|Categories: Nonfiction, Parenting & Family, Psychology|Tags: , |5 Comments

Rating:

the teenage brain book coverReviewed by Alysia George

If there were a mandatory parenting course for people about to have children, The Teenage Brain, by Frances E. Jensen, M.D. (with Amy Ellis Nutt) would be on the required reading list. Since my oldest child recently turned 13, entering into the tumultuous and terrifying teen years, I came across this book at the perfect time. Highlighter in hand, I pored over every page, hoping to glean a little insight into the minds of my daughter and her friends.

The sub-heading on the cover of The Teenage Brain reads “A Neuroscientist’s Survival Guide to Raising Adolescents and Young Adults.” While that might sound more than a little intimidating, don’t be put off. While covering everything from brain development to the effects of alcohol, tobacco and drugs on the adolescent brain, Jensen keeps her audience in

26 01, 2015

Review: Peanut Butter and Naan by Jennifer Hillman-Magnuson

By | January 26th, 2015|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Parenting & Family, Travel|Tags: , , , |7 Comments

Rating:

peanut butter and naan book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Strap on your seat belt and hold on to your hat as author Jennifer Hillman-Magnuson invites you to travel along with her average American family to India in her book, Peanut Butter and Naan. But first, imagine having five kids, and living a rather middle class existence. Got it. Now your husband’s job moves him across the country into a into a very upscale development around the corner from famous people like Dolly Parton and others. It’s a bit of a culture shock, but you adjust and enjoy the indulgences of this new life. Just as things are feeling normal though, your husband’s job needs him to go to India for an undetermined number of months, and you decide to take all five kids out of school and join him on the other

21 01, 2015

Review: Four Before Their Time by Timothy Spillane

By | January 21st, 2015|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Parenting & Family|Tags: , |5 Comments

Rating:

four before their time book coverReviewed by Alyssa Katanic

I must begin by saying that Four Before Their Time is not the creative title that this book deserves. The “Four” is a miraculous set of quadruplets born at not quite 25 weeks of gestation. Their fight to survive is riveting and heart wrenching, but the title falls flat and the story is slow to begin as Timothy Spillane, the quadruplets’ maternal grandfather, seems to have struggled to find a starting place. Once started, Spillane shares the precious story of his daughter Anne and her four tiny babies.

With seven children of my own, you may guess that I love babies. I do! So much so that I have also worked as a Newborn Care Specialist with babies that are not my own. One such family for whom I volunteered was finally able to bring

17 12, 2014

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Little Things Long Remembered by Susan Newman

By | December 17th, 2014|Categories: Giveaways, Nonfiction, Parenting & Family|Tags: , |1 Comment

Rating:

little things long remembered book coverPlease join Susan Newman, author of Little Things Long Remembered: Making Your Children Feel Special Every Day, as she tours the blogosphere with iRead Book Tours

Make sure to enter the giveaway below!

Reviewed by Sarah McCubbin

As parents, our days with little children are often a montage of routine tasks. We cook meals, wash laundry, go to work and chauffeur our kids to their various activities. If we aren’t careful, the days slip into months, and before we know it, eighteen years have passed. No parent plans to be boring or mundane. In fact, it’s usually quite the opposite. We want the best for our families, but making those good things that we dream into reality takes more than good intentions.

Finding endless hours to spend doing memorable activities with our kids may be a challenge.

15 12, 2014

Review: Haatchi & Little B by Wendy Holden

By | December 15th, 2014|Categories: Animals, For the Pet Lover, Gift Ideas, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Parenting & Family|Tags: , , |6 Comments

Rating:

haatchi & little b book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Sometimes you meet a story that gives you a hug as you see the characters overcoming great personal odds. This true story of a dog and his boy promises to inspire and lift your day. Not being a huge animal lover myself, I didn’t expect to engage with Haatchi & Little B by Wendy Holden when I first started reading. It was after all a story about a dog…not my cup of tea.

Almost immediately, I knew I had assessed this book incorrectly. Haatchi proved to be more than a dog; he represented a will to survive, to overcome adversity and to be a powerful force for good for those around him. Found injured on a train track, abused and apparently tied there to die, he began a new life supported by a variety of

19 11, 2014

Review: Household Gods by Ted & Kristin Kluck

By | November 19th, 2014|Categories: Christian Living, Nonfiction, Parenting & Family, Social Sciences|Tags: , , |3 Comments

Rating:

household gods book coverReviewed by Sarah McCubbin

Household Gods begins with the premise that in our modern 21st century lives, we have idols…in our homes. They may not look like a golden calf or a statue of some foreign god, but indeed these idols may look like our dreams, our careers and all the trappings of a successful evangelical family. These idols may look like ideas…a set of ideals that we adhere to and find necessary for happiness and joy.

This book is written in a very conversational style–almost like you are chatting while hanging out in their living room. The stories flow freely and sometimes run down rabbit trails like a conversation among friends. From the beginning, I found myself laughing out loud at the author’s characterizations of different groups of people typically found in evangelical circles: sport’s dads, homeschool families (we

26 10, 2014

Review: Parentology by Dalton Conley

By | October 26th, 2014|Categories: Humor, Nonfiction, Parenting & Family|Tags: , |2 Comments

Rating:

parentology book coverReviewed by Poppy Johnson

Parentology: Everything You Wanted to Know about the Science of Raising Children but Were Too Exhausted to Ask is the story of Dalton Conley, whose idea of raising children includes a bit of science, a tad of theory and a pinch of parent-wise common sense. His story starts with the rushed and heart racing emergency birth of his daughter whom he calls “E” in the book (that’s it, just “E”), and follows the course of his marriage to his wife Natalie and the later addition of his son named “Yo”. The book starts out being an exercise in parenting techniques but quickly turns into a dissertation on Dalton’s life and times, thoughts, family problems, family travels and personal life lessons. I am sorry to say that the book takes on a rambling tone quite quickly; I lost interest

3 10, 2014

Review: It’s Complicated: The Social Lives of Networked Teens by Danah Boyd

By | October 3rd, 2014|Categories: Computers & Technology, Health, Mind, & Body, Nonfiction, Parenting & Families, Parenting & Family, Psychology, Psychology & Counseling|Tags: , , , |12 Comments

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Reviewed by Rebecca Donatelli

It’s Complicated is one of those eye-opening books that leaves you asking yourself question after question, wanting and needing to find the answers. For parents struggling to teach their children about Internet safety, or for those wondering how social media can have such an influence on the lives of everyday teens, this book would be an excellent way to begin your research.

Boyd interviews and observes teenagers as they live their lives through social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. She is an advocate for teenage Internet usage and wants the world to know that utilizing the web does not always lead to negative consequences for teens. Most of us age forty or over hung out at football games (opening scene) to socialize with our friends for four hours on a Friday evening, not worrying necessarily about capturing

31 07, 2014

Review: I Can Barely Take Care of Myself by Jen Kirkman

By | July 31st, 2014|Categories: Memoirs, Nonfiction, Parenting & Family|Tags: , |3 Comments

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15757384Reviewed by Carrie Ardoin

Even before I became a parent, I knew I never wanted to be one of those mothers who starts every other sentence with, “As a mother…” and then proceeds to give her opinion to anyone within hearing distance, regardless of their parent status or if they had asked for my opinion at all. For the most part, I think I have avoided being that type of mom. I do, however, know plenty of other parents like this. For as much flack as Jen Kirkman catches for being happy in her decision not to have children, I too have heard so many people offer their unsolicited advice on the fact that I am content with having only one child. So while it’s not exactly the same thing, I can relate to the author and understand why she felt the need

15 07, 2014

Review: If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother by Julia Sweeney

By | July 15th, 2014|Categories: Humor, Memoirs, Nonfiction, Parenting & Family|Tags: , , , |2 Comments

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15803186Reviewed by Carrie Ardoin

I was very much looking forward to reading a memoir by a former cast member of Saturday Night Live. I figured if the stories weren’t very interesting, at least they would be funny. It turns out I was not correct on either assumption: the stories Julia Sweeney tells in this book are barely interesting, and not funny at all.

As If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother begins, Julia explains the format. Her tales are divided into four sections, which correspond with four weeks during which Julia is alone, her husband and daughter on different trips during the summer. In these sections, the author explains how she came to get her adopted daughter, her various failed relationships, and eventually the chance meeting by which she met her husband.

In my opinion, the most heart is shown in the raw stories