Book Review: The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss

The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss: A Biblical Approach to Losing Weight and Keeping It OffIf you’re tired of chasing the latest diet fad only to find that you’ve gained weight, it’s time to try an entirely different approach. The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss succeeds where other programs fail because it focuses on your relationship with God as well as on your relationship with food. Once you discover the pleasures of eating the food God has provided for optimum health, you will not want to turn back. The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss offers a strategic, biblically based plan backed by solid research that will eliminate your cravings and help you to drop those unwanted pounds once and for all.

Two summers ago I read The Daniel Plan by Rick Warren. I thought it was the original book about the way of eating I had heard so much about. The book was interesting but not what I thought it would be. Later on I realized that I should have read The Daniel Fast by Susan Gregory. When I was given the opportunity to review The Daniel Fast for Weight Loss, I was thrilled. I am a vegetarian wanna-be, am in desperate need of getting healthy and am intrigued by a fast that does not require a complete lack of food.

When I began reading, I became frustrated that the book did not begin with the practical aspects of the fast, but spent numerous chapters on first getting your heart and mind ready for spending more time with God during the 21-day fasting period. It only took until chapter 3 for me to realize just how important this foundation-laying was and how unsuccessful the fast would be without this critical internal preparation.

I am getting my kitchen cupboards, my heart and my body ready for the Daniel fast. I will begin in a week and am praying that I have the willpower to succeed. I am thankful that the book has planning and preparation suggestions, a food list and many recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks. I long to be closer to God and closer to a healthy weight. I have a specific focus for my prayer time and if I lose weight, great! If I don’t, it will not be in vain. Intentional time with God is never a waste.

I give this book 5 stars out of 5.

Tyndale Blog Network provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Book Review: Dauntless

Where Legend and History Collide, One Young Woman Will Fight for the Innocent

Born a baron’s daughter, Lady Merry Ellison is now an enemy of the throne after her father’s failed assassination attempt upon the king. Bold and uniquely skilled, she is willing to go to any lengths to protect the orphaned children of her former village–a group that becomes known as “The Ghosts of Farthingale Forest.” Merry finds her charge more difficult as their growing notoriety brings increasing trouble their way.

Timothy Grey, ninth child of the Baron of Greyham, longs to perform some feat so legendary that he will rise from obscurity and earn a title of his own. When the Ghosts of Farthingale Forest are spotted in Wyndeshire, where he serves as assistant to the local earl, he might have found his chance. But when he comes face-to-face with the leader of the thieves, he’s forced to re-examine everything he’s known.

A female Robin Hood. A book meant for early teens. Predictable and a bit cheesy.

That being said, the book was not a total waste of time. Once I realized that this book would be better enjoyed by a teen, I was able to finish reading but through a different lens. The characters were enjoyable and I found myself rooting for the children at every turn. The story, while predictable, was still fast-paced enough to keep me reading. I would not read the next book in the series and have donated this book to my teenager’s English teacher for the classroom library. It will be enjoyed by many teens for whom the book is written.

I give this book 3 stars out of 5.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

 

Book Review: The Shock of Night

The Shock of Night (The Darkwater Saga Book #1)The Darkwater Claims All Who Enter It. All But One.

When one man is brutally murdered and the priest he works for mortally wounded, Willet Dura, reeve to the king of Bunard, is called to investigate. As he begins to question the dying priest, the man pulls Willet close and screams in a foreign tongue. Then he dies without another word.

Willet returns to his task, but the clues to the crime lead to contradictions and questions without answers, and his senses are skewed. People he touches appear to have a subtle shift, as though he can divine their deepest thoughts. In a world divided between haves and have-nots, gifted and common, Willet soon learns he’s been passed the rarest gift of all–a gift that’s not supposed to exist. 

Now Willet must pursue the murderer still on the loose in Bunard even as he’s pulled into a dangerous conflict that threatens not only his city, but his entire world–a conflict that will force him to come to terms with his inability to remember how he escaped the Darkwater Forest–and what happened to him inside it. 

I have not done a book review in a very long time. Full-time work, husband, two teenagers… That being said, I came out of ‘retirement’ for Patrick W. Carr’s new book The Shock of Night. I was thrilled to see that there was a new series coming from Carr as I enjoyed his last series The Staff and the Sword (see previous reviews). I took time away from an exceptionally stressful week of work to try and escape over the weekend. I was not disappointed! For those who know me, I LOVE a good murder – murder mystery novel, that is! I was instantly transported to a world of intrigue, murder and mysterious goings-on. Delightful…

There are details that seemed vague and almost confusing at times, and it might have helped to have read the prequel By Divine Right (free Kindle version on Amazon) to clear up some of the backstory that was not fully developed in the novel. I enjoyed the characters, the intricate pieces of the puzzle and how quickly the story moved along. I was fully involved in the mystery and loved escaping to such an interesting world. If only there were more in the series already published for a wonderful escape every weekend!

I will absolutely read this book again and am eagerly anticipating book two in the Darkwater Saga. I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. 

Book Review: A Draw of Kings

Draw of Kings Book CoverDark forces have gathered and the Final Battle for Illustra has begun.

Their journey to Merakh should have made Errol and his companions heroes of the realm. Instead, they’ve been branded enemies of the kingdom.

In the wake of the king’s death, Duke Weir is ruling the country–and he intends to marry Adora to bring an heir from the royal line. With Errol and the others imprisoned and the identity of the rightful heir to the throne still hidden in secrecy, Illustra is on the verge of civil war–and threatened by hostile forces gathering on every side.

A dangerous mission to free Errol is attempted, but the dangers facing the kingdom mount with every passing moment. The barrier has fallen, ferrals are swarming toward the land, and their enemies draw ever closer. Will the discovery of the true heir turn back the tide of Illustra’s destruction?

I was so excited to read the final installment in The Staff and the Sword series that I re-read the first two books again while waiting for my review copy to arrive. The final book in the saga continues with characters on journeys, new exotic locations and personalities, and enough plot twists and turns to keep the pages flying by.

I finished reading A Draw of Kings weeks ago but was so disappointed in the ending that it has taken me weeks to write the review. It’s like the author ran out of time or energy and rushed the ending. I feel there was not enough time spent resolving the characters and the plot. I was so invested in the story and it was hard to not develop the things that were finally revealed in the climax of the story. (Sorry I’m so vague but I don’t want to reveal any spoilers…)

I enjoyed A Draw of Kings as much as the other two up until the last chapter – that was only 5 ½ pages long. I found myself flipping back in disbelief – how could this saga be wrapped up in such a short chapter. I was left wanting so much more. Despite this, I still recommend the book and the series. I am looking forward to what Mr. Carr has to offer in the future.

I give this book 4 stars out of 5.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.
Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

Weirdness

I have been dying to post so many things about life in Calgary and how busy and exciting life is. I have been struggling. You see, I had a parent of one of my students tell me that she found my blog and read a lot of it. I realize I have a public blog and I’m sure strangers have taken a look around, but knowing that people in my work life have been learning about my private life has made it hard to post. I don’t think she or any other parent has subscribed for updates and there were probably a ton of parents that googled me when I first started that I don’t know about, but it is still a little weird knowing that student parent(s) might be reading the blog. I’ve been trying to ‘get over it’ but it’s been harder than I thought.

So, do you think I need to get over being paranoid or should I set up some privacy settings? Any suggestions to get over my weirdness are greatly appreciated.

Book Review: The Dancing Master

Dancing Master Book CoverFinding himself the man of the family, London dancing master Alec Valcourt moves his mother and sister to remote Devonshire, hoping to start over. But he is stunned to learn the village matriarch has prohibited all dancing, for reasons buried deep in her past.

Alec finds an unlikely ally in the matriarch’s daughter. Though he’s initially wary of Julia Midwinter’s reckless flirtation, he comes to realize her bold exterior disguises a vulnerable soul–and hidden sorrows of her own.

Julia is quickly attracted to the handsome dancing master–a man her mother would never approve of–but she cannot imagine why Mr. Valcourt would leave London, or why he evades questions about his past. With Alec’s help, can Julia uncover old secrets and restore life to her somber village…and to her mother’s tattered heart?

The Dancing Master by Julie Klassen had a slow moving start that eventually picked up the pace, but never gripped me so that I couldn’t put the book down. I put the book down on several occasions and didn’t find myself in a hurry to pick it up again…the characters and the story just weren’t engaging enough to stay with me.

The characters were shallow – a dancing master who was afraid to get his hands dirty with a different job so he could support his mother and sister, a rich matriarch’s daughter who was so concerned with only herself that I wanted to shake some sense into her, and a matriarch of a village that was so desperate to bury pain in her own life that she controlled everyone and everything around her.

The story was enjoyable but predictable in many ways. While there were a couple of surprises along the way, this book was just too slow and too shallow for my liking.

I give this book 3 stars out of 5.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group”.

Book Review: 40 Most Influential Christians

40 Most Infulential Christians Book CoverAll Christians’ beliefs are shaped by those who went before them. Now these giants of Christian history are presented chronologically and in a format that helps readers get to know them. In addition to a biographical sketch, readers will discover each person’s primary contributions to the Christian faith along with a brief quotation from their work. Students, history buffs, and curious readers will be fascinated as their faith is strengthened. Included are Polycarp, Justin Martyr, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Karl Barth, Carl F. H. Henry, and more.

A guest review by Rev. Derwyn Costinak

As the author readily acknowledges in his introduction, choosing any number of Christians in the history of the Church and identifying them as “most influential” is a challenge, simply because there will be many differences of opinion about who would qualify for such a list. With this in mind, I think he has selected good candidates and provides easy-to-read summaries of each one’s historical context and the contribution he or she has made to the development of the Church.

There are two things that disappoint me, however. While I know that every writer has a slant to the topic, I think that the author has identified his doctrinal preference too firmly right from the start. In his first chapter on Clement of Rome, he takes issue with an episcopal church structure. In other words, he plainly states that a church structured with formal bishops, priests, and deacons is in error. Such a statement basically pushes every Roman Catholic and Anglican (and others) to the side and makes his book appear to be written only for low-church Evangelicals. This leads to my second disappointment, which is that he tends to editorialize in several places. While I realize that he is not writing an academic treatise and is aiming at a general audience, his editorial comments move him away from presenting a reasonable summary of what each person did in history, and reinforce the bias he already stated in the first chapter.

In all, this book is a handy resource to learn about key figures in Christian history, especially for those who do not know much about the first 1500 years of Church history. However, its obvious slant is likely to cause it to be painted negatively by those who are not of the popular Evangelical tribe.

I give this book 3 stars out of 5.

I received this book free from Bethany House.  I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Snow Day

Our first blizzard in Calgary has brought a silver lining… Yesterday was a Pro-D day for the kids and for me, but because of the snow, I did not have to go into work! It was also Derwyn’s day off, so we snuggled in and had a great day. The kids chilled, Derwyn and I got some shopping done in the afternoon and we almost finished decorating the tree – all while the blizzard was blowing!

Last night I got word that my school was closed and the kid’s school was not running buses – another day off! I have been lesson planning and making turkey stock and the kids have been laying low. This afternoon they both went out to explore the huge snowdrifts in the backyard. It’s been great having some time to relax after writing 48 report cards and having 48 parent – teacher interviews. I think I now have the energy to get through the Kindergarten Christmas concert (97 Kinders at once – eek!)

I pray the Christmas season is peaceful and relaxing!

An Expensive Piece of Paper

Today I walked across the stage to receive my Bachelor of Education degree. I’m glad we made the trip to Toronto (thank goodness for Air Miles) but it has made us all very home sick… I never thought I would utter those words.

I’m tired and off to get some sleep, but wanted to toot my own horn just for a moment. I was the recipient of the BEd Wizkids.ca Award of Excellence. Wizkids.ca is the sponsor of – are you ready for this – the $500 prize that goes along with the award!! I was chosen by the faculty for my professional excellence as well as for achieving highest standing in the primary/junior class. I am absolutely thrilled to be recognized and to know that all the stress and tears were worth it. I don’t know what I’ll spend the money on just yet, but am thinking about a piece of art or another significant item. Time will tell.

Here are the pics from the day. Yeah me!

 

Book Info: Janitors 3 – Curse of the Broomstaff

Hello all,

For those of you who don’t know, I got a job as a full-time kindergarten teacher in mid-September. Welcome to crazy busy! I had promised to do a review of this book and still intend to, but have missed the deadline for when I was supposed to have it done. The publisher has been gracious in allowing me to just post the book info for now and post the review later…

I will have a kindergarten post this weekend (hopefully…)Janitors Book 3 Book Cover

Janitors: Curse of the Broomstaff

A secret society of Janitors with wizard-like powers continue their battle, and now, the stakes are even higher. The Bureau of Educational Maintenance is after Alan Zumbro and this time they mean business, deadly business. Spencer, Daisy, and their little team of rebels must find the source of all magical Glop and destroy it before it can destroy the world as we know it. No small task with the BEM and their monster toxites at their heels. It s a wild and dangerous ride as they follow the trail of clues all the way to the hiding place of the mysterious aurans: guardians of a secret landfill. What they discover there will change the way Spencer sees himself, not to mention the fate of the rebels.

About the Author

Tyler Whitesides worked as a janitor at an elementary school to put himself through college. He graduated with a degree in music. In addition to writing novels, Tyler is an avid composer and arranger of instrumental music. He is married to his lovely wife, Connie, who teaches third grade.Janitors Book 3 Author graphic