Friday, September 11, 2015

Excellent Book on Photography

I have never looked at books by this author, but I certainly will look for more of his books.  In the book, Learning to See Creatively, Third Edition: Design, Color, and Composition in Photography, by Bryan Peterson, he effectively helps beginners and experienced photographers see their subjects through another lense.

The pictures are vivid and great, the tips are right on.  Especially in the digital age, he encourages the photographer to experiment and play.  You never know when you’ll get the perfect picture, or find a new technique which really adds to what you are doing.  Get up high, get down low, use different angles, lenses all while taking the same pictures.  It’s time consuming, yet, you’ll find great rewards in doing this. 

He covers all of the basics, but goes beyond that.  He gives a professionals perspective which is so helpful. 

I highly recommend this book and learned a great deal.  While I don’t take as many pictures as I would like, I’m hoping to put some of his illustrations and tools into practice.  I know that I will be a better photographer because of this book and hopefully will feel freer to experiment with the pictures I take.  Especially since I can always delete what doesn’t look good, but it will be a great learning experience.

I received this book at no charge from in exchange for an honest review.

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Very Insightful!

We live in a society that is so quick to condemn and judge others.  In his new book,
Slow to Judge: Sometimes It’s OK to Listen, David Capes seeks to remind us to be slow to judge.  He wants us to hold firm to what we believe, yet at the same time have that difficult balancing act so we don’t judge, but are willing to listen to another person’s point of view.

I found it fascinating that Capes is a regular on a weekly radio talk show alongside a Jewish Rabbi and a Catholic Priest.  They have had others on as well.  They don’t always agree with one another.  In fact, he often strongly disagrees with them, yet considers these men good friends.  How many people could do that in this world?

Too many people want to argue and convince others they are correct, so they form their argument, then they never hear what the other person has do say.  In the end, there are no winners, and everyone ends up losing.

James reminds us in James 1 — “Be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to become angry.”  That’s a great prescription for us.  Instead of judging, be quick to listen.  That’s not always easy, but it leads to greater dialogue.

Overall, I would recommend this book.  It was insightful!

I received this book from in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Enoying My Twinkies!

I was really looking forward to the 85th anniversary cookbook edition of Twinkies.  Hostess updated and expanded the Twinkies Cookbook.  They ahve included some of the best recipes and some new recipes.  I have to admit some of the recipes seemed rather bizarre to me, but may very well taste good.

I would have liked pictures for all of the recipes, instead of pictures for about 30% of the recipes.  Some recipes included Twinkies with meat, which didn’t sound appetizing, Twinkie Corn Dogs don’t get me excited, but a Patriotic Twinkie Pie or Twinkie Strawberry Shortcake sounds great! 

There were recipes covering ~
Twinkies and Cake
Twinkies and Pie
Twinkies and Fruit
Twinkies and Chocolate
Twinkies and Cream
Twinkies and Meat
Twinkies and Novelty

Twinkies in smores or with fruit kabobs sound great and will spice up a dinner party or make for some new snacks and desserts

I enjoyed reading a little about the history of the Twinkie in the introduction to the book.  It included facts, ingredients, its inventor, and the celebration of eighty-five years in production.

Overall, this is a fun and easy book to read.  It would make for a fun gift.

I received this book from in exchange for an honest review.

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Tuesday, July 07, 2015

Finding God in the Darkness!

I have always benefitted from reading books by Nancy and John Ortberg.  They are consummate story tellers.  And their stories always have a message which speaks into my heart.  The newest book by Nancy Ortberg, Seeing in the Dark: Finding God’s light in the most Unexpected Places was another powerful Ortberg book. 

The purpose of the book is to help us find or better yet, recognize the light of God in the midst of the darkness which surrounds us.  What I like about her writing is the fact she is not offering a cookie cutter model of how we need to react to life.  Instead, she shares stories and allows the reader to embrace her message. 

Each chapter seems to be disconnected and yet at the same time they are powerfully connected.  At times the stories and jumps she makes don’t seem to connect until you read the final words of the chapter.  This is an easy to read, yet powerful book.

I was really struck by the last chapter, Benediction.  It was a powerful chapter as Nancy recalled life and death and the last words, the ways in which we say to others “may the Lord . . .”  That was the chapter which will leave a lasting impression upon me. 

This was an excellent book, especially for those who don’t want someone to give them all of the answers to life’s issues, other than to seek the light of Christ!

I received a copy of this book from Tyndale Press in exchange for my honest opinion.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Infuse Away!!

I really was looking forward to this book.  Infuse, by Eric Prum and Josh Williams is a book about how to infuse oils, spirits and waters.   In Infuse the authors share not only their favorite infusion recipes, but also how to use them in food and cocktails, like a spicy chili oil added to a grilled pizza bianca.  With more than 50 recipes for infusing oils, spirits and waters, Infuse provides instructions, quick tips and plenty of inspiration for how you can make delicious infusions part of your everyday.

There are also great pictures and the instructions are very clear.  So, if you are looking to try something new and different, this would be a really fun book.  The ideas are limitless, then you can go off on your own and make your own concoctions. 

I would recommend this book. 

I received it from in exchange for an impartial review.

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Bible for Dad's

While Father’s Day is past, there is no time like now to get the dad in your life a Bible he will read.  The NIV Dad’s Devotional Bible (2nd Edition) is filled with 260 devotionals written for dads. These devotionals, written by Robert Wolgemuth, author of She Calls Me Daddy, The Most Important Place on Earth, and She Still Calls Me Daddy.

The devotionals were well written, filled with stories I was able to relate to.  While I didn’t read each devotional, if you are looking for a Bible which is easy to read, filled with thoughts and ideas which are practical to dads, then this is a great choice.

I appreciated the section entitled, “Questions Kids Ask” along with a topical section called “fruit of the Spirit Topical Index.”  Those were helpful indexes for men to read to help them better understand their children and their faith.  There were also 7 articles for kids to read, so they could better understand their dads.  I thought that was a novel approach.

The main criticism was the location of the introductions for each book of the Bible.  That was in the back of the Bible.  While this saved a few pages, having the introduction would have been better immediately preceding the chapter.

Overall, I felt this was a good Bible to purchase as a gift.

I received this book in exchange for an honest review from

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Excellent 101 Collection

I have never read a John Maxwell book on leadership I didn't like.  This book is no different.  The Complete 101 Collection: What Every Leader Needs to Know, is a compilation of Maxwell's short books from the 101 series.  This book weighs in at just over 600 pages, so it may be intimidating, but the chapters are short and quick reads.

Each page is filled with great, relevant and useful advice.  It's not rocket science, but Maxwell has found a niche in writing about leadership in such a way that it makes sense and seems easier than it really is.  It's mostly common sense.  But, that can be a struggle sometimes!

 There are 8 sections to the book.  Each covers a different phase of leadership, yet are all inter-related . . . 

  1. Attitude
  2. Self Improvement
  3. Leadership 
  4. Relationships
  5. Success
  6. Teamwork
  7. Equipping
  8. Mentoring

John's writing style makes the books easy to read and follow, as he uses stories, life examples and great practical knowledge to help make the books more useful and understandable.  John does not dwell on his Christian faith, which I would have liked to see more.

Overall, this is an excellent book for anyone in leadership or aspiring to positions of leadership.

I received a complimentary review copy of this book courtesy of the publisher and BookLook Bloggers.

How to Tie a Tie

I am not one for overbearing suits.  I believe a stylish suit should stand on its own.  But add a stylish tie to that suit and you are now making a statement.  The problem is, too many men have no clue how to tie a good tie.  Thus enters the book, How to TIE A TIE, by Ryan Tristan Jin.  

Early on I learned how to tie a half Windsor and Full Windsor tie, but that was as far as it went.  I know there are many other ways to tie a tie, but have never taken the time to learn.  Now, I can learn new ways to tie a tie.  

This book was good in that Jin started out by showing the different styles of ties, along with a color wheel to help men learn which colors work together and what does not.  

He then discusses and show diagrams about tying classic knots, then moves into a discussion, with diagrams on how to tie knots which are a little bolder.  One struggle I had was following the diagrams on some of the bolder ties.  That could be where a youtube supplement to this book comes out.

He concludes by talking about style and shirt styles, which was interesting, jackets, cuff links and more.  He also talks about how to tie a bow tie, and pocket squares.

Overall, this was the type of book I would give to a graduating college student to help them when they move into the working world.  The book cover also has a nice texture to it.

I received this book from blogging for Books in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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Saturday, May 30, 2015

Inspiring Book!

I heard of Judah Smith's book Jesus Is ___________ but had not read it, and thought this would be an interesting book to read.  So I was excited to receive this book. 

Judah is an engaging author, telling stories, using humor and tugging at your heart.  This book is broken into 4 sections . . .

Life is . . . to be loved and to love
Life is . . . to trust God in every moment,
Life is . . . to be at peace with God and yourself, and
Life is . . . to enjoy God.

Smith wrote about God's amazing love for us and how illogical it is.  Yet that is the great news.  Smith does a great job showing the reader God is passionately in love with us.  That's the illogical part, but it's the wonderful and powerful point of redemption.

Overall, I would highly recommend this book.  It would make a good book study.

Great Ideas for Personal Evangelism!

Amy Lively attempts to take the reader across the threshold and into the scary land of evangelism.  In her book, How to Love your Neighbor Without Being Weird, Lively shares stories and techniques about how to talk to your neighbor about Christ . . . without being weird.

The book is very practical and filled with humor and very real adventures which helps the reader better identify with the author.  She gives ideas and clues about what to say and has a section at the end of each chapter called “Next Steps” in which she helps you determine what we should do next. 

One great thought she had was to simply invite people to your home instead of inviting them to church where it is more threatening.  She helps the reader understand you don’t need a model super clean home.  Instead you need to practice the gift of hospitality.  Help that person feel welcome in your home and you will be surprised at what happens.

If you are looking for ways to reach your neighbors, then I believe this book has some great ideas in a nonthreatening forum. 

I received this book free of charge from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Excellent! Say No More!

I really enjoy photography but seem to have little to no time to become a better photographer.  When I saw this book, it really piqued my interest.  This book, Capture the Moment, by Sandra Wilkerson, is filled with extraordinary pictures. 

What I really appreciated was the fact that this book was not filled with diagrams and charts about aperture settings, f stops, etc.  The focus was on pictures and settings and how to tell a story through pictures.  This helped the book to be a 5 star book. 

There are 6 chapters which cover the following ~

Natural Light
Fine Art
Black & White
Low Light

This book is useable for the novice like me, or for the advanced photographer who is looking to gain extra inspiration and ideas for new types and styles of pictures.  There are basic tips and ideas for all levels of photographers.  As each chapter progressed, Wilkerson moved into more advanced thoughts and techniques.

Don’t get me wrong, while each picture includes the information about the picture (Shutter speed, f-stop, camera, lens, etc.) that was not the focus of the book.  Sometimes all of those terms can be daunting.  While necessary to know them and understand them as you grow as a photographer, it can still be intimidating. 

Each chapter ends with “Creativity Exercises” to help you progress as a photographer.  Overall, this is an excellent book and I highly recommend it!

I received a free copy of this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

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His Kingdom or Our Kingdom?

I have always appreciated the writing of Reggie McNeal.  He seeks to help churches grow to become who God has called them to become.  In his book, Kingdom Come: Why We Must Give up Our Obsession with Fixing the Church - and What We Should Do Instead, Reggie believes church’s are asking the wrong question.

Most churches are asking how they can grow and become the biggest and newest mega church or multi-site church.  But McNeal states the correct question to ask is “how can our church join God in His mission to grow His kingdom?” 

I believe that is a crucial question and a huge difference in the way we think about church. 

McNeal explained the church is part of God’s plan to grow the kingdom, but we cannot grow the Kingdom without following God’s plan.  The modern church attempts to do ministry in a box, and to that degree we try to put His kingdom, with all of its complexities and uniqueness into our small isolated church’s.

This is an interesting book, with an excellent premise.  He also includes a Discussion Guide in the back of the book to help you consider some of the key thoughts from each chapter.  This is an excellent book for those in leadership to read and discuss.

I received this book from Tyndale Momentum in exchange for an unbiased review.