Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Review: Strange and Mysterious Stuff from the Bible: From the Weird to the Wonderful by Stephen M. Miller

Stephen Miller, bestselling author of Complete Guide to the Bible and Who’s Who and Where’s Where in the Bible, compares reading the Bible to driving a country road. “We’re cruising along reading a fine little story when suddenly we hit a jaw dropper of a narrative pothole. Right out loud we might say, ‘What on earth is this doing in God’s holy Word?’”
You can’t read far in the Bible without being jolted by an account of polygamy, slavery, or gender inequality. Other stories read almost like comedies—like the one about a dead man springing to life when his corpse touches a prophet’s bones.
How do you face these things honestly? With a touch of dry humor, Miller identifies bumps in the road, briefly offers popular interpretations, and leaves you with food for thought. This is a fast-paced, fun, and reliable guide for your tour through the Bible.

As a fan of trivia books, I couldn't pass up this one.

In Strange and Mysterious Stuff from the Bible: From the Weird to the Wonderful, readers are shown stories and other things written in the Bible and presented with what they could mean, their context, and their relevance and possible interpretations.

The book has 250 entries and each one is quite short, no more than 2-3 pages each, with some of them being less than a page long. This reminds me a little bit of the style of Uncle John's Bathroom Reader. Each one is a quick read, and they are written in a funny and accessible way so you don't lose interest.

I liked that it's kind of like a history lesson as well as it tries to match some of the things to real-life people, events and places, where relevant. Including the biblical place's modern name (country) makes it easier to imagine how it all ties up geographically and historically.

I did notice, however, that some topics were connected or almost similar but they were placed far apart in the book. Perhaps it would be better if they were closer together or there was a clearer order to the entries.

Thanks to NetGalley and Harvest House Publishers for the e-ARC. Publication date of Strange and Mysterious Stuff from the Bible From the Weird to the Wonderful is on September 1, 2014.


  1. The entries are funny and interesting.
  2. You'll learn a lot, even if you think you already know a lot about the Bible.
  3. It's well-researched. 


  1. It may benefit from a clearer order of entries according to chronology in the Bible, for example. 

The story leaves some readers thinking of Esau as dumber than a bag of peas and of Jacob as an exploitive, price-gouging jerk of a brother (and probably a good cook). 

  1. You like trivia books.
  2. You want to know more about the Bible.
  3. You've ever wondered what things that appeared in the Bible have a historical basis. 




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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Iraqi-based Babylon became the world's bad-boy superpower in 612 BC by crushing the Assyrian army.

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Review: 5 Little Monkeys Jumpin' on the Bed: A Sing 'N Count Book by Baby Genius

“5 Little Monkeys Jumpin’ on the Bed,” the classic children’s story and song features Oboe the monkey and DJ the dinosaur. Oboe’s mama discovers that Oboe and his brothers and sisters are jumpin’ on their bed. One-by-one they each fall off and bump their head. When Mama calls the Doctor (Dr. DJ), the doctor says, “No more monkeys jumpin’ on the bed.” But when Dr. DJ gets home to his own family, guess what his children are doing? This classic children’s song/story will bring joy, laughter, and smiles to tots and parents alike. Children will learn how to count the monkeys on their fingers and gain an entertaining introduction to subtraction – every time a monkey falls off the bed.
I remember this rhyme from when I was a child, so when I saw that it was free on Kindle, I decided to download it.

In 5 Little Monkeys Jumpin' on the Bed: A Sing 'N Count Book, five little monkeys are jumping on the bed, as the nursery rhyme goes. One by one, the monkeys each fall off so their mother calls their doctor.

I think there's a song you can download and use with this book, but when I read this to my son, I just read it aloud and didn't use the song.

My son likes reading books, even books on my iPad, but with this book, his attention wandered pretty quickly. I'm not sure if it's because the story is rather repetitive, or if it's because he didn't like the illustration style. He can be picky when it comes to illustrations, but usually if it's colorful, he'll at least watch or read for a few seconds or minutes.

Personally, I wasn't a fan of the illustration style. It seemed like it was computer-generated, kind of like some of the newer cartoons on Disney Junior are, but not as polished. The story is pretty much what you remember from the rhyme, so it was nice that it didn't tamper with a classic, so to speak.


  1. It's true to the original.
  2. It will help children learn subtraction.
  3. Kids may learn not to jump on the bed.


  1. The illustration style may not work for everyone.

they're all asleep.


  1. Your child is learning subtraction.
  2. Your child likes nursery rhymes.
  3. Your child likes jumping on the bed and you're not a fan of that.




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Sunday, July 27, 2014

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.


Strange and Mysterious Stuff from the Bible: From the Weird to the Wonderful by Stephen M. Miller
The Amish Baking Cookbook: Plainly Delicious Recipes from Oven to Table by Georgia Varozza and Kathleen Kerr

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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Review: Open Heart: A Patient's Story of Life-Saving Medicine and Life-Giving Friendship by Jay Neugeboren

When Neugeboren discovered he needed emergency quintuple bypass surgery, he embarked on a journey that just began with the operating table.
I had high hopes for this book because I have sort of been on both sides, as the medical student and as the patient.

In Open Heart: A Patient's Story of Life-Saving Medicine and Life-Giving Friendship, the author shares the story of his diagnosis and his quintuple bypass surgery, as well as his friendship with several doctors and how that played into his pre- and post-op life.

One of my favorite subjects in medical school was cardiology so most of the jargon used in the book was familiar to me. I liked that there were plenty of studies and other information included and that they were properly cited. The author's friends also play a prominent part and they make the book more interesting.

Overall, however, the book did not live up to my expectations. It started off okay for me. A few chapters into it, though, and my mind started wandering. The book feels a little bit like a diary or a blog. That is, it's okay in short doses or entries, but it can be a little tedious when read in one go.

There were plenty of details and self-reflection here. Now some may like that, but personally, I found it a little boring and quite possibly self-indulgent. I believe this book could have been edited down significantly as to keep the pace at a nice clip.

Thanks to NetGalley and Open Road Integrated Media for the e-ARC.


  1. You'll learn a lot.
  2. You'll probably feel like you should go to your doctor and have a general examination done.
  3. There is proper citation of sources. 


  1. Some may find the pace too slow. 

"A second or two after the blood stopped flowing into your heart, the entire bottom of the TV screen - the lower part of your heart - lit up, just blossomed with the glow of all those collateral blood vessels," he says. 

  1. You think it's unlikely that you'll develop heart disease.
  2. You want to learn more about the inner workings of medicine.
  3. You don't mind books that have a slow pace. 



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Friday, July 25, 2014

Review: The Asylum for Fairy-tale Creatures by Sebastian Gregory

Once upon a nightmare…
Long ago, in a land where imagination meets the darkest nightmares, they built the asylum. Surrounded by a forest of thorns, it holds the most twisted minds in the fairy tale kingdom: a terrible collection of evil creatures and forgotten souls. Imprisoned within its walls, they are doomed to spend forever after telling their tales… and serving as a warning to others.
Now, you are invited to accompany Blood Red Riding Hood into the depths of this strange place – where you will meet its even stranger inhabitants. But be warned: walls this thick were built to withstand the darkest magic… so once you’re inside, you might just find yourself living horribly ever after… and wishing you were indeed in a land far, far away.
I find fairy tale re-tellings fascinating so I decided to give this book a try.

In The Asylum for Fairy-tale Creatures, some of our favorite fairy tale characters, as it turns out were actually driven mad by the things that happened to them. The story centers mostly around Red Riding Hood, Thumbeana, and Thread Bear. The three of them end up in the asylum for fairy-tale creatures after they go through some horrible things. But what exactly happens to them once they get there?

I found the first chapter very interesting. It was dark and a little twisted and held the promise of more things to come. However, the succeeding chapters were not quite what I expected.

I'm not familiar with Thumbeana and Thread Bear, although I think I read a story or saw a cartoon that started similarly to Thumbeana's story once. As for the other fairy tale characters I was more familiar with, they more or less followed their stories, at least, they started that way. The more magical aspects of the story, however, were turned into something darker.

Personally, the tales and the story were a little bit too twisted for me. I can't really put my finger on it, but I guess since the book is relatively short, I missed the longer descriptions and world-building that could have helped me empathize with the characters instead of just being an observer and being creeped out by them.

I noticed a few typos and missing words in the ARC I received. It took away a little bit from my being immersed in the world of the book, but they should be fixed by the time this book gets published, so you shouldn't worry too much about that.

Thanks to NetGalley and Carina UK for the e-ARC.


  1. The twists to the characters' stories are interesting.
  2. It's a good concept.
  3. This book may have a potential following and a possible future as a movie, if the story was expanded. 


  1. Some may find it hard to feel for the characters. 

Surrounded by a forest of dense thorns and crumbling on a precipice falling to an infested monster sea, the asylum held the most insane in the entire fairy tale kingdom. 

  1. You like fairy tale re-tellings.
  2. You like creepy books.
  3. You like dark, twisted stories. 



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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Have You Seen My Tail? Book Blast

Mother Daughter Book Reviews is pleased to be coordinating a Book Blast for the adorable picture book "Have You Seen My Tail?" by Kathryn Harper.

Have You Seen My Tail? by Kathryn Harper

About the Book

Title: Have You Seen My Tail? (Katie-Jane, Book #2) | Author & Illustrator: Kathryn Harper | Publication Date: July, 2014 | Publisher: Green Cup Publishing | Pages: 36 | Recommended Ages: 3 to 8

Summary: Anyone who has ever struggled to accept - or longed to experience - change of any kind will be able to relate to Katie-Jane's second story, "Have You Seen My Tail?" Using rhyming verse, and laugh-out-loud moments, Katie-Jane begins this story feeling bored. She is surprised and shocked as she meets a butterfly, a frog and a snake; who are all struggling to accept the recent big changes in their lives. Different perspectives help all four characters to accept their own situations, and embrace change in the way life offers it to them. "Have You Seen My Tail?" is the second book in the six-part Katie-Jane series, designed to encourage the reader to 'be the very best version of you.'

Sneak Peek

Have You Seen My Tail? by Kathrn Harper - Inside Page


Amazon | Book Website

You can also purchase the first book in the Katie-Jane Series, "Am I a Chameleon?" by clicking the book cover below:

Am I a Chameleon by Kathrn Harper

Early Buzz About the Book

"Author Kathryn Harper offers insightful questions and answers at the end of the book explaining how she feels about change. I love how these insightful thoughts give the reader a chance to verbalize their own feelings. Like her other books, the illustrations are beautiful and vivid. Each of the animals has a wonderfully rich texture, color, and personality. The Katie-Jane books continue to not disappoint, I look forward to seeing the next books in the series." ~ 5 Star Review, Katherine R., Amazon"Katie-Jane is a very sweet character in "Have You Seen My Tail?" She helps to explain change in a gentle and unsuspecting way. This is the second book in the series for Author, Kathryn Harper. She writes a relatable story that children all over the world can grasp and understand. " ~ 5 Star Review, Mary Jo P., Amazon

About the Author: Kathryn Harper

Kathryn Harper
I have always loved to write, draw and create, but my books are inspired by more than my love for their medium.

As a child I was selective mute. Both my struggles and my breakthroughs are a source of inspiration toward creating Katie-Jane and her stories.

I grew up in the UK, after living in Johannesburg between the ages of two and five. Today I live in Wanaka, New Zealand, with my two gorgeous children and partner, Simon. I feel incredibly lucky to be able to call this place home, where an adventure can begin every time we step outside.

Website | Facebook | Goodreads

* $25 Book Blast Giveaway *

Amazon 25 gift card

Prize: $25 Amazon Gift Card or PayPal cash (winner’s choice)

Contest ends: August 21, 11:59 pm, 2014

Open: Internationally

How to enter: Please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below.

Terms and Conditions: NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. A winner will be randomly drawn through the Rafflecopter widget and will be contacted by email within 48 hours after the giveaway ends. The winner will then have 72 hours to respond. If the winner does not respond within 72 hours, a new draw will take place for a new winner. Odds of winning will vary depending on the number of eligible entries received. This contest is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Facebook. This giveaway is sponsored by the author, Kathryn Harper and is hosted and managed by Renee from Mother Daughter Book Reviews. If you have any additional questions – feel free to send and email to Renee(at)MotherDaughterBookReviews(dot)com.

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