Lemons Are a Girl’s Best Friend – A Review

Lemons Are a Girl’s Best Friend, by Janet Hayward, is a colorful and short companion for any gal wanting to take the plunge into the world of superfoods. The 127-page book features recipes for 30 superfoods. For each superfood, Hayward provides a 1 page introduction to the food, highlighting its nutritional properties, as well as 2 recipes – 1 for you tummy (yum!) and 1 for external application. Superfoods featured include “obvious” choices, like kale and blueberries, as well as some surprisingly potent foods, like honey and tomatoes.


  • Common Superfoods – With the exception of goji berries and seaweed, most of the superfoods Hayward highlights are easily found in nearly any grocery store. Many of them – like oats, green tea, and cinnamon – you probably have sitting in your pantry right now.
  • Illustrations and Overall Design – This hardcover book is petite and pretty. The bright yellow cover welcomes you into the pages of colorful illustrations for each of the superfoods.


  • Repetitive Nature of Beauty Recipes – Many of the beauty recipes Hayward gives are redundant. For example, there are numerous recipes for rinses and exfoliating products.
  • Vague Instructions – The instructions for how to make the recipes leave a bit to be interpreted. In many cases, I feel Hayward needs to expound on the instructions and be more explicit in the directions she gives.

Lemons Are a Girl’s Best Friend will be available for purchase through common book carrier sites, including Amazon, on March 6th. The book is available in both hardcover and ebook editions.

Disclaimer: I received this book as a review copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion, as represented in this review.







The Comic Book Story of Video Games: A Review

The Comic Book Story of Video Games

Image Credit: Ten Speed Press

As he has done in Alexander Hamilton, the last book I reviewed, Hennessey has created another meticulously researched, historically-based graphic novel sure to delight tech buffs. In his new graphic novel, author Jonathan Hennessey teams up with illustrator Jack McGowan to create a visual history of a favorite American pastime. The Comic Book Story of Video Games features ten chapters that covers everything from the technological environment that birthed video games to their most recent development.

The book starts out with the Industrial Revolution and explains how the technological climate of this event in history laid the foundation for video games. Hennessey and McGowan then walk readers through the technological developments of the 1940s, 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s, and 90s up to the most recent developments in gaming technology. The book flows from one development to the next instead of “chunking” the discussion of video games by era. This liquid discussion of technology is also facilitated by contextualizing each development in light of the historical period that influenced it. For example, in discussing computer technology of the 1950s, the authors provide a bit of context by discussing the Cold War.

Throughout the book, there are spotlights for important gaming pioneers and video games. For example, Hennessey and McGowan include brief biographies of individuals like Alan Turing, Shigeru Miyamoto, and John Carmack. They also include spotlights on groundbreaking games like Pong, Asteroids, and Angry Birds, providing information on the maker, country of origin, and console with which the game is associated.


  • Intensively Researched – Hennessey has done a masterful job researching the history of video games. The content is so information dense – straight-forward and to the point.
  • Spotlight Features – I liked the author’s decision to showcase important gaming pioneers and video games. It allowed me to better comprehend the “important stuff” in an otherwise slightly overwhelming ocean of technological information.


  • Highly Technical – I am not a computer or gaming buff. Computer jargon may as well be Chinese as far as my comprehension is concerned. So, I had a bit of difficulty grasping the importance of the histories detailed in this book. Hennessey writes assuming his audience is already familiar with gaming and computer technological jargon. So, if you’re a tech buff, this book should be no problem.
  • A Few Content Issues – Although this book is largely on the PG level, there were some instances in which I was a little surprised by the content. A few cases of mild profanity are sprinkled throughout the book. At least two instances of strong profanity are included. Although some of the letters are *** out, the reader will still get the word in his or her mind. Also, there were a few images that may be an issue for some readers (i.e. scantily dressed women and an illustration for a peep show advertisement). These instances coupled with the highly-technical nature of the book would probably make it more conducive to high-school+ readers, not middle schoolers.

Overall, I did not enjoy reading this book very much – not because it was poorly written, on the contrary! This book was so meticulously written and I was so outside of its target audience that I simply did not have the background knowledge necessary to enjoy the reading experience. I ordered this book for my classroom library. I feel this book would be enticing for older, middle grades students – especially those with a knack for technology and/or gaming. However, I probably would not use this book with students in 6th or 7th grades.

The Comic Book Story of Video Games is now available for purchase. For more information regarding the book and/or purchasing, visit Amazon or the book’s webpage.

Disclaimer: I received this book as a review copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion, as represented in this review.

Women in Sports: A Review

In her newest book, Women in Sports, author and artist Rachel Ignotofsky introduces readers to 50 women athletes who changed the sports world.

Over the course of the book, Ignotofsky chronicles women’s rights in the sports world through 50 biographies of women in sports ranging from BMX racing to MMA fighting to figure skating to cricket. The book is arranged chronologically, with the first pioneers of women’s sports discussed first and the most recent pioneers discussed as the book closes. Each biography features a colorful portrait of the subject participating in her sport, as well as illustrated “fun facts” in the margins. These artistic touches add flair to these women’s stories.

I have mixed feelings about this book. Personally, I am not a big sports fan. I ordered this book as a resource for my classroom, not based on personal reading interest. However, I was intrigued by the layout and graphic design of the book. I have been reading about interactive student notebooks lately and have even experimented with my own creatively inclined notes. I think Ignotofsky’s work in this book would be an excellent model for creative notetaking and motivating students to get creative with their learning.

Although I found most of the biographies to be somewhat stat-dense, a few spectacular pieces did jump out at me. I really enjoyed Ignotofsky’s biography on Tiny Broadwick. At the age of 15, Broadwick was widowed with a daughter to support. Nevertheless, she became a skydiver, jumping out of hot air balloons and eventually airplanes.

My only real beef with this book concerns the Postmodern worldview with which the author approaches the issues discussed in the book. Some of the athletes Ignotofsky features live immoral lifestyles, and these lifestyles are celebrated in the biographies. For this reason, I would be a little more cautious about using this book in my classroom.


  • Short biographies on seldom-heard-of women athletes (great informational texts for classroom reading!)
  • Lively illustrations
  • A diverse representation of women’s sports
  • Engaging inforgraphics on muscle anatomy, women’s sports history, pay gaps, etc.


  • Writing is not particularly engaging – While I realize these are biographies, many of the pieces in this book were simply too statistically dense for my attention span.

Women in Sports is now available in both hardback and e-book form through distributors like Amazon and Penguin Random House. For more information on Rachel Ignotofsky’s work, including her similar book Women in Science, visit her website.

Disclaimer: I received this book as a review copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion, as represented in this review.





Alexander Hamilton: A Review

Jonathan Hennessey’s new graphic novel, Alexander Hamilton: The Graphic History of an American Founding Father, is 168 pages of living history. The biography, illustrated by Justin Greenwood, chronicles Alexander Hamilton’s life – from his birth in the West Indies to his death in a duel with Aaron Burr.

Hennesey uses both summarization and primary sources (i.e. direct quotes from historical figures) to create dialogue and narrate the events of Hamilton’s life. The 24 chapters in the book, all of which cover Hamilton’s life, also provide readers with a glimpse into other American historical events, including the French and Indian War, the Revolutionary War, the Critical Period, and the Federalist Age.


  • Illustrations: Greenwood’s vivid illustrations lend life to events nearly 200 years old. Textual passages like Hennesey’s, if found in a textbook, may disconnect readers from visualizing the historical situation in context – not because the writing is bad, but because Hennesey’s writing style is semi-formal and sometimes difficult to digest.


  • Content: Several instances of language are used in the book. This is easily solved with a good Sharpie. Hennesey does cover Hamilton’s affair with Maria Reynolds, and there are some illustrations relating to this affair that are too risqué for younger audiences.
  • Writing Style: As mentioned above, Hennesey’s writing style is semi-formal. The diction level and syntax structures may be difficult for adolescent students to grasp. The illustrations, thus, help enormously in aiding comprehension.

Alexander Hamilton: The Graphic History of an American Founding Father is currently available for purchase through Amazon in hardcover, paperback, and e-book formats. For more information on the book, check out the biography’s webpage.

Disclaimer: I received this book as a review copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion, as represented in this review.





31 Proverbs to Light Your Path: A Review

Psalm 119:105 reminds us that God’s Word is a lamp for our feet and light for our path. Proverbs 4:7 urges us to “get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.” Liz Curtis Higgs, renowned author and speaker, reaches out to her sisters in Christ to help them in this pursuit of walking in God’s wise ways. In 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path, you’ll join Liz as you examine one verse from Proverbs a day.

This book features 31 chapters, each detailing a different verse in Proverbs. The verses are not in chronological order (i.e. Chapter 1 does not address a verse from chapter 1 of Proverbs and so on), but rather deals with a variety of verses ranging from envy to making plans. In each chapter, Liz breaks down the verse into bite-size chunks, comparing multiple translations for each “chunk” to help us get a better image of the message. She supplements this with personal anecdotes of how the verse in question has applied to her life. Finally, each chapter closes with a “One Minute, One Step” activity, a short and simple prompt to help you apply the verse to your life.

I have never read anything by Liz Curtis Higgs, but I must say, I enjoyed this book, particularly Liz’s writing tone. She challenges her readers to examine their hearts, but never in a way that brings condemnation. She reminds us that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) by recounting some of her own mistakes and encourages us to remember that we are all “justified freely by His grace” (Romans 3:24) with the anecdotes of God’s faithfulness in her life.


  • Study Guide – The book comes with a study guide, with 2 questions per chapter, making this a great resource for a ladies’ Bible study.
  • In-Depth Analysis of Small Scripture Passages – Instead of trying to digest an entire chapter of Proverbs a day, Liz takes one verse and zooms in on it, pulling out words and examining their meanings.


  • Personally, I was expecting this book to be a chronological walk through the Proverbs (see note above) that would allow me to read through the book of Proverbs in one month. Although the book was not what I expected in that sense, I was still very pleased with it.

31 Proverbs to Light Your Path is set to release on October 3. For more information on purchasing options, visit the publisher’s website or Amazon. This book is available in hardcover and e-book editions.

Disclaimer: I received this book as a review copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion, as represented in this review.





The Road to Paradise: A Review

The Road to Paradise, Karen Barnett’s newest novel and the first book in the Vintage National Parks Novel series, is a sweet story of two people’s interaction with God’s creation – a woman who sees His fingerprints in every flower and sunrise and a man whose past has blinded his eyes to the tenderness of God’s love as revealed in nature.

It’s the summer of 1927. Margaret “Margie” Lane, the only daughter of Senator Lane, has landed a job at Rainier National Park in Washington State. Her new boss, head ranger Ford Brayden, is skeptical about having a pampered debutante on his park staff. But the Senator’s funding for the park’s new administration building leaves him little alternative but to humor the poetry-spouting skylark with the curly hair.

Yet, as Ford watches Margie – her love for nature and the way she sees a story of love in every flower petal – something begins to change in him. Margie no longer seems ridiculous, but rather lovely. When Philip Carmichael, a slick operator who has just purchased the Rainier National Park Company, begins to pursue Margie, Ford’s defenses go up. As the plot unwinds, Margie and Ford must work together to halt the advances of Philip, who intends to develop the wilderness of Rainier for profit, and ultimately, use it as a bargaining power to gain Margie’s hand in marriage.

Favorite Elements:

  • Uniqueness – I’ve never read a book quite like this one. I particularly enjoyed the rich element the setting played in the story. The historical period and location were endearing and truly made the story.
  • Faith – This book taught me a little something about the way God works. I love how God isn’t forced into Margie’s life. He’s a part of it. She rejoices in His workmanship and seeks to share His love. She trusts Him to open the opportunities He desires for her to verbally witness to the lost and goes about glorifying Him until that time comes. Her demonstration of simple trust and love for our Creator has shown me the importance of letting go, rejoicing in the God of my salvation, and trusting Him to open the doors He wants me to walk through.
  • Cover – I know that sounds kind of shallow, but the cover is so cute and vintage-y. It immediately caught my eye when I was browsing for a book to review!

Least Favorite Elements:

  • Initial Character Development – At first, I felt Margie’s character was a little too perfect. She didn’t seem to have enough character flaws, or just overall spunk, to be relatable. However, if you stick with the story, you’ll soon see otherwise! She possesses a quiet determination – a paradoxical “gentle” spunk.

The Road to Paradise is now available for purchase in paperback, hardback, and e-book formats. To purchase the book, check out Amazon or the Waterbrook Multnomah publishers’ website.


I received this book as a review copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion, as represented in this review.

Jane of Austin – A Review

In her newest novel, Jane of Austin, Hillary Manton Lodge puts a modern spin on Jane Austen’s timeless classic, Sense and Sensibility.

Jane Woodward’s life has been turned upside down in years past. Her mother was tragically killed in a car accident, and her father’s name has been defiled in the midst of an embezzlement scandal. Due to these familial problems, Jane and her older sister, Celia, have gained guardianship of their younger sister, Margot, and are running a vintage tea salon in San Francisco to support themselves. But an unexpected series of forces them to start life over. So, armed with her tea plants and a long list of playlists, Jane and her sisters leave the Bay area for Austin, Texas.

In Austin, Jane and her sisters move in the casita that belongs to their cousin Ian and his wife Mariah. While staying here, the girls meet ex-Marine Captain Callum Beckett, Ian’s old friend who has recently been discharged after losing a leg during a mission.  Jane, however, seems to overlook Beckett’s quiet strength, however, as her attentions are split among searching for a new location for the tea salon, trying out new scone recipes, and falling for the handsome Sean Willis, a charming rock musician. Jane finds her feelings for Sean are straining her relationship with Celia. Her older sister warns her not to get too close too fast, but how can Jane resist her knight-in-a-shining-Stetson?

This was a really fun read. I particularly enjoyed the characters of Jane and Celia. Jane is girly, but not frivolous. She loves good tea so much that she always carries loose leaf tea in her purse. Her spunky, yet practical, spirit nicely contrasts Celia’s quiet gentility. I also enjoyed drawing the comparison between the characters and events in the novel and Sense and Sensibility. I felt like I was like solving a mystery as I realized that such-and-such a character in Jane of Austin was really so-and-so from Sense and Sensibility. Another element I particularly enjoyed about this book is its symbiotic relationship to tea drinking. In order to enjoy this book even more, you must have an ample supply of tea at the ready, as I delightfully discovered. And, if you’re any good with the oven, you can use the recipes featured in this book to whip out some of the treats the characters enjoy in the novel.

Although I enjoyed this book a lot, I have to say it resembles a Hallmark Romance movie. That being said, the plot is a tad bit cheesy at time. I had a hard time envisioning a hardened marine captain admitting in casual conversation with an old crony that he may or may not be in love with a girl he hardly knows. When explaining these kinds of cheesy instances to my sister, we both found ourselves rolling in laughter. (We would not be enjoyable companions for a Hallmark movie marathon. We both crack up at the first sign of overtly dramatized rom-coms.)

Jane of Austin is now available for purchase in paperback or eBook versions through WaterBrook Publishers as well as Amazon. For more information about the book or the author, visit Hillary Manton Lodge’s web site.

Disclaimer: I received this book as a review copy from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest opinion, as represented in this review.