Posted by: irenesroth | March 20, 2018

Latin American Foods – Book Review

Latin American Foods
By Terry Padilla
Illustrated by Tony Mendoza

This is a wonderful picture book for kids about Latin foods and how people celebrate with foods even in the most difficult circumstances.

It’s been long known that food brings people together and it helps them to overcome obstacles. This picture book alludes to the devastation that Hurricanes Irma and Maria caused in Puerto Rico. The two Hurricanes were one week apart, and they caused so much devastation that the Garcia family had to leave their homeland.

When the Garcia relocated to Orlando, Florida, they found new solace cooking native Latin foods. The foods sound delicious. They are simple recipes that kids may urge their parents to cook. Cooking helped the Garcia family to cope with the relocation by celebrating their Latin roots.

The illustrations also bring the Latin foods to light for the young reader. They are colorful and look delicious. Kids of all ages will be inspired to try some of the recipes.

I love any book about food, and this one didn’t disappoint. Latin food is something that I will be trying to cook more of.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | March 15, 2018

Forever Evergreen-Book Review

Forever Evergreen
By Kay Roberts
Illustrated by Kim Sponaugle

This is a wonderful picture book that is enchanting yet has important lessons about kindness, forgiveness, and how our actions certainly have a huge impact on others.

This story is about Red, a curious cardinal who wants to move past his every day mundane life. So, one day, he decides to leave his friends and fly off to a place far, far away where he can explore his environment.

As he travels, he runs into danger and gets hurt. Red is injured and has no idea what to do. He feels sorry for himself. But then something almost magical happens. Mother Nature comes to his rescue! She shelters Red in a pine tree in a beautiful garden until he recovers from his injury.

In that comforting garden, he feels secure. He learns a lot of important lessons from Mother Nature too. He learns that Mother Nature helps kind and good-hearted beings. Immediately Red feels good about himself. And he is able to take this feeling back to his friends.

The illustrations are magical and will transport the young reader into a world that is inspiring and enchanting. The colors are bold and have a sparkly quality to them.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | February 27, 2018

Mother Nature’s Altered States-Book Review

Mother Nature’s Altered States
By Bill Kalnes

This is a wonderfully imaginative book that showcases the glorious scenes and colors of nature, artistically enhanced by the author to match the vision of a young Mother Nature during a rebellious stage in her life. The eighty-five photos in the book are supported by the story of Mother Nature’s sojourn in to her altered states, to bring more color and flamboyance to her creations.

Kalnes is an artist par excellence! The five sections of the book, with their introductions by Mother Nature, have allowed his imagination to capture the colors of nature like no other book that I have ever read. What a treasure trove of color and majesty! Every photograph in the book can easily be a painting that we would put up in our living rooms. The combination of colors in each of the photographs will transform the reader’s perspective of nature and let them see nature in a completely new way.

Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | January 25, 2018

Oh No! When A Parent Goes Away

Oh No! When a Parent Goes Away
By Dakota King-White
Illustrated by Tyrus Goshay

This is a unique picture book for kids about a serious topic: how a child can cope when a parent goes to prison and isn’t coming home for a long while. It is a book that will educate as well as enlighten with expert advice on how a child can cope.

Duane is a seven-year-old boy who has recently discovered that his Dad is in jail. To make matters worse, he isn’t coming back home for a while. Duane panics like all kids would. What can he do, he keeps asking his Mom?

Duane was so distraught and upset that his mom decided to take him to a counselor. With the counselor, he learned to talk about his feelings openly and express them in writing and drawing. He also learned to talk to his mom when he feels sad and how to get involved in other activities in his community.

This book shows parents how important it is for adults to talk to their children about their feelings. It is also a book that will show kids the importance of expressing their feelings with trusted adults and in safe places, such as their journal.

This picture book is part picture book and part journal where the reader is encouraged to explore feelings of anxiety, frustration, and sadness in the safety of their rooms or with their parents. It is a book that is all-encompassing and encouraging to all kids who are in the unfortunate situation of having a parent in jail.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | January 5, 2018

The Boy Who Couldn’t be Seen! Book Review

The Boy Who Couldn’t be Seen!
By Michael Joffroy

This is an inspiring and yet profoundly sad book about a boy who is neglected through separation from his family.

The boy felt very unloved. The important people in his life were mean to him. He felt rejected and alone. He grew up in fear of everything and everyone. It was a sad and lonely place to be.

When he grew up, he turned to destructive behaviours to mask how terrible he felt. He just couldn’t move past the anger that festered deep in his heart. It was always there and ultimately he had to deal with it.

The process from fear and destructive behavior to one of emancipation was a difficult one. He couldn’t do it alone. So, he went into a recovery program that brought him to God. He realized that God knew his pain all along and He was there with him helping him every step of the way.

By coming back to God and relying on God, the young man was able to move past his fears to a place of comfort and love, the love that God had for him. This is where try recovery lied for the young man. The illustrations stunningly portray the sadness experienced by the young boy and man.

I loved this book from start to finish. I will certainly be encouraging other youngsters to read it, especially those who are separated from their parents because of divorce or the inability to care for their child.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | December 20, 2017

Li Bai’s Shadow-Book Review

Li Bai’s Shadow
By Lee J. Marvin

This was an amazing read! Once I started, I couldn’t stop reading and pondering it. It is a book that I will read and probably re-read in time.

The book is about a young girl, Caitlin Wang. The heart-warming tale follows the child of this young girl with OCD. She has an imaginary friend, Li Bai. He only exists in her mind now. But she clearly sees him in her dollhouse.

Li Bai is not a complete imaginary figure though. He did exist in 700 AD. So, despite the fact that Li Bai is not really in her dollhouse now, it is not a completely unrealistic tale.

Caitlin is a lonely child, and trusts Li Bai with all of her secrets, longings, hopes and dreams. She communicates with him and shares things that no one else knows. Her mother was dead and her father didn’t take her seriously. He doubted her and she was always second-guessed by her father.

Once she reaches the age of 18, Caitlin runs away to Shanghai, China. The details of this are wonderful and are captured vividly by the author as he describes Caitlin to be exploring a new place. It is almost a magical description.

Marvin writes this book in a poetic manner. It is a book that is as intriguing as it is interesting. It is a book that can be read by adolescents who have lost a parent and who have always have the urge to run away from all that is familiar and painful.

The storyline with Caitlin switches between her fantasy and the real-world, but in the end, it comes together with a respect for new newfound independence.

I loved the book from beginning to end! I will recommend it to all adolescent girls that I come into contact with in my community.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | December 14, 2017

Escape From Solomon’s Church – Book Review

Escape From Solomon’s Church:
An Epic Love Story Into the Heart of God
By Brad Kuechler, M.A.

Tagline: This is a life changing epic love story that will transform our lives

This is a life changing epic love story that will capture our hearts and transform our lives. It is a story that will move each reader to action and show him/her a better way to find happiness, peace and a fulfilled life.

The Song of Solomon is in many ways a book that has been forgotten or misunderstood by much of the church. Yet it is a book that is crucially important for our times. Our culture is obsessed with materialism and prestige. The more we have the more we want. This culture has also influenced much of the church and has caused many to strive for the wrong fruit.

In the Song of Solomon, we will discover that we can find rest in the arms and presence of God and find all we need for life. According to Kuechler, this is what Jesus desires from us. He wants us to take His “yoke” of learning His ways upon us. It is when we take God’s yoke upon us, He will bring us rest and help us overcome the heavy burdens we carry. We don’t have to pull life’s burdens ourselves.

A wonderful aspect of this book is that all of these lessons from the Song of Solomon are told through an epic love story. It is a story about a beautiful, poor shepherd girl who was about to marry a man she really loved. However, her dream was crushed when King Solomon stole her away to make her his wife instead. What we quickly learn is that her beloved loves her so much that he will not let her go. In fact, he tries to rescue her and restore their love.

However, there is a problem. King Solomon tried to convince her to stay with him by offering her a culture that was filled with prestige, power and wealth. This was very appealing and tempting to the poor, shepherd girl. Why? She would love to be comfortable and have all that Solomon offered. However, she would have to compromise and let go of the love of her life in order to settle for the love of King Solomon who had many wives. She would be just another wife in the house of Solomon’s palace.

It is under this backdrop that Kuechler retells the story of the Song of Solomon and presents many insights as well as deep revelation from the Song of Solomon to help us recapture our love for God. Kuechler also helps us clearly understand how Solomon’s intoxicating culture still influences the church of today and how to avoid its many pitfalls.

Escape From Solomon’s Church is the first volume and covers Chapters 1 and 2 of the Song of Solomon. The remaining volumes in the series will cover Chapters 3 through 8 of Song of Solomon. This entire series will help us develop a deeper revelation of God and captivate our hearts to love Him more. I can’t wait to read the other books in the series!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | November 6, 2017

Jilo: A Witching Savannah Novel

It was a great prequel for the series! I can see myself being totally enthralled into this series as time goes on.

Savannah is a beautiful woman with a dirty face. Its elegance is faded by neglect and its soul is withering from racial injustice and political corruption.

The dark secrets of Savannah are intertwined with the story of young Jilo Wills. He rises to become a legendary part of the most powerful family of witches. The origins of Taylor’s witch family finds its roots with Jilo’s great-grandmother, Mary Wills. They both used their sorcery to influence the city’s powerbrokers. In a desperate attempt to make money quickly, Jilo takes advantage of the family’s reputation and her scant magical knowledge to create a Mother Jilo persona. But soon Jilo is forced to accept full responsibility for her legacy. She seems to be the one who the mystical world has been world for. Jilo becomes the unbreakable link between the past and future witches of Savannah.

There is great detail to the characters and you definitely get a feel for why Jilo is the way she is. It makes her more human than she is portrayed in the other books.

I loved the story from beginning to end. It is a story that could be read by young and old.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | November 6, 2017

Last Dance at the Savoy by Kathryn Leigh Scottt

This is a book about life, love and caring for someone with progressive supranuclear palsy.

It can be tremendously hard living with someone with a progressive neurological terminal condition. The day-to-day issues are as exhausting as they are debilitating for both individuals. Yet little is known about this disease and the cause of it as well as its treatment. This illness affects some 20,000 Americans. And yet, so few people know anything about the condition.

The result is that people have to live with the progressive nature of an illness that has all the controls and the patient has none sadly. Geoff Miller wanted someone to hold his wife’s hand while she went through this terrible time with her husband. Until this book, that wasn’t possible. It is Kathryn Leigh Scott’s sincere hope that this book can reach out to those who are going through a similar ordeal to offer encouragement and practical advice.

The book also includes a resource guide that provides facts about prime-of-life diseases as well as contact information for support organizations, research studies and clinical trials.  You will also discover where to find handicap products and equipment as well as recommended care-giving publications and family conferences.

This book is invaluable for anyone going through a similar situation with a spouse or significant other.  It is a book that will make you laugh and cry and hope for a cure. You will also want to hold the hand of people who are going through hard times because after reading this book you will know precisely how hard it is to live through such times.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted by: irenesroth | November 4, 2017

Black Sails, White Rabbits by Kevin A. Hall

This is a wonderful book about surviving cancer and realizing that cancer was the easy part. But what could possibly be worse?  Well stay tuned and read on.

Hall is an award-winning Olympic and American’s Cup sailor. He has had many negative things that happened to him including surviving cancer twice. But then came something even worse.

In 1989, Hall was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.  He experienced episodes of severe mania, with corresponding depressions, for more than a quarter of a century. Throughout that time, he faced imposter syndrome, hospitalizations, and a number of other setbacks. But he still tried to make his dreams a reality.

In this sad and humorous book, Hall reflects on his journey up until this point, and the influence of one woman he couldn’t have done it without.

This is a story that is inspirational and a message of hope with a surprising love story woven into the tale.

This is a book for anyone who has had a lot of mishaps in life and who is struggling. The message of this book is that we can all rise above all the bad experiences to a place of redemption, hope, and love.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by Irene S. Roth



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