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Narita has commented on (50) products.

Gourmet Gifts: 100 Delicious Recipes for Every Occasion to Make Yourself and Wrap with Style (Non) by Dinah Corley
Gourmet Gifts: 100 Delicious Recipes for Every Occasion to Make Yourself and Wrap with Style (Non)

Narita, December 18, 2014

I truly enjoy giving gifts, especially baked ones. Not many people bake nowadays or make special dishes because they are so busy with work and family activities. This is one of the reasons I was so interested in this book. I must admit the “gourmet” was a little intimidating at first. I imagined 10 step recipes with uncommon ingredients and odd combinations. Boy was I wrong and pleasantly surprised!
While the recipes require a little extra effort to make them special, nothing was labor intensive. Ingredients were common and easy to find. Nothing is “strange” or bizarre. I found the recipes to be easy to make and tasty, with an extra attention to detail.
It is a beautiful cookbook! It did not have a lot of pictures of the finished product which I would have liked, but the author more than made up for it in her attention to detail and bonus ideas not usually seen in cookbooks. The cookbook is divided into 6 sections: small tokens, big batches, pennywise, pound foolish (special recipes for the person who has everything), feel better (gifts to nurture and comfort), and special delivery (gifts to mail). The latter
As you can see the chapters are creative, but wait till you see the recipes! I especially liked the section at the end of each recipe named “wrap it up.” Here the author not only gives you a clever, imaginative idea to package and present your gift. This includes instructions and a list of supplies you will need. Every recipe tells you the preparation time, degree of difficulty, cost range, if it can be frozen or shipped, if the recipe can be tripled or doubled and the shelf life. I really appreciated the last detail. I hate to bake gifts and not know how far ahead I can make them or how soon the recipient needs to eat them.
This is an exceptional cookbook! A treasure to own!
I received this book free from HARVARD COMMON PRESS which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie
The Sparkle Box

Narita, November 22, 2014

I cannot even begin to express how wonderful I think this book is, in every way! It is absolutely gorgeous and is destined to become a children’s Christmas classic!
The illustrations are vibrant in color and skillfully done. I liked how realistic they were and some almost appear dimensional. A good story is important (and this is one!) but illustrations can make or break a book where children are concerned.
A young boy named Sam is excited about Christmas, like any other child during the holiday. But this is where the similarity with many other Christmas story ends. The focus is not on “Santa”, or what gifts Sam is going to get. The story centers on caring, doing for others in need, and Jesus.
Sam’s mother puts a beautiful silver box on the mantle. All she will tell him is that it is a special gift called a Sparkle Box. She explains that it must first be filled before it can be opened. Each time he asks, he is told they must put more things in it. Throughout the book, the family is shown giving to those less fortunate. What amazed me was that Sam as a youngster noticed where people were lacking. This is such a great example for children reading the book, as most are about,”me, me, me.”
Christmas morning they open the Sparkle Box. In it are slips of paper and written on each one are the acts of benevolence their family has had been undertaking throughout the holiday. His mother explains that they are their gifts to Jesus in honor of His birthday. Sam was confused as they had given the gifts to people, not Jesus. His mother explains that when we give to others we are giving to Him.
There were so many things I liked about this book. First, Christmas was being celebrated with all the decorations and special traditions, but that was not the emphasis. The focal point was Christ and the less fortunate. It is quite the opposite nowadays as else is highlighted by all the worldly activities and Jesus is pushed aside.
I also liked the fact that Santa wasn’t mentioned once. His image as grown to such proportions that he takes the place of Christ. Not only in celebrating Christmas but sadly in the hearts of children. Little ones love to give and this book introduces them to the idea of how to give gifts to Jesus by helping the needy.
I was surprised and delighted to see in the back of the book was a Sparkle Box to put together! You can start your own family tradition of giving gifts to the One Who gave all to us! A must have for anyone that has children or works with children! It is a book to be treasured through generations!
I received this book free from Ideal Publications. www.idealbooks.com I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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The Sparkle Box by Jill Hardie
The Sparkle Box

Narita, November 22, 2014

I cannot even begin to express how wonderful I think this book is, in every way! It is absolutely gorgeous and is destined to become a children’s Christmas classic!
The illustrations are vibrant in color and skillfully done. I liked how realistic they were and some almost appear dimensional. A good story is important (and this is one!) but illustrations can make or break a book where children are concerned.
A young boy named Sam is excited about Christmas, like any other child during the holiday. But this is where the similarity with many other Christmas story ends. The focus is not on “Santa”, or what gifts Sam is going to get. The story centers on caring, doing for others in need, and Jesus.
Sam’s mother puts a beautiful silver box on the mantle. All she will tell him is that it is a special gift called a Sparkle Box. She explains that it must first be filled before it can be opened. Each time he asks, he is told they must put more things in it. Throughout the book, the family is shown giving to those less fortunate. What amazed me was that Sam as a youngster noticed where people were lacking. This is such a great example for children reading the book, as most are about,”me, me, me.”
Christmas morning they open the Sparkle Box. In it are slips of paper and written on each one are the acts of benevolence their family has had been undertaking throughout the holiday. His mother explains that they are their gifts to Jesus in honor of His birthday. Sam was confused as they had given the gifts to people, not Jesus. His mother explains that when we give to others we are giving to Him.
There were so many things I liked about this book. First, Christmas was being celebrated with all the decorations and special traditions, but that was not the emphasis. The focal point was Christ and the less fortunate. It is quite the opposite nowadays as else is highlighted by all the worldly activities and Jesus is pushed aside.
I also liked the fact that Santa wasn’t mentioned once. His image as grown to such proportions that he takes the place of Christ. Not only in celebrating Christmas but sadly in the hearts of children. Little ones love to give and this book introduces them to the idea of how to give gifts to Jesus by helping the needy.
I was surprised and delighted to see in the back of the book was a Sparkle Box to put together! You can start your own family tradition of giving gifts to the One Who gave all to us! A must have for anyone that has children or works with children! It is a book to be treasured through generations!
I received this book free from Ideal Publications. www.idealbooks.com I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Look Inside: The Time of Jesus: A Lift-The-Flap Discovery Book by Lois Rock
Look Inside: The Time of Jesus: A Lift-The-Flap Discovery Book

Narita, November 19, 2014


What a wonderful idea! A book for little ones to learn not only about Jesus, but also what life was like in the times he lived in! I feel it will help them connect Jesus was a real person that lived on earth The book is super sturdy (very important!) and can be wiped clean.
The illustrations were colorful, bright, and well done. I especially liked how detailed they were. There was a lot to look at. I remember as a child how intensely I looked at the pictures, noting every tiny detail that I am sure the grownups missed!
The book covers 8 parts of the Lord’s life from birth to resurrection. The author did a wonderful job getting the information across but keeping it simple. Each section is covered in 2 pages. There is a short paragraph explaining the location and event in Jesus’s life. Additional captions are scattered throughout the pages giving more information and further explaining the illustrations.
Flap books are a big hit with youngsters. It allows them to participate in the reading and it is also great fun! By being involved, they are more likely to remember the stories. Another thing I liked about this book was how many flaps there were. I counted 37! Most books have one on each page and that is never enough for the pint size reader! A book any child would treasure and enjoy! If you buy one be prepared to be asked to read it over and over!
I received this book free from Kregel Publications, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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Trading Secrets by Melody Carlson
Trading Secrets

Narita, November 19, 2014

This book was soooo good! The characters were witty, clever, and humorous. I couldn’t put it down and read it in 2 days! This was accomplished by staying up till 3:00 a.m. two nights in a row!!! I know many have posted it as a young adult read but I think that is too limiting. Adults young or old would enjoy it.
When she was in the 5th grade, Micah agreed to be a part of a class project and write to an Amish pen pal. The one assigned to her was named Zach. The teacher sent the children’s pictures but due to the Amish beliefs, they were not delivered. With her name, Zach thinks Micah is a boy. She doesn’t want to have their correspondence to end so she doesn’t reveal this secret.
As many years pass and many letters, Zach and Micah become very close. They reveal their deepest thoughts and desires. When her mother dies, Zach is the one that gives her the support she needs.
Fast forward 6 years and many letters. Zach writes Micah telling her is coming to visit. She panics! To her relief he cancels his visit but she is disappointed because she really wants to meet him. She devises a hair brain scheme to go see him and pretend she is a boy!
She pulls it off for a very short time, but overcome by guilt, she ends up doing a dramatic reveal at the family dinner table. The entire family is horrified and Zach is embarrassed and angry. Plans to go home keep falling through and she must stay with the family she has deceived for much longer than she would like! A very awkward situation to say the least! Micah finds that Zach has a few surprises of his own!
Micah not only learns firsthand about the Amish lifestyle but a great deal about herself too. She also has to face the music concerning the damage her deception caused to the lives of others. I found it very interesting to look at Zach’s culture thorough her eyes as a teenager. There wasn’t a dull moment in this story. It was fun, interesting, and very entertaining. I found the plot to be very different than other Amish fictions. It showed the contrast in the English vs. Amish cultures I would not have thought of, and she does it through the perspective of the characters. Melody Carlson is a master writer! You will want to read this book! Be ready for surprises!
I received this book free from Revell Publishers, which requires an honest, though not necessarily positive, review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.
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