Category Archives: book review

Life in a Jar- The Irena Sendler Project ~ #bookreview

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For some reason I have always been into WWII. That era and the people and what they went through has weighed heavily on my heart. As you have seen I have been doing some family research. The reason is because my Great Grandpa came over here to escape what was happening in Europe in 1914. He was finally able to bring his wife over here in 1921. I have learned recently that they came from a town/region that had a 437,000 Jewish people deported to AushwitzII-Birkeneau. To top it off I found a Ukrainian name on the list of those perished of someone who has a similar spelling of our last name. However, I have yet to connect the two.

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A Southern Belle, a Northern Spy- Miss Lizzie’s War #Review

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If you are just joining in I need to explain something about me first. I am a Civil War Reenactor. I dress up in period clothing and assist with teaching people things about that era. I am constantly researching and studying. I even met my hubby through this hobby of mine. So naturally, I am drawn to books that take place in this era.

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The 7 Day Allergy Makeover ~ #Book Review

It is that time of year again! Pollen is absolutely ridiculous right about now and spring is just starting! The sneezing the itchy eyes. We all know the drill, break out the antihistamines. But what if you didn’t have to?

Dr. Susanne Bennett is a holistic chiropractor that specializes in allergies, clinical nutrition and environmental/lifestyle medicine. Her main focus is on pediatric and young adult healthcare. Here is a bit more from her site:


Dr. Susanne Bennett, D.C., CCSP, is the founder of the Wellness For Life Center in Santa Monica, California. She specializes in allergies, clinical nutrition, environmental and lifestyle medicine, with an emphasis in pediatric and young adult health care. She is the creator and author of The 7-Day Allergy Makeover (Penguin, March 2014), a step-by-step clinically proven program that helps individuals break free from their allergy symptoms by utilizing natural therapies and solutions without drugs or injections.

Her passion is to be of service as a lifestyle medicine expert and provide cutting edge natural health practices to facilitate optimal healing, vitality and vigor.
At her Santa Monica Wellness For Life Center, she combines Eastern, Western, and bio-energetic modalities to treat a wide range of patients and illnesses. She is a master at facilitating healing for difficult chronic allergies. Her unique treatment system was developed from over 24 years of clinical experience and advanced studies.
Dr. Bennett incorporates natural and lifestyle medicine, subtle immune system modulation and pays close attention to toxic emotional and mental disturbances that can manifest as physical symptoms. Together these approaches enable gentle, safe, profound restoration that is tolerated by even the most sensitive patients, infants, and children.
Dr. Susanne is also the CEO and Founder of PURIGENEX, a skin care company dedicated to natural, non-invasive products and therapies, utilizing a proprietary, biologically active form of topical collagen. Her philosophy is that “healthy skin leads to better health.”

The Book: The 7 Day Allergy Makeover is an easy to read book that goes over seasonal, food, and environmental allergies. In here you will learn about going beyond treating the symptoms to alleviating them altogether in a natural way. Her plan shows you how the foods you eat, the water you drink, the spaces you live/work/cook and the air you breathe can affect your allergies.

At the beginning of the book it has a symptom check list where you mark off your symptoms and grade them (1-10) as to how they are for you. You do this at the beginning and at the end of the journey. Then it starts with cleaning up the foods you eat! Nutrition is a major part in your health so if you are not eating healthy your body will not be healthy. She talks about lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance, egg allergies ect. Through out this she gives little restaurant tips to help you prepare for an evening out. Then she moves through out the 7 days discussing how the water you drink can affect you skin and other areas, the air you breathe in (your flooring, your bedding, your cleaning supplies). And goes on from there.

My Take:

This book was really fascinating! I like how she addressed allergies as a whole and not tried blaming food completely for it. Those who have been on here with me for awhile know how against to removing gluten just for fun or for weight loss I am. Now I will still say with this- even if you think your symptoms are food related- please talk with your doctor first. You all know I am a major supporter for Celiac Awareness and if we have people self diagnosing and just removing gluten we can not progress in the studies and statistics of it. Not to mention if you do have Celiac and not just gluten intolerance chances are the rest of your family could have it. So please get tested for Celiac before removing gluten.

Over all I found this book very helpful. There are things that I never thought about being the cause of my itchy skin or sinus issues. I do have gluten intolerance (doctor diagnosed- tested negative for celiac) so the food allergy aspect is already taken into consideration. Now to see what I can do about the rest!

You can find The 7-Day Allergy Makeover: A Simple Program to Eliminate Allergies and Restore Vibrant Health from the Inside Out on Amazon to purchase.

~I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate a review. No other form of compensation was exchanged. This post does contain an affiliate link to Amazon where I receive a commission for purchases.~

Personalizing with Twigtale ~#review

I love personalized books. It gets the kids into reading and they love seeing their name and/or picture in the books.

I was recently introduced to Twigtale (sponsor). Here you can find books that you can not only personalize with names but also with pictures! But these are not your ordinary books either. They are books to help your kids with the things in life. From bedtime, to going to school, the book of firsts, to even potty training. You can find a book for just about anything! They even have things for moving, going to the doctor, to a new baby sibling. It will be hard not to find something for your need! I wish I would of had this a few years ago when my son was scared about us moving (he thought our family wouldn’t be able to find us).


Since we are not moving and we do not have any other major life events going on I went with a basic Daddy Loves Me book.

This book is really cute! I was able to adjust the title to say Our Daddy Loves Us. But I couldn’t change the inside of the book to be plural thing except for where it says their names. But oh well! It is still cute! This goes through some of the different types of animals:

Then ends with a cute little note from the child (kids in my case):

I love this book. It is cute and fun for them to read through it. Making the book was simple as well. You pick the book you want. Go through and upload your photos. Then Go through the book page by page adding pictures where you can and changing names where it prompts. It took me less then 20 minutes to do. The only thing I didn’t like was that I couldn’t change it to be a “us” thing through out the book. But that is a minor thing in the grand scheme of things!

You can learn more about Twigtale by visiting their website. Also be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter because they are adding some new books (there were some new ones since I made mine a few weeks ago)!

~I received the above product in order to facilitate a review. No other form of compensation was exchanged. Regardless the above thoughts are my own and honest opinions!~

Go back in time with Willow #review

You know, it has been a long time since I have been able to get into a really good book. Life has just been to crazy and hectic that I seem to get distracted. But then I was asked to review a book that takes place during the civil war.

For those that are just joining in, my hubby and I do civil war reenacting. That is actually how we met. It is something that we do with our kids even. So I love anything that takes place during this era. But I won’t lie- I am picky when it comes to it. I nit pick at the historical accuracy (or lack there of) when it comes to civil war movies and books. When I heard who this one was written by I knew I would be able to actually enjoy it!

About the Author:

Lori Roberts is a Civil War Living Historian. She does presentations for historical events and workshops. When doing her living history she portrays Mrs. Mary Ann Morrison Jackson, the wife of one of my favorites: Stonewall Jackson. She has been portraying her since 2009 and you can often find her as Mrs. Jackson at events and reenactments through out the Southeast. Here is a bit more from her site:

Lori Roberts has been presenting to her students since 1991.  Lori is an elementary teacher who has a passion for history, and bringing history to life for her students.

Bringing characters to life through historical interpretation is one method Lori uses to engage her students. Other characters that are also used by Lori include: Corrie Ten Boom, a Dutch watchmaker who was sent to the concentration camp for hiding Jews during WW2, Sally Goodin, wife of a colonial minuteman during the American Revolution, to Polly Tabor, wife of Joshua Tabor, pioneers during 1848 who set off for Oregon on the Oregon Trail.”

About the book:

This book is about the young Ms. Cordelia Barlow and her experiences growing up starting with the loss of her mother. It follows her through her years at a girls boarding school and as she matures into a young woman. You also see a side that is not often talked about- the relationship between slaves and their masters and the deep loving bonds they often formed. While she is away at boarding school she loses her father. She returns home for the funeral only to find her beloved Mammy and her friends gone. That is where the mystery and adventures begins. She sets out to find out where her Mammy went to but insteads finds family, love and secrets she never knew! While all this is going on the war begins making it harder for Cordelia to find her beloved slaves and the story shows the struggles families went through during this time.

My Thoughts:

I loved this book. Again I usually nit pick about this era because of all the research I put into it. But this one amazed me! I actually learned some things I didn’t even know and could relate to. For example- my hubby falls in with some guys who together form “Cleburn’s Division”. The story follows this division during the war and I was amazed when talking to my hubby, how much in the story was actually true! My favorite part of the story was how they portrayed the relationship the people in the south had with their slaves. It showed the good side that was there just as much as the bad (if not more!). This is the first book that I was not able to put down in a long time! I started reading it on a Saturday night and only paused for sleep, church, and eating, I finished it the following evening (that Sunday) in the car on the way to a wedding reception. I absolutely love it!

I highly recommend this book to anyone that loves adventure, romance, and history all in one! This would make a great stocking stuffer for the historian in your life. Lori also has her first book called Lost Letters: A Civil War Love Story. I can not wait to read that one as well!  Be sure to check out her website http://www.stonewallswife.com or check out her facebook page!

You can find Willow on Amazon.com!

~I received a copy of the above book in order to review it. No other form of compensation was exchanged. The above thoughts are my own and honest opinions!~

Personalize Book with @flattenme! ~#Review #Giveaway #holidayPL13

If you have been following me for awhile you know how much I love unique and fun gifts! And with the holiday’s quickly approaching what is more unique and fun then a book featuring your child!

FlattenMe (sponsor) makes it easy not only for your child to see their name in print but see their face featured as the main character! It started out when a dad filmed his daughter eating a gobstopper. 15 photos with in 24 minutes were turned into a book and given to the daughter as a special gift. She loved it so much that she even slept with it, took it on trips and well- just loved it to pieces. Now not only do they offer books but you can feature your kid or yourself even on tshirts and water bottles, and even some fun wall art! This isn’t just for kids either! Turn Dad into a super hero, create a journal for mom, or create a piece of art for grandma and grandpa’s wall!

I received the above book from FlattenMe and it was really easy to create. First you choose your story.They have fairies, abc & 123, Super Hero, Potty Training and more!  I went with a pirate story because my son is big on that for some reason lately! Next you hit create your book. There on one easy to follow page, you enter your child name and upload their photo. You can choose from a Hardcover or a Paperback book. There is even an option where you can type in a dedication! The just hit Add to Cart and continue shopping and creating or check out!

I love how this book turned out! They are so cute and colorful. The quality is amazing with how clear the pictures are! I can not wait to see the look on my son’s face when he opens this on Christmas day. I did however show it to my daughter to get a child’s opinion. She loved it! She thought the story was fun and that seeing her brother in a book was great (she giggled over it)! I would say this was a win!

You can learn more about FlattenMe and all their great products by visiting their website. Be sure to check them out on Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter!

Gluten Free for Jen
FlattenMe is also a sponsor for our Holiday Gift Guide Giveaway! One reader will receive a Gift Code valued at $39.95 (the price of a hardcover book with picture) to use on their site! Please note- winner will be responsible for any shipping charges. This will be open to US and Canada residents and ends at 11:59 PM CST on 11/30. Enter using the form below then visit the other great blogs for more gift giveaways!


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~I received the above book in order to facilitate a review. No other form of compensation was exchanged. Regardless the above thoughts are my own and honest opinion. Giveaway is open to US & CA residents and will end at 11:59 PM CST on 11/30. Prize is a gift code valued at $39.95 for use on the sponsor’s website. Winner is responsible to for the shipping and handling of their purchase. Winner will be notified by Gluten Free for Jen and given 48 hours to reply. If no response is received then a new winner will be selected. Gluten Free for Jen is not responsible for the giveaways on other blogs. ~

The Sparkle Box ~Holiday Gift Guide #holidayPL2013

I love Christmas time. It was one of my favorite times of year. I love the music, the baking, the laughter. I love the time with family and I love the sense of giving. But lately, it seems like the meaning of Christmas has become too commercialized. It is all about the gifts and less and less about the true meaning- the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ. It is because of that we celebrate Christmas a bit differently in our house- we do not do Santa.

Each year I look for ways that I can bring my kid’s focus on Jesus instead of the gifts. So when I was approached about The Sparkle Box (sponsor) I was intrigued.

About the Author and Illustrator:

The Sparkle Box was written by Jill Hardie. Seven years ago her and her family started a tradition of placing a “sparkle box” for Jesus under the Christmas Tree. They felt that this tradition just melted away the commercialism of the holiday. Here is a qoute from Jill:

“There are many traditions that help us remember the remarkable and beautiful story of the birth of Jesus. My hope is that The Sparkle Box will help us remember Jesus as he is today – in the present.It encourages us to ask the question, 

‘What gift can we give Jesus on His birthday that will bring Him joy?’
Jesus taught us that whenever we do something for someone in need, we do it for Him. I think loving and caring for each other in His name is the greatest gift we could give to honor Jesus on His birthday.”

The book is beautifully illustrated by Christine Kornacki who received her BFA in Illustration from University of Hartford. Together the created book that inspires families to create their own traditions.

About the Book:

The Sparkle Box follows the journey of Sam who, like all children, is excited about Christmas. He is so excited that he even created a Christmas list. Then he noticed it, a sparkling box just sitting there. Through out the story Sam and his family does different acts of kindness, like helping the homeless with some mittens. Then Christmas morning comes and the mystery of that box is solved. See inside that box were simple slips of paper with their acts of Kindness written down. Sam learns that by helping other’s he is making Jesus happy and learns to appreciate the things he has.

This book goes perfectly with what we have been trying to teach our own kids. We do not want them thinking Christmas was all about receiving toys. We want them to remember and honor Jesus. I think this box is a great way to start a new tradition to help our children grow, not only when it comes to humanity but Spiritually as well! The pictures were very colorful and went perfectly with the words on each page. At the back of the book is your very own Sparkle Box to start your tradition of giving to Jesus!

You can find more about The Sparkle Box on their website where you can also order a copy of the book for your family. Also be sure to check them out on Facebook and Twitter for some inspiration and news! If you have kids in school check out their Scholastic order as the book is also featured in there!

Like what you see? Then enter to win a copy of The Sparkle Box for your family with the giveaway below as part of our Holiday Gift Guide!

Gluten Free for Jen

This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents and will end at 11:59 PM CST on 11/30! Just enter using the form below. Then check out the other great Holiday Gift suggestions in the list below the entry form!

~Good Luck!~

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~I received the above book to facilitate a review. No other form of compensation was exchanged. The above thoughts were my own and honest opinions. Giveaway is open to US & CA residents and will end at 11:59 PM CST on 11/30. Winner will be notified via email and given 48 hours to reply. If no response is received then a new winner will be selected. No purchase is necessary to win. Gluten Free for Jen is not responsible for the shipment of the prize to the winner! Gluten Free for Jen is also not responsible for any giveaway on any other blogs participating in this hop.~

In Spades by K Pinson- Book #review

It has been awhile since I have actually sat down and finished a good book. I don’t know what it is but lately I just can’t get into a book. But then I was given an opportunity to read a book called In Spades- Mirrored by K Pinson and that changed!

K Pinson is a 22 year old born and raised in Michigan. Not only does she love to write, but she loves to sing and read. When she isn’t writing she is an assistant manager for an Assisted living program. She hopes to get a degree in Music Therapy. Here is some more about her in her own words:

“I am 22 years young.
I love to read, write and sing.
I am an assistant manager for an assisted living program.
I have high hopes to get my degree in Music Therapy as I enjoy helping people.
I have a crazy cockapoo dog that I consider my bratty child.
I’m from MI born and raised, never really traveled anywhere else but would love to someday.
I have a crazy, big and dysfunctional family—Whom I wouldn’t change for the world. 
Happily Ever After’s are not my forte’. I like the drama, angst and heartbreak best. 
I am reserved and shy—But, it’s the quiet ones you have to worry about. “


In Spades is a book full of suspense, romance and a bit of drama. Avalynn has a past, one with an alcoholic father, a void mother and tries to save her sister Abby from the world she knew. But that goes wrong and she finds herself beaten in the hallway mirror. When she comes to in the hospital she learns her father is dead, her mother is missing and Abby in Foster care.

Avalynn immediately sets to work to get her life in order , receive custody of precious Abby and focusing every ounce of attention, giving Abby the the life she deserves. Avalynn, now a 22 year old Elementary School Teacher and New Mommy, struggling to raise a beautiful and feisty five year old whom was just diagnosed with Mild Autism Disorder. Lots of challenges for her to face in the midst. Avalynn is ready to go at them all head on if it means Abby is raised in a happy and healthy home. Abby is the only thing she cares about…not even caring about herself or her life…that is…until she meets him. The man that can shatter her entire world with one glance. Their relationship a roller coaster ride from start to finish. One that Avalynn never wants to get off of..but she may not have a choice.”

This book had me hooked. I would of read it in one night but my son had some bad dreams and needed Mommy time. But the next morning I picked it up again and finished reading it. It was amazing! I can not remember the last time I was this into a book! She leaves this open to perhaps a second book! I can not wait to find out what happens to Avalynn and Abby next! I really recommend reading this book!

You can find it on Amazon.com. Also be sure to check out her facebook page, she has been leaving little clues!

Hugo The Happy Starfish Book review

I love to read to my kids. More importantly I love reading books that have a good meaning to them.

Hugo The Happy Starfish is just right up my ally. Written by Suzy Liebermann, Hugo is a about a Starfish with a big heart and a curious mind. Suzy is a native of Germany and also resided in Dominican Republic, Mexico, the Islands of the Bahamas and Switzerland and is now living in the US. With all her travels she has pursued language, art and culture. From her site:

Having found it, she now shares it with the world’s teachers, parents, and children through educational literature. Leveraging her decades of global experience teaching in German, Spanish, French, and English with a degree in foreign language translation and a master’s degree in business management and international business, she launched Happy Language Kids Publications in 2010 as an interactive language learning program for children and their young-at-heart elders.

This program is particularly aligned with the aims and values she upheld as a teacher of cultural art and foreign language at a prestigious International Baccalaureate World School.”

Hugo comes in many different stories ranging from finding happiness to bullying. There are 6 books where Hugo learns about himself and being happy. Then there are the Island Adventures where he learns about respect, commitment, confidence and more.

I received Hugo the Happy Starfish- The Secret of Happiness to read to my kids. This book follows Hugo as he tries everything material wise to make himself happy and then as he learns what true happiness means. The book is full of very colorful and detailed pictures and it even has some basic spanish words- for example- it teaches the kids that “una hora” means 1 hour. My kids loved reading this and look at the pictures.

These books have are award winning and was an Award-Winning Finalist in the Children’s Mind/Body/Spirit catagory of the USA “Best Books 2012” Awards, sponsored by USA Book News. I can honestly see why. Having heard of these books and now finally reading the encouragement they give the kids and the lessons they teach are amazing.

You can find these books in 7 different languages through Amazon Ebooks or you can purchase on Hugo’s Website. There you can also find some games and worksheets for kids to enjoy! Be sure to keep watch for any new adventures by following them on facebook as well!

I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

Biblical Beauty Book Review

I don’t know about you but I am always looking for ways to improve my skin and other things. I have awful eczema caused from Gluten and really horrid acne (also caused by gluten). Now that I have removed that out of my diet (For the most part I have been bad and cheated lately) I am working on improving the scars and the other issues that they left behind.

Biblical Beauty- Ancient Secrets and Modern Solutions is a book by Renowned beauty expert Rachelle Weisberger. This book offers you well research wisdom about being more beautiful. Through scripture she refdifines what beauty is by looking at the iconic women from the Hebrew Bible. She explores the underlying relationship between their physical attributes and their hidden inner qualities. While doing this she shares her knowledge on makeup and skin care, while introducing a beauty routine based more on healthy habits.

About the Author (taken from her site):

Rachelle Weisberger is a talented painter and a licensed cosmetologist, makeup artist and skin care specialist. Her career in the beauty industry has spanned more than two decades and has included creating her own line of holistic cosmetics. She expanded her expertise to the medical field serving as staff cosmetologist for a major plastic surgery and dermatology center in northern New Jersey, specializing in camouflage makeup for problem skin, post-cosmetic surgery and cancer patients. As the beauty director of a chain of women’s fitness centers, Rachelle introduced an integrated beauty, health and fitness program. She has traveled extensively throughout the United States giving seminars, consulting and sharing her expertise and is an inspirational role model for healthy aging.

Since 1984, Rachelle has been a member of the New York Society of Women Artists and the Contemporary Artists Guild and has exhibited her paintings in the New York tri-state area.”

This book is 169 pages of inspiration, scripture, and tips. She covers Outter beauty topics from Skin Care and Sun Care to Jewelry and Healthy Aging. But then at the end Rachelle digs deeper and looks into the Inner beauty ranging from Motherhood to Leadership.

The one thing I liked are some of the little tid bits of information and tips that you can find through out the book. Such as a brief little paragraph as to why the sun is good for you while she discusses tips on how to protect your self from it. But one of my favorite tips because I have a problem with this more then anything is her tip on fading those brown spots.  One suggestion is the natural source- the lemon. RUbbing a freshly cut lemon wedge into the skin twice a day for several weeks will help those brown spots fade away or disappear. Or you can find a hand cream containing licorice extract, kojic acid, AHA’s, vitamin C or retinol. I was really excited to read that one and think I will give them both a try!

You can purchase this book on Rachelle’s website for $18.95 with free shipping! Be sure to check it out!