October 23, 2012

Reviewing "The Giving Quilt: An Elm Creek Quilts Novel"

I have long been a fan of Jennifer Chiaverini's books and was given the fun opportunity to review her latest book called "The Giving Quilt". Here's a quick summary from the publisher:
"It's Thanksgiving time at Elm Creek Manor and the circle of quilters are working hard to prepare for their annual 'Quiltsgiving' event. Expert and novice quilters from all over gather for a special winter session of quilt camp to make blankets for Project Linus. With each quilter as unique as the next, you learn about their individual stories as they all answer the same question, 'why do you give?'."
When I started reading this book and found out that it was set at present day Elm Creek Manor during a quilt camp, I was thrilled because her books that take place in that setting are always my favorites. Using her descriptive writing style that we have all become familiar with, the reader is transported into the Elm Creek world.  Personally, it always makes me wish I could attend a real life version of this camp.
This book is a bit different from the others in that each of the chapters delves deeply into one specific character's life using very detailed flashbacks.  Each woman has a story about dealing with a major adversity and/or tragedy in her life which ultimately leads to a longing to give back in some way. 
Much of the "action" of the book occurs during the flashbacks which leaves the reader feeling like she's just read a collection of stories instead of one cohesive book. If there had been more of a plot occurring in the present, I think it would have made for a more interesting read. I would still recommend this book to anyone who loves quilting books and doesn't mind some in depth character analysis along the way.

October 14, 2012

"A Perfect Pet for Peyton" Book Review

"A Perfect Pet for Peyton" by Gary Chapman and Rick Osborne is an adorable book that parents can read with their children to help them learn about the 5 Love Languages. The illustrations by Wilson Williams Jr. are gorgeous and the story is interesting and engaging.  On each page there are cute little picture searches within the illustrations that provide a fun bonus activity for the child.
The book is about a group of kids who are attending a birthday party at "Mr. Chapman's Perfect Pet Pal Emporium".  Each child reacts to different situations that arise during the party in their own way and as the story progresses, the lesson about how each person is made with a different love language emerges.  At the end of the party, the children are each given their own "perfect pet pal" which fits perfectly with their individual love language.  There is a guide for adults in the back of the book which will help to initiate a discussion about love languages with the child and provide insight into which love language your child "speaks".
I would recommend this book to anybody who wants their child to learn the philosophy of the 5 Love Languages and desires to help their child feel loved in their own special way.  I think the kids will find the book entertaining and educational. Parents may even find that they get just as much if not more out of the book than the kids do. Figuring out what makes your children feel loved can make a huge difference in how you interact with them for the rest of their lives.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher for the purpose of this review.