The Ultimate Christmas Gift Guide: Writer Edition

GiftGuideWriterEditionAlas, it is that time of year once more. The season of giving, or otherwise known as my favorite time of year. However, while I rejoice in the presence of family and butcher various Christmas carols, I’m confronted with a unique dilemma. What about gift giving? I have a few writers in my extended family, and seeking out gifts for them is tough. I know you guys must experience the same problem. Maybe you need a little help with extending your Christmas wish list. If either of these problems plague you, never fear, for I have scoured the depths of the interwebs for your convenience. See, I’ve always got your back.

Oh, and if you just want to drool over some awesome writer stuff, I understand. You may proceed as well.

Now, on to the gifts.

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Book Review: Get Your Story Straight by Kristen Hatton

(*DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED THIS BOOK FOR FREE AS PART OF THE LITFUSE PUBLICITY BLOGGERS PROGRAM, IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. NO OTHER FORM OF COMPENSATION WAS GIVEN, AND ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE MY OWN.)

Basic Information:

Paperback, 326 pages
Published October 1st, 2015 by New Growth Press

Back Cover Copy:

Get Your Story Straight CoverWhat’s Your Story: 

We all tell stories to each other—stories about what happened when we were kids, stories about last night, and stories where we dream about the future. Some stories are funny, some are amazing, others are sad, but they all have something in common—each of us is the hero of our own story. Our thoughts, feelings, hopes, and dreams take center stage. But when it’s all about you, it’s also all up to you. You have to make life work, find meaning, and hope for the best even when you mess up or things go badly wrong.

But what if we were made for something different? What if the main character in our life story isn’t us, but it is the God who became like us and is now with us? What if being fully human means knowing him and growing to be like him? What if the way to be fully alive is to be caught up in Jesus’s story?

This 52-week devotional book and small group resource is designed to help you live with Jesus in his gospel story—the good news that your sins are forgiven, your future is assured, and following him is the only meaningful way to live. No matter your age, where you live, who your family is, or what your past, God wants you to experience the freedom that comes in being secure in his love.

Divided into three parts, starting with creation, each section progressively explores the idea that the whole Bible is the unfolding story of Jesus. Through this grid, who Jesus is and why we need him will shape your understanding of freedom and grace and how you grow to be like him. This yearlong study for teenagers and young adults is designed for individual devotional times, but a small group discussion guided by a mentor would help participants to absorb and live out the truths of each week’s teaching.


INTRODUCTION:

I’m a sucker for well-written devotionals. In fact, I’ve got another devotional lined up for next year. (Call me a Boy Scout, because I’m always prepared.) Anyway, as soon as the opportunity to review this book landed in my inbox, I jumped on it. Its premise intrigued me. A devotional geared towards teens? I love those! The tagline even states “A Teen’s Guide Towards Learning & Living the Gospel”. “Get Your Story Straight” isn’t just for learning the Gospel, but for developing a plan to live the Gospel as well. Isn’t that what we teenagers need? It’s important for us as young Christ-followers to formulate a plan on how exactly we will display our belief in the Gospel in our daily lives. This formulation is paramount because most of us will arrive at college in less time than we realize. Isn’t it better to have a solid foundation in the faith before then?

I think so.

But, then again, my opinion is only worth two cents.

So, let’s get on with the details on how this book can help you not only learn the Gospel but live it.

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Book Review: The Chopped Cookbook

Basic Information:

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published April 8th 2014 by Clarkson Potter

Book Cover Blurb:

The Chopped Cookbook: Use What You've Got to Cook Something GreatNever again let the question, “What’s for dinner?” stump you. The Chopped Cookbook features secrets for combining pantry staples to make exciting meals.

If you’ve ever looked into your fridge, hoping for inspiration to strike, let The Chopped Cookbook help you shake up weeknight dinners. Just as each basket on Chopped has many tasty possibilities, so, too, do the contents of your refrigerator. By showing you how to spin your favorite ingredients into 188 fun, doable, and delicious recipes—including go-to guides for making salad dressings and pan sauces, four-ingredient market baskets that can go in many tasty directions, and ideas for ways to reinvent pasta dinners—the culinary masterminds at Food Network set you up for mealtime victory every night.


INTRODUCTION:

I matched this cookbook from my local library. Of course, I’ve mentioned my obsession with Food Network’s Chopped. It’s the one show I watch on Tuesdays. So, it’s only natural that I would devour any cookbook ant cookbook based off it. So, here we go, my first review of a cookbook. Is it normal to be a little scared?

“Use what you’ve got to cook something great.” That’s the line that intrigued me. Now, don’t get me wrong, I love cooking. What I don’t love about cooking is running to the store to fetch something I need for a recipe. So, if I can find a way to utilize stuff already in my pantry, I want to do it. This book was a saving grace almost. The “Chopped Cookbook” contains recipes from salads to desserts. (If you don’t mind, I think I’ll skip the salads and go straight to dessert.) Also, there are little snippets included in the book like how to cook pan sauces and what to look for when buying vegetables.

The book does a great job explaining each dish and how it’s prepared. It doesn’t explain what it means, for example, to chop. It’s an easy knife skill, but for someone new to cooking, it would be nice to have a section explaining that skill. If you’re not familiar with most cooking terminology, you’ll need Google on standby.

I loved the way the chapters and recipes were organized and displayed. The pictures within the cookbook were absolutely gorgeous. There were pictures for almost every recipe, and they were stunning. One would expect near perfect pictures of the completed recipe in a cookbook, right? Well, we got some in here.

The instructions were easy to follow, despite the lack of terminology explanation. I enjoyed their layout, and formatting. The whole cookbook is colorful, and the recipes are no exception. If you’re tired, just looking at this book is like a shot of espresso. There’s orange, yellow, and red everywhere. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

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Sunshine VoxBox: Sinful Colors Nail Polish

Nail Polish Review(*DISCLAIMER: I RECEIVED THIS PRODUCT FOR FREE AS PART OF THE INFLUENSTER PROGRAM, IN EXCHANGE FOR AN HONEST REVIEW. NO OTHER FORM OF COMPENSATION WAS GIVEN, AND ALL OPINIONS EXPRESSED IN THIS REVIEW ARE MY OWN.)

This is not my area of expertise. I’m not trained for this. But, I’m a girl. I mean, I’m a girly-girl with a side of frugal. So, I signed up for Influenster, and through them, I was able to receive a Sunshine VoxBox. The VoxBox is full of neat stuff, and thankfully, I get to review them all for you girls. (Sorry awesome guys, there’s a granola bar in there, but that’s it. I still love ya’ll.)

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