Monday, October 22, 2018

Books With Bean ~ Book Scavenger

book reviews by teens, book reviews, children' book reviews

Title: Book Scavenger 

Author: Jennifer Chambliss Bertman 

Published: June 2015

Genre: Middle Grade, adventure, 

Summary: Emily’s family has just moved again and this time they relocated to San Francisco home of the legendary Garrison Griswold the man who created the amazing online program known as Book Scavenger a place where people can share books with others by hiding them and leaving clues for others to follow to find them. Emily wants to meet her idol but she soon learns that Mr. Griswold has been attacked and is now in a coma just days before he was set to announce an amazing new game as part of Book Scavenger. With her new friend James, Emily finds a book she believes is part of the new game but it turns out they aren’t the only ones looking for it. 

What I liked about it: I love books so the idea of hiding and sharing them with puzzles to solve to find them definitely drew me in! I liked the idea of the story and it was a lot of fun to read. Emily and James are fun to read about and their friends they make along the way are all interesting in their own ways. 

Language: None 

Romance: None

Violence: Garrison Griswold is attacked a beat up at the beginning but it’s the only big violence in the book. 

Magic: None 

Recommended Age: This book is fun even for older kids but not so complicated that ones as young as 9-10 wouldn’t understand it. 

book reviews by teens, book reviews, children' book reviews

Sunday, October 21, 2018


Write 31 days, 31 days of 5 minute free writes, writing

"Ladies and Gentlemen, start your engines..."

That might be the most famous line from my home state of Indiana. It begins the Indianapolis 500 every year.

Or maybe it is "Elnora Comstock, have you lost your senses?" from Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter


Little Orphant Annie's come to our house to stay,
from the poem by James Whitcomb Riley.

What is your state known for? Does that thing in some way define or shape your story?

I grew up in the middle of no-where on a mostly-dirt road in middle Indiana. There is nothing particularly striking about my childhood home, except that it was HOME. All of my life has in one way or another been built upon this beginning of being safe and loved. So many of my friends did not have that same feeling of home from which to grow. I have come to realize that the depth of love within our immediate and extended family gave me confidence to be and do things.

Home life was not perfect, but it was pretty close for the time. Yes, there were days when my older brother and I probably drove our mom crazy, and a few times where Dad came home to find one or both of us in trouble...but there was a deep sense of peace that surrounded the land and the house of my home.

I hope and pray that somehow I have given my own children a safe place to call home. A refuge from the craziness of the world, and a place, that while not perfect, can start them well into adult life.

Before the house on the dirt road, we lived in another house, but I was so little, and have so few memories, that it is not what my heart thinks of when I think of my childhood home.

Today, this house where we live is not where our girls began their childhoods, but it is attached to most of their memories of home. For all of us, home should be where the heart is, where peace and love cover a multitude of sins, and where everyone is cherished. If your house is not a home, start again, dig deep, and work to tie those heart-strings with your own children that will give then a peaceful sense of home.

Saturday, October 20, 2018


Write 31 days, 31 days of 5 minute free writes, writing

Who is in the audience where you live your life? Do you perform on a big stage, or is it a smaller group of people watching you? Do you head up a big company, where hundreds of people are waiting to follow your lead, or are you a mom or dad that stays home and raises the children...then your audience might only be a person or two.

While we always have at least an audience of one, because God sees everything, we do need to be cognizant of the fact that our actions, and our reactions to life, are seen by others. While sometimes this thought can be daunting, because we are afraid of messing up while others are watching us, what it should do is encourage us. You can live a life that matters, and your life can influence others, even when you are not good at public speaking, even when you are shy, because our actions tell a story.

Are you the first one in line at every event, or the last one? How does your punctuality show others that you value them?

Do you put others first? Carry their physical burdens, or carry their Spiritual ones to God in prayer? These actions and the way they allow us to extend grace and mercy to others show the fingerprints of God upon our own lives. 

When we live in a way that is different than the norm, people notice. And when they notice, a remarkable thing happens, they become curious. They want to know what makes you different from everyone else? And that, my friends, opens doors for you to share the Gospel message of love and redemption.

Whether your audience is big or small, show them love!

Friday, October 19, 2018

Five Minute Friday ~ Who

Write 31 days, 31 days of 5 minute free writes, writing, five minute friday

Kate's word for today is: Who

I'm going to go a little off theme from my 31 days of encouragement/ Christian Living posts and tell you a little story...


Who is in this Five Minute Friday group and where do they come from? I can only tell you a part of our story, because I only know a few of the many, many people in this awesome bunch, but let me start you off with what I do know, and then you can read some of the other posts from today to learn more...

This group is a family made up of writers from across the North American continent, and across the globe. Some live in the midwest, near Kate - our mostly fearless moderator, some live in Canada or other northern places, but most live far away. The American coasts, Texas, Iceland, South Africa, and so many places I would love to visit and learn more about.

How did I end up here in this family? My friend Annette invited me. I've met people online through this group - writers of poetry, writers of fiction and non-fiction, those who specialize in devotionals and those who write essays. We are definitely a diverse group. I think we are a small part of the body of Christ, all cultures and places, gathered together for the purpose of encouraging one another. Is everyone here a Christian? I have no idea. What I do know is that the other writers in this family encourage and challenge me to be a better writer. They lift one another up through prayer and encouraging words. Every once in a while, we get to see some other members of our Five Minute Friday family in real life at events, like last week's Breathe Christian Writers Conference. These people have become my friends.

So like my friend Annette did for me, I now invite you to join us. Come to our table and join the family. Write, learn, listen, grow. You will be so welcomed here, and you'll want to encourage others to join the feast!

Thursday, October 18, 2018


Write 31 days, 31 days of 5 minute free writes, writing

What are you searching for? A new job, a new car, your lost keys? Maybe you're searching for that funny YouTube video your friend showed you yesterday. 

We spend a lot of time searching for things. Does it make you wonder if we have too many things? Sometimes I think we do, and other times I am sure that I do!

What kind of searching should we be doing? Searching for lost socks, rogue mittens or last night's leftovers in the back of the fridge?

What if we spent time searching for God? He is not far off. David turned the tables and asked God to search him, specifically his heart. David wanted God to search out the hidden places and show him if there was something that needed changing. 

When we search for God, we find Him, and then He searches our heart and gently, but firmly, shows us where we need to be changed. I am so thankful that God does not expect me to be able to change myself, but rather, that He assures me He will change me. Sometimes that pruning He does hurts for a minute, but the fruit in my life that bears His image is always worth it!

Start searching, or keep searching, for God. 
He is the one thing we cannot life without!

Wednesday, October 17, 2018


Write 31 days, 31 days of 5 minute free writes, writing

Have you ever felt the need to push a pause button on your life? Yeah, me too! I know that often the rush of life can be my own fault for planning too many things in a row without some downtime, but sometimes, life just comes at us full force and we cannot get away.

Some days it seems like this full life hits us in the face like a firehose. How can we be expected to handle all the things that want our attention? Where do we find the strength to keep to going when times are really, REALLY hard?

The answer I have found is to pause, right where you are, and pray. Whether that is while going up the elevator at the hospital to visit a sick friend or waiting in line at the store, do it. 

Pause, it need not be long, and breathe deeply, then exhale a prayer. God hears, He sees, He knows. He is waiting for us to come to Him. He already knows your needs, and He knows when you need comforted. Breathe in being thankful for God's gift of life, and breathe out your prayer.

Here are some short prayers to consider if you're feeling stuck:

Jesus, help me!

God, I need your wisdom.

Please grant me peace in this chaotic situation.

Show me the best thing to focus on right now.

Daddy, I need some comfort.

Holy Spirit, walk before me into this room.

Father God, I want to be your vessel, show me how to help.

Find just a few seconds to pause, reconnect with God through prayer, and then move forward knowing that He will be the one whispering in your ear... 

"This is the way; walk in it." 
    (Isaiah 30:21)

1 Corinthians 13:7

Scripture Writing, hand lettering, Bible verses