101 Family Meal-time Devotions

101 Family Meal-time Devotions by Greg Johnson (Amazon, Goodreads)
Genre: Devotional
ISBN: 978-1630583774
Expected Publication Date: October 1st 2015 by GoTandem
Rating: 4/5

From Goodreads: You’re convinced that “Family Devo Time” is a terrific idea, but like so many past attempts … they just seem to fizzle out. The kids get bored, your spouse looks at you quizzically, and the whole experiment is quickly forgotten—packed away as “yet another good intention.” Guess what? It doesn’t have to be that way! Each of these 101 five-minute readings will bring family devotions to life, helping your children (ages 6-12) develop important Christian values. Each devotional describes true-to-life situations at home and at school. Relevant scripture passages and thought-provoking questions are included to spark meaningful family discussion.

This book is such a great idea. The idea of spending meal-time talking about important things resonates with me, because that’s what my family did. They didn’t do it from a book, or from a list of questions. But I think on the days when our conversations didn’t happen organically, it would have been very useful to have this sort of book.

The stories are (I feel) mainly for younger children who are still feeling their way around in their personality and relationship with God, and still trying to apply basic truths like speaking with love, not getting frustrated, not being afraid to be friends with someone who is a little different.

There are some devotionals that kids read to adults, which I think awesome! Some of the most important moments for me  as a kid (and even now) was when my parents were honest with me about their struggles. Some things I’ve heard from my parents that have impacted my life:

  • “I wanted so badly to be mean to that person, and it was really hard not to.”
  • “Your father frustrated me today but God told me to love him and respect him, and sometimes that means forgiving him even when he makes me upset.”
  • “Your mother and I are very different people. But we don’t fight or argue. We love each other and that means sometimes we sit down and have to talk out our problems. Because it’s not about being right, it’s about keeping our relationship healthy and God-glorifying.”
  • “Haley, I snapped at you this evening and that was wrong. Forgive me?”

And the thing about devotionals like this is, you don’t use them by themselves: they are a diving board you use to get to the good stuff. For instance, a devotional about wanting to snap at someone could remind you of a time you did snap at someone, and how you should have handled the situation, and then a story of a victory in a similar situation.

The text itself wasn’t edited very well, and I’m assuming it’s because I was reading an ARC. and even if those typos don’t get fixed, it won’t take away from the content.

I think this book is an awesome tool for young kids (ages 4-12) and their parents to get into the habit of having God-glorifying conversations that build each other up and prepare them for life, and empower them to make worshipful decisions.

The Ice Twins

The Ice Twins by S.K.Tremeyne, narrated by Penny Rawlins, Sandra Duncan, and Angus King
Genre: Literary Fiction, Tragedy
ISBN: 9780007563036
Rating: 4
Amazon | Goodreads | Audible
One of Sarah's daughters died. But can she be sure which one?
A year after one of their identical twin daughters Lydia dies in an accident, Angus and Sarah Moorcroft move to the tiny Scottish island Angus inherited from his grandmother, hoping to put together the pieces of their shattered lives.
But when their surviving daughter Kirstie claims they have mistaken her identity - that she, in fact, is Lydia - their world comes crashing down once again.
As winter encroaches, Angus is forced to travel away from the island for work, Sarah is feeling isolated, and Kirstie (or is it Lydia?) is growing more disturbed. When a violent storm leaves Sarah and her daughter stranded, they are forced to confront what really happened on that fateful day.



This was literally the most depressing book I’ve ever read. Like, literally. The writing was lyrical and descriptive (almost too much so), and it was hard to listen to because of the emotional devastation of the characters. It was a rollercoaster because out of the three main characters (daughter, husband, wife) you loved all of them, you hated all of them, but you weren’t sure which one was the bad guy (and there was definitely a bad guy). And then once you figured out which one you hated the most, it would switch on you. Suffice to say, this made it an emotional trip.
As I said, the writing was almost so descriptive that it was annoying. And it wasn’t all of it, there were just some parts where I thought “Okay, I get it, move on with the story please.” Another thing was some of the dialogue was redundant. I realize you’re dealing with a traumatized child here, and they tend to repeat themselves and not elaborate, but there are artful ways of writing that without driving your reader crazy. (Example, thought not a direct quote: “tell me what happened?” “Nothing.” “Tell me?” “no. nothing.” “Please?” “Nothing.” “Please sweetheart.” “No! Nothing.” and on and on we go.)
But the story itself wrapped up with an intensely confusing and fulfilling climax, and even a week later it is still haunting me… the ghost may never go away.
The narration was combined: there were three people reading. Rawlins for the voice of Sarah, the mother; Duncan for the voice of Angus before the climax; King for the voice of Angus after the climax (which I thought was really weird, honestly). I liked Rawlins and King, but not Duncan at all. I also would have liked Rawlins to do the voice of the daughter for the whole thing, not just her chapters, since her voice was really good for it. It would have been so much editing though.
The Ice Twins was an overall good reading experience and despite it’s minor flaws I would recommend it to anyone who likes drama, romance, or general fiction.

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