My Latest Round of Book Reviews


Tokyo Street Style: A Coloring Book by Zoe de las Cases

I have a student in my Language Arts class who wants to learn Japanese, and I thought of her as soon as I saw this coloring book on the Blogging for Books site. Today, I handed her this beautiful, bright pink coloring book with gold foil illustrations on the front, and I watched her face light up with a huge smile. Win! I wanted to do something nice for this student because she stands out for me with her curiosity when it comes to learning. I took Japanese classes in high school many years ago; with my basic knowledge, I could recognize some of the Japanese Hiragana, and the Kanji had translations written in English. I thought the fashion illustrations were skillfully drawn and visually interesting. I was pretty tempted to color in the book myself, but it was so much fun to give it away to a teenage girl who will really enjoy it. This book was sent to me in return for my honest review.

New York Street Style: A Coloring Book by Zoe de las Cases

This one is similar to the Tokyo Street Style coloring book, of course. It is just as beautiful, and the illustrations have a lot of charm. I thought the Tokyo coloring book was just a bit more interesting because it also had Japanese writing in it, and the fashions were more diverse.

Gobi: A Little Dog with a Big Heart by Dion Leonard

This children’s story book has a ton of charm, and the writing easily holds a child’s attention. There’s something about a dog making friends with a marathon runner and going on a race together that really appeals to a child. The true story appeals to me as an adult too, especially because I am a dog lover. When I finished reading the book, my son said, “That was cool!” Now I am intrigued to read the full-length book.


365 Devotions for Living Joyfully by Victoria York

This little devotional looks cheerful, with its yellow, whimsical cover. Inside, the book contains solid devotions for living joyfully. I have read a couple Christian books and devotionals about joy that have had a sad tone (yes, it is possible to live joyfully through sad times; that is a true part of the Christian life), but it is refreshing to read a devotional about living joyfully that really does seem to be upbeat. My One Word Resolution for 2017 was joy, so I was drawn to this devotional.


The Life-Changing Manga of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo

I thought this book was really cute and gave me some ideas that I will apply in my own home. I have not read the original book that this manga was based upon, but you would have to be living under a rock to not already know about the concept of “sparking joy” that Kondo has popularized. I liked how the visual element of the manga made her folding methods really easy to understand. I plan on going through my clothes and books in the way that she describes and eventually tackling everything else in the order that she recommends. I already tend to be somewhat minimalist about what I’m willing to bring into my home; I don’t need every new gadget. My home is already joyful and functional, but her method can help me hone those areas even more. Some of her ideas sound a little silly, but I might try them anyway (no promises, lol). In the manga, the chaos of the poor main character is pretty exaggerated, and the story line is funny in its obvious direction; the character will start dating her handsome neighbor (who already knows how to be tidy) as soon as the poor gal figures out the magic of tidying up, of course.


Of Mess and Moxie: Wrangling Delight out of this Wild and Glorious Life by Jen Hatmaker

The direction Hatmaker is taking with this book is not as strong as the message she had in For the Love or Seven. I had high hopes for Of Mess and Moxie because I had read and enjoyed her last book (plus I had seen her current book featured in Redbook), but this collection of essays did not resonate with me. The title sounded intriguing, but I felt like the essays were not really cohesive, and the recipes seemed random (including variations on a couple recipes I have already seen in another Christian essay collection). Honestly, I will still try the recipes anyway, and I bet they will be good. I read two books this summer that had a pretty big spiritual impact for me (Start with Amen and He Calls You Beautiful), so my bar was set pretty high for Christian writing. I feel like a lot of the ideas that Hatmaker addressed have already been covered very well by Christian writers in recent years. I did think her “how to” sections were hilarious; for me, that was the best part of the book. Humor is definitely her strong suit.

Kondo’s book and the adult coloring books were sent to me by Blogging for Books, and Hatmaker’s book, Gobi, and the devotional were sent by Book Look Bloggers. I received all of these books in return for my honest review.