Monday, December 27, 2010

Drops Like Stars

Having read books by Rob Bell for a few years, I knew what to expect when I read this book. I also knew that he would challenge me in ways I never expected. He takes the must mundane things and uses them to point us to God. It reminds me of his Everything is Spiritual tour. It really is. We are more than this human body, and we were made for more than just work...we are a work of art.

Yes, this book could be read in one sitting, but that does not mean it is an easy book to read. This book could take a long time to read as you sit and ponder what suffering is and what it could mean. Then once you think you have a grasp on that concept you lose your grasp on the idea that failure is not a mistake but an opportunity.

I highly recommend reading this book and then reading it again. It is like a diamond that as you look at it again, you notice something new and different. Take a look and see for yourself.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Zondervan has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Love on Assignment

I had forgotten that I read Love on a Dime, the first novel written by Cara Lynn James. The characters from Love on a Dime make an appearance but are not so much a part of the story that you need to read it first.

I like the theme of forgiveness. No matter our mistakes, God forgives us and we can forgive ourselves. The characters in the story demonstrate forgiveness for each other and for themselves.

Like the first novel, this book is about 50 pages too long. I found myself skimming paragraphs as I wanted to story to move on and not just cycle back through indecision and hesitation. The story came to climax on page 287 of 296 and rushed to an end in the next 10 pages. I felt like the middle of the book was too slow while the end of the book was too fast.



To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Invasion

The storyline was smooth and the main characters were realistic; however, I got stuck with the believability of the story even though it is science fiction. It seems that this book was a comic book in the form of a novel.

I did not like this book probably because of the expectation I had that is was Christian fiction. What started out as weird turned to absurd and then to completely outlandish.

I read this book expecting a young adult thriller only to find that it was science fiction beyond belief. I am surprised that Thomas Nelson published this book. There is not an ounce of faith in the story. There is a nugget of good vs. evil; however, even the good uses evil means to get its way.

If you like science fiction, this is a well written story, but it is not a book to encourage, inspire, or even promote the Christian faith.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Coming Back Stronger

What a great book! Drew Brees is an inspiration not just because of his success but because of hard work and of having to overcome adversity.

The New Orleans Saints won the Super Bowl in 2009, but it was not an easy road to get there. Their QB, Drew Brees, had his own share of struggle to get to where he is now. I appreciate the honesty and inside look at what he had to do in order to achieve success.

I look forward to sharing this book with my son who plays football and needs a good role model to encourage him in the right direction. There have been enough athletes who have had success in their sport but do not take their job as a good role model seriously. My son even threw out his #7 Steelers shirt because of Ben's behavior this past year. So it is hard to find a good role model, and I hope Drew can continue to achieve success and can continue to be a good role model.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Tyndale has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Truth of the Matter

I did not read The Last Thing I Remember or The Long Way Home, so I started in this third book of The Homelanders series by Andrew Klavan. It was not hard to catch up with the back story while keeping up with the fast-paced life of Charlie West. Usually, I prefer to start at the beginning of a series, but I got the chance to read this book and wanted to get started right away.

I enjoyed this book and am glad I can share it with my son. It is hard to find good books for young men. My son had read all the books in the Magic Tree House series the summer before his fourth grade year. Now that he is in sixth grade, we are finding very few books that are interesting and appropriate. He likes to read, but there is so little out there for him. He does not like wizards or mummies, so his choices are limited. I am glad for this series as it is interesting, action-packed, and entertaining. I like that it is not overly violent or has sexual charged scenes. It's just a good read. Thank you, Andrew Klavan, for writing good fiction.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Amy Inspired

I can honestly say that I was not inspired while reading this book. I did not like this book and it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Too verbose. I did not enjoy the many paragraphs of descriptive writing that were unnecessary to the story line. Some description is needed to help the reader visualize the story but not so much that the background becomes a storyline itself.

Too many characters. I was exhausted by the beginning of the 4th chapter as yet another character was being introduced. Since so much description is given to each character, it was time consuming to keep tract of each new character.

Too long. I was on page 286 before I realized that there had yet to be a climax to the story. For an author writing about writing, I was surprised that the book lacked basic story elements. In the last 40 pages, the protagonist did find herself at the turning point, but it felt rushed as if the author needed to keep the book under 320 pages.

Too much smut. As mentioned in other reviews, this book was not as Christian as the Christian market expects. I was convicted a few years ago about reading books that bordered on smut. I turned to Christian publishers to find morally entertaining books. I did not expect to read about half naked women and unmarried couples sleeping together in this novel.

I do not enjoy writing negative reviews, but I have read and reviewed so many books this year that it was bound to happen.

Bethany House has given me a free copy of this book to review and has given me freedom to state my own opinions about it.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Stories Behind of the Greatest Hits of Christmas

This was a great book to read at the start of the holiday season. I enjoyed reading about the many songs of Christmas and the history of how these songs came to be.

I am not well versed in music (pun intended) so the technical aspects of music was over my head. Since no chapter was longer than 7 pages, it was an easy read. I agree with another reviewer that having lyrics printed in the book for each song would have been a nice addition. Instead, I found myself singing the songs in my head. Maybe in the iPod version of this book, you could buy the book and the music together. That would be a fun interactive experience!

The history of Silent Night is a great story, and I am glad the author, Ace Collins, saved it for the last chapter. It was great way to end the book.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Zondervan has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Hatteras Girl

I like a good book to read on vacation. I received this book to review but did not get to go on vacation to read it. However, it did bring back good memories of a trip I took to OBX.

This book was mildly entertaining. It was not an easy read as too many characters were introduced yet they did not seem significant to the story line. My mind was overwhelmed with trying to understand each character and their back story. I think half of the characters were unnecessary and the story would have been the same without them.

The book falls under the category of inspirational fiction, but there was not a whole lot of talk about God and religion. The book could also be a romance novel, but the story was not overly romantic. At times, I wanted to read more about the romantic relationship between 2 characters and at other times, I was tired of hearing about how the main character felt about a particular man. There was also some drama and suspense in the book. So I am not sure how to categorize this book. Instead I will say the story is unique.


Bethany House has given me a free copy of this book to review and has given me freedom to state my own opinions about it.

Monday, November 8, 2010

First Things First

I am married to a football fan and keep up with the highlights in support of my husband, but I really did not know much about Kurt Warner before reading this book. After reading this book, I have a new appreciation for him and for his family.

I like how the book is written. Both Kurt and his wife Brenda add commentary to this autobiography of their amazing family. Yet they are not without struggle so I appreciate their honesty in telling their story.

When they talk about the rules their family follows, I realize that all families have rules. Rule #7 makes me laugh, "Hold hands with a sibling for ten minutes if you can't get along." My friend follows the same rule but uses tape. It's a good illustration to show children that they are bound together by the family bond.

This book is encouraging not because the Warners have all the answers but because they are trying to raise a strong family in a culture that often challenges the family unit. I am impressed with the strength of conviction and the moral uprightness of Kurt and Brenda Warner and their entire family.


Tyndale has given me a free copy of this book to review and has given me freedom to state my own opinions about it.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Unlocked

It has been a while since Karen Kingsbury has written a stand alone book such as this one. However, this book was alluded to in Take Four from the Above the Line series. So this is more of a spin-off than a stand alone.

The story line is sweet and the characters relate able. There is both joy and sadness within the story. Life-changing fiction gives readers a chance to escape their lives and connect with these characters. It makes us rethink our own issues and life's struggles. This book makes me grateful for the blessing of my family.

I have one issue with the story. I have a hard time with the special need students being separated from the rest of the student body. After No Child Left Behind, special needs students are mainstreamed into all classrooms as much as possible. Inclusion would have prevented a student such as Holden Harris from being segregated into a special building. Since ADA and IDEA, schools are not allowed to have a special wing or building for special needs students. One local school had 2 special needs rooms side-by-side and had to move them apart to prevent the perception that these students were segregated. This story element would not bother me so much if it was not such a big part of the story. A teacher like Mr. Hawkins, the drama teacher in the story, would have no choice but to let a student like Holden into his classroom. He would have been forced to accommodate such a student. It would not have been such a big deal for Holden to be placed into the theater class.

Overall, this was an easy to read book that makes us all grateful for what we have.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Zondervan has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Heaven is for Real

I did not intend to read 3 books in the last year about people describing heaven from the first person perspective. 90 Minutes in Heaven, Flight to Heaven, and Heaven is for Real share the same perspective of what heaven is like. All 3 books also have in a common a person who had to suffer and go through intense medical drama in order to experience heaven. I am glad that I have read all 3 of these books. I am also excited to be doing a study on Revelation (Here and Now, There and Then by Beth Moore). It seems like God is trying to teach me something, and I best be paying attention. Next thing I know, my pastor will be preaching about heaven. ;)

What I liked about Heaven is Real is the fresh and honest understanding of heaven. An almost 4 year old does not have the Biblical knowledge to describe heaven like he did unless he saw it himself. There are some things that I could not describe even after studying the Bible. No amount of study compares to an eyewitness account, and what this young boy describes is completely in alignment with what the Scriptures teach us.

I also want to commend Todd and Sonja Burpo for being careful and honest in trying to understand what their son, Colton, saw. It is easy to feed information to your children and sway their perspective. However, the Burpo's were discerning in allowing their son to tell them what he saw without trying to influence his understanding. As a result, we get to read a great book about heaven and about a little child who had the chance to see it for himself.



Thomas Nelson has given me a free copy of this book to review and has given me freedom to state my own opinions about it.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Hope Unseen

I cannot even begin to imagine what Scotty Smiley has endured to get to where he is now. I graduated from West Point a few years before Scotty, but I never had to go through what he went through. I am inspired by his story, and you will be, too.

I feel honored that Scotty was willing to share his experience and to enlighten others on what he has had to face. This book is a great read and I am happy to share this book with family and friends. You will be encouraged, inspired, and amazed.

Every time I am frustrated with my computer, I will think of Scotty. Here I am with 2 good eyes ready to throw my computer out the window. He has had to memorize functions and keys in order to be proficient at making Power Point presentation. I will no longer complain about my computer, and I will remember to be thankful in my circumstances.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cut Your Grocery Bill in Half

This was a wonderful book for anyone interested in saving money. I consider myself a thrifty shopper but have learned a few new things from this book. I like cutting coupons and save a bundle by using them. Yet, I do appreciate the perspective that this is not the only ways to save money. I tabbed a few pages with ideas that I want to implement in my own life, but I am not overwhelmed with trying everything that Steve and Annette do.

I want to mention that anyone who tries to save money will be reluctant to spend $16.99 on a book. First of all, this a good investment. Secondly, the book comes with a $3.50 rebate. This book is a worthwhile purchase. If I had not received the book from Thomas Nelson, I would still invest the money to learn how to be better at saving at the grocery store.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

God & Football: Faith and Fanaticism in the SEC

I wonder if all the people I want to read this book will be offended when I tell them they need to read this book. Living with a football fan and enjoying a good game myself means that I can relate to Chad Gibbs and his quest to question the depth of his faith in the midst of football season.

I so appreciate the honesty of the author as he is trying to balance his passion for football and his faith in Christ. Has football become an idol in our lives? Hmmm...I will have spent 6 hours at football games and 1.5 hours in church by the time this weekend is over. How much money am I donating in order to get good season tickets and how much money am I donating to my local soup kitchen to feed the homeless? It does seem that something is not quite right. "I can tell you all day that football isn't that important to me, but my actions speak so loud you'd never hear my words" (p. 218).

Yes, this is a great book even if it makes me uncomfortable when I realize how much of it is true. Whether it's football, or any other hobby, anything that becomes more important than God, is an idol. Yet these idols are empty. Nothing else can love me unconditionally with overwhelming grace like God does.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Zondervan has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Transforming Church in Rural America

...breaking all the RURALS.

First of all, you do not need to be in a rural church to appreciate the ideas put forth by Shannon O'Dell. You can be in a huge, suburban church and face some of the same struggles.

I have moved a few times and have been a part of many different churches from many different denominations (Baptist, Lutheran, Protestant, and non-denominational). I could connect with just about everything that was said about big churches vs. small churches.

We have a lot to learn from each other in the body of Christ, and I am glad that Shannon O'Dell was honest enough to share with us what he faced in a rural church. He encourages us to not settle for the status quo but to be inspired to "build people, not organizations" because "if we build organizations, we will end up with buildings and programs that serve only themselves." So simple, yet so profound.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

City on Our Knees

I just finished reading this terrific book. I have read Jesus Freak and am in the middle of Under God, so I am familiar with books that Toby Mac is involved in. He does not write the book himself (he saves his writing for lyrics), but instead he compiles stories from others who inspire us and encourage us.

My son is excited to read this book, too. We went to a Toby Mac concert last year, and I am grateful that my middle school son is singing lyrics that are building and encouraging. Some of the music his friends listen to is questionable. This book will encourage him to be more than just a believer but to live out his faith.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Bethany House has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The One Year Mother Daughter Devo

I was excited when I saw this 1-year devotional to share with my daughter. It is definitely for a tween girl and her mom; however some of the content may be too juvenile for a girl who is 10-12 years old. While other content seemed too mature for an 8-9 year old depending on their life experience. For example, on August 21st, the devotion is about beauty and how pictures in magazines are airbrushed and enhanced. I do not have fashion magazines in my house or allow my daughter to look at such publications. So this day, I would probably skip the devotion. On another day (February 16), the lesson is on how God will take care of us like a cat who had kittens. The last line says, "Little lamb, don't be afraid. He's carrying you close to his heart."

So I guess it is hit or miss if this devotional is good for you and your daughter. I am just glad that there is something like this for mothers and daughters to share.

The book provides a 1 page devotion for each day of the year. This makes it non-threatening as my daughter and I can pick it up and read a day but not be lost if we miss a day or two. Life gets busy and we do not need more things on our to-do list. Instead, this devotion encourages us to be, not do, more.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Tyndale has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Least Among You

I had no idea. I really didn't. Our country has been through so much. This was a great movie to illustrate the struggle without our country and within our hearts with racism and with loving others as yourself.

There were so many characters in this movie with their own struggles not just with racism but with trusting God. I was able to understand the character development and follow the storyline with ease. I wanted to see more about these people and learn who happens to them next. The story is more than just about Richard Kelly. It's about you and about me and doing what is right even when it is hard.

At first, I as taken aback by the PG-13 rating. How can a family movie be rated PG-13? Well, this movie has tough issue that will be hard for a middle schooler to fully understand. Human frailty is not new, but it is hard to understand. Now I understand the rating and am glad that it is not rated a feel-good-family-movie. It is a terrific story that I highly recommend.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Deceit

It has been a while since I have stayed up late to finish a book. I was about halfway through Deceit when I could not put it down. I just had to find out what happened. Luckily, it was weekend, and I was able to sleep in the next morning. I lost sleep to finish reading the book but not because it was too scary.

I love a page-turner, and this was a great page-turner. The story was a little slow in the beginning as there were a few characters that I needed to get to know, yet the author did not keep me waiting for the action. The story was told from both the present and from the past. As the reader learned of the current situation, the back story was also being told. I found myself skipping ahead in order to find out more of the past but still wanting to keep up with the present story.

This was a fantastic book. I highly recommend it as long as you have time to stay up late to finish reading the book!


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Zondervan has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A Christmas Prayer

It's never too early to start thinking about Christmas, and I was so glad to receive this book in the mail today. I enjoyed this charming story about a simple Christmas prayer.

The ilustrations are delightfully simple with a watercolor undertone. I liked the repetitive lines of the story, "Thank you God, for ______, Your precious Christmas gift."

This would make a great gift for any child. I like to collect books at Christmastime that only come out for the season. This will be a great addition to my collection.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Out Live Your Life

I got a chance to read another terrific book by Max Lucado. He always brings a fresh perspective to our lives as Christians. Sometimes he even hits too close to home, and I have to take a good look at myself to see where I may need to make some changes. Yet the book is not condemning but more convicting. Sometimes change is good even when it is hard.

This book challenges me to do more than just believe in Christ and live a good life. If I want to outlive my life, God can use me to do even more than I could ever dream. When Jesus said "Follow me" to his disciples, He is asking me, too. And when they followed, He did amazing things through them. And when I follow, He can do amazing things through me.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Heavens Proclaim His Glory

What a fantastic book! The pictures are amazing. We are bless with amazing technology as the Hubble telescope captures images of planets, galaxies, nebulae, and stars that are both forming and dieing.

I appreciate a book on astronomy with a Godly perspective. My son is interested in the stars, but I have a hard time finding material that approaches astronomy from God's perspective and not man's perspective. Thank you Thomas Nelson for putting together a fantastic book for us. This would make a great coffee table book!


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Good Girls Don't Have to Dress Bad

Thank you Shari Braendel for showing us ladies how to dress trendy without being trashy. I have been convicted of dressing more modestly ever since I had a daughter, but find it challenging to find clothes that fit properly, look nice, and are reasonably priced. Shari gave me both encouragement and inspiration to not give up.

I really liked the specific helps she provides with body type, color schemes, and face shape. Armed with tools that I learned in the book, I already dress better. Some things I already knew but needed to be reminded. Other things I learned for the first time.

I am excited to share this book with my friends, but they might have to buy their own copy so I can keep my copy not in my bookcase but in my clothes closet.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Zondervan has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Immanuel's Veins

I just started to read Ted Dekker this summer. A friend loaned me Black, and I am glad that I got my feet wet with the Circle series (Green, Black, Red, and White) before reading Immanuel's Veins.

To be honest, in order to read and enjoy his books, I have to open my mind and let go of preconceived notions. When I am reading, it feels like riding a roller coaster...at first, I am not so sure I am going to like it but then the excitement starts tp pick up, and I don't want it to end.

I really do not know how what category this book falls into. It could be suspense, drama, murder, romance, fantasy, or even historical fiction. I guess by not being able to put the book into one category makes this book even more interesting to read.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Patton: The Pursuit of Destiny

I am not a big reader of history but I do enjoy a good biography. So I enjoyed this biography and was surprised that I even liked the historical perspective of this book.

Yes, there are many biographies of Patton, so why read this one? The authors, Agostino Von Hassell and Ed Breslin, researched Patton thoroughly and provided readers a balanced understanding of Patton's life. Highlighting the slapping incidents in context helped to understand the extenuating circumstances while not excusing the behavior.

The movie "Patton" created this myth of Patton that was based in truth but not entirely accurate. This book helps us to know Patton, the man and not the myth. I appreciate the honest and real view of Patton's life which included the good, the bad, and the ugly.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

The Butterfly Effect

I enjoyed the stories of Norman Borlaug and Joshua Chamberlain who both made a huge difference by the good decisions they made. I had never heard of Norman Borlaug before, but Colonel Chamberlain was the focus of a paper I did for military history in college. He turned the tide of not only the Battle of Gettysburg, but also the entire Civil War. He is a hero of mine.

The theory of the butterfly effect is that a flap of a butterfly's wing would set off a chain reaction that results in a hurricane on the other side of the world. An interesting hypothesis, yet one I have a hard time believing.

My challenge to the hypothesis is that both of these men made an important decision during an necessary moment in their lives. It's not the little decisions but the big ones that made a difference. I do agree that every decision matters and that everything I do matters, but I do not see the world altering results in the little decisions I make every day. I see the training of making good decisions in the small things which helps me make good decisions in the big things. So as long as you see this book as an encouragement to keep doing what matters and making good decisions, then I like this book. As long as you look at this book for gospel truth, look first at the Bible which will help you make good decisions.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

The Boy Who Changed the World

A chance to make a difference...it's what we all long for, and this book gives us hope that what we do actually does matter.

Although a book for children, this story will give everyone young and old hope that they can make a difference. I never knew the story of Norman Borlaug but am not amazed at the ripple effect. Sometimes you never know the impact you have on those around you and those who have yet to come.

Both my children read this book and liked it. I hope and pray that they make good decisions and have a positive impact on the world around them like Norman Borlaug did.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

The Malacca Conspiracy by Don Brown

I enjoy reading books that highlight the postive aspects of the military after spending my time serving my country in the U.S. Army. I also take personal offense in any book that portrays the military inaccurately. This book makes the military look good and the few inaccuracies that I found seem to be used for poetic justice. Yet, it is highly likely that a JAG officer would get to join a SEAL team on a mission no matter how hoo-ah he is.

I also enjoy a good suspense, and this book was full of suspense. In my opinion, it was almost too suspenseful as the writing was choppy and the scenes came at me hard and fast. At first, I thought this would make a good movie, but there were too many characters to follow. I was relieved that the ending did bring some closure to some of the characters, but there were so many more characters that were introduced in a scene and never heard from again.

I agree with some of the reviewers that this book seemed to be a pro-American and anti-Islamic. The book is a work of fiction and is allowed to use themes and ideas as part of the story. Whether I agree with the view is a different story. If someone is not a Christian than reading Christian fiction may be offensive. I found that very little of the story directly pointed to God. There were hints here and there as much as there were parts of the story that showed characters worshipping Allah. Authors are allowed to write from their point of view, and if you don't agree with it, you are free to not read it.



To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Zondervan has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Love is a Flame compiled by James Stuart Bell

What a great testament to marriages that endured struggle yet remained committed. So often we read about people choosing divorce that it was refreshing to read stories of people choosing to stick it out even when divorce would be acceptable and even encouraged.

No marriage is without struggle. I wish someone had told me that before I got married. Although, to be honest, I think my mom tried to tell me but I was blinded by love. Well the blinders were pulled off soon enough, and the truth of marriage sank in. The book gives us hope that no matter what your marriage looks like right now, God has not forgotten. He alone can heal the deep wounds. He alone can minister to the brokenhearted, and yes, married people can have their hearts broken by their mates.

The only thing about this book that I did not like is the front cover. At first glance, it looks like a book by Gary Chapman, and author I have read and enjoyed before. Instead, he writes a forward and James Stuart Bell is the one responsible for putting the book together. A small issue that I will forgive as Gary Chapman is more well known.



To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Bethany House has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Let's Do Lunch by Roger Troy Wilson

I have not read chapters 2-6 three times like the author suggested, but I am amazed at his weight loss story. He learned how to eat and to enjoy eating until he was satisfied. It is a great way to eat to live instead of living to eat.

I had an ah-ha moment on page 68, "Sugar may have no fat grams, but in your body sugar turns to pure fat, and food with sugar in it causes extreme cravings for all the wrong foods." Now I know why even with a low fat diet, I couldn't lose weight. It really is about eating the right foods, yet not about total deprivation.

The book is not very long and is easy to read. It reminds me of the Weigh Down Diet from the 90's. We would all be better if we only ate when we are hungry and if we satisfied our cravings with healthy food.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Predator by Terri Blackstock

This was a great book that kept me on the edge of my seat. As a fast paced book, the opening chapter landed me in the middle of the drama. It took me 3 days to read the book only because I had to finish my capstone project for a college class. Luckily I finished the project early so that I could finish reading this book.

I highly recommend this book as well as other books by Terri Blackstock, especially the Suncoast Chronicles. I read that series years ago and have shared the books with many friends who have also enjoyed the series. Predator is a stand alone book that will stand alone in greatness.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Zondervan has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Take Four by Karen Kingsbury

Although I have been reading Karen Kingsbury for years, this is the first book that I have reviewed. Zondervan has provided me a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.

I enjoyed this book as much as I have the rest of the Above the Line series. Even though many of the characters are believers in Christ, they face real life issues. Some struggle with their faith. Others fall into sin. Acceptance, forgiveness, and love are all in the book but not without some tough challenges and difficulties. I can relate to the story line as the book is true to life.

Since this is my fair and honest review, I have to be honest and admit I was confused about the timeline in the story. Chapter 14 opens with "Veteran's Day turned out to be the warmest in October..." Wait a minute, Veteran's Day is in . It commemorates the signing of the armistice to end World War 1 on the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour. Anyhow, I thought that October was a typo, but the rest of the storyline does not make sense if she meant November.

And if I'm going to mention timing of things, at the end of the story, it was mentioned that a spring semester in college starts in March. As far as I remember, college semesters start in January and maybe as late as early February, but not March. Since this book mirrors life, I would like all these details to be real, too. Just my honest opinion.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Flight to Heaven by Capt. Dale Black

A trained pilot...a plane crash....only one survivor. This is what Dale Black experience at the young age of 19. But that is not all he experienced. He experienced heaven, and this was an experience like no other.

I am glad that Dale shared his experience in this book and am glad he followed his grandfather's advice to live a life that reflects his heavenly experience, and not a life that capitalizes on his experience. I am also glad that Paule Black encouraged her husband to write down his experience after living a life of purpose. It wasn't just the experience of heaven that is amazing, but also the obedient life that Dale had lived.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and the truths that Dale lived. He realized that his responsibility is not to provide the living water but to point the way to the well, "the well of Living Water that God offers each of us through a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ." I pray that I can be like Dale and point the way to the well.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Bethany House has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Cast of Characters by Max Lucado

If you have never read a book by Max Lucado before then this is a great place to start. This book contains excerpts from previous books. Each chapter is a profile of a Biblical character. The profile reminds us that even these heroes of the Bible, Joseph, Moses, John, and Paul, to name a few, all had flaws and struggles. The more you look at people like Mary, Martha, Esther, and Sarah the more you realize that they are human like you and me. God does not chose extraordinary people. Instead God uses ordinary people to do some extraordinary things.

I have always enjoyed the writings of Max Lucado, and this book did not disappoint. I need to be reminded that these great people of the Bible are only great because they serve a great God!



To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Same Kind of Different as Me

by Ron Hall and Denver Moore

If only I truly understood. This book opened my eyes to poverty and riches. What I read changed my perspective.

I read this book both for the Thomas Nelson book review and for my church's summer reading group. I was not sure if I would like the book, but I thought I would give it a try. I am glad I did. The wisdom tucked in these pages is priceless.

Ron realized, "we'd enjoy life a whole lot more if we owned a whole lot less."

Denver says, "money can't buy no blessins."

And my favorite from Denver, "Why did rich people call it sushi while poor people call it bait?"


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Great words to think about.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Sarah's Garden by Kelly Long

I have read quite a few books from the Amish genre already. I read the Beverly Lewis series, Heritage of Lancaster County, 10 years ago. Since then the market has been saturated with Amish fiction. So I was pleasantly surprised with this book.

The story focuses on Sarah King, but she is not the only one in the story who learns a wunderbaar lesson in trusting Der Herr. Sarah, Grant, and even the Fisher family learn to trust God and to return to truth. It is a lesson that we all need reminding.

This is the first book in the series entitled "A Patch of Heaven." The next book, Lilly's Wedding Quilt is due out in April 2011. I look forward to reading more in this series.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Hunter's Moon by Don Hoesel

Instead of writing about the book, I decided to write about how I felt while reading the book...

Initially, I had a hard time understanding who all the characters were and how they were related or connected to each other in this small New York town of Adelia. I was 100 pages into the book before I could remember and connect who all the characters are.

After 300 pages, I was waiting for the main character to deal with all his issues. It was like c'mon already, let's get on with it.

By the end of the story, I was left unsatisfied. I still did not understand the motives of certain characters. I get what happen but not why. I wonder if that means there will be a sequel or if the author just left some things unresolved. Either way, it feels like I ate Chinese for dinner and am hungry an hour later.

As far as the Christian part of the book, the guy went to church a few times, but I did not read anything about his faith or trying to live his faith. A good suspense but not a Christian suspense.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Bethany House has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James

I enjoyed reading this historical fiction which is a genre I don't read often. I'm glad I endeavored to read this one because it was a nice change of pace.

The story was sweet and charming and very innocent which is what I like in the fiction I read. The plot was a little predictable and had some unnecessary developments. I felt like the book was 50 pages too long. I knew what was going to happen and just wanted the story to get on with it. Yet I am glad I took the time to read the entire book instead of just skipping to end to see what happens.

Overall, it was a nice little book that will make for a refreshing summer read.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

God's Promises for Boys by Jack Countryman and Amy Parker

Each 2 page spread has a 4 line poem celebrating an attribute of God, 3-4 Bible verses which support the theme, and a cartoon of a little boy reflecting the theme. It is a simple formula for a cute book.

This book is a simple book of promises for little boys ages 4-8. Like any book of promises, it is not meant to be read cover to cover but in topic form. I am not sure a young boy would use this book for its intended purpose, but it is a cute book of promises.

I am not sure if I really like this book but it does speak truth.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review. I also must say that the opinions are all mine.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Searching for God Knows What by Donald Miller

If your faith in God is wrapped up in a nice little bow, if you read the Bible like a step-by-step how-to book on being a Christian, if you think your theology is tight, then this is not the book for you unless you want to start seeing God for who He really is.

Miller tells us "knowing facts about God is not the same as knowing god." I grew up in a nice little church and knew God through obedience and doing good. As I entered my adult years, I had a hard time connecting doing good with being good. No matter what I did, I was never good enough. Yet, God is not about saving those who are good. It is not about good but about God. Once I took my eyes off self and looked at God for who He really is, I realized that it is about relationship. Miller puts into words these feelings I was having, and helped me realize that trying to put my faith into a formula not only limits God who is limitless but also limits my faith. That was a huge paradigm shift in my thinking.

Miller speaks for the generation of unchurched believers who want to believe but are not about to sit still and be nice just to fit in. It more than just toeing the line of doing what is right. It is about having a relationship with God.



To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Friendship for Grown-ups by Lisa Whelchel

As a child I grew up watching Lisa Whelchel as the love-to-hate Blair on "The Facts of Life." As a young mom, I was inspired by Lisa and followed her on her website and blog. This book shed some light on a part of Lisa that she has never shared before.

I have had many friends but never analyzed my friendships or the lack thereof. Lisa took the time to look at her own friendships and how these relationships lacked depth because of the wall she built up to protect herself from getting hurt. She recognized what she was doing to prevent herself from having deeper friendships, and she took the time and energy necessary to overcome her shortcomings.

I had been following her blog regularly and noticed a sudden lack of updates. I stopped checking her blog. This book explains what was going on in her life and in her heart. I admire her ability to be vulnerable even in admitting her own mistakes.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Her Mother's Hope by Francine Rivers

I have long been a fan of Francine Rivers since reading Redeeming Love. So I was not surprised at how much I enjoy Her Mother's Hope. This almost 500 page book took me only a week to read. I would get so involved in reading that I did not notice the passage of time. Unfortunately, I have to wait 6 more months for the sequel Her Daughter's Dream.

I am thankful that this was just one book instead of 3. I have noticed that some publishers limit the length of books forcing a series instead of a stand alone book. This book was long enough to be more than one book, but I am glad I was able to read it all at once.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Greater Love by Robert Whitlow

This is the third book in the Tides of Truth Series. Both Deeper Water and Higher Hope are good books. I would suggest reading the books in order because of character development and references to previous events.

I enjoyed reading this book and following the life of Tammy Lynn/Tami. She is a unique young women who shares in the struggles of life. We all want to make a difference and be true to our faith. We all want to follow God's will and follow His direction. So I think there is something in Tami that we can all relate to. However, I cannot relate to having 2 guys wanting to date me and both of them being upright men who are pure in heart. That is a problem I will never have!



To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Hand of Fate by Lis Wiehl

I was so excited to read this book, the second in the Triple Threat series. I read the first book last year, Face of Betrayal which was a great debut book for Lis Weihl. Hand of Fate just as good.

The three women of the Triple Threat Club face more struggles with contemporary issues in this novel. The story reads fast and often I wanted to quickly move onto the next chapter to see what happens next. The drama is much like the shows we see on TV as well as are the characters. Yet, no matter who you are, life is hard. We get the chance to see these women face challenges, go through the struggle, and overcome.

The book in not Christian fiction per se but it is a clean story with nods to Allison's faith. She is the only one who has a faith and hopes to witness to her friends but is not pushy or overly religious. Her faith reminds me that we need to light in a dark world and to be kind and gentle as we shine that light.



To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Never Say Never by Lisa Wingate

Drama, romance, and a little bit of laughter is found in this book which falls under the genre of chick lit.

I can't say that I enjoyed reading this book. It took over 100+ pages for character development and background. I stuck it out in order to get to the enjoyable part,and during the next 100+ pages, I started to enjoy the story only to be frustrated by the turn of events in the last 100+ pages.

It seemed the writer took too long writing the back story that the conclusion of the book felt rushed. What the characters did at the end of the story did not support the character development at the beginning of the story.

Also, there were too many characters in the story. I was so confused about who the story was about. I am still not sure who the protagonist is. I think both Kai and Donetta experienced life changing situations, but neither one of them seemed to be plausible characters in real life. Instead of writing 2 books about 2 women, it was one book about both women that did not really allow the development of either woman to really progress.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that while Bethany House has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review, the opinions are all mine.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Homeschooling for the Rest of Us by Sonya Haskins

Speaking from many years of experience, Sonya Haskins shares the insides and outs of homeschooling. This book is for anyone who is considering homeschooling as well as anyone who is homeschooling. She gives practical advice on what works and what does not work.

What I enjoyed the most was the honest look at homeschooling. It is not easy and does require a lot of work. Chapter 9: Living in a (Very) Messy House says it all. I do not have to be perfect and that is a liberating concept.

In addition to the book, the author maintains a nice website that is helpful to anyone homeschooling. The book refers to this and a few other helpful websites without being pushy about it, and the book has plenty of information on its own.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that while Bethany House has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review, the opinions are all mine.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Flowering Cross by Beth Ryan

The illustrations by Renee Graef are a beautiful complement this Easter story.

A young girl and her family share God's love more through actions and less through words. The cranky neighbor learns about God through their loving kindness in this simple yet inspiring story.

This book is an example of the truth of 1 Timothy 4:12, "Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith, and in purity." Sharing God's love is not limited by age, by knowledge, or by experience. We can all be witnesses to those around us speaking love through good deeds.

I like the idea of a flowering cross and appreciate the instructions given in the book. I enjoy anything that helps to make God's truth more concrete to young children.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Monday, March 8, 2010

What Your Son Isn't Tellling You

by Michael Ross and Susie Shellenberger

As a mother of a preteen boy, I need all the help I can get to understand him and what he is going through. This book did gave me a ton of information about the many issues that teen boys face today. No issue is off limits and the authors tell it to you straight up. There is no question that boys today face significant challenges, and it will not be easy for young men to stay faithful and true.

The authors mention early on in the book how communicating with a teen/tween boy is not easy. These boys do not talk much and do not listen well. I have certainly experience that. However, the authors then spend the rest of the book sharing with the reader all the things boys struggle with and how we, as moms, need to talk to our sons to help them overcome. I find it confusing to be told that in order to help my son, I need to talk with him more yet communicating effectively is where we struggle.

The most eye-opening thing I read was on page 15, "In this day and age of high-tech toys and low-tech values, sin is packaged, downloaded, and made accessible to the masses as never before." If that doesn't put us on our knees to pray for our sons and for the men in our lives, I don't know what will.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Bethany House has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Friday, February 26, 2010

The Clouds Roll Away by Sibella Giorello

I just finished reading this novel today, and I am not sure if I like it or not. I should say there were things I did like. Once the story got going around, I did not want to put it down. I thought I knew who did it, but I was never sure until the very end. I like the suspense and mystery.

What I did not like was the multiple story lines that did not add to the development of the story. Some of the story lines were not tied up at the end of the book which, of course, leaves the reader wanting more. This yearning will hopefully be satisfied in the next book in the series, The Mountains Bow Down. I did not read The Rivers Run Dry which is the first book in the Raleigh Haron series. I think if I had read that first book, I would have a better understanding of the characters in this book.

I do not get the family dynamics of the main character. She talks about the loss of her father multiple times but only mentions her adoption once. Her mother, who lives with her, is either insane or suffering from Alzheimer's, and the daughter does not know what is going on with her mother's mental health. It does not make sense to me. Another oddity is her car. The vehicle called K-Car is mentioned so many times that it sounded like a character in the book, yet a character that does not add anything to the storyline.

I consider myself an avid reader with a decent vocabulary, but the author uses words I have never seen such as sibilant (p. 94), tremulous (p. 95), gibbous (p. 115), and sonorous (p. 115). That was just the first third of the book. After that I stopped trying to understand what the author was saying. The writing is just too verbose.

So overall the book is ok. I am more ambivalent about this book and do not plan to read any more books in this series.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Love Your Heart by Tim McGraw and Tom Douglas

This was a cute story about a little girl named Katie searching for a talent for the school talent show. She has many talents and cannot think of which one to perform. Her dad reminds her that he loves her many talents, but loves her heart even more.

I expected this book to be more like the previous Tim McGraw children's book My Little Girl with a focus on the father-daughter relationship. This story was not that at all, but instead was about a little girl discovering her true talent. Her talent was not something to perform but something to share with others. A great example of how God made each of us special with our own talents to share.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Revolved 2010

As a mother of a preteen, I want to be aware of what is out there for my children. I am grateful that they have access to Bibles and Christian literature that was not available to me at that age.

Revolve 2010 is a new testament in the New Century Version. I prefer the New International Version, but this NCV is readable and relateable in today's culture.

This Biblezine is an interesting method of getting the Word into the hands of teenagers. I like the size and structure because it feels more like a magazine and less like a book. It is lightweight and easy to carry. This will make it easier to tote around and more likely to be used. I am grateful for anything that encourages the reading of God's Word.

The columns and added bits of the information in the Biblezine was interesting but not necessarily deep in theology. This presentation of the Bible is a good place to start for someone who is just starting to read God's Word. This would not be good for someone who wants in-depth Bible study. I would recommend the New Inductive Study Bible from Precepts Ministries for deeper study into God's Word.

To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Thicker Than Blood by C. J. Darlington

Ebay meets "The Book Thief." That is what I thought when reading this book. Books are as much a character in this book as the characters themselves.

Sisters who have not seen each other in 15 years is the backstory to this story. Christy left her sister May behind after their parents died. May lost her sister and Christy lost her way.

The story includes love and loss, failures and redemption, and the hope for reconcilition. All of this is woven together as the sisters both find a way to come home again.


To comply with new regulations introduced by the Federal Trade Commission, I must post that Tyndale House Publishers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Buried Alive by Roy Hallums

As a veteran myself, I was interested in reading this book. I anticipated a fascinating story of survival and rescue.

In order to survive 311 days as a hostage in Iraq, Roy had to stay calm and endure whatever his captures did or did not do to him. His ex-wife says that his is patient and laid back. I think that describes the flow of the book...laid back. It was neither exciting nor was it depressing. It was just easy going throughout.

I expected more drama and action in the story, but it was not that kind of story. The book details Roy's ordeal as best as he can remember. It was interesting but not necessarily exciting.

As far as the Christian content, I was disappointed. The front flap of the book states "Hallum's story is tempered by his faith." However, there is only one acknowledgement of God throughout his entire 311 days of captivity. I would have thought his faith would play a bigger role in his survival. I guess I was wrong.


*Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Friday, January 15, 2010

NIV Bible download from Sony

I was excited to get a Sony reader for Christmas. One of my first downloads was the NIV Bible published by Zondervan purchased at the Sony reader store. I am sorely disappointed. This download has numerous typos and is not worth the $13.49. I have called customer service and was told they would call me back. I am still waiting. This makes me wonder if I should have gone with the Kindle or the Nook instead. It's too late now for me, but maybe someone else will learn from my mistake.

I thought of buying this book from another website. However, I have learned that if I buy the download from another site, I may not be able to put it on the reader if it is not in the right format. Sony readers can download .epub, .pdf, and .doc but not .pdb or anything from Kindle at amazon.com.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Antonio Meets His Match (Max Lucado's Hermie and Friends DVD)

Another delightful story from Max Lucado. I have been a fan of his books and can now share his stories with my children.

Hermie is a lovable character who we thoroughly enjoy. But this story is about his friend, Antonio, who is finding it hard to love his neighbor. No matter how hard he tries, he does not like his new neighbor. God reminds him, and us, that He wants to love our neighbor even when it is hard. This is a good lesson for not just the kids but for the adults, too.

What I liked about the story was the reminder that we are not just to "put up with" our neighbors but to truly love them. It is only through God's love for us that we can love others.

A great story with a great message. Thanks Hermie!

When the Game Was Ours by Larry Bird and Earvin Magic Johnson with Jackie MacMullan

Growing up in Massachusetts in the 1980's means that I am a die hard Celtics fan. Growing up in a suburb of Springfield, Massachusetts where basketball began means I have a deed appreciation for the sport. I was intrigued by the story of Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.

I never truly understood what made the men who played the game so great. It was a combination of talent and hard work as well as the kind of competition that makes you play even harder. That is what Magic Johnson and Larry Bird did for each other. Both were great players who played hard, but it was because of the competition that they played even harder and became basketball greats. They are why the NBA is around today.

I hope to share this book with my dad who taught me how to play basketball and shares in my love for the Celtics.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Sweet By and By by Sara Evans

Jade, the protagonist of our story, wants to forget her horrible past and move on with her life. She grew up a poster child for a broken home. Her dad walked out and her mom was a free loving hippie who did not know how to love her own children. Instead of dealing with her past, Jade left it and had not spoken to either parent in years. Whenever you neglect to deal with the past, the past will deal with you.

Through some God-intended events, Jade is forced to face her past and deal with her issues. As we all want in our own lives, she overcomes her past and brings beauty from the ashes.

The character development was severely lacking. As a reader, I did not understand why the dad left. He walks out on her family but becomes a prominent judge in Washington D.C. championing family values. Jade’s best friends appear briefly at few times in the story but neither help nor hinder Jades’ healing process. I would have thought her psychologist friend would instrumental in helping Jade, yet she wasn’t. Instead she goes off on a spa day while Jade continues to work the weekend before her wedding. I just don’t get it.

I also found the prose too wordy. Chapter 2 opens with “Amber hues muted the last of the Iowa blue day as the sun rounded the horizon toward the west, taking with it the last bit of warmth.” It felt like the words were just filling up empty space without adding meaning to the story.

I gave this book 2 stars as it was an interesting story but not well written. It was too wordy with too many characters that did not add to the story development.

Monday, January 4, 2010

The Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel

I have enjoyed all of the Strobel's writings. From Case for Faith to Case for Christ, his work is thorough yet very readable.

I purchased Case for Christmas as a nice little book to read for the holidays. It seemed familiar like I had read it before. I pulled out my copy of Case for Christ and compared notes. Lo and behold, I had read it before. Case for Christmas is 5 chapters pulled from Case for Christ plus an introduction, "Who was in the manger that first Christmas morning?" I had thought it was a whole new book. So for anyone who has read Case for Christ, you have already read Case for Christmas. For anyone who has not read Case for Christ, Case for Christmas is a great entry into the writings of Strobel.

The Sister Circle by Nancy Moser and Vonette Bright

I have decided to post reviews of all the books I read and not just the ones publishers send me. There are so many good books out there to be read!

I just finish the 4th and last book in the Sister Circle series and enjoyed every one of them. A friend recommended the books and my local public library had them sitting on the shelf waiting for me. It took me a while to really get into the story as there are many characters introduced at the beginning of the first book, but my friend really like them so I kept on reading. I am glad I did because I enjoyed the story of each and every lady.

If there was one thing I liked the most it was that the characters were real. The story line was real. They encountered the same experiences and emotions that we encounter in our lives. I don't need fiction that is so false that it is far fetched. I like fiction that is relateable and relevant.

The books in this series include:
The Sister Circle (#1)
'Round the Corner (#2)
An Undivided Heart (#3)
A Place to Belong (#4)

I would suggest reading the books in order as the story line progresses through each book and many characters stay throughout all 4 books.