Tuesday, August 30, 2011

It's Your Kid, Not a Gerbil

Kevin Leman is at it again reminding us parents that raising a child is not rocket science. Being busy does not equal a fulfilling life. Sometimes less is more. Kids really just want more time with their parents not more stuff. Mostly the advice is common sense, but sometimes we need a little help making sense of it all.

Even though it was hard to hear, Kevin Leman tells us straight up that we are just too busy. We need stop trying so hard to make everything meaningful. Routine and rituals are meaningful enough. Some of our best childhood memories are not from big events but from an almost meaningless event that thrilled us like no other.

The one thing that hit me hard was that after a negative behavior in my child, I should respond, not react. I have been reacting a lot lately. With encouragement from this book, I see now that responding is a much better response. Yes, pun intended.

Tyndale has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give. You can also visit Tyndale to learn more about this book and enter a chance to win this book for yourself.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Espresso For Your Spirit

I am not sure why Multnomah offered me a book to review that was published in 1999. Usually I review newly published books, but I am glad I got to read this book. It was thoroughly enjoyable.

This little book is much like a cup of espresso...small but packs a lot of punch. There were stories that made me laugh and some that made me cry, but all of it touched my heart deeply. We moms love our children fiercely, but I often forget that God loves my children more than I can imagine. This book is a great reminder that God is with us and not against us as we raise our children in this world.

One chapter in particular hit me hard this morning as I read chapter 19, "Lie Down in Your Soul." I often let my exhaustion prevent me from listening to my children during that calm, quiet pre-bed time. They usually have something to tell me, but I'm too tired to hear it. This book reminds me that I need to listen no matter how tired I am. God will give me the rest I need.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

A Stand-Up Guy

The book started out weird. I thought it would get better but instead it got weirder and weirder.

The story is about a young man named Oliver Miles who is trying to earn a living as a stand-up comedian while moonlighting as a security guard at a local hotel. His mom is an alcoholic who was in prison but is now in some sort of hospital. All the drinking with very little eating has ruined her health. With no father, Oliver has a tough home life. Oliver also has a crush on a fellow hotel employee named Mattie who seems to like him too, but she herself has some issues.

That is the storyline. It's weird, and it only got worse as I read. I was hoping for funny, but it's not funny either. I thought the comedy bit would make me laugh, but it only made me feel sorry for this guy. After a while, I just got annoyed because the storyline never progresses and the comedy is not even funny. I guess I just did not get it. Maybe I missed the punchline.

I am surprised that I did not like this book as I usually enjoy the fiction I read from Zondervan. I hope this was just a fluke.

Zondervan has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.

Friday, August 19, 2011

One Call Away

I read First Things First about Kurt Warner last year, and I get to read Brenda Warner's side of story. Her life is fascinating and inspring. She has survived more than her share of heartache, yet has lived her life with strength and honor.

Brenda tells her life story matter-of-factly. She tells it like it is without trying to defend her actions or prove herself to be better than she is. For that reason, the book is refreshingly honest. She has endured loss and heartache. Her life has not been perfect, nor has it been what she planned.

What bothered me was the fact that she and her husband lived together long before they committed to marriage. She professes a Biblical faith but does explain why premarital sex was acceptable in her life. Kurt was the one who was convicted of it when he became a Christian, yet Brenda never offers her point of view about why she was not convicted of this.

That being said, Brenda is an inspiration. She is honest about her life and shares with the reader what she has endured and how she has lived through tough times even admitting that she has made mistakes along the way. It makes her real which is what I admire the most about Brenda. She writes, " I learned not to tell God how to do things. Instead I grew closer to him as I learned to accept that he was in controlm that he loved me, and that I could trust him no matter what happened."

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Stained Glass Hearts

The premise to this book is that the broken pieces of our lives are not mistakes. They are part of the stained glass mosaic that becomes beautiful in the light of God's love. It is not like Patty Clairmont's other books with lots of humor and funny stories. This one is more serious and thought provoking.

Sometimes, I felt like thoughts were volleying back and forth like a tennis match. It was hard to keep up after a while. I had to put the book down and come back later to read more.

There were some great lines that I highlighted in my book such as "I still wrestle with my tendency to think that what I do qualifies me before God instead of what he's done and completed" (p. 17) and "I want people to like me, and when they don't, I feel defensive and insecure" (p. 61). Patsy Clairmont is open and honest, and made me think about my own tendencies and insecurities.

The chapter on poetry was not my favorite, but the chapter on books was great. It make my book-loving heart go pitter patter.

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for me review which I freely give.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Forgiveness...that was the theme of this story. I am challenged to forgive like the characters of this story. They learn to forgive each other and themselves so that they can be a part of God's redeeming work. It was inspiring.

With forgiveness as being the central theme, the storyline was about a rapper and a songwriter joining forces to write and produce music. Unfortunately, these people have a history and no amount of ignoring it will make the pain go away. They had to face the truth, deal with the pain, seek and accept forgiveness, and then watch with wonder how God blesses them.

Admittedly, there were a lot of characters to keep track of. There was so much backstory to each characters that I wondered if this book was actually part of a series. Nothing on the cover said that it is part of a series or even a sequel, but Faithful, a previously published book by Kim Cash Tate has many of the same characters. I guess you can read this book as a stand alone as long as you don't mind keeping up with the variety of characters and their stories.

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Mercy Come Morning

For anyone struggling with the issues surrounding Alzheimer's, this story brings hope. I can see how many have been touched by this book. It is a nice story about a daughter's struggle as her mother's health steadily declines.

The book is an easy read and gives a reader a chance to watch someone else overcome a hurt past. Healing and hope comes in many ways even in death.

To be honest, the book was not great, but it was decent. I found some of the descriptions lacking while other descriptions were too wordy. The backdrop of New Mexico was as much a character in the story as Dane or Elana. Yet when the main character, Krista, comes to a new understanding about her past and reconnects with her first love, only one paragraph is dedicated to the one hour long conversation that brought healing and restoration between Dane and Krista.

In summary, the book is decent and reaches a unique demographic.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Smack Dab in the Middle of God's Love

The description of sopapillas made my mouth water. I need that recipe! I want to enjoy these pastries like the children in the story. So yummy. So mouth watering with honey smack-dab in the middle of the pastry.

The pastries are a metaphor that Willie Juan and Ana use to demonstrate God's love where "Every good thing comes from smack-dab in the middle of Abba's heart."

This book is a delightful little story to teach young children about God's love. God reminds us to taste and see that the Lord is good (Psalm 34:8). Even more, I am inspired to be smack-dab in the middle of God's love.

Thomas Nelson has provided me this book free in ebook form in exchange for this review. I was able to read this book as soon as it was published so that I could write this review.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fresh-Brewed Life

I was excited to read this book as I like a good cup of coffee and a good book; however, this book was not as good as I had hoped. I am not sure why I did not enjoy this book. There were some interesting chapters and neat word illustrations, but the writing was not fluid. I guess it just was not my cup of tea (pun intended).

I can say that this is the kind of book you need to take your time reading. There was a lot of food for thought (too many puns). The author touches on all parts of our life including spiritual, emotional, physical, and mental. Nothing was off limits.

Journaling was highly encouraged throughout the book. I have journaled for years, but often need a little extra encouragement which this book gave me.

Thomas Nelson has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review which I freely give.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jefferson Burke and the Secret of the Lost Scroll

Even though the premise to this book is not new (think: Indiana Jones, American Treasure, and DaVinci Code), I did enjoy reading this drama/suspense work of fiction with a little romance to keep it interesting without being annoying.

I want to highlight that this is a work of fiction which means many of the elements are not real including the basis for this Book of Joseph scroll. The other element that is pure fiction is a female Ranger. After my years of service in the U.S. Army and my husband's continued years in service, I know no woman has ever served or trained as an Army Ranger. So to have a female character with a Ranger background is pure fiction.

That being said, the story line is interesting. The action kept the story moving. There were many twists and turns, and even I could not predict how it would end. It makes for a fun read as long as you read it knowing it is work of fiction.

Zondervan has provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for this review.