Wednesday, May 30, 2012

The Chase

Reading a suspense novel from the perspective of an author doing research for a suspense novel adds a unique spin to this story.  The story is also based on an actual cold case solved by the FBI.

The heroine of this story, Kariss, is writing a novel and doing research while shadowing an FBI agent, Tigo.  As she does her research, she becomes the main character in her own suspenseful story. Throughout the entire book, she inserts herself into FBI business and puts herself in harms way.  Luckily, the hero of the book, Tigo, is always there to save this damsel in distress.  However, Kariss is just stubborn enough to think of herself not as a damsel in distress but a modern woman who can do anything.  That attitude keeps getting her in trouble.  There is also a romantic element as Kariss and Tigo start to see each other as more than just a nuisance.

The book was easy to read and kept my interest throughout.  There were many twists and turns, but the ending was satisfying.  I did get a little annoyed at the heroine who would not listen to wisdom and foolishly found herself on the wrong side of town, but that is how the heroine and hero start to fall in love, or at least like.  There is a sequel that will probably explore this romantic storyline.

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

Saturday, May 26, 2012


Adam Brown is an American hero!  If you want to be proud to be an American, read this book.  I can think of no better way to celebrate this holiday weekend that to remember people like Adam Brown who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

My 13 year old son read this book and said it was awesome and "the best biography I have ever read."

Check out this video, but go buy the book!

Friday, May 25, 2012


I am so glad this book was entitled MOMumental and not Mom-u-MENTAL!  Often that is really how I feel, but this book reminds us moms that we are not losing our minds but are doing our best to raise our children.

As I read this book, I felt all the feelings of a mom such as guilt, joy, frustration, passion, and deep love.  Often, I can run through these emotions all within an hour when I am trying to take care of my 2 little ones.  I am relieved to know that I am not alone in my many diverse feelings of being a mother.

My favorite line from this book is "use common sense when you consider duplicating something you read about in a parenting book.  Seriously."  Now stop and think about that for a minute.  This is a parenting book, and the author is telling the reader to use common sense when duplicaiton her advice.

My other favorite line is one I hope I remember when my kids are not obeying like I want.  "Perfect submission from my kids isn't my goal as a mother."  That still makes me stop and consider what I am doing as a parent and what I truly want from my children as I raise them.

I received this book from Net Gallery for free in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Father Hunger

Even though I am not a father, I did get a lot out of this book.  It was controversial in places, but I agreed with the premise and understood the arguments presented within this book.

The fatherlessness that is rampant is America has taken its toll.  The Christian church is not immune to the problems of absent, both physically and mentally, fathers.  However, the church is somewhat ignorant of the issue, or the problem is so overwhelming that it is easier to deal with the symptoms than the root cause.  This book encourages all of us to face the root cause of fatherlessness and be proactive about helping fathers be the men they are suppose to be.

As a wife and mother, this book helped me better understand the men in my life.  I did not realize the dichotomy of masculinity.  The author states, "Masculinity thrives on the right kind of discipline, but masculinity also kicks at it.  Masculinity thrives on the right kind of work, but it also loves to be lazy." Those words were my ah-ha moment.  I get it now, and I understand why my husband and son struggle to be the men they truly want to be.

I highly recommend this book not just to men but also to everyone who wants to see our culture return to the priority of family.

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

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Where Lilacs Still Bloom

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book.  I do not say this lightly as I read and enjoy many books.  However, this book was quite enjoyable to read.  It is one of those books begs you to find a nice comfy place to sit and read for hours on end.

The book is based on the life of Hulda Klager, a German immigrant and farm wife who does not let the lack of formal education prevent her from advancing modern science.  She loves to garden.  She is passionate about creating new breeds of plants and attempting the impossible.  With just an 8th grade education, she delves into the world of biology and becomes a humble expert in breeding and cross-breeding lilacs.

As passionate as she is about her plants, she is passionate about her family.  The story spans half a century and than many life changes Hulda and her family experiences.  The book could have been a 3 part series. Instead, the author gives us one delightful book that reminds us to stop and smell the roses, or lilacs when in season.

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

If you want to read the first chapter of this book here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

That's Why I'm Here

It is a tragedy to lose a wife and mother at such a young age to breast cancer.  Instead of living in sorrow,  Chris Spielman shares his amazing story about faith in the face of adversity.

At the beginning of the book, Chris tells the reader that his story is as much about football as it is about cancer.  He was not joking.  The first half of the book is about his football career and his wholehearted commitment to the sport.  After I while, I wondered when he would start talking about cancer and his wife's battle.  Chris does leave his football career and becomes committed to helping his wife and others battle cancer.  After finishing the book, I realize how both stories are intertwined, and you really cannot understand one without the other.

This story is inspiring.  Even though the hero is Stephanie Spielman, I really think the hero is Chris.  He endured tragedy and allowed it to deepen his faith.  He did not run away from God during trials and struggles.  Chris ran to God, and that should be an example for the rest of us to follow.

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

Friday, May 11, 2012

The Beauty Book

This companion book to Here's Lily is a great book for young girls who need to see themselves as fearfully and wonderfully made.

Often discussions about hygiene and taking care of our bodies can be difficult and often embarrassing for moms and daughters.  This book will helps daughters to learn about their body image and encourage them to honor their parents in doing so.  This book is not about getting your period or developing breasts so it is  innocent enough for 8-10 year olds.  
I do like how having a good relationship with parents is repeated throughout the book.  I also like the idea of being you-nique and having God-confidence.  This book does have a great message for young girls that runs counter culture to what the media portrays as beautiful.  

I highly recommend this book to both young girls and their mothers.  I also recommend buying this book in print form so that the reader can journal within the book which the book encourages.

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

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The Necessity of an Enemy

I was blown away by this book.  There were so many ideas that make complete sense but were a new way of thinking that I had to really stop and question what I truly believed.  It was not that what I was thinking was wrong, but that this book opened my eyes.  For example, I read that conflict is the gap between expectations and reality.  So true yet so different from how I had thought.  I saw conflict as right versus wrong.  Now I realize conflict occurs when reality does not meet expectations.

Another thing I learned is that testing is not God teaching us, but instead is God allowing us to use what we learned.  Think about it, a teacher does not teach during a test but sits back while the students show what they have learned.  In life, a time of testing is not a time of teaching but a time of applying what was learned.

I could go on about what I learned, but I would rather recommend this book to everyone so that they can learn and grow.  I will admit that I was challenged as some ideas were so new that I had to really consider if what I believed was based on tradition or on truth.  Even though it was challenging, I love it when my traditions are challenged so that I can learn the truth.  

I wish I had read this book when I first became a believer so that I would be more aware of the truth.  This truth is that believers are enemies of Satan and that he is at war with God's children.  We Christians have a target on our back and should not be surprised when attacks come.  We should be prepared which is what this book is about.

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

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Chasing the Sun

Set during the War Between the States, Texas had both Union supporters and Confederate supports.  There were also quite a few Texas supports who only wanted what benefited their state.  Hannah, the heroine of the story, is just trying to survive with her 2 step-siblings.  The ranch on which they live was given to their father, a Conferderate supporter.  The previous residents were Union supporters and left to fight the war.  Hannah's father leaves to help his mother back in Vicksburg but has not been heard from since.  Instead, William Bartlett returns, the son of the previous ranch owner, to claim his family property.

Initially, the storyline was slow as the many characters were introduced.  Therefore, it took a while to understand how Hannah Dandridge can to live on a Texas ranch with her much younger step-brother and step-sister.  I almost lost interest in the book, but I continued to read so I could write a thorough review.

Once I got into the book, I enjoyed reading it, mostly.  Some parts of the story annoyed me.  I did not like how clueless Hannah was in her dealings with Herbert Lockhart, her father's business partner.  She also seemed naive about how her family came to live on the ranch.  She is strong woman who came from a privileged upbringing and became a hard-working ranch woman.  Yet, the story does not talk about the transformation.  There is only a nod to how she was once privileged and now must take care of her family and land.

The story ends nicely with all loose ends tied up.  It was neither surprising nor upsetting.

Bethany House provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Here's Lily

I was pleasantly surprised when I finished reading this charming little book.  I had high expectations at the beginning.  In the middle, I was slightly annoyed at some of the characters and their behavior.  By the end, these characters redeemed themselves.  All in all, it was a nice little story.

I requested this book to review from Thomas Nelson so that my 10 year old daughter could read it, too.   Lily is a young girl who does not realize the beauty that is within her.  As she goes through modeling classes, she learns how to be beautiful but loses her focus on where that beauty comes from.  After an accident that wounds her face, she learns where that beauty comes from.  She develops not self-confidence but God-confidence.

Why I was getting annoyed was that Lily's was often teased by her whole family.  The accident opened their eyes to their negative behavior, and even her mom apologized and promised to change.  I was relieved at this point in the book because I thought the author was making this pattern of behavior normal and acceptable.  While teasing is normal in a family, including mine, the author uses teasing as part of the storyline to help the family change.

My favorite line that I hope I remember is "When you're not thinking so much about yourself, you tend to move more gracefully.  It's self-consciousness that makes us trip over things."  So true!  I am glad to share this book with my daughter.

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

Friday, May 4, 2012

Momaholic: Crazy Confessions of a Helicopter Parent

I was gladly mistaken when I read this book.  I thought it would be a tongue-in-chin book about a mom who made many mistakes as a parent and learned to laugh about it.  It is that but so much more. It is a story about a woman who has it all and still does not always have it all together.

Dena Higley has a life most women dream of.  She is a successful writer for TV; she has 4 children (2 biological and 2 adopted); she missed only 1 choir performance when she was traveling with her job; and she is happily married for 25+ years.  She has the perfect life.  She has the life I wish I had.  She has it all; great job, great family, great faith.  So why does she down a bottle of vodka and end up in the ER?  Why, indeed!

As Dena shares her ups and her many downs, I realize that having it all does not make life easier or more fulfilling.  No matter the social class, financial status, or family make-up, being a mom is hard.  We are all a work in progress.  Admitting the true of our struggle frees us to be better moms.  Not moms who do more but moms who try, make mistakes, get back up, and try again.

My favorite line is one that I have thought many times, "It still amazes me that I can be right so many times with my kids and they still treat me like I don't know what the heck I am talking about."  I laughed that she actually said this, yet I felt a sense of relief that I was not the only one who felt this way.

There is some mention of faith and prayer, yet Dena does not talk much about it.  I wish more time and space was given to her faith.

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

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Wait No More

The Rosati family began looking into adoption after they submitted to God their desrie for a family.  They were not successful at getting pregnant and just made their hearts open to God's leading.  Each time they waited on the Lord, God come through in a big way.  

As someone considering adoption, I enjoyed reading this family's experience with adopting 4 children.  What I most appreciated was the honesty with which they share their story.  It was not an easy process or even a simple process.  It was frustrating and heartbreaking as well as rewarding and amazing.  Yet, they would do it all over again in a heartbeat.

I am grateful for the Rosati's experience and that they were willing to share their story.  It has encouraged me as I pray for the Lord's leading for my family.

Tyndale House provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.