Monday, January 28, 2013

Quiet

Even an extrovert like me can learn a lot from introverts.

Susan Cain explores the strengths and weaknesses of introverts who find themselves in an extrovert dominant culture.  I am can identify with many of these issues.  I am married to an introvert who, like many examples in this book, has adopted some extroverted attributes in order to find success in his work.  I understand him better and can enjoy his introverted tendencies.  I now have an appreciation for introverts and how they can contribute to society in ways that extroverts cannot.

What I like about this book is that it was not about introverts being better than extroverts or vice versa.  It was a balanced approach to a balanced issue.  I also like how the author explained the data.  It was not dry or boring like some scientific research can be.  It was fascinating an interesting.

My disclaimer for this review is that even though this book is from a Christian publisher, this book was written from a psychologist's perspective.  There are some things that may not be in agreement with a Biblical worldview.

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.  For more about this book, check out the video and read the first chapter.


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Moon Over Edisto

Julia has built a decent life in Manhattan far from her dysfunctional family of South Carolina.  It was at their vacation home on Edisto that she has her most treasured childhood memories.  It was also there that her father fell in love with her college roommate, divorced her mom, and then had a second family.  Julia has spent the last 20 years avoiding the messy family situation.  But when her old college roommate and now step-mom is dying, Julia must face her past and decide if she can forgive.

There were many things that I liked about this book.  The writing flowed well.  The story progressed nicely.  The characters were real and relateable.  There were a few things that the book was lacking.  Julia, and a few other characters, must search their hearts and determine to forgive; however, the author does not go into depth with how they were able to forgive.  It just happened.  I wanted to know how these characters were able to overcome the bitterness that grew in their hearts for the last 20 years.

I also wanted to know more about the dad who loved his first wife and family but was so easily swayed by this young college girl.  Julia remembers him as a wonderful man, but there must have been some sort of character flaw or moment of weakness that is left out of the story.

This was an enjoyable, albeit shallow book to read.  Thomas Nelson provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Alone,Yet Not Alone

I ordered this book for my 11 year old daughter who loves American history and Indian culture.  I read it first and thoroughly enjoyed it.  My daughter enjoyed the book so much, she read it in 2 days and is now reading it again.

Barbara Leininger is torn from her family during an Indian raid and forced to adapt to the Indian culture.  Before she is forced into marriage with an Indian brave, she escapes with 3 other captives.  Together, they must travel 300+ miles on foot to reach freedom.  Living as an Indian was not easy nor was her escape.  Yet through it all, she maintained her faith and her determination to see her younger sister again.

This is an inspiring story for everyone.  I am thankful for Zondervan who provided me a free copy of this book in exchange for my review which I freely give.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Come to the Table

I have been reading the Yada Yada series since it was just one book.  Now it is a series of 7 books with multiple spin-offs.  I was thrilled for the opportunity to read this latest installment of the series.

One of the reasons I wanted to read this book was because I really did not like the character of Kat who appeared in Stand By Me, the first book in the SoulOut Sisters series.  She really annoyed me which does not usually happen as I read a book.  I know it is fiction, but the portrayal of a college age girl who thinks she knows everything and is not teachable really bothered me.  She also seems quite spoiled especially in her quest to teach people how to eat right, yet she does not understand the financial investment of healthy food.  In this book, she does learn a few things and develops into a like able person.  She discovers that helping people is more than just telling them to eat right.  So I think that Kat redeemed herself by the end of the book, and I am still a fan of Neta Jackson's writing.

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

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Be Still: Let Jesus Calm Your Storm

I just finished reading Be Still written by my blogging friend Cherie Hill.  Her writing is saturated with Scripture.  The truth just washes over you as you read with verse throughout her writing, at the end of each chapter, and at the end of the book.

This book is a reflection on the story of Jesus calming the storm found in the gospels of Mark and Luke.  There is so much to learn from this story.  There is purpose in the storm.  God is with us in the storm.  The storm is a vehicle for God to demonstrate his majesty.  It is in the storm that we can be strengthened and encouraged.

As I read this book, I wondered why I fear the storms of life.  It is in the storm that we most see God's power.  It is in the storm that I have to depend on Him.  It is in the storm that I can grow deeper in my faith.  Maybe now I can appreciate the storms that will inevitably come.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Who Do You Think You Are?

What a great book to start off this new year!  Our identity in Christ is the foundation of who we are, and "our identity determines our activity" (p. 39).  So I better know who I am if I want my activity to truly reflect my identity.

This book is actually a study in Ephesians as each of the 16 chapters starts with a passage from Ephesians and then expounds on the truth in reference to who are as believers in Christ.  I was envisioning a 16 part sermon series as I read this book.  Each chapter starts with the passage, provides a real-life example, and then delves into the Biblical truth.  The author is really straightforward in his delivery, even though the content can be quite deep.

I did like how this book challenged me to work on forgiveness and loving others as Christ loved me.  As with any teaching, I am always driven to seek God's Word myself and listen to Him as He teaches me.  This book is just a tool to be more proactive about studying God's truth.

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

Monday, January 7, 2013

The Breath of Dawn

It is not often that after reading a 400+ page book, I wish the book was longer.  This was such a well written and enjoyable story, I did not want it to end.

In this book, Quinn Reilly is trying to live independently after having to leave her family, her home, and her past.  Morgan Spencer is a widow who has spent the last 2 years of his life raising his daughter, writing books, and avoiding grief.  As their paths cross, both Morgan and Quinn learn to heal, to trust, and to love again.

I recognized some of the characters in this latest book by Kristin Heitzman as this is the third book in the Rush of Wings series.  However, each book is great as a stand alone novel and the books do not need to be read in order. 

I was thrilled that Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group, sent me this novel to review. I am not obligated to provide a positive review but will give praise where praise is due.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Betrayal

In this second book of the "Where the Heart Lives" series, Hugh Brennan is trying to live the redeemed life and leave his sinful past behind.  He stumbles upon a widow, Julie Grace, who is in need of help around the farm.  She, too, is trying to live the redeemed life, but  neither of them open up about there struggles.  It will take time and testing before they both realize the love they share.

Much like the first book in this series, the main character did not have an easy childhood.  Hugh wants to be a better man, but life is not easy.  He struggles and works hard to be the man he wants to be.

I liked this book as much as the first.  It may be predictable, but it is enjoyable enough.  I did feel like the ending was rushed only because the middle of the book was slow.  It could have been 50 pages longer, but I am glad the author did not do that.

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

Belonging


Felicia did not have an easy childhood and has worked hard to make something of herself.  When she moves to Idaho, she intends to leave the past behind and become an independent woman.  She is not looking to fall in love, yet somehow love finds her.

This first book in the "Where the Heart Lives" series is charming.  The book opens with a mother dying and three siblings left as orphans.  This first book is about the middle child.  Presumably, upcoming books with be about the other two.  I will gladly read all the books in the series as the story line is enjoyable, predictable, but still enjoyable.

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