Monday, November 21, 2016

The Domino Effect

Esther Larsen has a brilliant mind and can analyze the economic climate better than anyone else.  Because of this, she can see the potential for economic collapse long before anyone else.  This burden weighs heavily on her mind  This once quiet introvert has to tell others and lead the movement to challenge authority and right the wrongs they have done.

The story line is fascinating and quite intricate.  I could follow most of the financial jargon; however, I had a hard time following the character development.  For as much as Esther struggled to be a leader, she did just fine when she led others and became a voice of reason.  She was also great with supporting her boyfriend's 2 teenage daughters saying the right thing at the right time to connect with them.  It was uncanny her ability to connect with people even though she was an introvert who would rather be in front of her computer instead of in front of people.

I didn't like the book, nor did I dislike it.  It was just okay for me.

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

Monday, November 14, 2016

Shaken

I have always admired Tim Tebow with how he has handled the many ups and downs of his football career.  He has impressed me with his focus on not football but on glorifying God even when it isn't always popular or profitable.

I have read Through My Eyes which further impressed me with this young man and his ability to handle pressure.  However, this latest book was a letdown.  Tim shares many anecdotal stories about his life and his personal thoughts going through certain events, but the book seemed disjointed with no real focus.  I had a hard time finishing the book because it really didn't interest me.

This was a tough review to write as I thoroughly like this young man and admire what he has done both on and off the field.  The stories he shares are interesting but as a whole, the book is mediocre.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. 

Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Candidate

I was excited to read the latest thriller from Lis Weihl, and this book did not disappoint.

Erica Sparks is on top of her game in broadcast journalism; however, she cannot just rest on her laurels.  She must continue to cover cutting edge stories and keep up with the latest and greatest.  She starts to notice that one of the candidates for president has some idiosyncrasies that might lead to some serious problems if he is elected to the presidency.  Erica digs deep to find the truth, too deep.

The book is fast pace, and the story line starts out believable.  But toward the end, the story line becomes too fantastic and unreal.  The book is definitely a work of fiction.  Nonetheless, the writing is good and the story is a good read.

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

Sunday, October 2, 2016

True Faith and Allegiance

Alberto R. Gonzales gives us the "behind the curtain" peek into the West Wing as a former U.S. Attorney General and Counsel to President George W. Bush.

The book is long, but it helps to understand the context of some of the decisions President Bush faced.  Gonzales gives a lot of the back story and the legal ramifications for the decisions the President had to make.  No decision was ever easy when you are leading a free country.

For those who lived through the Bush administration, it was more like current events not history; however it is fascinating to look at the events through the lens of history.  As we lived through 9/11 and into the 21st century, current events became historic events.  Gonzales takes us through the events, the decisions, the struggle, and the resulting consequences.  All was done with the best interest of the country at heart.

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

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Legend

Roy Benavidez is a real American hero.  He thinks he was just doing his job, as most military men do.  But he was also saving the lives of fellow service men while putting his own life on the line.

The book profiles Roy and the 12-man Special Forces team inserted behind enemy lines on the fateful day in May of 1968.  Because their mission was top secret, not many people even knew about it, let alone what transpired.  Eric Blehm attempts to educate and inspire us by bringing this story to light.

As much as I enjoy reading stories of real life heroes, I had a hard time following the story line of this book.  My understanding of the war in Vietnam is woefully inadequate; however, the author jumps between present tense and back story a lot.  It was just tough to follow.  The story is great, but the book could have been better.


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  See more here and here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Greater Than Gold

It was a joy to read this book during the 2016 Olympics in Rio.  While watching David Boudia compete in the diving competition, I was reading his life story and was impressed with his character and testimony.  He didn't win gold at the Rio Olympics as he did in London, but after reading his book, I think he knows what winning is all about.

Most of what David went through was because of bad choices he mades.  Unlike some Olympic athletes (think Ryan Loche), Boudia accepts responsibility for his actions and works to live an honest and upright life.

Reading biographies is often more interesting than fiction.  Knowing what people have endured and still overcome is fascinating and inspiring.  I would recommend this book to any athlete.

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

Thursday, August 11, 2016

The Things We Knew

The Carlisle family experienced a great tragedy when their mother died.  However, the bigger tragedy was the secrets surrounding the death of Mrs. Carlisle.

Lynette Carlisle, the youngest of the family, was the one who knew the most but was too young to truly comprehend what happened.  In order to survive, she repressed her feelings and tried to move past it.  Yet, at some point, these feelings need to be faced.  The story opens with Lynette having to face the truths locked away for so many years.  Nightmares and images haunt her, and she must face the facts in order to fully understand what happened so many years ago.

The novel was a page-turner.  The author gave away hints and details slowly and methodically throughout the book.  Sometimes, I was frustrated at how slow the details came out.  The ending made sense and was not too surprising once all the details came out.  The ending also left some doors open for future stories.  I am not sure if the author has plans for another book or just let some things left to the imagination of the reader.

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

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

One Big Turkey

Counting and rhyming go hand in hand in this board book.  Each page is a 4 line rhyme with a picture to match.

It is easy to read this book out loud to your child as the prose is simple yet sweet.

The illustrations are bright, and the turkey is found on every page.  It would be fun to ask the toddler to find the turkey while you read the page.

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

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Pumpkin Patch Blessing

Board books are great for little hands, and this one has a lovely rhyme and rhythm to read out loud.

With fall activities, this is a great little book to celebrate a trip to the pumpkin patch.

The 4 lines rhymes are sweet and the illustrations are adorable.

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

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Bat Dad

Bat Dad is hilarious!  With 4 kids under the age of eleven, this dad has to do something to prevent going crazy.  Or maybe, this is the dad going crazy.  Either way, he makes light of parenting and some of the funny things our kids do.

Just a disclaimer, the a-word appears multiple times in this book.  It's funny, but it's there.  Just a heads-up if you were thinking about sharing this book with your 5 year old who just started reading.  That would make for a hilarious Bat Dad vine, but that would also make for a young potty mouth.


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  Check out Bat Dad here.


Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Night Night Farm

I so enjoyed reading this book out loud.  It has a nice soothing rhythm throughout the verses.

It is definitely the kind of book you read to your child before going to bed.  The child can say good night to each of the farm animals after each page.

My teenage daughter, who enjoys babysitting, even liked this book and is looking forward to sharing it with the kids she watches.

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

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

The Field Guide to Sports Metaphors

Where did the expressions "in you face" and "my bad" start?  What does "unforced error" really mean?  How did these sayings become part of every day language?  This book answers all these questions and more.

The book can be read cover to cover.  However, I liked picking a sport and reading the etymology of the words and expressions from that sport.  It was interesting to read how some of the expressions came into being and became prolific in other sports.

Overall the book was interesting to read.  I was fascinated with the history of language and how sports metaphors became a part of culture.

I received this book for Blogging for Books for review.  For more information go to the author's website.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Swimming With Faith

With the Rio Olympics coming soon, it could be a great year for USA swimming.  One of the shining stars is Missy Franklin.  She won multiple medals in 2012 and hopes to do even better in 2016.

This book profiles Missy Franklin's life through her early years, her first Olympic trials, her second Olympic trials and subsequent Olympic competition, her final year in high school, and her 2 years of college.  She is a wonderful young woman who has made tough decisions and honored God with her life.  I think all young swimmers could learn something from the example Missy sets.

The author uses multiple articles and interviews to write this book.  She does not talk to Missy personally but uses these resources to write the book.

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

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Traces of Guilt

Evie Blackwell is a great detective and took her vacation time to look into a few cold cases in Carin County, Illinois.  She is helped by the Thane family especially Gabriel Thane who follows in his father's footsteps as sheriff of the small community.  The cases seem unsolvable, but Evie find things no one else seems to find.

I have enjoyed books by Dee Henderson especially the O'Malley series.  This book reminds of those books with suspense, drama, and mystery and a close knit family involved in it all.  This book, however, was not as good as I had hoped.  The Thane brothers are just too perfect and handsome and nice.  Even Evie and the other female characters are good looking with good jobs.  It's just too perfect and one-dimensional.

I could have put up with the great lives everyone had if the mystery was good, but even that left me with a bad taste in my mouth.  I won't give away the ending, but the mystery is not solved until the last 10 pages of the book.  And it wasn't worth the wait.

Overall, the writing is good and the book is easy to read, but the story had a lot to be desired.

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

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks

Football is more than just a sport, it is an industry with the quarterback being the must crucial of positions.  It is not surprising that the science and art of quarterbacking has evolved as the sport has evolved, and this book takes the reader into the the world of developing elite quarterbacks.

I had a hard time getting through this book.  The writing bounces between what transpires at the Elite 11 camp and what has happened in the NFL and NCAA with certain quarterbacks.  It was not a seamless transition and made it hard to follow.

The premise is interesting.  I had not thought about the rise of the modern quarterback and how the position has evolved in recent years.  I learned a few things about professional analysis of the sport of football and baseball as well as how rating quarterbacks is not an exact science.  However, it took a lot of reading through uninteresting backstory to get to the good parts of the book.  Overall the book was hard to follow.


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.  For more information on the author, go here.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Finding God in the Hard Times

This book came at just the right time in my life.  While I am not going through an extremely hard time, there are some challenges that were overwhelming my heart and my mind.  I was losing my focus on God.  Instead, I was focusing on my problems.  This book and the song it is about shined light on worshipping God in the midst of hard times.  It is in worship and focusing on God, that I can face and overcome these challenges.

Matt and Beth Redman wrote a great song and a great book to help us understand how to worship God through those times when He gives and takes away.  I am grateful for this truth and will share this book with others who may need it.

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

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Go Big or Go Home

I never watch American Idol and have only heard Scotty McCreery sing a few times so I can honestly say that I'm no fan girl.  I do appreciate a good book, and this was just that.

Scotty has grown up quickly in the music industry, but he has not forgotten his roots.  He is rooted in faith, family, and friends.  He shares his journey from a little boy who loved Elvis to a young man with thousands of adoring fans.  For as famous as he is, he isn't arrogant or self-serving.  He is a humble man just trying to make it in the music business.

I enjoy reading about Scotty and will enjoy watching him grow as he continues his music career.

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

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Little One, God Made You Special

What a delightful book!

In addition to the beautiful illustrations and rhyming test, this book offers a truth to young children that they are indeed special.

This is the kind of book you will read out loud to a young child and will actually enjoy doing it.

I find that the rhymes are soothing which makes this a great bedtime book.

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

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Forgiving My Daughter's Killer

Kate Grosmaire experienced the unthinkable and did the impossible.  When learning that her daughter is shot and then killed by a boyfriend, Kate endures the pain and reaches out to the man in forgiveness.

This book had a profound effect on me.  I struggle to forgive others, even for small infractions.  I cannot imagine forgiving someone who murders my child.  I am glad I have not had to experience such a tragedy.  From this tragedy, I have learned so much about forgiveness from the author.  I realize how little I am asked to forgive and how stubborn I have become in being unforgiving.

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

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

21 Seconds to Change Your World

This book uses the Lord's prayer and the 23rd Psalm to help the reader connect with God.  God's truth is life-changing, and these passages are great examples of just that.

The challenge is not to just say the words of the 23rd Psalm or of the Lord's prayer.  The challenge to go deep in understanding and to really connect with God through his word.  This is true for any passage, but especially for these two popular passages.

Don't let the brevity of the book confuse you with the depth.  It is deep and requires focused concentration to read.

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

Monday, April 11, 2016

This is Awkward

I have never heard of Sammy Rhodes before reading this book so I had no preconceived notions or expectations.  I was pleasantly surprised that I connected with this author through his writings.  I also realize that I, myself, am awkward.

According to the author, awkwardness is the gap between what we should be and what we actually are.  This means we are all awkward.  But instead of shaming ourselves for not measuring up and blaming ourselves for our failures, we can turn our awkwardness toward God.  It is in that gap that God gives us grace.  This really is a freeing concept.

Even the word "awkward" is awkward.

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

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Flirtation Walk

I don't normally read and review historical fiction, but I made the exception since West Point is near and dear to my heart.  I both graduated from the Academy, and I also married a graduate.  So it was fun to take a walk down memory lane a.k.a Flirtation Walk.

The setting of the Academy grounds including the illustrious Flirtation Walk is quite accurate.  The description of cadet life is also on target, as not much has changed in 200 years.  The picture of the cadet on the front cover is the same uniform cadets wore 200 years ago and cadets still wear today.

The story line was interesting but slow moving.  I understood the main characters' motivations within the first few chapters but it took nearly half the book before the story started to develop.  I was bored and had to plow through about a hundred pages before the story piqued my interest.  After that, the pace of the story improved and was more interesting to read.

So the book was good enough but nothing spectacular.

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

Saturday, March 5, 2016

If I Run

I don't know how to summarize this story without giving away the story, but I'll try... After finding her best friend, Brent, murdered, Casey runs, and Dylan is tasked to find her.  If I say anything more, I'll ruin the story.  Just read it to find out what happens which is how I felt while I read this book.  I just wanted to find out what happens next so I kept reading.  Time goes by and 50 pages later, I am still engrossed in the book.

The genre is drama and suspense with some mystery thrown in for good measure.  It is definitely a page-turner.

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

Friday, February 12, 2016

The Newsmakers

Lis Wiehl does a good job in the suspense/thriller category.  Like her previous books, this was a page-turner where I wasn't exactly sure what would happen next.  I wasn't even sure which character to trust.  Everyone had flaws, and it was sometimes difficult to determine who was trying to do the right thing.

As much as I enjoyed reading this book, there were a few things that caused me hesitation.  SPOILER ALERT: The masturbation seen was completely unnecessary.  Everyone knew that Nylan Hasting was odd and potentially creepy.  It did not have to be proven.  Some things can be left to the imagination.

Also, there were some swear words in print.  I guess with modern society, it's not such a big thing anymore, but I don't usually find that in Christian publications.  This was not Christian fiction, nor did I expect it to be; however, I did not expect such graphic language and imagery.

I really did like the story, but the issues described above were not necessary to progress the storyline.

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

Monday, February 8, 2016

Delighting in God

When we understand who God is, we are better able to worship Him.  This book points us to a better understanding of God.

A.W. Tozer is a self-taught theologian with an amazing mind.  There were many times I struggled to comprehend a passage, but it wasn't because the writing was poor but because my mind was.  This is not an easy book to read because it is a deep book.  Even though it is less than 200 pages, it will take a while to get through the entire book.

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

Saturday, January 23, 2016

It Was Me All Along

I could totally relate to Andie Mitchell in her struggle with food as an emotional outlet.  I did the same thing for too many years.  I did not gain as much weight as she did, but emotionally, I was just as scarred.

Andie was honest about her struggle including the years before she even realized it was an issue.  Her recall of her growing up years was vivid and descriptive.  As she wrote about the food she ate, I could just about taste it.  This was not a good thing if I was hungry.  However, I appreciate how she described her deep connection to food.

Once Andie lost the weight, she realized she had another issue.  Instead of overeating food, she was a control freak who feared eating even an ounce too much.  Therefore, Andie had to address the real issue she had with food, and (spoiler alert), it's not about the food.


I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Rising Darkness

Sophie Wittenbauer has left her old life behind.  She left her Mennonite town and beliefs and built a new life for herself.  While she investigates a murder, she learns that her past may be behind her but it also made her the person she is now.

The book was slow and it took too long to develop the plot.  I was getting bored trying to follow both the character development and the investigation into the murder.  I had to force myself to finish just so that I could write this review.  It wasn't a bad book, just slow.

It wasn't until halfway through this book that I realized I read the first book in the series. You do not have to read the series to follow the storyline as each book introduces new characters and old characters just make an appearance in the next story.

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

Saturday, January 2, 2016

The Five Times I Met Myself

Brock Matthews discovers a way to change the present by dreaming of visiting himself in the past.  The problem is that it changes the future.  When he tries to change the past again, it really messes up the future.  It seems he can't get it right, or by getting it wrong, it is right?

As far as fiction goes, this is an interesting book.  The story moves along smoothly and the end is satisfying.  It reminds me of The Shack and The Five People You Meet in Heaven.  All these books have a spiritual element, but with artistic license, expands spiritual concepts.  There may need to be a new genre term such as "spiritual fiction" to describe these books.

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