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Book Review: Need You Now by Beth Wiseman

Need You Now

This is a book that really encompasses character change. The main character, Darlene, started out as someone I couldn’t relate to. She was completely blind to her family’s problems and seemed to be purposefully naive to her kids’ struggles in particular. She allowed friends of the opposite gender in her teenaged boy’s room alone, let other friends in her kids’ room to spend time with them alone before she got to know them, and just hoped they weren’t doing anything they shouldn’t. Yikes! Talk about Pollyanna!

I related much better to one of the secondary characters, Layla. She was Darlene’s gritty neighbor who ran her own ranch. But she was on the bitter side of life, and Darlene was able to help her with it. And thankfully after a few life circumstances and the help of Layla, Darlene started to wise up herself. The author brought some great character change to Darlene and took her from naive mom to a mom with a little spunk, who would do anything to help her kids.

I’m glad I hung in there with Darlene to see her eyes open and her spirit change. Every female protagonist needs a little spunk to keep things interesting!

Great read! It covered many issues that teens are facing today and issues that parents are facing as well.

Thank you to the publisher for giving me this book to review.

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2012 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: The Real Skinny on Losing It by Michelle McKinney Hammond

Real Skinny on Losing It, michelle mckinney hammond, book review, diet book, christian diet book, weight loss

This is not your mother’s diet book. There isn’t a lot of scientific mumbo jumbo. There is a little talk about how food and exercise affect your body, but for the most part, this is encouragement to change the way you eat and make it a lasting lifestyle. It certainly gave me encouragement to stick with a healthy way of eating.

Michelle writes the book in her own style. The word “girlfriend” is tacked onto the end of a lot of sentences. When she proclaims something profound, she follows it up with “true dat.” And she uses many more colloquial expressions in the book. For the first half of the book, it really got under my skin, and I wondered where on earth the editor was. But after a while, I got used to it, and it was okay.

There was only one thing I disagreed with in the book. She obviously hasn’t read Dr. Atkin’s New Diet Revolution. She basically slaughtered and pureed it chapter 14. She states that you don’t eat fruits, juice, dairy, vegetables, or any carbs whatsoever when you take up an Atkins lifestyle. Let me say it once and for all. This is not true. I eat fruit, vegetables, bread, dairy, and juice regularly on a lowcarb lifestyle. It’s about moderation. I feel very strongly that she should have educated herself before she wrote about the diet. She got it all wrong. I hate to use the word slander, but it is borderline. Thankfully, she didn’t dwell on it too long. Again, I wondered where the editors and fact-checkers were when they came to this chapter.

All in all, I really did like the book. It was inspiring. I was more inspired with the encouragement to go to God with your needs rather than all of the references to Oprah in the book. I have found that it is easier to diet and exercise if you are surrendered to God. He gives you the peace and contentment in your heart that you are craving.

One of things in the book that really stuck with me was that you should treat your stomach like a child’s tantrums. Every time it screams out for something it shouldn’t have, you need to give that child some discipline and not give in to it. That has already helped me say “no” to my cravings.

This is a great book! I would recommend it for some encouragement and inspiration to get started and keep going with a healthier lifestyle.

Thank you Tyndale for sending me a copy to review.

 

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Book Review: Engaging Father Christmas by Robin Jones Gunn

Okay, I’m not normally one to pick up a romance, but it’s Christmassy and  based in England. Right now, I’m really into fiction that takes place in other countries. So this appealed to me. This was the first book I’ve ever read by Robin Jones Gunn, and I was pleasantly surprised at the depth of the characters for a romance.

What I didn’t realize was that this is the second book in this series. The first one is Finding Father Christmas, but I was able to read this one and understand everything that was going on without reading the first book. I would suggest reading the other one first though.

In all, this was a nice read at Christmas. It really puts you in the Christmas spirit and transports you to a small English village. It was fun to read.

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2010 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: Unlocked

Unlocked, Karen Kingsbury, Kingsbury, autism, autistic, Holden, Ella, Christian fiction, inspirational fictin, christian novel, christian novels, inspiration novel, inspirational novels, book review unlocked, book review, review

This book was incredibly exciting to read. I found myself cheering on Ella, who stood up to school bullies and attached herself to an autistic student in her high school. She was ridiculed for it, but she never budged on her commitment to her new friend, Holden. As she saw him start to engage and come out of his autistic shell, she became even more determined to stick with him, trying to draw him out more.

The story is amazing. I was awed to not only see through Holden’s friend’s and family’s point of view in this book, but from his point of view as well. To be able to get into the mind of an autistic soul was a pretty astonishing thing. All of the outward idiosyncrasies began to make sense as his thought process was revealed.

Half-way through the story, it was so incredible, it was starting to sound too good to be true. So, I flipped to the back of the book to read the note from the author and hopefully see how Karen Kingsbury went about researching for the book. I wanted to see if there was any truth in what I was reading.

What I discovered was that she had witnessed this very story in real life. You’ll have to read it for yourself to see what I’m talking about, but it made this novel even more incredible. After Karen came across this real life story, she sat on an airplane and outlined the whole book, filling up 20 pages in her notebook. She poured her heart out, even crying for the characters in the story as she scribbled out the storyline and title. It was the first time she’d ever done anything like that, and she felt that God had met with her on that plane and gave her “Unlocked” as a special gift from him.

I’ve got to say, I agree with her. The book feels like it is a special gift from God to show people that he loves everyone. The way he creates people is not by accident. And the story of this miraculous journey puts this on display beautifully. I can’t say enough. This book has got to be read!

Thank you, Zondervan, for sending this book to me in exchange for my review.

 
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Posted by on November 4, 2010 in Fiction Reviews

 

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Book Review: Crazy Love by Francis Chan

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Uh-mazing!

This book spoke to my heart in amazing ways. It just oozes truth and the way that God wants us to live.

In the preface, Chris Tomlin says that this may be the most challenging book (besides the Bible) that you’ll read this year – or the even the next few years. I agree. I really feel that the Holy Spirit has a good grip on Francis Chan. He makes it clear that this book is not about him. It is about coming to love God more and giving God more. I am encouraged and challenged to do both.

This book is an important one – one that every American Christian should read. It will challenge you to really look at Jesus’ words and instructions and live them out. It will make you think about what you can do to make a difference. And not only think about it, but to do it.

Read this book – even if it is the only book you read this year! The truths and ideas in this book (because they are straight from Jesus) have the ability to change a person, a whole church, a community, or more!

 

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Book Review: Fearless by Max Lucado

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I enjoyed reading this book. Max Lucado’s works are always a pleasure to read. And not only that, they are always encouraging.

Lucado takes several statements from Jesus that are based on human fears, telling us not to be afraid. He takes each one of these verses and addresses the fear that correlates to it. Like Chapter 4, “Woe, Be Gone.” This chapter uses Matthew 6:25 (NLT) – “I tell you not to worry about everyday life – whether you have enough.” The fear that Lucado addresses is the fear of running out. I’ve certainly had this fear, and I know I’ll have the fear in the future. I’ll have the fear that we won’t be able to come up with enough money for bills, rent, groceries, gas. It seems to be a constant in our lives. So this chapter was very helpful to me. Lucado gives great insights into dealing with these fears and giving them to Jesus.

The other chapter that really spoke to me is called “I’m Sinking Fast.” When you’re feeling overwhelmed with life and its storms, Lucado encourages to “do whatever it takes to keep your gaze on Jesus.” And isn’t that what it’s all about?

I’m glad I read this book. It really gave me a weapon against fear and anxiety over stuff I can’t control. It reminded me who can control that stuff and to put my trust in Him. I’ve found a much more peaceful life when I heed his advice.

Fearless is a book that will help many people. Today’s economic climate has caused people to fear. With job losses, home foreclosures, bankruptcies, and more, those fears are legitimate. But Jesus says “don’t fear.” Throughout this book, the comfort of those words reverberate a sense of calm, and shows beautifully that Jesus is the best one to bring your restless heart—and knotted stomach—to.

 
 

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Book Review: The Noticer by Andy Andrews

The Noticer book review, The Noticer, Andy Andrews, inspirational fiction, inspiration books, inspirational book, book reviews, book review, The Travelers Gift, The Traveler's Gift, Jones, vanessa carrollThis book was very interesting. Not your average fictional book (that’s why I categorized it as “other”). It’s more of a mouthpiece for the author’s motivational speaking. That being said, I thought the message of the book was very good. The story may have been slightly cheesy, the author isn’t exactly a studied novelist, and it doesn’t scream Christianity, but what he has to say is something everyone should read.

There are about five or six different life lessons in the book, all affecting different people in different stages of life. The message of gaining a new perspective is carried by an old man named Jones. He mysteriously appears in each person’s life just as they are in the midst of crisis. The old man draws them in with his blue eyes, white hair, and a certain magical sense about him. Then he sits them down to talk about their life, giving them the proper perspective they need to change. The answers to their problems are quite simplistic, but something they never thought of. A matter of perspective. This new perspective drives them to change the things they were doing wrong and bring about positive transformation in their life. A saved marriage. A reformed businessman. An enlightened teenager. And the list goes on.

I very much enjoyed the first chapter. I was a little confused when the main character in this chapter was the same name as the author and tried for a long to time figure out if I was actually reading fiction or if this was an autobiographical work. I determined that it is fiction. The author just used himself as the main character. But, the first chapter does a great job of capturing the reader and getting you to keep reading into the second chapter.

The second chapter was good until about half-way through when it started getting pretty cheesy and was looking too much like The Five Love Languages by Chapman. It was feeling a little like the author was using other people’s material for his own book. I put the book down and decided I didn’t want to read it anymore. The old man, Jones, was sounding too much like a motivational speaker as he was counseling a couple on the brink of divorce.

The funny thing is that this second chapter of the book, even though I didn’t finish it, actually sparked an interesting conversation between my husband and me about The Five Love Languages. We were trying to figure out which love languages we each favored, as well as which one our three-year-old daughter seemed to favor. We talked about it throughout the rest of the day and I believe we are better off for it.

After thinking about this great conversation that the book sparked, I picked up the book again and finished it. If one chapter could spark such a good conversation, what would the rest be like? I am glad I did continue reading. I determined to overlooked the cheese factor  (although there were moments of really good writing) and discovered there were a lot of things that I learned through Jones and his perspective-giving lessons in people’s lives. And it left me with the desire to be “Jones” to someone else. So I have to give the book high marks based on what it can inspire in a person’s heart. I just needed to get over myself and see the book for what it is – a book that really sticks with you after its over and helps you become a better person.

My recommendation is … READ IT! You’ll be able to read it quickly. It’s a short book that goes fast. There aren’t any mentions of Christianity or the Holy Spirit. There are a couple of mentions of God. But I don’t think the book is meant to be just for Christians even though it was published by a Christian publisher. I think it is meant for the general market. No matter if you are a Christian or not, this book will certainly make you think about your own life and how you can make positive changes. It is a must read. Pick it up today! You’ll be glad you did!

Book description:

A new story of common wisdom from the bestselling author of The Traveler’s Gift.

Orange Beach, Alabama is a simple town filled with simple people.  But like all humans on the planet, the good folks of Orange Beach have their share of problems – marriages teetering on the brink of divorce, young adults giving up on life, business people on the verge of bankruptcy, as well as the many other obstacles that life seems to dish out to the masses.

Fortunately, when things look the darkest – a mysterious man named Jones has a miraculous way of showing up.  An elderly man with white hair, of indiscriminate age and race, wearing blue jeans, a white T-shirt and leather flip-flops carrying a battered old suitcase, Jones is a unique soul.  Communicating what he calls “a little perspective,” Jones explains that he has been given a gift of noticing things that others miss.  “Your time on this earth is a gift to be used wisely,” he says.  “Don’t squander your words or your thoughts. Consider even the simplest action you take, for your lives matter beyond measure…and they matter forever.”

Jones speaks to that part in everyone that is yearning to understand why things happen and what we can do about it.

Like The Traveler’s Gift, The Noticer is a unique narrative is a blend of fiction, allegory, and inspiration.  Gifted storyteller Andy Andrews helps us see how becoming a “noticer” just might change a person’s life forever.

 
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Posted by on September 17, 2010 in Other Book Reviews

 

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