Tuesday, December 31, 2013

First Date

First Date (The Dating Games #1)First Date by Melody Carlson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Two weeks into her junior year & Devon Fremont felt dangerously bored.


I've read some of Melody Carlson's other books & really enjoyed her writing so was excited when I got the change to get this new Young Adult book & review it.

Its the story of girlfriends who get together to form a group & try to break a rule some of the guys are sticking to - to not date. Devon is behind this "Dating Games" & gets her friends to join in as a club.

Devon, Emma, Cassidy, Abby & Bryn are all different, coming from different backgrounds. Christian homes, divorced parents, different races, different values. And while some of the friendships start out on shaky ground, they learn a bit more about each other & they try to 'help' each other out with getting the guy they want to go to the dance with.

After teaching many lessons myself on dating to youth groups, I was anxious to see how this book would go. I'm also a fan of some young adult books & find they can be just as entertaining for adults to read.

This one? I have to say, it seemed very juvenile for an adult. Some of the characters got on my nerves & I just wanted to sit some of them down & have a talk with them as I do in our youth ministry.

Do I think a young lady would enjoy reading this book? Probably. Its full of friendship drama, boy drama, all the things young ladies are going through.

And while I do appreciate the story of the friendships getting stronger, I wish they would have taken the idea of dating & put it on the back burner... but no, its set up for the next book - Blind Dates in the Dating Games.

In my opinion, I'll pass..

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Wednesday, December 4, 2013

The Women of Christmas

The Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and AnnaThe Women of Christmas: Experience the Season Afresh with Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna by Liz Curtis Higgs
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Long before silver bells jingled, Christmas lights twinkled, & horse-drawn sleighs went dashing through the snow, God reached down from heaven with the best gift of all"

God works in a funny way. It was just my turn to teach in Youth Ministry on our Christmas series & it kicked off on Elizabeth & Zechariah, so it was the day after I gave the lesson & picked this book up & joined right back in with my friend Elizabeth, getting to know her more & look at the details of her & Zechariah as they prepared for their son John.

& then we move into the heart of the book, the story of Mary... the news she got, the decision to say yes to God, through her pregnancy, what it must have been like for Joseph... all the way through the birth of Jesus & the events after he was born in Bethlehem.

Finally, we get to meet Anna & learn more about this prophetess who looks upon Jesus after being a widow for so long.

All together, its a beautiful Christmas story told by one of my favorite Women of Faith - Liz Curtis Higgs. Something about her just strikes my heart. I just want to hear her tell the stories in person. She's so enchanting with her voice.... & I could hear it in this book.

One of the features she does is use so many versions of the Bible to explain one verse so thoroughly. I love that. Insight that I would never have on my own.

I read this book in less then 24 hours - its a quick read... so I really do recommend it, especially right now as we head into the Christmas season.

Amen and amen.

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Friday, October 11, 2013

Sea of Tranquility

The Sea of TranquilityThe Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I hate my left hand.


This is not a book I think I would normally pick. But a fellow blogger was talking about it & recommended it so I thought I'd step out of my book-comfort-zone & check it out. I'm so glad I did.

This is the story of two teenagers who have had rough plates of life handed to them.
Nastya, the girl who had died & came back... but came back broken. She had a life ahead of her as a piano player but how, she's the girl who doesn't speak to anyone & is a mystery to the whole school... & even her family.
Josh Bennett, a guy who has lost everyone in his family. He is no stranger to death & how much it can take away from you.
These are two outcasts... & they prefer it that way... but they are drawn to each other.

The relationship these two have is so much deeper then a normal teenage relationship, with the life experiences they both have. The things they want to not remember or share but is a part of them.

I loved every character in this book. Finding out what happened to "Nastya" & the horrible event that caused her death, both physically... & mentally. Seeing the person Josh Bennett is when he is on his own & has to take care of himself & clinging to memories of his lost family. Drew, the friend to both of them, who is cocky & the guy everyone loves, but the person only his close friends truly know. The relationship between Drew & Nastya just warmed my heart.

I never want to give too much away in reviews because I want everyone else to be surprised as I was... I just know I loved this book. Loved the characters. Love the story. I was actually sad to let them go on the last page.

I will say, this book contains a LOT of language... I'm not usually a fan of that at all. It deals with real teenage relationships. It deals with abuse. It deals with serious topics. Its a heavy book... wrapped up in a sweetness that you don't expect. It makes you root for these two people.

I'm glad I took the hint to try something new... I have new characters in my mind that have touched me.


And I tell him, "Your garage"

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Friday, September 27, 2013

Galloway's Book on Running

Galloway's Book on RunningGalloway's Book on Running by Jeff Galloway
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've heard a lot about Jeff Galloway - mostly from people that go to all the incredible runDisney races. He speaks at these events. I know him because he is a big believer in the Run/Walk interval method. How it can keep you feeling strong, & actually improving time if you let your body 'rest' a bit while running.

I was actually hoping for some more info on that, while there was a few pages dedicated to the issue. But still gave 4 stars because it is packaged FULL of info. How to start running, the different ways to train, training plans for 5k, 10k & half marathon - even plans for your goal time. I especially loved the details of what to wear for every 10 degree different in weather. I always get confused about that. There was even a chapter for women runners & running after 40. Ouch.. me... but good to know I'm not alone in getting slower. Doesn't mean I can't stay strong & healthy. Maybe just not as speedy. Heck, I've never been speedy so no big loss :)

If you are wanting to run & need some info to get started, this would be a great book. If you are a runner already, this has a lot of info you already know... but its always good to review.

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Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Fault in our Stars

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

"Late in the winter of my 17th year, my mother decided I was depressed, presumably because I rarely left the house, spent quite a lot of time in bed, read the same book over & over, ate infrequently & devoted quite a bit of my abundant free time to thinking about death"


Hazel Grace. 16 years old & living with thyroid cancer that had gone to her lungs. We meet Hazel as she's going to a Support Group in the "Literal Heart of Jesus". She sits next to her friend Isaac with cancer in his eyes. Before long, Isaac bring his friend, Augustus to the support group. Augustus had Osteosarcoma & had lost a leg with his cancer.

You'd think its a depressing book, which it does have its moments where it tugs at your heart, but you see how it is to live young with cancer. How families that love you live with it.

Augustus & Hazel develop a relationship even though Hazel doesn't want to be a "grenade" to Augustus by destroying everything around her when she leaves. Gus has other thoughts on that idea.

Hazel has one book she reads over & over again because she can relate to the young girl who has cancer in the story. The way the books ends, Hazel wants to know more. Once she has Augustus read the book, & he too becomes enthralled in it, they just want to know more about the characters after the story ends...

A "Cancer Perk" is to have a wish fulfilled. Hazel, already using hers on a Disney trip, is shocked when Gus uses his to go on a trip across the ocean to meet the author. Not the trip you would expect... horrible & sweet all in one.... people not being who you'd expect, things happening that make you remember young love, & news that is revealed that will break your heart...

I loved Augustus so much... the way he thought & said things. The way he felt about Hazel. The way he would say, "Hazel Grace". The way he told her he loved her. He was the perfect love for our main character.

I loved the side characters - the parents of Hazel & Augustus. Isaac, who ends up having another round with cancer & the devastating way he has to handle it. Even the author that Hazel has longed her life to meet.

We know how this book is going to end, but you don't really know... all I can say is your heart gets a little torn because you love these characters... but you learn a little bit about life, & how to look at it. How life continues on.

In the end, I felt like Hazel... I want to know more at the end... how the characters carry on... what does the next year look like for them all?...the signs of a good book.

My favorite line of the book: "What a slut time is. She screws everybody"


I do, Augustus. I do.

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013


Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without FearFearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear by Max Lucado
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"You would have liked my brother"

I love Max Lucado... I also love any book on the study of Fear in the Bible. Why? Because I'm a fearful person. Anxiety gets the best of me at all times. Worry? That's my best friend.

So I try to flood myself with books on scripture & fear. "What Women Fear" is another one of my favorites I just finished reading not too long ago.

When I saw this on sale in Amazon for my Kindle, I jumped on it... pretty much like the cover of the book.

I'm never disappointed with Max Lucado's writing, his illustrations, the way he brings Scripture to life.

I'm just thankful for the highlight feature on my Kindle... If I had the book in hand, I'm sure it would be glowing yellow.


"Amen William. And Amen.

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Friday, September 13, 2013

First Phone Call from heaven

The First Phone Call from Heaven: A NovelThe First Phone Call from Heaven: A Novel by Mitch Albom

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

On the day the world received its first phone call from heaven, Tess Rafferty was unwrapping a box of tea.

I was very lucky to get this book to review it before it is released.

I'm a fan of Mitch Albom's books anyways, & this one did not disappoint.

People are getting phone calls from heaven - some from family members that have passed away. Children, sisters. Even an employee is getting a phone call from someone he had to fire. Are the phone calls real? The world wants to know when wind comes that the phone calls are happening. Is this the proof everyone needs to see that Heaven is real?

We follow the people who are receiving the phone calls & also a man, Sully, as he comes back to the town of Coldwater Michigan to try & get his life back in order.

I don't want to give anything away... I just know I loved the book.
Its sort of a mystery novel, but also just a touching novel.
I actually logged quite a few quotes from the book on Goodreads because it was just so well written in areas.

I also love the little points that are made about the telephone & Alexander Graham Bell & his wife. It was put in so subtly but made the book have an extra touch of something special.

So the record goes, Mitch Albom still ranks for me....

We call out; we answered. It has been that way from the beginning of belief & it continues to this very moment where, late at night, in a small town called Coldwater, a seven year old boy hears a noise, opens his eyes, lifts a blue toy to his ear & smiles, proving heaven is always & forever around us & no soul remembered is ever really gone.

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Friday, September 6, 2013


DeenieDeenie by Judy Blume
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"My mother named me Deenie because right before I was born, she saw a movie about a beautiful girl named Wilmadeene, who everyone called Deenie for short"

I grew up reading Judy Blume ... loved her stories... & wanted to go back & read some of them again. See if she was everything I remembered.

I actually didn't read Deenie growing up so this was a new story to me. The story of a 7th grader who is beautiful. So beautiful that her mother is sure she will be a model one day. But something is wrong with Deenie.... she is discovered to have scoliosis. Her spine is growing out of shape.

To a middle school girl - this is devastation. Having to wear a brace? For 4 years?
Deenie is surrounded by her friends Janet & Midge but everything is always so dramatic in middle school. Almost feels like life could end.

It was funny to read back & see the dated things in the book. When Deenie finds out what she has, she runs to her encyclopedia to find the answers... that made me laugh. Yes, I'm back in the 80's again :)

& the memory of what being young felt like again... "Maybe we'll make the Olympics together"... oh the dreams you have with your childhood friends.

One thing I remembered reading this about Judy Blume's style - she's very open with teaching young readers about sexuality. Topics that young readers would never talk about in open, but maybe find they're not alone by reading it in a book made for them.

I zoomed through this book... less then 24 hours... makes me want to get more of the Judy Blume books & relive my childhood again.

Daddy called me at 11:30 & as I got into the car he asked what was in the shopping bag. I told him, "Something I thought I might need for the party, that I didn't need after all"

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Wednesday, September 4, 2013


GreyhoundGreyhound by Steffan Piper
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"The skin across my face was taut & smooth like plaster"

We start off meeting Sebastian Ranes as he is packing to leave his home in California & head to his grandparents home on the other side of the country.

His mother & her boyfriend take him to a Greyhound station in the middle of the night & send him on his way, on his own to travel 2,575 miles.

The book documents his journey as an 11 yr old as he travels. The people he meets, the stops & what happens at each one, the one person who befriends him & help him along the way, even giving him some life advice & helping him grow up a little.

The book wasn't great, it wasn't bad either. It was interesting. To imagine riding on a bus for 3 days straight & knowing all the while that your mother 'dumped' you for yet another boyfriend & you were in the way.

Marcus Franklin ends up getting on the bus about 2 stops into Sebastian's ride & they fast become friends being the back seat riders. Sebastian then has someone to look out for him... & look out for him is definitely needed in areas where strangers have horrible intentions & family abandon Sebastian again at various stops where they promise to check on him.

Its definitely not a must read... but it was a good read to pass time.

& will definitely make you go back to your memory bank of Daryl Hall & John Oats songs :)

"The last person I thought about before I fell asleep was my friend, Marcus Franklin"

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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Eating my Feelings

Eating My Feelings: Tales of Overeating, Underperforming, and Coping with My Crazy FamilyEating My Feelings: Tales of Overeating, Underperforming, and Coping with My Crazy Family by Mark Rosenberg
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

"I've had more ups & down with my weight then Oprah"

I received this book to review from Amazon. By the title, I knew it would be funny & I knew it would be about weight loss.. I was half way wrong on both accounts.

It did have funny parts, but was so overwhelming shadowed by the language... call me a prude...
& the weight loss part wasn't really that much a story of his weight loss. Yeah, he was a chubby kid, but after one summer at 'fat camp' his dad tricked him into going, his weight stayed down. Yeah - he had issues with food, but the story is more about his life as a gay man in New York...

Not the type of book I was planning on reading.

& again, I did find parts funny... but then some parts, I was like "They can say that in a book & not have anyone call them racist?"...

I found myself shaking my head & just saying, "This guy is screwed up" more then anything... it canceled the funny out for me.

Glad I got this one for free...

****LANGUAGE & SEXUAL CONTENT... & just plain right NASTY in parts****

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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Eat & Run

Eat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon GreatnessEat and Run: My Unlikely Journey to Ultramarathon Greatness by Scott Jurek
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"I was a shy kid with high blood pressure"

The story of Scott Jurek - the ultramarathoner...

I love stories like this. What they are thinking & how they are feeling. We even get to see Scott's turn into a vegan & how it effected his training.

The book really is a simple story - how Scott grew up in his family, his mom finding out she has progressive MS early in his life, a father who was sort of emotionally disconnected, & Scott who would seem to take care of a lot of his things himself.

Scott's journey into running when his plans had nothing to do with running. He was going to be a cross country skier. The training involved running & he found his body was suited for the road.

We go through many of the races with Scott, the wins, a few of the losses... It was just all interesting to me. 100 mile races, 150 mile races...
& I groan about 13.1 miles? :)

He ends every chapter with some advice on training as well as a vegan recipe. I love that part of the book more then anything.

It's not the best book out there, but it held my interest because running holds my interest. So you make the call for yourself if it would hold yours :)

"Every single one of us posses the strength to attempt something he isn't sure he can accomplish"




"You never know where that path might take you.

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Friday, July 26, 2013


Unglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw EmotionsUnglued: Making Wise Choices in the Midst of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Emotions aren't bad"

I've seen this book going around for awhile. It went on sale for a Kindle a few months back & I downloaded it... & forgot I had it.

Until I saw a friend of mine who was reading it, I remembered. She talked about how she would have to take each chapter & digest it... now, I know what she means.

I ended up writing down 5 pages of notes from this book. If it was in book form, I would have been a 'highlight queen' :)

I wasn't even sure what it meant by the word "unglued" ... oh, I know what it meant, but I know it can mean a lot of different things & wasn't sure the direction this book would take.

Well, if you've ever blown up at someone for some small reason - if you've ever held an emotion inside until it ate you up - if you feel like the world is falling apart because you're running late, or someone said something that hurt your feelings... then you know what it is to be unglued.

let me tell you - I'm there daily... I didn't realize how much I needed this book.

each chapter leads you into Scripture & reminds us of God's truth in situations... so not only did I write down all these pages of notes, I was a highlight queen in my Bible, writing down notes.

Good stuff.

I was also hot on Twitter with the hashtag #unglued ... I wanted to make sure I remembered this stuff

Now the key - applying it to life... that's always the hard part, isn't it?
Taking notes is easy

But now, I'm at least going into the next thing that makes me become unglued with a little defense.

Knowing to take every thought captive (2 Corinthians 10:5)
Remember what is actually TRUTH & not made up thoughts or ideas (Phil 4:8)
& looking ahead & seeing God working in all things (Col 3:1-2)

In the end, we also see, becoming unglued or situations that can cause unglued reactions aren't a bad thing... God teaches us a lot about ourselves in these things... & gives us an opportunity to point to Him.

"And to discover through all this seeing - being unglued isn't all bad"

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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Seriously,... I'm Kidding

Seriously...I'm KiddingSeriously...I'm Kidding by Ellen DeGeneres
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"Over the last year or so since I decided to write this book, people have been asking me how I have time & why I chose to write it"

Oh Ellen... I have always loved her.
Have her other books as well... so I knew what to expect in her book. A lot of laughter, a lot of rambling, a lot of her.

Her books do come across just like her show. Maybe I've heard her voice for so long, I just hear the book in her tone & that's why it comes across to me as just Ellen. It would be interesting if someone who didn't know her read it & what they thought of it.

This book, I enjoyed, but like her other books, by the end, its getting kinda old to me. I know she's going to jump off topic, going to be a little scattered - & that's OK... she's funny... no doubts...
this book just needs to be read in small doses. Not all the way through.

if I read it a chapter at a time, it'd probably get 5 stars... but reading it straight through, it just isn't the same... I still enjoyed it though. No doubts.

I think I do this with most biographies though - people seem to get repetitive in their own stories. I guess if you sit & listen to someone for awhile, they tend to get repetitive... at least this repetitive had some laughs in it :)

A good break of anything serious... a good reminder to just sometimes read for fun

My favorite Chapter "The Secret of Life" ... Kale
That's it... nothing else :) I think I laughed at that way longer then I should :)

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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Eleanor & Park

Eleanor & ParkEleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"He'd stopped trying to bring her back"

Eleanor & Park... the story of two odd teenagers, who don't really fit in anywhere else & who are quite opposite from each other... & how they fall in love with each other.

It isn't your ideal first meeting. Eleanor, already looking differently with red hair & freckles, a little on the heavier side. The perfect attributes for kids to make fun of. She is the new kid on the bus & can't find a seat. After everyone shuns her & won't allow her to have a seat, Park greets her with a harsh tone & just tells her to sit down, letting her share in his space. It takes weeks for either one of them to even speak the first words to each other... but once they start sharing their thoughts on the comics that Park brings on the bus, their friendship starts.

They see they are from two different backgrounds. Park is a Korean who has an ideal family. A mom who is a beautician that works from home, a dad who is in the military & a younger brother. Eleanor comes from a home where she & her 4 siblings share a room, & a bathroom that is in the kitchen & a step father who is abusive & cruel. Her mother Sabrina has to sneak to stash any extra food for the kids or change to go to Goodwill to get them clothing.

Eleanor knows everyone makes fun of her & knows she's different... so when Park becomes her friend & then they realize the relationship is deeper, she's not sure how to handle it.

It's a sweet story of falling in love for the first time. The innocence of it. The nerve tingling moments of those first kisses, the time that holding a hand makes it feel like the world is stopping.

Park will do whatever it takes to protect Eleanor - from the bullies in the school, to the people on the bus... to the step father that Eleanor is afraid of.

I won't give away the ending, but as most things of young love, there are struggles.

I was rooting for this couple who seemingly felt perfect together. I wanted to read a happily ever after & wait for the next book of their college years... but you can see from the first sentence of the book (the first sentence I wrote) that it probably wasn't going to end with a rainbows & butterflies.

But what is young love if it's not a learning lesson & memories tucked into a heart that holds them forever...

I just really loved this book.

I loved Park - the way he was protective over Eleanor... I loved his family who supported him & just was the 'cool parents'

I wanted to scream at Eleanor's mother for being so naïve & idiotic in ignoring what she was doing to her children. I ached for the bullying Eleanor had to endure because she was different then the others.

At the end of the book, I felt like my heart had gone through a first love breakup ... I didn't want the story to end... I just loved these two kids....

A happily ever after ending? ... you decide :)

(if you don't want to know anything about the story - don't read any further)

Favorite Lines:

Park: "I don't like you... I need you"
Eleanor: "I don't like you Park... I think I live for you.... I don't even think I breath when we're not together"

Park: "You're my favorite person of all time"

Park: "Yesterday happens"

LAST LINE: "Just three words long"

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Monday, July 8, 2013

Solomon's Oak

Solomon's OakSolomon's Oak by Jo-Ann Mapson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

"In 1898, in Jolan, California, not far from the Mission San Antinio de Padera, Pennsylvanian Michael Hallorgan set out to cross the Naccimento River during Spring thaw."

I probably should have liked this book more then I did... I just couldn't get into the story.

We have Glory Solomon who owns a farm that has the most beautiful oak tree. Her husband who recently passed away, Dan, built a chapel right under the tree. To earn money since his death, Glory started having weddings on her farm. That's how she meets Joseph Vigil when she needs an emergency photographer while he's passing through taking pictures of this odd Oak tree.

Having been Foster parents when Dan was alive, Glory is brought a young girl, Juniper, that needs a place to stay. Not able to turn her away, she has a soft heart for this young girl who she remembered in the news when her sister went missing & her mother took her life afterwards & her father ran out on the family.

Coicendence has it that Glory trains dogs that she saves from the shelter... & one happened to be the dog that was with Casey, Junipers sister, the night she went missing.

The story intertwines all three of these people - Juniper, Glory & Joseph, who is a retired policeman... as well as intertwines Glory's dogs - Edsel, Dodge & Cadillac...

Sounds like a great story - right?

I'm not sure why I couldn't get into it like I should. Maybe because the chapters were quite long - maybe because the print on the Kindle couldn't get situation right? Maybe it just wasn't the time I was supposed to read it...

I'll probably revisit this one down the road & see how it goes again...

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013


Hungry: Lessons Learned on the Journey from Fat to ThinHungry: Lessons Learned on the Journey from Fat to Thin by Allen Zadoff
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

"From the time I was a young boy, I loved to eat"

I love stories of real life - especially ones that have someone overcoming struggles.

I have struggled my whole life with weight, so I was excited to read this story.

While I did enjoy the way it started off, it just became sort of monotonous after awhile.

Allen has SERIOUS struggles with food, learning that he has a eating compulsion. I can understand that. Some people don't believe that food can be an addiction - I totally believe it. Just as drugs or alcohol, it can have that same sort of compulsion behind it. Allen's was so severe that it ruled his life, causing him to sneak, lie to people, change his lifestyle so he could eat whatever he wanted to in the confines of his home.

That held my interest... I could appreciate his struggle....

But we get into the second and third part of the book & he was telling how he changed it...

& it was like 50% of the book was just saying "This isn't a diet book'... ok, I didn't think it would be... & "Just stop eating the things that trigger the addiction for you"... well, that takes a genius.

It would have been so much better if he took those last sections of the book & talked about how he felt once he made the change - how his life changed - pictures of his progress - more of an autobiography, instead of turning into a sort of 'self help' book that really didn't offer any self help.

It was a short book - I started it around noon - had it finished by 7pm - & that was just picking at it for those hours. So I don't feel like I wasted anything by reading it... but definitely not my favorite read.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Dream Robbers

Dream RobbersDream Robbers by RC Scott
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

(this book was sent to me by the Author in exchange for a fair review)

We get transformed to the world of elves, dwarves, fairies, even a leprechaun or two... we're not in the world we know.

The village of elves are on a mission to see why the Stream of Dreams has dried up. Its effecting everyone. Without dreams, it makes everyone grumpy, sad, not able to become their full selves. 12 brave elves set out on an adventure.

We get to see the different elves, a snow elf, a forest elf, a lightening elf... & my favorite, the twins, which are the smallest & sky elves.

You are transported to another world - for sure.

Its very much in the lines of Lord of the Rings... creatures that have unique names, visuals of lands that only a mind can hold. My only fault is that some of the story got long in each chapter. Also, with all the names, not being names we're familiar with ourselves, I had to write down everyone's name, what they were, special things about each one... it was a little time consuming to grasp for a bit. I would have loved if there were like 6 elves :)

I did love some of the messages in the story though. Like the Elf Creed : Do good whenever you can & always, as you can, strive to correct your faults.
Such good points throughout

I love subtle messages... everyone has a gift- if you use it wisely, it is enough.

this is a good read for everyone... I think anyone that loves sci-fi would really love this. I think little ones would like it too, with the only downfall being again, some of the chapters were quite lengthy.

I did enjoy it though. Now, to get back to the real world. (I'll be looking at moss & birds & clouds differently now)

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Stressed Less Living

Stressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace in Your Chaotic WorldStressed-Less Living: Finding God's Peace in Your Chaotic World by Tracie Miles
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

"Do you ever feel like life has you by the jugular, choking out your every breath"

So that's the first line of the book... & from right there I was like, "ME ME ME" raising my hand.

I'm so good at being stressed. You could sorta call me a professional if you will. Is there a good salary for that? Because I'd be RICH!

This book was perfect for me in reminding me exactly what I already know - but like to push aside.

That my focus should not be on circumstances, but on the One who can do something beyond circumstances.

The book goes a little deeper with each chapter being a different focus area.
Starting off letting us know what Stress actually DOES to a body. Hey - I'm a fan of Dr. Oz - I know what it can do... it ain't pretty.

Then it leads us into being ready to put God back in charge...
One of my favorite chapters was "Overcoming your Giants"... I just love the story of David knocking down a giant that everyone is afraid of... that right there could be the story of my life against fear. Always there taunting...
Then we learn what 'weapons' we need to put stress out of our lives with God in charge.
& I went high light crazy at the end with the chapter "The Reset Button"... the main points on how to help ourselves get prepared to start over again with God... because we know that stress keeps coming & we have to keep resetting ourselves instead of giving into the craziness of it all.

So much scripture to be inhaled in this...

I will say, there are some chapters that Tracie talks about her personal stress & struggles, & while its good to relate to someone else, the chapters tended to be a little long for me. I guess because it wasn't an exact stress I didn't have, I had a disconnect. But for someone being a mom, changing careers, they may have read every bit of it & was like "That's me"... the joy of a book being different for every reader.

Other then that - I loved the points, the scripture that was highlighted, the focus of the book.

Can't go wrong when you learn more about living a stress less life with God

".... you are worried & upset about many things, but only one thing is needed...." ~Luke 10:41b-42aNIV

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Friday, June 14, 2013

Bouquet Toss

Bouquet Toss (Love of My Life)Bouquet Toss by Melissa Brown
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Daphne has a 'curse' of catching the bouquet at all the weddings. Does that mean anything?
She starts to wonder when she runs into her college boyfriend at a friend's wedding.
When they reconnect, she wonders if he will hurt her like he did so many years ago.

Mayson always had a hold of Daphne's heart, even through the years. So when he sees her again all these years, he's excited to get another chance to try & make things right.

This book had me on a roller coaster. At first, it just sort of got on my nerves with the insecurity Daphne had about Mayson. It was almost too whiney & repetitive on how he hurt her & how she could never trust him again.

But about half way in the book, the story takes a twist I didn't expect. I'm not going to give it away, but it actually made me more interested in the story.

We are introduced to Tanner Finely, who was a groomsmen in a past wedding Daphne was in - & how they reconnect
We meet Evan, a guy she meets one night & soon becomes great friends with. Can people really believe that a guy & a girl can have a friendship with nothing more involved?

And Daphne would be lost without her best friend Elise & her cousin, Morgan, who help her through all the things that life is throwing at her.

I did actually enjoy the book more then I thought I would in the end.
There was one chapter towards the end that I just didn't think needed to be there which pushed me back to the beginning of taking the story back down... but then we got to the last 2 chapters... & I smiled through the end.

See - a roller coaster.

A fun, light, easy read... nothing more, nothing less


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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Silver Lining Playbook

The Silver Linings PlaybookThe Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After all the buzz about the movie during the award circuit this year, I didn't even know this originally started out as a book. I always love a book more then a movie, so I decided to read it before I get to see the movie version.

Its always funny though because you have the characters already with faces before you know who they are. Jennifer Lawrence as Tiffany... Bradley Cooper as Pat Peoples... Robert DeNiro as Pat's dad. It was ok with me though... I actually thought those actors fit the parts very well.

The story is of Pat Peoples & his life after coming out of a mental institution - or 'the bad place' - & how his life is all about working out, making himself better, so he could have 'apart time' over & get back with his wife Nikki.

We're not sure what has happened between the two of them, with memories being suppressed & years lost ... but all Pat knows is he wants his wife back & will do whatever it takes. Even changing his body by extreme workouts & reading all the books Nikki taught in school.

Along the way, we have his family - his mother who is Pat's biggest protector, his brother Jake who is an ideal big brother... & his father, whose mood depends on the Eagle games.
Pat also gets surrounded by his friends & even his counselor, Cliff & is also introduced to Tiffany... another person who has had issues & has had a difficult life herself.

Its an interesting story - watching Pat remember what happened in his past to have him get to his breaking point. To see how differently everyone in his family reacts to Pat when he's home. To see the fallbacks he goes through. To learn more about what really happened with Pat & Nikki.

I was also so intrigued by Tiffany & her story. What was it that made her who she was. How she would just follow Pat running, never saying a word... how they would spend time together just doing nothing, no talking involved. And to know why she took the chance of doing something drastic in which she thought would help Pat.

I did enjoy the book - almost made me feel the mental struggles myself when Pat would repeat the same things over .... "being kind, not right" ... the Eagle's chants... the words he would use "bad place" "apart time"

I did also appreciate the heart of Pat though - the need to find miracles in life - the need to find those silver linings in every things that happen. To have that optimistic attitude. There is something to be said about that.

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Friday, May 24, 2013

Love Story

Love Story: The Hand That Holds Us from the Garden to the GateLove Story: The Hand That Holds Us from the Garden to the Gate by Nichole Nordeman
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is a must read...

I'm a huge Nichole Nordeman fan anyways. Saw her for the first time at a lone piano, opening for Steven Curtis Chapman (of course)...
As soon as she was done with her few songs, Ricky & I looked at each other & said, "let's get out there"... we ran to her table in the lobby & purchased every CD she had out there.
I have been obsessed with her ever since.

I knew she had the power of lyrics in songs... I just didn't realize she could translate the words so easily into a book.

This book is just like talking with her in person (as if I imagine talking to her in person) - but its that relaxed. It's just a normal person looking at the stories of the Bible that we all know & looking at them through different eyes....

The story of Abraham & Sarah... the story of Job... the story of Mary... the thief on the cross...

The story of Jesus... oh man... someone needs to take that chapter & turn it into a sermon... complete with paint & canvases.. I'm telling you, I'll think of this story forever...

I honestly laughed out loud ... no really - I DID LOL - at many parts of this book. Between Nichole's 'affection' for birds, & her heart for stray animals & just her honesty on life - being accused of being a 'bad girl' because her mom forgot the call in the middle of the night... its just downright funny
... & right to the heart of the Bible...

& at the end of each chapter are the lyrics to the songs that different artist recorded for "The Story"...
I'm picking up the CD this weekend

This is such an easy read that you won't ever forget ... powerful...
you're heart will fall in love with the Bible all over again

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Monday, May 13, 2013

The Great Gatsby

The Great GatsbyThe Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think I had to read this some time in my school career, but couldn't remember for the life of me anything about the story.

But when the movie previews came out & I saw it was by Baz Luhrmann, I knew I wanted to see it. & as any movie from a book, I like the read the book first. (Always so much better then the movie) Plus, its a classic so I knew it would be something I wanted to get involved in.

I was shocked to see its less then 200 pages. I guess that's why it was a school read, but I'm sure in school, that felt like a huge novel that you'd never get through.

I could also see why it would be a 'school read' - the descriptive words in it & the way once sentence could tell a story in itself was something you don't see very often in novels of today. (Or I'm just reading the wrong novels)

The story is definitely a Greek tragedy. The story of lovers crossed, the new age of America, the lavish side of the roaring 20's, love affairs, & loneliness...

A neighbor, Nick becomes friends with the great Gatsby who lives next door & finds himself witness to life played out in different circus rings. His cousin Daisy, who knew Gatsby in past years. Tom, who is married to Daisy & also has an affair of his own going on. Gatsby himself, who just wants nothing more then to have a life that Daisy feels is deserving of her.

There's something to be said about books that don't have the "happily ever after" endings...
my heart still aches for Gatsby after closing this book...

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Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Starting Now

Starting Now (Blossom Street, #9)Starting Now by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I always enjoy Debbie Macomber. Clean stories that are refreshing & laid back, always holding good values & sense of faith, grace & all the good things of God.

I really was excited to see another book in the Blossom series. When "A Good Yarn" came out, it was one of my favorite. A story revolved around a yarn store & knitting? I'm so there! And its been nice to see all the books following including all the people who have stopped into this little store & we've gotten to know. It was nice to visit with Lydia, Brad, Casey & Cody again.

This time, we meet Libby. A lawyer who has no time for knitting... until she gets laid off. Her life changes completely. How do you go from being a workaholic whose only concern is making partner, to someone who spends her time rocking babies in a hospital & mentoring a young middle school girl.

Libby learns what friendship is, what it means to invest in others, how it feels to fall in love again... but what happens when she gets her old life back.

I enjoyed reading about Libby's life & decisions she had to make, but as most Macomber books, I could tell you how it was going to end, & how it was pretty predictable. That's my only grief with it... but I still enjoyed it... & looking forward to meeting more people who stop on Blossom Street.

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Friday, May 3, 2013

The Kitchen House

The Kitchen HouseThe Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The days of slavery. I feel like I was transported back in time.
It wasn't very pleasant either.

The story starts with a white girl who the 'Captain' saved in order to sell or use for his own work when her parents die. The young girl remembers nothing & is raised in the Kitchen House surrounded by the slaves that work the plantation. Lavinia knows nothing else but the love of her 'family' that raises her.
While the Captain treats his slaves as decent as could be in the time, his managers were horrid, who also taught the Captain's son, Marshall on how to treat others.
Just reading the treatment of the slaves from men who hated people because of the color of their skin was just hard to take in...

The story switches back between Lavinia & Belle, the woman who took Lavinia in her home & raised her, along with Mamma Mae, Papa, Uncle Jacob, Ben & so many others who work the fields.
Lavinia, the one who's heart was willing to do anything to help others - who just wanted to help her family out of the confines of slavery
Belle, the one who would have the people she loved the most taken away from her over & over.

I can't even begin to really tell the details of the story - its just life... everything that comes with it. Friendships, family, loyalty, heartbreak... add in abuse, mental illness, slaves who are impregnated by their Masters, it's just a story that tells of what life could be like in days past.

I think I loved this book because I became so attached to the characters. I didn't want anything happening to any of them, & yet, heart break is strung throughout the book. & I love a book that doesn't really have a predictable ending. I could appreciate the end of this book... not a total easy call, not a total happy ending, but enough for me to let these characters go in peace.
In the end, I'm just thankful for a different time in life... thankful that there were, even in the days of slavery, good people who cared about PEOPLE, no matter what.

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Host

The Host (The Host, #1)The Host by Stephenie Meyer
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I heard about this book after I finished the Twilight series, but was always intimidated by its size... over 600 pages? Really?

Plus, it is more a sci-fi book & I always have such a hard tiime following those kinds of book.

But the movie was coming out & it went on sale on Amazon, so I gave it a go... & am so glad I did.
I absolutely loved the story, as strange as it may be.

We are in the future & the earth has been taken over by an alien being that uses humans as their Host Body. When we start the story, we see Wanderer getting her new body... someone who jumped to her demise rather than give up... Melanie.

This body isnt like anything Wanderer has ever been in before.

For the most part, the host just fades away, but Melanie is hanging in there, struggling, arguing, fighting with Wanderer. And all she wants is to know her brother, Jamie, & her boyfriend Jared, are OK.

All the while, a crazed Seeker is watching Wanderer with heavy fasicination. Wanderer decides to see where Melanie will lead her & the story begins...

We see the struggle of Wanderer coming across other humans... & the strange feelings she has inside of her, Melanie's feelings. Its a split personality to its finest.
& it sounds confusing when you hear about it, but once I was reading the story, I was totally in each character & understood how it would all actually feel.

Jared & Melanie are reunited, but its not the reunion you would think... how trust worthy is this Wanderer, & is Melanie really still alive in there?

Relationships grow, trust is learned & Wanderer proves who she is, & earns the name Wanda among the humans that are trying to survive underground.
Enter Ian who becomes Wanda's bodyguard while some people still aren't too sure of this alien being in their home.

The love triangle - or quadrangle really - is so intriguing to read. Melanie loves Jared, but she doesnt want Jared being interested in Wanda, who is in control of this body. Ian falls in love with Wanda, but Wanda's heart is being ran by Melanie who wants Jared.... a soap opera at its finest.

The survival of the people underground is so interesting... friends made, heart break in the loss of loved ones, how a new world can develop in extreme conditions.

How it ends - you have to read to find out. I actually got teary eyed towards the end & just wanted a happily ever after for everyone... but is that even possible when one person is a prisoner inside of another's body?
Read & find out

Now, I'm just wondering why there hasnt been more books in this series. C'mon! I'm caught up & ready for the next book now Stephanie Meyer! Get to it!

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Thursday, March 7, 2013

Let's Pretend this never happened

Let's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True MemoirLet's Pretend This Never Happened: A Mostly True Memoir by Jenny Lawson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A fellow blogger... who hits the big leagues with a book? I'm all about that!

But she's not just any blogger. She's Jenny the bloggess.
Which is code for one funny lady.

I will say, I've seen this book on other blogs being reviewed & was slow in getting it, but it was on sale for the Kindle after Christmas so I wasnt going to wait one more minute.

Let me just say, if you read Jenny's blog, then you'll be prepared... if you are not a reader of her blog - then you wont be prepared... & then let me warn you. LANGUAGE - or more aptly said - FOUL LANGUAGE is just another language to her.

I think the 'f' bomb was dropped at least 500 times... maybe in the first 3 chapters.
Vagina was another word that was quite popular in the reading.

Yeah - you now know if you're prepared to read this book or not.

I will say, I literally laughed out loud at many a story.
I was also cringing at a lot of stories about her father who was a taxidermist. How a man can make a puppet out of a animal's body & think its funny? Well, just shows how Jenny grew up & where her sense of humor comes from.

When I was in the beauty shop reading this on my Kindle, I ended up laughing under the hair dryer & then someone asked what I was reading... someone across the room said, "its "Let's pretend this never happened", isnt it?

So people know it will cause laughter.

I'll be honest though. Jenny is one who thinks... all the time... & writes down every thought that goes astray. So by the end, some of the stories were getting quite long & loosing their point, which I think is totally Jenny. But it was just feeling a little LONG to me after the first 20 chapters.

I did laugh all the way through... I did try to wipe my mind clean of language & visuals after reading it... but I did appreciate her honesty & could actually relate to some of her stories. She's a gal who deals with anxiety & panic attacks so I just know if I'm at a party & feel one coming on, I'll just talk about a serial killer who tried to stab me in my sleep... & instead of it being a cat, it'll be my dog. (You have to read the story to understand)

Got time on your hands & need a good laugh - read it
Easily offended - stay far away from it

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Tuesday, March 5, 2013


Let. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in FaithLet. It. Go.: How to Stop Running the Show and Start Walking in Faith by Karen Ehman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

When I saw there was an online Bible Study with Proverbs 31 Ministries, I decided to give it try. I've never done one of these online Bible Studies & interested to see how it would go.

I actually didnt even know much about the book. Being a Wunner (Combo runner/walker) for years, maybe I just saw the words "running" & "walking" in the title & thought, it'll work for me. I didnt realize the top would about control & our little control-freak attitude that we carry as women.

Once I got the book & saw what the topic was about, I thought, this isnt going to be for me. But I bought the book & willing to see how it would work out.
Well, within the first chapter, I think it was the first clue on how much 'control freak' I have in me. After all, doesnt everyone get upset when their husband leaves cabinet doors open? Or when there's mail on the counter that I didnt lay down? ... yep - control.

Each of the chapters really dug into different areas of the places we want control - with spouses, family, with busy schedules, within the home. Every chapter was eye opening to me & all the while, speaking the truth of the Bible & what God has to say about that.

My scripture journal became full of verses that I'll hold dear now. I even had my past 3 memory verses for Beth Moore's Scipture Sisters straight out of this study.

Karen Ehman has a way of stressing the point in an every day fashion. One I could relate with & understand. & easily ties it back to how God calls us to live. With only HIM in control.

The ending of the book, with the story of Karen's sister-in-love & the struggles she's going through with bone cancer & the difficulties she's experienced - it was moving. She is living in a world where we would all want to fight with control, but this beautiful woman is just going where God is moving her & thankful for everything in her life... even the tough stuff. That's who I want to be.. THAT's why God led me to this study.

Now, I'll be working on the challenge of the book... letting it go

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

The Will Changers

The Will Changers: Dark Forces RisingThe Will Changers: Dark Forces Rising by Chad Wilkinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Do you believe angels & demons are real & surrounding us?
This book is very much in the idea of the great book series "This Present Darkness" by Frank Peretti. A look into another world that is surrounding us, attacking us & protecting us.

Meet a group of friends who have the special ability to read God's will & actually change it in others. They also have the ability to see the angels that surround them & know they are working in close contact with that angel. In having that ability, there comes some downfalls - the demons also know their names because of their power... & the demons also work in people's live the same way to help their charges change God's will in their lives. The battle begins.

The story was interesting. For me, I had a hard time staying straight because I'm one of those nerds that write down character names so I keep everyone straight until I get to 'know' them as I read. Within the first 3 chapters, I had written down about 25 names... there are A LOT of people in this book. It was a little tough keeping straight who was who & whose Angel was whose. I honestly have a post it with lines drawn to people to angels - to people to demons... I did get a tad confused. If those things dont bother you, you'd be fine. For me, I get confused easily - especially when names are familiar. There's a Joseph, Jeff & Josh... & a Ryan & Rick ... I'd also have to stop & think "whose who?" ... that to me was the biggest challenge of the book.

The book definitely is full of action, & then it surprised me to have a love story involved as well.

Its also very visual. When it describes the demon being in Hell & the people & what they go through in the torture that Hell provides, I literally had to stop reading because it bothered me so much. I had to step away & just keep saying "Jesus, I dont want to go there".... it literally freaked me out that much just reading it. Made me want to cry out to Jesus & to know I dont want to go there or to have anyone in my life go there....

But it also made me smile to think of the power of angels that surround us & stay with us. The joy that Heaven feels when someone turns their life over to God.

My favorite part of the book - the reminder that though angels may come & go, Jesus is with us always :)

I'm not going to give anything away in the end because I honestly was surprised by a FEW things... & the end sets it up perfectly for another book to continue this group of friend's destiny & what God is calling them to do.
It would also be interesting to see a book set in the past to know how each of these friends in this group came to where they are at, with knowing the story of how they met with their Angel for the first time.
Lots of options for this book/series.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

Every Bush is Burning

Every Bush Is BurningEvery Bush Is Burning by Brandon Clements
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A man's life is falling apart, & then he meets someone who tells him they are Jesus.
is it really?
This stranger, who introduces himself was Yeshua, indeed makes things happen around him for Jack. Giving him advice on how to save his marriage, on how to help his sister, on how to make a become a better man.
Against all Jack's instincts, he keeps meeting with Yeshua every week... & how his life is changed.

I was so hooked into this book.
Was this guy really Jesus?
if not, who is he?

The books is written in what I call "The Never Ending Story" style... talking straight to you. "you know what I'm talking about since you were there"... that kind of thing.

& Its a strange book that its about a closer relationship with Jesus & an underlying message of forgiveness... but it has side stories of affairs, drinking, cursing... real life I guess you could say... & I guess you could say Jesus is there in every day life. Right?
So not your typical "Jesus" book
... but I loved it...
Loved the back story of Jack & his sister Sara - loved the friends he makes along the way - love finding out the truth about Yeshua...
I wont give it away here... you'll have to read it for yourself.
& then, see if you indeed are part of this story too...

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