Sunday, March 30, 2014

Bixler's Desires of my heart review

I received "Desires of my Heart: Meditation on Psalm 34:7" from the author Heather Bixler.  Each chapter includes scripture and writings from the author.  Bixler's prime desire is for another child.  However, she and her husband have already had a form of sterilization performed.  She has changed her mind and is desperate for a fourth child.  That is the desire from which this book is written.  The goal of the book is to lead the reader to trust God and to let him lead your life.  Most of this book is thoughts and scripture about this concept.  I believe she has completed this goal.
I have read Bixler before, her work tends to be personal and thorough.   Though this wasn't one of my favorites, it was still pretty good.  I would recommend it for anyone looking at a big decision in their lives.  Three and a half stars. 

Friday, March 28, 2014

emma trilogy

"Emma of Aurora" by Jane Kirkpatrick is the combined volume of the trilogy of the novels:  A Clearing in the Wild, A Tendering in the Storm, A Mending at the Edge.  As is Kirkpatrick's usual there is a feminist flavor in the Emma trilogy.  And as usual, I like it.  Emma lives with her family in a commune "cult" of sorts.  A German Colony.  They are Christians but as with most cults they really worship their leader, Wilhem, and he uses this worship to benefit himself.  Emma falls in love with Christian, the number two leader in this group.  Christians job is to go out and get converts.  Not just any converts. The kind that will benefit the group and therefore, their leader.  Christian is a bit on the wimpy side, but as they say, 'love is blind'.  The three stories are combined in this volume to follow the saga of Emma and her opinionated yet intelligent ways. Emma leaves the colony and the series follows her as she grows in her faith and matures.
I always like Kirkpatrick.  I have never read a bad one yet.  I like how not only is she historical fiction, but shows the struggle of women in time.  She shows it, they struggle, overcome, and yet is held true to their time.  I recommend all women read Kirkpatrick, if not for entertainment, but at least for gratitude that they have been born in the era that we have.  A-.  I received this book in exchange for a review from Blogging for Books.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

two are better than one review

Two are Better is a novel by Tim and Debbie Bishop who are a middle aged couple who have never married before but have always wanted to be married.  The two met and over the course of several years fell in love after becoming very good friends.  They met over the Internet in 2003 and after getting to know each other decided to meet in person which graduated into good friends and eventually into an engagement in 2010 and quickly married in the same year.  The couple planned to marry and then for their honeymoon bicycle across the United States from Pacific to Atlantic during Debbie's summer vacation from her job at school.  Tim had just retired from his job and so had plenty of free time.  Debbie was busy with end of the school year activities so Tim planned not only the wedding but also the cross country trip.  Neither however had time from their April engagement until their June wedding did not leave time to train (though both were physically very active) for their cross country trip or even to get to know their bikes and new equipment.  Tim and Jim Massey, Debbie's cousin who lived in Oregon, were putting the bikes and equipment together the night before the couple left.  They had few rules but among them were that they would attend church services on Sunday if possible.  They though that they were packing light but during the trip lightened again and forwarded the excess to their home.  They knew that their trip was in excess of 3000 miles and that they had 2 months to complete it and still get Debbie back in time to start the next school session. 

As I started reading this book I didn't think that I was going to like Tim.  Debbie had stated that she wanted to carry her share of the load during the trip but when it became evident that she would not physically be able to do this especially with the physical ailment that occurred he still did not help her even after watching her fall with the bike from exhaustion.  When her physical ailment finally became debilitating did he rescue her and transfer some of her load to his bike and they shipped some back home.  Could be that it just took him that long to figure things out.  I enjoyed the ride and it helped me to decide that I am pretty sure that I am cured from ever thinking that I should undertake that long of a trip on a bike.  I had no idea of the toll it took on the body.  I also think that their marriage benefited from having to depend on each other for most of their needs.  It is also something that must have taken a bigger chunk of money than I would have thought and that they maybe would have been better off it more would have been spent on some of their equipment or the repair of it.  This couple spent as many of their nights as possible in motels and ate in restaurants along the way so they had some hot meals not cooked over campfires which was most likely more nutritious. 

I did end up liking both characters in the book and loved the book and its adventure. It would be suitable reading for any age group that is capable of the reading level.

I won this book in a giveaway from  (submitted by CB)

walking on water

"Water Walker" by Ted Dekker is the second book in the Outlaw Series.  "Eyes Wide Open" being the first which I have already read and reviewed.  The two books do not need to be read in order and are written in completely different styles.  Where in Eyes, I was never really sure what was going on and that added to the excitement; in Walker, I am aware and that also adds to the excitement.  The two books share characters but are not the main characters in the other book. 
In Walker, Alice is kidnapped by a man claiming to be her father.  He takes her to the compound where he lives with his wife, son, and prophet.  The "Christian" cult is portrayed as a bunch of kooks and an opportunist/scam artist.  However, the reader should keep in mind this is a Christian novel and at the same time a Dekker, so things are not always as they seem.  I loved this book.  I liked it better than the first. Dekker is a hit or miss with me and this is definitely a hit.  I received this book for free from Worthy Publishing.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Guilt Be Gone!

Guilt Be Gone!  Every mom has that overbearing guilt of doing "it all".  Tricia Goyer's book "Balanced: Finding Center as a Work at Home Mom" tells all moms that there just ain't no such thang.  Goyer not only reassures the reader that she can't do it all, but that there is a way to do as much as you can well and that's really all you can do.  She gives personal advice from experience and lets the reader know how to keep from reliving the same experience.  She gives areas to focus on, tips to get organized, and how to prioritize. 
My husband and I have seven children with all but three out of the house.  And one of those is a senior.  I so wish I had read this book way back when.  It seems that I have figured a lot of this out already.  It still does good to read about other women going through the same experience and to see how they did it. It gives reassurance that I am not alone.  Good Book!  I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review from Litfuse Publicity and the author.

summer kisses review

"Summer Kisses" by Melinda Curtis is a not too hot/not too cold romance given to me in exchange for an honest review by The Sweet Team Read and Review.  This novel involves Becca, a nurse's aid specializing in assisting the elderly while dying; and Flynn, a rich man who likes to handy man on the side whose grandfather has recently had a stroke.  Flynn's grandfather hires Becca, who has a bit of a past, and of course she meets and falls for Flynn. 
Though this is a romance novel, so therefore a bit predictable; it is still a pretty good read.  The romance isn't over the top, it is just right.  A bit enticing, yet low key.  The story follows Edwin, the grandfather, as he tries to save his town from becoming obsolete.  Which gives them all a goal of sorts.  I liked this story.  It would make a good vacation read.  Not too involving, you can easily do other things while reading, yet sweet and romantic. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

wildwood creek review

I just loved this book.  "Wildwood Creek" by Lisa Wingate is the fourth book in the "Moses Lake" series.  However, as with the other books in the series that I have read, you do not need to have read the others or to have read them in order to understand this one.  In Wildwood, the story follows two women.  One is Allie, who is working as a production assistant and then actress for a histormentory about the former town of Wildwood, Texas during present day.  The other woman is Bonnie rose, an Irish teacher with a past who is employed by the owner of Wildwood, Mr. Delevan, to teach in 1861.  Wildwood according to Delevan means that he not only owns the town, but also everyone in it.  The novel goes back and forth between the two women showing that legend is not always truth.
This is a well written book.  The characters are great; I loved the story line.  Wingate goes into the details that are put into reenacting the Wildwood town and trying to solve the mysteries that are still alive there.  The only problem I had was the book was it was a little lengthy.  It was an easy read, but a long one.  I love it.  Give it 4.5 stars.  I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review from Bethany House Publishers.

mirror mirror on the wall

"Mirror, Mirror, Am I Beautiful?" by Shelley Hitz is a self-help book of sorts aimed at the teenage/college age woman who is coming in to her own.  Hitz targets a different area of a woman's life in each chapter with topics related to not only physical appearance and beauty within, but also self-awareness, sexual health, spiritual beauty, modesty, and more. 
Though I am nowhere near a teenage or college age woman, I have a teen daughter and I do recall that time well.  This book is well written and Hitz seems to be in touch with her "teen self" within. Though her topics range seemed to be all over the place, they are all important and I have no idea what she could have cut out.  Maybe the chapter on homosexual-ness?  That didn't seem to have a whole lot to do with anything.  But other than that, I think this book would be of value to a young woman looking to present herself with dignity to the world.   I received this book from the author through the website.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

innovation review

Innovation’s Dirty Little Secret by Larry Osborne is a short book on how to succeed in organizations while really trying.  Larry sounds like he has a deep friendship with hard work and is not above doing it again.  He also is not above listening to others who might usually not be listened to in deciding what an individual organization should do.  The most important thing that I got from the reading of his book was that before starting to work one must figure out what your vision is and from that make a mission statement.  This statement must be short, concrete, and easy to remember and then repeated often so that all in the company are not only aware of the mission of the organization but can recite it if asked without reading it.  Everyone working in the organization should be working toward this same vision if the organization is to be a success.  Larry looks at the people who are what he calls serial innovators and recognize the difference in when these successful innovators take a risk on creativity as well as rely on stability as opposed to the ones who while thinking outside the box and taking risks seem to be constantly failing as businessmen and women.  He points out how to encourage new ideas and changes that grow your organization without running your business into the ground paying for new concepts that don’t work.  He gives tips on trying new ideas before jumping in and putting the company at risk financially. 

Larry is a senior pastor at a magachurch in California but states that running a church has many similarities with running a business especially when the church is as big as North Coast Church is.  Though he has been successful in taking his much smaller church through its growing pains to becoming a megachurch he is quick to acknowledge his failures and states that any leader must be transparent and honest with their successes as well as shortcomings.  He points out that one needs to develop a small core group to bounce ideas off of which is not the same as your board group. 

This book is a must read for anyone planning on opening a new business.  It will help to avoid many of the pitfalls which any new business will have.  It will not guarantee success but it will help to avoid some of the biggest problems.
I received this book in a giveaway from Brave Reviews. (submitted by CB)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Slaugh review

"Slaugh" by Darrell Case was supplied to me in audio form by the author.  This is the 3rd book of Case's that I have reviewed and though he received 5 stars on amazon by all of the reviewers, I must say that I disagree.  Normally, Case's work is brilliant, this one is not on my list of favs.  It starts out at a five star level with Max, a little boy who is abused by his mother and snubbed by society.  You know the kid.  The weird kid that everyone picks on, who smells, who seems to just be asking for it.  That's Max.  This hole left by his mother is eventually filled with demons.  Demons who lead him to brutally kill little boys, photograph them, and leave them to be found by the media.  Called the Ghost, Max the serial killer, goes into hiding as a minister in a small town and immediately starts killing.  That's where the novel takes a turn.  Max is the dumbest serial killer of all time.  In real life he would have been caught waaaay before he ever made it to kid number 14.  He wasn't scary so much as he was annoying.  I didn't like this book.  I would give it 2.5 stars.  That being said, everyone who has read this book loves it.  A lot!  So maybe it's just me.  Maybe I'm weird.  Give it a shot.  See what you think.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

every waking moment review

"Every Waking Moment" by Chris Fabry is a novel that takes place in a nursing home and centers around Treha, a mentally impaired housekeeping worker, and Devin, a documentary film maker, who meet and work together to tell the stories of the people who live at the nursing home.  The story opens with Miriam, the administrator, retiring and being replaced by Ms. Millstone, a cranky, control freak who sucks the life out of the nursing home.  Treha has physical impairments as well as social, however, she seems to have the key to unlock the minds of those patients that are trapped in their minds. 
This is an incredibly well written book.  Fabry brings the characters to life on an intimate level.  The plot flows smoothly from one level to the next as the documentary takes shape.  The chapters flow from the nursing home, to the documentary, to Devin's struggles with making the film.  I give it an A.  I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review from Tyndale Publishing.