Wednesday, November 13, 2013

GOD IS ABLE - Priscilla Shirer

i GAVE THIS 4 OUT OF 5 STARS God is able was a great easy read but oh so powerful. It reminded me of a lot of things I knew but have forgotten and how if I would use these simple facts in my every day life how much more blessed I would feel by God. This book reminds me of How God is everywhere, wanting the best for us (sometimes more than we think we deserve), Just a few of the things I was reminded: Quit staring at my problems, God has me covered. Focusing on the right person, the right think can change everything. His love is eternal - way bigger than right now. I can not out ask, out pray, out dream, or out believe the willingness of the ability of God. If we think what we're asking is beyond what He can do, we're not thinking big enough. And so many more but I want you to take the time to experience this book by reading it - you will be blessed by it. The other cool thing God has done for me through this book is met me where I am at while I go through Priscilla's Bible Study Gideon. There are so many things that are matching compleltly up that I know God is working in my life.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Lingerie Wars (Invertary, book one)Lingerie Wars by Janet Elizabeth Henderson
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This seemed like a quick, easy summer read (although it is set during winter). I sped through it rather fast. There was nothing outstanding here for me, either good or bad. I did realize how NOT Scottish I am though as there were terms or phrases that were lost on me. Sentence structure did not always make sense to me but I was able to get the gist of things.
The characters were entertaining but nothing great. The biggest problem I have with contemporary romance-this one included, is that they get us to hate the hero before he has to atone for all his sins. I get there has to be conflict but I want someone to root for, not a hero to hate. There is a reason I've had to stop reading romance like these.
I loved the underwear mascot though, I thought that character was developed really well. Not a fan of Lake's sister though, way too whiny and a pushover for me.
One of the reasons I do read romances is for the steamy bits. I mean if I ain't gettin' any I like to read about those who are. This book skipped over all of that. I was a bit disappointed.
To sum things up, this knocked another book off my quote for the year but I do not think I will be reading the next one in the series.

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Thursday, June 6, 2013

Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) StepsAdulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps by Kelly Williams Brown
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

If there was ever a book to sum up exactly where I am at in life right now, this would be it. I am 24 (almost 25, and will be able to rent a car, thank you very much), out on my own-with a roommate and her two cats and overall just trying to make it through life feeling like I somewhat know what I am doing.
This book helped remind me of some things, taught me some new lessons and at the same time provided some reinforcement for things I am trying to do. While reading this book I praised myself for making my bed daily. I also cleaned my bathtub (that bleach thing really does work). I accidentally bleached a really awesome shirt in the process, but I have a cleaner apartment. I made a daily to do list- with things like wash dishes and put away clothes.
Some of the steps here were not for me, some were. This book did not change my life but I did love it. I loved the humor and the sarcasm and I loved the tips. For anyone in their 20s I think this is a great read, especially if like me they feel like they're still a kid.

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Thursday, May 23, 2013

Honey Pie (Cupcake Club, #4)Honey Pie by Donna Kauffman
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Funny story: About halfway through this book I realized it was part of a series (4th one to be exact- discovered upon some internet searching). Then about 60% through this book I discovered I actually owned book three but had yet to read it. Oops. That being said, you definitely do not have to read the previous books to get this one. I have a feeling I would have actually bonded less with Honey (the heroine) if I had read the others first since she was the out of towner.

Now it really took me awhile to get into this book. I probably took about 2 months to read the entire thing because I was not drawn in and I would find other books I wanted to read first. But I am glad I kept going back, though to be honest it was Dylan that kept me coming back, not Honey.

It was a cute story, nothing phenomenal. I really do not like the paranormal aspects in my romance novels though, wish I got some warning before they got mixed in together but it seems to be a surprise every time. By the end of the story though I was ready to wring Honey's neck. I want my heroines to have some type of self confidence and not play the poor me, pity party game. I need stronger characters than that. Dylan gets a huge thumbs up from me, but how he would end up with someone as hard on herself and with such low self esteem I will never know.

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Saturday, May 4, 2013

Love Rehab: A Novel in Twelve StepsLove Rehab: A Novel in Twelve Steps by Jo Piazza
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

My mother actually sent me this novel as a recommendation. And before I start my review I must point out a few things, I come from a very different perspective than most- I have no urge to get married someday (though a wedding does sound fun, the being married part does not interest me) and I am also a licensed substance abuse counselor (which does also include love addictions).
With that said, I did enjoy this book, though I frequently had to stop and remind myself that it was fiction and not a self help book as I was getting affronted at some of the preposterous notions as self help. SLAA (Sex and Love Addictions Anonymous) is a real thing and I do hope this opens the eyes of many women in terms of help that is out there. I feel like so many women have addictions to what we see in every rom-com. Even I have that problem, I feel like my life should end all happy with unicorns and rainbows but it won't, not without work by me and on me. The morals here were great and some of the rules (avoiding facebook anyone?) are really helpful.
Sometimes I did get a bit lost in the number of characters, I felt like I got confused occasionally on who was who. I feel as though Annie could have been fleshed out a bit more- but maybe she'll have her own novel, who knows. I did enjoy the story and think most women will too. And the nice thing is that this book reminded me I'm not alone in wanting the perfect rom-com life, and I have to remember those movies are escapism, not something to model my life after.

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Friday, March 22, 2013

Heart Like Mine - Amy Hatvany

I really enjoyed this book till the end. I was not satisfied with how it ended. I really liked that we heard this story from 3 different people. Victor's ex wife, his daughter and the current women in his life. (don't want to give too much away here) We start the story with Victor and Kelli already divorced and Victor dating. Their 2 children live with Kelli and as we read the chapter we learn a lot about Kelli's childhood, her marriage. There are not a lot of extra characters in this book - a few 'best friends' make small appearances. So that was a plus.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Bare It All (Love Undercover, #2; Men Who Walk the Edge of Honor, #5)Bare It All by Lori Foster
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The best thing about this book for me was the reappearance of Trace! I love love love the Men who walk the edge of honor series, but this is not one of those honestly. I'm not sure what it is but it's not the same, the tone seems lighter, the characters just your typical romance novel people. Not sure I will ever be able to give them up but these are just not the same for me.
The story line is ok, pretty typical. Easy to see who the next books in the series will be about. The climax of the story was rushed to me. I mean it's an ok book but I do not feel the need to reread it (unlike I do with Dare, Trace and etc.'s stories).

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Monday, February 18, 2013

Starting Now - Debbie Macomber

This is another Blossom Street Novel by Debbie Macomber. I enjoyed it but was a little surprised by it. Libby has always dreamed of making partner in the law firm, she works crazy hours and when she is called into her boss's office she is sure that they will offer her the Partnership, instead she gets laid off and told 'go enjoy life'. This is how Libby learns to enjoy life and the pleasant surprises and friendships she makes along the way. As in any good book there is some conflict, joy, sorrow, love, relationships that grow and a few surprises along the way.

Friday, February 15, 2013

My Prayer Chair Carla McDougal

This newest book by Carla is a great read. The book is divided into 1-2 page God provoking stories. Her goal is to make sure you have God in your thoughts 24 hours a day 7 days a week and these chapters help you think of every day tasks as ways to pray for your children / how to make your prayer time more meaningful, how God can be involved in cleaning, gardening, the list is endless. And who doesn't want to have a Prayer Chair? Every time I hear it I visual mine and wish God and I were curled up there sharing right this minute. Thanks Carla, can't wait to see what God does next for us through you.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Too Hot to Handle (Jackson, #2)Too Hot to Handle by Victoria Dahl
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Once I started this one I could not put it down. There is just something about Victoria Dahl's writing that I love. And I have been turned off of romance novels for a bit now because of their repetitiveness but this book did not bring any of those feelings up at all.

I thought the characters were great. I could relate well to Merry, with her perpetual awkwardness and not being the one to stand out in a crowd. I could relate to Shane, as the person being pulled in 15 different directions while searching for answers, still not knowing what he wants.

The people in these novels are so quirky but relate-able and adorable I cannot help but fall in love with them. I am always up for new Victoria Dahl!!

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Until the End of Time - Danielle Steel

One out of five Stars. Not my favorite DS book. Actually very disappointed. This was the story of 2 couples who believe that when you die you come back as someone else. I don't believe this but even if I did how did the second couple come back as the first couple? There was nothing similar about them. The second women was labeled as Old Order Amish, this was not portrayed properly in my opinion. I have done a lot of reading on Amish and I felt this was so far out there for Amish in general but for Old Order Amish, it would never happen this way. I almost feel as if she did them injustice. I did enjoy the story of Bill and Jenny but again just a little more unrealistic to me. Very un DS like.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I tend to not read other people's reviews of books until I am done because I have realized other people tend to suck (at least in terms of guessing what my opinion of a book will be). I loved and hated this book all at the same time within the same breath. I liked the resolution, I liked the strength in all the characters but most of all I liked that the female protagonist thought for herself. She, like most of us, listened to what everyone had to say and then did it her way- sometimes this was good, other times not so much. It truly showed Katniss's humanity, and helped me to relate to her.

But let me tell you I will NEVER get over Finnick's death, ever. I honestly believe I will not be able to see the movie version due to his death, I am that distraught. I can understand Prim's death, it brought a wholeness to the story and played well into the reasons Katniss acted as she did. Finnick, on the other hand, I loved that boy and I am not sure I can forgive his death.

Am I glad I read these? Yes, I am. I think they are well done and introduce a generation to the true horrors that are present in this world in a way that they can understand. Plus I did enjoy the entertainment value. However, I am traumatized a bit by the violence and death of possibly my favorite character. I still think it's good, though I am not sure I would ever be able to reread it.

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Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I think this book made the 1st one worth reading. The first book, to me was a lot of mindless violence. This book led up to something, there was a point and there were good and evil. I liked this story a lot better than the first. However, the beginning is slow, which I do believe I had that problem with the 1st one as well. Until we get to the Capitol and into the arena I get bored. Do not read the 2nd if you do not plan on reading the 3rd as there is no resolution in the 2nd, simply a great story line leading to the 3rd.

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A Penny's WorthA Penny's Worth by Nancy DeRosa
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I am not really sure where to start with this review. I liked the book alright but it was nothing special. I was not a fan of the writing style. The switching between
character names and pronouns were odd. I feel like the pronouns were used incorrectly and at odd times. The fact that main character called her mother by her first name sometimes and mom the others irked me for some reason. Chapters were spaced oddly, with weird gaps that made no sense.

On the story itself, it was acceptable. I enjoyed how much we got to see Penny change but the constant self degradation was not flattering and Penny cried far too often for me to like her. Also, I had a difficult time with her increasing alcohol consumption. It was like the only way she could make friends was when she was drinking and I have a problem with that belief.

I did love Penny's mantra of "I'm worth more than that." As a therapist myself, having a mantra is something I encourage all my client's to do. Even when you don't believe it, reminding yourself is a powerful tool. I loved that many chapters ended with Penny repeating her mantra to herself. My own personal mantra comes from He's Just Not That Into You (the book, not the movie) which says "I'm not the exception but I am exceptional!"

My favorite character was nurse Reins who I thought they could have developed more. She seemed like a great mentor and someone who challenged Penny in good ways. Less mom, less self deprecation, more empowerment please!

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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Peter, Eyewitness to Majesty by Mindy Ferguson

I just finished Mindy Ferguson’s, Bible Study, Peter, Eyewitness to Majesty.
What a great in-depth study on Peter’s walk from the first ‘follow me’ till his death.  In this 10 week study I learned a lot about Peter, Jesus and myself.
Peter is an ordinary man, a fisherman, he was eager, impulsive, quick to speak, acted without thinking, and learned to turn his weaknesses into strengths.  This could be me on any given day.
We watched Peter take risks, we watched him fail and we watched him succeed, Peter was commissioned to spread God’s word and everything that happened to him made him into the man who traveled and shared the gospel with so many.
A few of the great things this study reminded me of was that I don’t have to be perfect to experience God’ grace, not to worry about tomorrow, the downfall of judging others, how to deal with the difficult people in our lives.
I became more aware of recognizing change in my life and the work God is doing in and through me.
I enjoy the daily synopsis and the 5th day recaps, they do a great job of bringing it all together.
I would recommend this book to do individually or with a small group, so much to learn and be reminded of in during the 10 weeks.  

Friday, February 1, 2013

Threads of Grace - Kelly Long

This is an Amish Fiction book but a little different than most that I have read.
When you first start off you get a bad feeling in your stomach as what you are going to read you are not going to like and you don't but Kelly did a great job of skipping over those bad years and brings us to a place where love can flourish. Grace and her son move after her husband dies, and this is Graces story (and her sons). Grace decides to get married to save her son from his uncle. How does Grace and her husband get a long, how does a son with special needs fit in, Painting? I think there are too many unnecessary characters in this book. I enjoyed the book and recommend it, remember this is the second one in the series and although you don't have to read the first one first I would suggest you read it as well.

Friday, January 18, 2013

An Amish Kitchen - Clipston, Long, Wiseman

This was three short stories in one book. I love that it was three of my favorite Amish authors:

Amy Clipston, Kelly Long and Beth Wiseman.

Each story stood alone with a quick one liner at the very end. There was the Our Daily Bread that all three stories had in common.

The first story was about Fern who was learning from her grandma about home remedies  The neighbor who was watching his siblings while his parents were gone had to come by often with the children and their predicaments 

The second story about Hannah and a stranger who came to stay at her Bed and Breakfast. He quickly was hired by the brother to help out with repairs and such.

The third story had to do with mending relationships between mother and daughter. Definitely a little humor in this one with George.

For short stories I do not feel that I missed out on them being longer, they did a great job of making the stories complete with the bonus of recipes in the back.

Where we Belong - Emily Griffin

I enjoyed this book.

Kirby is adopted and when she turns 18 she gets the name of her birth mom and heads to New York to meet her.
As this relationship starts and grows Kirby is then interested in her birth dad.

This story is told in Chapters by Kirby and her birth mom, Marilyn.

I think it is well done and we learn a lot about how adoptions can be a positive experience.

Most books that I  have read make the birth mother always regret giving the child to a family that was ready when they were not. I give Emily huge kudos for that. As a person that has this story in my life it was good to see it in a positive light.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

The letter Darlene Shortridge

Things that define a great book to me:

Tears, Laughter, feeling like you are a part of the family, surprises.

And every child deserves another day with those they love, if only to hear the
words ‘I love you’ once more.”

This book was about love. Jessi, was raised by her aunt and uncle. This is the story of her going back home (with her family) for her dad's funeral and her mom sharing her dad's story. Jessi never felt like her dad loved her and through chapters written by her dad as he was a young man, became a husband, businessman, etc we learned how much James did love her.

Although a novella I savored this book because I didn't want it end. I felt connected to James , Will, Jessi.

Well done Darlene, well done.