Friday, December 9, 2011

To Be Perfectly Honest: One Man's Year of Almost Living Truthfully Could Change Your Life. No Lie by Phil Callaway

Would you be able to go a whole year being totally honest? Answering the "Do these jeans make my butt look big" honestly? Because, yes, they kinda do.

That was the challenge Phil Calloway accepted and the results are pretty darn funny. He writes the book as a journal letting us know how each day went but he doesn't just talk about how he told the truth, he just talks and he is funny and it is like getting a really great letter from a friend.

He has a wonderful, playful sense of humor which I really appreciated, and I will never look at a spam email requesting my help in large dollar amounts the same!

There were some serious topics broached in the book, infidelity, death to name a couple, but overall it was a pretty light, easy, and fun read.

The only thing I would say I didn't love about the book is that it seemed like the questions he was asked were pretty easy to answer without lying or even feeling the need to, I am not sure if he left some of that out or if he is just blessed with a pretty clean background!

Either way I would recommend this book, it made me wonder if I could take on that challenge and also think about all the little white lies we all tell from time to time.

Click here and happy reading, you will love it! HONEST!

I received this book free of charge from Waterbrook Multnomah publishers for my honest review.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Out of a Far Country: A Gay Son's Journey to God. A Broken Mother's Search For Hope

I was not sure what to expect when I started reading this book, and quite honestly I was a little leery to get started. Why? Because I am well aware of all the stances on homosexuality most specifically in the conservative Christian churches and I was fully prepared for something different than what I got.

I am fairly new on my own walk in faith, my faith most days is shaky at best and I have a lot of questions one of which specifically deals with the love and forgiveness of God. I have had a very hard time wrapping my head around the fact that people who do far, far worse things than love someone of their own sex are forgiven and not put through the same emotional turmoil it seems that homosexuals are. I have several very close friends who are homosexual and the thought that they are not loved by God as fully as anyone else is heartbreaking. So, my expectation of this book was that Christopher came out to his family, everyone was angry but quickly rallied and they prayed him to straightness, because gay is not acceptable to God and they all lived happily ever after.

This book was REAL and honest and the pain that the family dealt with is laid out for all to see, I can only imagine the difficulty of that. The Yuan's marriage was shattered and I felt there was no possible way it could be repaired, Christopher was shattered and again, seemed without repair. The family did rally but it was not immediate and it was not pain free, the fact that they survived, not only intact but stronger is proof positive to me of God's love and patience. Seeing how the faith of each of them was transformed was in and of itself a sort of miracle, how the story ends and how the story begins are complete polar opposites, you can not read this and not also feel lighter and a little more transformed. This book was a labor of love and the honesty of Angela and Christopher Yuan is remarkable.

I don't want to get into a lot of detail because I really think that everyone would benefit from reading this book, but I will say again that often when things seem the most broken and bleak, God can and will step in if you ask Him too. Not only did He step in but He enabled the Yuan's to transform their lives, their relationships with one another and wrestle their demons. Christopher Yuan is gay, his parents love and support him and so does God and that makes me very, very happy.

Please go check it out here and let me know what you think!

* I received a free review copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah for my honest opinion. *

Saturday, October 8, 2011

The Crossing - Serita Jakes

I love books that make me wonder what is going to happen next... during the day when I am not reading them! This is one of those books! This story is written around a High School teacher who was murdered on a school bus after a football game in front of her students. The impact of this is still haunting many of them after 10 years, not just because of the horror of it but because the murder has never been solved.

When the case is re opened by the husband of one of the women that was with her when she died, it creates more turmoil than he expected and shakes their family to the core.

I was impressed by how well the story was woven together and how much detail was given to each character in such a short amount of time, I was able to get a clear picture of who these people were and they were very real. The story deals with several difficult topics such as adultery, domestic violence and mental health struggles and does so in a very real way that enables you to see the root of the issues.

The thing I most loved about the story is that it was real, there was no pretense and no love conquers all and everyone lives happily ever after all wrapped in a pink bow. Sometimes in life things are hard, people make bad choices, people go astray and some people don't find their way back, and some don't even try. That is real life and this book captures that. I loved it!

I think there is something in this for everyone, and I think you will like it as well. Go check it out, and happy reading!

Waterbrook Multnomah press provided me with a free copy of this book, for my honest review.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

A Sound Among the Trees / Susan Meissner

This story takes place in Virginia, in an antebellum mansion named Holly Oak that survived the Civil War and has been the home of generations of family. Holly Oak is also, according to folklore, haunted. It is currently the home of Adelaide who had raised her daughter Caroline in this home as well as her granddaughter Sara. Adelaide's daughter Caroline struggled with addiction she left home as a teen and didn't come back for years, and when she left again her daughter Sara was left behind. Sara was raised by her Grandmother at Holly Oak, it was there she fell in love, married Carson had two children, and lived the story of happily ever after in her childhood home with her Grandmother and her family.

The story opens with a wedding, a wedding on a perfect day in the garden of Holly Oak. The wedding of Carson to Marielle, a beautiful yet bittersweet day for the family. Four years prior, Sara had passed away, leaving Carson a widower and her children without a mother. Because the children were young and grieving the decision was made for them to remain at Holly Oak. At the wedding we learn that Marielle will also be living at Holly Oak which concerns her family and friends, rightfully so. There are also concerns about the ghost that if rumors are true, also resides at Holly Oak, the ghost of Adelaide's great-grandmother Susannah Page who was thought to be a Civil War spy for the North.

The story develops using multiple stories woven into one. I have read other books with this arrangement that become cumbersome and hard to follow, this was not one of them. The characters are very real and when I was not reading I often would catch myself wondering exactly how long Marielle was going to be ok living in a home belonging not just to another family, but the family of her husband's deceased first wife. I couldn't wait to find out exactly what was written in the letters given to Marielle by Caroline to read and better understand the history of Holly Oak, wondering why was Caroline back now after all of these years and where had she been and what does she want now? I also really wanted to know if Susannah was indeed the one haunting the house or was it another family member who in reality had more reason to do so?

I also wondered, how the story was going to play out, how all these stories would be tied up together. I can say, they were tied together wonderfully, there were still surprises up until the end which I greatly enjoyed and there was a content feeling of satisfaction when the story ended, no questions were left unanswered and what you thought you knew you never really knew at all.

And that, is the moral of the entire story, what you think you know often takes over everything and when you realize it isn't what you thought you knew it is often even better!

I highly recommend A Sound Among the Trees, check it out, and happy reading!

WaterBrook Multnomah Publishers provided this book to be at no cost in exchange for my honest review.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Enemies of the Heart - Andy Stanley

Have ever made a comment that immediately made you wince? Have you ever spent the evening with a friend catching up and smiling but on the inside secretly jealous? Have you ever known that you should donate that extra $50.00 you were not expecting, but convinced yourself that it was more important to buy something for yourself that you didn’t really need? This book immediately makes you think. The things we say that stun everyone, including ourselves, the secret jealousies, and simmering anger are not always exceptions often they are a reflection of what is really in our heart. Yikes!

Everyone at some point in their lives has had their heart damaged, by an unkind word or a thoughtless action. Others have had their hearts damaged by abuse, an out of the blue divorce, or other traumatic events. Often we think we move forward, but in reality as Stanley says we really carry around bits of shrapnel in our hearts from past wounds and they need to be recognized in order to be dealt with.

The four topics covered in this book are biggies, guilt, anger, greed and jealousy. Each subject is large enough for an entire book in and of itself, so when I saw the size of this book I was a little skeptical. I was curious how a mere 206 pages would be able to even begin to touch on these topics. And then I read it, and wow, was my heart touched.

Every human has been visited by one of these four emotions at one point or another. Each emotion is talked about and many times while reading I felt that he was speaking directly to me, directly to MY heart. It is an easy read in that it is very well written, he has a very engaging style and a wonderful sense of humor, the difficulty lies in what you may uncover in your own heart. Stanley acknowledges this by saying “Somewhere in the pages that made you wince and squirm and argue with me is a nugget or two of truth that your heavenly Father would like to gradually work deep into your soul” and that is so very true.

The great news is that reading this book enables you to look clearly at the shrapnel in your heart, and decide once and for all that it needs to go. Once decided, Stanley provides exercises and guidance in how to make this happen. And I can attest that it can happen quickly. As mentioned, there were several areas that made me stop and really look at my own heart. The result? Heart changing!

I can not recommend this book enough, I believe that this book is life changing and I plan to pass it along to all my friends and family, it is that important.

Go check it out and change your life! Enemies of the Heart - Andy Stanley / Amazon

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Chocolate Diaries - Karen Linamen

I once read that every woman needs several girlfriends, one that is the life of the party to help you have fun, one that is serious and calm and can be there in times of crisis to be a rock and a tell it like it is girlfriend who, true to her name, will say the things you need to hear even when you don’t want to hear it.

Karen Linamen is all of those girlfriends rolled up into one and sprinkled with chocolate!

Regardless of where you are on your journey, this book is a great road map to get you where you are going. You will laugh, cry, and shake your head in wonder that someone knows just what you are feeling.

And then the Chocolate. The Sweet Secrets at the end of each chapter give great advice from other women on their life’s journey and as a bonus there is a delicious recipe for sweet chocolate therapy!

It is impossible to walk away without being changed in some way by this book. Grab a little chocolate and settle in!

Want your own copy? Click here and happy reading!

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.