Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Build by Paul Teutul, Jr.

Even though I can't say I was a regular viewer of the TV reality show, "American Choppers", the relationship between the two Pauls was known to me.  Like so many others, I wondered how much of it was real?

"The Build" by Paul Teutul, Jr. answers those questions and gives Junior's respectful version of the story that probably gets overlooked because of his father's explosive and opinionated demeanor.  While the book does give a little character background, it deals mostly with their lives during the filming of "American Chopper" to date.  Junior shares what his life was like during that time, the conflicts and triumphs, in a down-to-earth way that makes this book an easy and quick read.

Like so many familial relationships, this one suffers from an obvious dysfunction, yet Junior sees it as an opportunity to witness God's healing and to break the generational curse his family has suffered from.  This book is not a Paul-Sr.-in-your-face type of witness, instead it is Junior's account of the change God brought to his life, and the influence that has had on the choices he makes.

I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it.  I received a complimentary copy for my unbiased opinion.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Deadly Proof by Rachel Dylan

First of all let me just say that I really, really liked this book!

  • The story was interesting and believable.  Reminded me of a John Grisham-style book.
  • The characters were authentic and had flaws.
  • Although at the beginning you just know that Kate will win the case and Landon's heart, there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you wanting to find out what happens next.
  • The references to God were natural and not forced.  So many Christian authors miss that mark, and this book was a very pleasant surprise.
In all, I found "Deadly Proof" to be a great read.  This book should be a reminder to authors out there that you can tell a compelling story without smut.

Thanks, Bethany House, for letting me review this book!

Thursday, July 13, 2017

June by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore

"June" by Miranda Beverly-Whittemore is a well-written, suspenseful novel that places the main character, Cassie, in her grandmother's (June's) once-grand home that is now decaying.  While there, Cassie has vivid dreams of the people that once lived there, learns of her grandmother's secret past, inherits a fortune from a movie star who ends up being her true grandfather, and learns of a murder that happened 60 years prior.

Although the story was good, I had a hard time getting in to it.  Also, for me, the "romance" parts were more than what I prefer.  I normally like to share books with my 16 year old daughter, but won't be doing that with this one.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest opinion.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Under the Cover of Light by Carole Engle Avriett

No matter how you or I might feel about the Vietnam War, so many patriotic Americans served during that time.  USAF COL Thomas "Jerry" Curtis's story of being a prisoner of war for 7-1/2 years in Vietnam was one that I was glad that was told. 

I have never read a POW account before and found it hard to put down.  I was amazed at how these men communicated, tried to keep their spirits up through "American humor" that their captors could not understand, and later shared skills or knowledge with each other in their "university". 

Although Col. Curtis faced incredible hardship, his faith saw him though, as so with so many other POW's.  His testimony makes our troubles seem so small and insignificant. 

My only criticism, if you will, is that for such an incredibly horrific experience, I really didn't "feel" that in his memoir.  Col. Curtis seems like such a matter-of-fact kind of guy, that most of the emotion that you might expect from a book of this nature was missing, whether that is just from his strong faith or just who he is as a person, or both. 

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest opinion.

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted by Ron Citlau

I found "Hope for the Same-Sex Attracted" by Ron Citlau to be an enlightening and encouraging book about what many churches look at as a taboo subject.  I've often heard in churches to love the sinner but hate the sin, but in reality, it often doesn't look that way.  Not knowing how to respond to people who are struggling with homosexuality and how it relates to their faith can cause a lot of hurt for everyone.
I appreciated the author's insight from working through his own like challenges, and found that although his recommendations would be very controversial in our current liberal culture, he is working from Biblical perspective not cultural perspective. 

This book would be beneficial for those struggling with same-sex attraction (and their families and friends), but only if that person desires change.  

I received this book from the publisher for my honest opinion.

Monday, May 8, 2017

Tranquility - A Prayer an Reflection Coloring Journal

A few months ago, I had the opportunity to review my first coloring journal, "Gratitude - A Prayer and Praise Coloring Journal" by the same publisher.  I was so impressed with that book that when I was given the chance to review "Tranquility" I did not hesitate.

"Tranquility" is a beautiful book with a hard cardboard cover that makes it easy to color while meditating on the reading.  Words like "You are never alone" and "Trust God's Perfect Guidance and You Will Receive a Crown" fill this book and do truly give a place of calm reassurance that the Creator of the Universe knows us.

I highly recommend this book not only as a gift, but for yourself as well.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest opinion.

Saturday, March 18, 2017

How to Pack by Hitha Palepu

I used to travel more than I do now, but have always been challenged by the "right way" to pack.  So, never being a "professional" traveler, packing has always been an anxiety-ridden affair sure to include forgotten items and wrinkle-free clothing that somehow ends up a wrinkled mess anyway.  So when I had the opportunity to review this book, I was really looking forward to learning some tips and tricks to make the arduous task of packing more successful and less stressful.

First of all, this little book is really cute as it looks like a small suitcase with the title on a luggage tag.  Looks aside, it is an easy read filled with tips on how to pack effectively and efficiently.  I love how the author dispelled the mystery of how many items to take (like underwear) for the number days you are gone, and the packing checklists that are included in the book are a helpful guideline. She even discusses the appropriate items to pack depending on if you are traveling for business, pleasure, or both, as well as cute illustrations that include how-to's for folding items (like a suit jacket!).  Although I don't think I will ever do an "inflight spa" or have a "packing station" in my home, I already have my eye on some packing cubes that I think will be my new best traveling buddy.

I realize that a lot of what is included might be considered common sense, but it is obvious that the practical tips shared are borne from experience.  That's what makes this book not just a book.  It makes this book a tool.

"How to Pack" would make a thoughtful gift for a graduate or retiree, someone going on a vacation, or a person who has gotten a job or promotion that would include traveling, or for the person that dreams of going to exotic places... some day.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher for my honest opinion.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

When God Made You by Matthew Paul Turner

"When God Made You" by Paul Turner is a touching little children's hard cover book that helps reinforce the truth that God knows them, loves them, and is there for them.  Filled with fun, bright and colorful illustrations by David Catrow, this makes for a great reading experience for little listeners.

I would highly recommend this book.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest opinion.

Friday, March 3, 2017

"The Polygamist's Daughter" by Anna LeBaron

"The Polygamist's Daughter" is Anna LeBaron's memoir of her experiences growing up in a fundamentalist Mormon cult that practiced polygamy in the late 20th century.  Anna endured many hardships like having to live apart from her mother for much of her life, being on the run from authorities, and having to live in squalor all because they were doing "the Lord's work", going door-to-door trying to sell things to make money to help support the wives and other children, and so much more that a young person should never have to be subjected to.  Despite all that she experienced, including the deaths of her surrogate parents, her story is truly a witness to the healing that took place through her real father, God the Father.

Anna's story was well written and hard to put down.  My heart ached for her during her young years knowing that she was being groomed to be a teenage "sister wife" to one of her father's followers, and cheered with her as she broke free and ran away from that existence and had the courage to face her past and begin the hard work of healing.

Anna, thank you for sharing your story and I pray that you are blessed for it.

I received this book from the publisher for my honest opinion.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Tunnels by Greg Mitchell

I love history, especially when the stories of the people affected are told.  With that said, I had a terrible time getting in to"The Tunnels" by Greg Mitchell.  Although I learned so much from the people portrayed, it was not a "can't put it down kind of book" for me.  I am glad their stories are told, though.

I was given a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest opinion.

"A Patch on the Peak of Ararat" by Gary Bower

"A Patch on the Peak of Ararat" by Gary Bower is a fun, catchy, little book.  Written in a style like "The House that Jack Built", kids are sure to love this "quippy" story that invites reciting some of the earlier lines with the reader that are repeated several times throughout.  The illustrations, by Barbara Chotiner, are big and bold and easy for little listeners to see.  An absolutely darling book!   
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest opinion.