Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dug Down Deep: Building Your Life on Truths That Last by Joshua Harris

Book Description from
May 17, 2011
What are you going to build your life on?

Dug Down Deep is systematic theology like you’ve never seen it before. Readable. Relevant. Powerful. As best-selling author Joshua Harris shares his own journey from apathetic church-kid to student with a burning passion to truly know God, you’ll be challenged to dig deep into the truths of God’s word.

With humor, conviction and compelling insight Dug Down Deep covers the basics of faith—God, scripture, Jesus, the cross, salvation, sanctification, the Holy Spirit and the church. Don’t settle for superficial faith, dig deep.
"If you're looking for ‘that one book’ that will push you farther down the road to faith than you've ever journeyed before, Dug Down Deep is it. I highly recommend it!" —Joni Eareckson Tada

My thoughts:

As a longtime follower of Christ I’ve come to realize that I don’t know as much as I thought I did.  Dug Down Deep really helped me learn who Jesus is and why he did the things he did.  One thing that I learned was why Jesus is really called the Lamb of God.  I was under the assumption it was because he was God’s only son.  When in fact the title refers to the living sacrifice that Jesus was for the sins of the world.  Calling on the living sacrifice of young lambs from eons ago.  This book really helped me to strengthen my foundation of faith.  I would definitely recommend this book to any young Christian or even those who have questions about the basis of their faith.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars!
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

You could win this book!

I love books by Dr. Kevin Leman.  Here is another one I'm excited to read.  It's Your Kid Not a Gerbil by Dr. Kevin Leman talks about how busy our kids are.  Here is a description from the website: Do you sometimes feel like a gerbil running on a wheel inside a cage as you scurry from place to place, chauffeuring your children from one endless activity to another? What if, for one moment, you could just step off of the wheel . . . and relax? How would you feel then? And what if that single moment could stretch into an hour, or even a whole day? In his new book, It’s Your Kid, Not a Gerbil, Kevin Leman will provide practical solutions and helpful insight to get off the activity wheel so that you can put your time and energies where they really count: in establishing strong character and a love for home and family that will serve your kids well for a lifetime.

Happy Reading!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The Hour that Matters Most – The surprising power of the family meal By Les & Leslie Parrott with Stephanie Allen and Tina Kuna

Giveaway time!  Ends September 6, 2011 at 9pm

The book, The Hour that Matters Most, starts out talking about what makes a healthy home.  On page 5 it states, “Every family expert will tell you that a healthy home is the result of a proactive parent.”  Wow, this really struck me.  There are days when I am so busy trying to keep the house clean that I forget about keeping the house happy and healthy.  The authors talk about ways to keep the house healthy.  They also mentioned the numerous studies backing up why families need to eat meals together.

The sad truth is that a lot of families are so busy with activities in life that they don’t make time to eat supper together.  This book offers a lot of insight into how to bring the family back together.  It’s going to be strange at first but will get better with time.  There are tips on how to get the good conversations started.  As well as how to get your kids to open up without prying and prodding.

For those you don’t normally cook there is a chapter on how to get started cooking in general.  There are easy recipes at the end of each chapter, several of them I am going to try at our table.  Speaking of the table there is even a lesson on manners and the most effective way to get your kids to model the good ones.

This book as opened my eyes as to why we need to make sure we are eating together as a family as often as possible.  Even if Scott is getting home late from work and I am going to eat with him I am still going to make sure I sit at the table while the girls eat.  I am looking forward to the conversations we are going to have, as the girls get older.

Here's your chance to win your very own copy of The Hour that Matters Most.


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 Happy Reading!

I was given this book by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Radical – Taking back your faith from the American Dream by David Platt

I kept hearing about this book, Radical - by David Platt, from several friends of mine who attend Hidden Valley Community Church with me.  The story that struck me the most came from Patrick, our new Worship Leader and Director.  Patrick, his wife Megan and their 2 girls came to us, in Wisconsin, from the rather large and warm state of Texas. 

Here’s the story - When Patrick was looking for a job they confined the search to the Texas area. After reading the book Radical they decided to expand the job search and go where they felt God was calling them to.  The decision to read this book and a lot of prayer lead them to Wisconsin.  I thought that if one book can have such an impact on one family, leading them to relocate to a place where they do not know a single person.  What kind of impact will it have on my life?

So I asked my mom for her copy and was excited when she dropped it off.  The book talks about how we have adapted the Biblical church to fit our own American culture.  David Platt calls you to be Radical and do the things it takes to truly be a disciple of Jesus.  Give to the poor, live with less (lots less), trust God and spread the Gospel across the world.

Reading this book has prompted me to take a leap of faith and embark on a project to help those with less than I have.  I have been convicted to get over my nerves and spread the gospel.  I have to, no need to reach out to those around me.

Radical is another book that I am recommending to everyone I know.  I’m putting it on my husband’s reading pile tonight.  =)

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Enemies of the Heart – Breaking Free from the Four Emotions That Control You by Andy Stanley

 The book Enemies of the Heart by Andy Stanley was a very good book.  He talks about the emotions that control you being; Guilt: I Owe You, Anger: You Owe Me, Greed: I Owe Me, and Jealousy: God Owes Me.  I found the chapters very easy to read and filled with humor.  Andy told stories from his own life as well as hypothetical ones.   There are so many highlights from the book that it was hard to choose the ones I found carried the biggest impact.  Here are just 3 of them.

Page 23: What’s in your heart comes out at home, where you’ve turned off the “safety” and let down your defenses.  That’s when the heart exposes itself in the most negative ways to the people you love the most.

Page 31: After all, if we knew how to monitor our hearts, if we knew how to deal with the trouble at its source, then perhaps we would see a marked improvement in our behavior.

Andy goes on to talk about how “unpleasant realities become lodged in our hearts.”

Page 71: Greed isn’t a financial issue; it’s a heart issue. Financial gain doesn’t make greedy people less greedy.  Financial gain or lose doesn’t change anything, because greed emanates from the heart.

I could go on and on quoting lines and paragraphs from the book.  But I know I can’t.  I loved this book and will be soon passing it on to others.

At the end of the book is a 6-week study guide intended for small group discussion.  I’ve always liked books with a study guide that cause you to dig a little deeper into ones self.  However, I don’t like the way this study guide is set up.  It groups the weekly questions by topic causing you to have to read certain chapters first before answering all the questions.  For example: Week 1 covers the first 5 chapters, but Week 2 covers chapters 6, 11 and 12, Week 3 covers chapters 7,13 and 14 and so on and so on.

I happily give this book 5 out of 5 stars.
“I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review”.

Friday, July 29, 2011

And the winners are....

Of their very own copy of the book Dinner with a Perfect Stranger by David Gregory.

Katrina Klauer for liking my page on facebook and Amanda Flessner, she liked a post I posted about the giveaway so she'll get the second book.

Happy Reading!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Giveaway Time

The publishing company has sent me TWO copies of Dinner with a Perfect Stranger.  So I am giving them both away.  Like my Facebook page for a chance to win a copy.  You can find it here.

Giveaway ends July 29th, 2011 at 9pm

Happy Reading!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dinner with a Perfect Stranger - An Invitation Worth Considering by David Gregory

I was shocked when the book, Dinner with a Perfect Stranger - An Invitation Worth Considering by David Gregory, showed up and it was only 100 pages long.  I was however excited to dive right in.  Nick is invited to have dinner with Jesus.  In the time leading up to the dinner Nick is convinced that his friends are setting him up for some practical joke.

He arrives at the restaurant and proceeds to go along with the "joke."  Here are some of my thoughts from the book.

I grew up thinking that I had to do all these glorious deeds in order to get into heaven. That I had to obey God to a "T". But page 46 states "There's great profit in obeying God.  It just won't get you into heaven."

At one point in the book Nick is talking to Jesus about how he can prove to him that he is who he says he is. Page 74 says "I did that, too. They still didn't believe.  My Father did that at Mount Sinai with the Jews.  They turned away from him within six weeks."  How powerful is that?!  God gives us clues all the time that he exists.  Yet we still turn away from him.

All in all I enjoyed this quick read.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Happy Reading!

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

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Know Doubt by John Ortberg

One thing I love about our Friday morning Life Group at Hidden Valley Church is that we read such great books.  Know Doubt by John Ortberg is another good one. 

As an almost 30 year old who was introduced to God and faith at a very young age I thought that by now I wouldn't have anymore doubts about my faith and God.  That isn't true and John Ortberg explains that it's normal.  Page 31 says "If Christ spent an anguished night in prayer, if he burst out from the cross, 'My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?' then surely we are permitted doubt."

He goes on to talk about the strange silence of God.  On page 107 it says this "If you don't feel close to God anymore - who moved?"  This really struck me.  There are times in my life when I feel alone.  Then I remember that it's not God's fault.  I withdrew and God is still there waiting for me.

I will definitely be recommending this book to anyone who is having doubts with their faith.

Another winner in my book.  I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley

We read this book in our Friday morning Life Group.  The Principle of the Path by Andy Stanley is a book I think that every young person should read before they turn 18.  We all know that the choices we make today affect us tomorrow.  But do you ever stop and think that the choices you make today are going to affect you 5-10-15-20 years from now?  That is what this book causes you to do.

I like how the book made me stop and think about the choices I've made in my life.  And then he gives us a road map for getting where we would like to be.

Some highlights are:
* "To get from where we don't want to be to where we do want to be requires two things: time and a change of direction."
* "Direction-not intentions, hopes, dreams, prayers, beliefs, intellect, or education-determines destination."
* "We should break the habit of drawing a circle around individual decisions and events and dismissing them as isolated occurrences. These are steps. Steps that lead somewhere."
* "Prudent people look as far down the road as possible when making decisions."
* "Christians start talking about forgiveness as if somehow forgiveness serves as an escape hatch from the outcome of bad decisions."
* "When happiness points in one direction while wisdom, truth, integrity, and common sense point in another, that's when really smart people start doing really stupid things."
* "The choices are now. The outcomes are later. The decisions you make today have ramifications down the road."
* "One never accomplishes the will of God by breaking the law of God, violating the principles of God, or ignoring the wisdom of God."
* "I am constantly amazed at how resistant folks are to take their cues from people who are where they want to be."

This is one book I will make sure to have my girls read when they enter high school.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars.

Happy Reading! 

Women, Food and God by Geneen Roth

As you know I’m very fond of our local library and visit them on a pretty regular basis.  This is where I picked this one up. 

Once again I heard about this book when Oprah had the author on her show.  While I don’t remember what exactly they talked about I was still curious as to how the author could tie the three together – women, food and God by Geneen Roth.

The author frequently conducts workshops on how women relate to their food and why they eat.  Most of the context of the book comes the women that attended her workshops.  Which was a nice treat to hear from other women that have the same struggles with food that I do.  I read about women that didn’t think they were worth enough to eat right, women who didn’t trust themselves enough to make the right food choices and women who didn’t know how to put themselves first before their kids, husband and careers.  

I was disappointed that the author didn't talk more about God and the role that your spirituality plays in how you relate to food.  But overall it was an OK book.

I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

Happy reading!

There are a lot of reviews coming soon

 I apologize for being so very lax these past few months.  I have read several books since the last post and will get the reviews up soon.

Happy reading!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Getting the Pretty Back by Molly Ringwald

Again,  another book I picked up on a whim at the library.  (Our local library sure sees a lot of us these days.  Between going there by myself to get some much needed quiet time to taking the girls there for various activities and to fill up their library book bag our library card gets quite the workout.)  Anyways, back to the book.  When I picked up Getting the Pretty Back: Friendship, Family and Finding the Perfect Lipstick I wasn't sure what to expect.  I thought it was going to be another good autobiography I was going to enjoy.  I did think the book was a little thin for an autobiography and the font a bit big but oh well.  I was going to give it a shot.

The very first page was addressed to women age 40 and older.  I was like "Oh my, what have I gotten into."  I kept reading and finished the book in 2 days.  The font is really big and the book is filled with illustrations.   She did have some interesting stories about her family and accepting her changed body after having kids.  Overall though there wasn't much depth to the book, I was disappointed.

I would give this book a 2 out of 5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Spoken From the Heart by Laura Bush

I've wanted to read Spoken From the Heart by Laura Bush ever since I saw her appear on the Oprah Show last fall.  I was hoping to get it for Christmas but Santa said he couldn't find it.  So I picked it up at the local library.  I really love reading autobiographies on strong, loving women.

The beginning of the book read a little slow I will admit.  She talked about her childhood and growing up in Midland, TX., how her and George met and their journey to the White House.  What I found the most interesting was all the things she accomplished while George Bush was president.  Laura loves books and was a librarian at one point in her life.  She pushed for literacy in schools and raised funds to help the libraries purchase more books.  Laura was also an advocate for Afghanistan women, fighting for their rights.  The injustices that Laura say all over the world deeply affected her and she vowed to do something about it.  She certainly used her time in the White House as a chance to change the world, even if it was one project at a time.

I definitely give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Momfidence! An Oreo Never Killed Anybody and Other Secrets of Happier Parenting by Paula Spencer

I picked up this Momfidence! while trying to find a book on how to get Kennedy to be nicer to her little baby sister Lexi. I was intrigued by how worn the book was.  It looks as if a lot of moms have read the book or maybe a lot of little ones have gotten a hold of it.  Either was I’m always up for a book that will give me some insight on how to be a better mom.

From the book – Paula Spencer lives with her husband George and their four children; one boy and 3 girls, in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.  She’s the “Momfidence!” columnist (formerly “The Mom Next Door”) in Woman’s Day magazine and a longtime contributing editor of Parenting and Baby Talk.  Her articles have also appeared in many other national magazines and at and  She’s written four books for Parenting and coauthored The Happiest Toddler on the Block with Harvey Karp, MD.  Not least, she’s faithfully kept a daily diary since she was nine years old.

Through out the book she reminds us that five little ingredients are missing from most mothering messages these days. 
  1.  Instinct
  2.  Reality
  3.  Common Sense
  4.  Fun
  5.  Parents

What I liked about the book-
The book was filled with fun, funny stories from her own life that I could easily relate to and was an easy quick read..  At the time the book was written her children were around the same age that mine are now.  It was nice to read a book that let me know that I’m not the only one going through what I’m dealing with now.  Kids that don’t listen, act as if they are from another planet and myself having the guilt of not doing this are acting like that.

I agreed with all the topics she had in the book.  I’m a planner by nature and have a tendency to want to control everything.  She helped me see that there are little things that I can let go of, like my house not being “company ready” 24/7.  And she reminded me that I have to take time for myself along the way.

All in all, the book was a nice easy read.  I would definitely suggest it to other moms I know.  There are times when being a mom gets stressful and we need a reminder that we can do this and the kids will come out alive.

I would give the book 5 out of 5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Deceptively Delicious – Simple Secrets to Get Your Kids Eating Good Food By Jessica Seinfeld

A good friend of mine told me about this cookbook.  I believe she heard about it on the Oprah show.  The night we were over at her house she made us some turkey burgers that were in the cookbook.  They were really good and I was determined to check the book out from our local library.

The author of the cookbook was having a hard time getting her 3 young kids to eat vegetables.  So she decided to come up with a way to get the vegetables into the foods they already eat.  What she did was take vegetable purees and mix them into the recipes.

My husband thought I was crazy when I brought this book home from the library.  Our girls love vegetables; they eat all sorts of them.  Some of their favorites are carrots, green beans, celery, peas, mushrooms, tomatoes, potatoes, and many more.  I wasn’t concerned with getting them to eat their veggies.  But I do like the idea of getting more vitamins and nutrients into their meals.

What I liked about this book:
The format was set up really nice.  She gives great tips on cooking up and pureeing the veggies.  The book also has several tips on making mealtime all around more enjoyable.

We haven’t tried all the recipes yet.  Here are some of the ones we’ve made and the results.

French toast made with carrot puree. – The girls couldn’t get enough of these.  I really should have made a double batch the first time. Tip: make sure the carrot puree is really smooth or you will have carrot chunks on your French toast.

Scrambled eggs made with cauliflower puree. – We didn’t like these at all.  The texture was funny and we couldn’t get over the taste of the cauliflower.

Grilled cheese sandwiches made with butternut squash. – Again, the girls were not a fan of these.  The cheese mixture was too runny and the taste of the squash was not masked well.

Italian meatloaf made with carrot puree. – This one was OK.  But I won’t be making it again.  No one wanted to eat the leftovers.

Macaroni and Cheese 1 made with butternut squash puree. -  We really liked this one.  The cheese was creamy and the squash gave it a nice flavor.  I will definitely be making it again.

Burgers 2 made with mushrooms and zucchini. – Oh how I love these!  And Scott liked them too.  They are moist and have a really good flavor to them.  We really liked that the mushrooms and zucchini were chopped up and mixed in with the ground turkey.

Chocolate brownies made with spinach and carrot puree. – The girls and I really like these.  You have to wait until the brownies are completely cooled in order to not be able to taste the spinach.  I like that the brownies are dense, Scott not so much.  The girls like them because there is chocolate in them. =)

Chocolate pudding made with avocado puree. - When I made this the avocado wasn’t smooth enough and Kennedy wasn’t too sure about the avocado chunks.  I thought it was OK.  I will make this again making sure to smooth the puree better to give it a fair chance.

There are a few more recipes I am going to try in this book before taking it back to the library and I am excited to check the next book out in the series.

I would give this book a 5 out of 5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Scream Free Parenting – The revolutionary approach to raising kids by keeping your cool. By Hal Edward Runkel, LMFT

As a mom it is my duty to give our girls my best, to do that I need to keep learning and growing as a parent.  Raising kids is really hard.  I never knew how hard it was going to be.  I had fantasies of everyone getting along, no sibling rivalry in our house.  The girls would be the best listeners, following every request with an “OK mom.”  The older the girls get the harder and more demanding being a parent becomes.

One thing I am doing to be the best parent God wants me to be is reading as much information as I can.  I’m always looking for tips and tricks to be the girls #1 influence. In the book Scream Free Parenting I discovered something not to many people talk about in order to give our kids the best.  Taking time to make sure my needs are met.  It was such a relief to read that in order to be the best parent I need to take care of myself first.

What I liked about the book:
The book offers many tips on how to remove the anger from a situation. Reminding the reader that adding fuel to the fire doesn’t help anyone.  I only wish the author had used my real life stories through out the book.

At the end of each chapter are 4-5 reflection questions.  I really enjoyed being able to think beyond what I just read and apply it to our own life. 

I would give the book 3 out of 5 stars.

Happy Reading!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Cake Boss by Buddy Valastro

For Christmas Scott gave me the book Cake Boss – Stories and Recipes from Mia Famiglia by Buddy Valastro.  Scott knows that I have a passion for cake decorating and enjoy watching cake shows on TV.  I also enjoy a good autobiography.

What I liked about this book:
I found it very well written, thought out and easy to read.  I learned a lot about the family history of the Valastro family and how Carlo’s Bake Shop came to be.  I really like hearing Buddy’s point of view on how he dealt with the death of his beloved father, the leader of the family.  And how he became such a talented baker and cake decorator.

At the end of the book is a section of recipes of some of the items they sell in their shop in Hoboken, New Jersey.  I thought it was very nice of him to include recipes so those of us who may never make it to Hoboken, New Jersey can make Carlo’s Bake Shop pastries in our own kitchen.  I plan on trying out the Chocolate Chip Cookies and the Chocolate Cake.

I give this book a 5 out of 5 stars.

Happy Reading!!

Why a book review blog?

I love to read.  I will read just about anything; books, magazines, newspapers even the back of the cereal box.   The topics I like to read are biographies, cookbooks, parenting enrichment, novels and books to encourage my spiritual growth.

What I hope to give you through this blog is a review of the books I read coming from the view of a stay-at-home mom and wife.  I’m not a fancy editor of a newspaper or magazine.  I receive no compensation from the publishing companies or authors.  There is no rhyme or reason to the books I choose to read, just whatever catches my eye or a topic I want to learn more about.

I hope that everyone will give me some feedback on the reviews and if you happen to read the book yourself, you’ll give me your own thoughts and feelings.

Happy Reading!