Book Review: Loving Grace (a novel)

9781620206195-197x306

Watermelons, beauty pageants, young hearts caught in a first love… April Smith ties it all together in Loving Grace, a novel from Ambassador International. Grace Summer is the protagonist appointed as a “Watermelon Queen”, which is part beauty contest winner and part watermelon product promoter. After the death of her loved ones, Grace struggles to bounce back from this loss and go on with life, but she finds a special spot in the hearts and lives of the Baron family, whose livelihoods rely on the harvest of watermelons. This clan, who sponsors her role as Watermelon Queen, includes two young men that help prove the point that things aren’t always what they seem, especially when it comes to love.

Who this book is for: Grace Summer, the main character, is about to enter her senior year of high school, and the story doesn’t have anything that isn’t family-friendly. So, if your daughter is in high school, or even junior high, this book would be an enjoyable read. College- age girls might also like this book as it accurately shows the highs and lows of a first love. All in all, Loving Grace is a cute story.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of Loving Grace from the publisher, Ambassador International, in exchange for my honest review.

abeab9753bf3e4764c90edfc9c57eac577269c3d

42 Seconds by Carl Medearis [Book Review]

978-1-63146-489-8

Most people probably think of Jesus’ interactions with people in the big ways, but what about the small ways? Is it possible that Jesus made just as big of an impact on people’s lives in the small exchanges as he did in the big, long sermons?

Carl Medearis thinks so. In his new book, 42 Seconds The Jesus Model For Everyday Interactions, he claims that the average length of a conversation Jesus had with a person was a mere 42 seconds. Not even a whole minute. Not much time at all. Within these fleeting seconds, Medearis proposes, there are some ways an impact can be made on a person’s life, with each chapter posing a question. I like how Medearis uses questions to structure each chapter, and he gives stories from his own life and other people’s lives. The stories are easy to relate to, and even though the author makes suggestions on how to follow the “42 Seconds” conversation model of making a difference, he’s honest on how he falls short on his own suggestions. The book is easy to read, the chapters are short. Each chapter begins with a “Nonstarter” – something that Christians might be tempted to do  (i.e. “Try to impress “), countered by an “Opener” –  the alternative (i.e. “Be vulnerable”). The good thing about the suggestions given is that they aren’t radical life changes you have to make in one day, but they’re all small steps you can take at your own comfort level, wherever you are.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

BLOG-NETWORK-BADGE

Book Review: Lies Women Believe

9780802418364

 

It isn’t fun being lied to. Whether it’s by a friend, family member, or even a company giving you false promises, deception doesn’t feel good. Lies can cause hurt, anger, and a feeling of betrayal.

Nancy Demoss Wolgemuth has updated per previously published book into an expanded and updated version. The whole premise of her book is that women are being lied to consistently and continuously, and that there are a whole series of lies that Satan is telling ladies that can cause damage to their lives. These Lies Women Believe can ruin their lives, cause them to make bad decisions, and while some of these “lies” aren’t openly accepted by Christians, she says, they can be subtle distortions of truth, still making them lies. Demoss Wolgemuth is on a mission to tell women how they’re being lied to and let them know what the real truth is.

Sounds reasonable enough, doesn’t it?

This book is built on the belief that women are more susceptible to being lied to than men. The author clearly believes this just from the account of humanity’s fall in the Creation story. That is another theological issue entirely, so we can leave that alone.

The premise of the book is solely based on a series of lies, for example:

  • I need to love myself more
  • I have my rights
  • God doesn’t love me
  • I can’t control my emotions
  • If I submit to my husband, I’ll be miserable
  • I don’t have time to do everything I’m supposed to do
  • We can’t afford (more) children
  • I have to have a husband to be happy
  • I can’t bear being depressed

There are more “lies”, but overall, there are a couple issues that run through the whole book. Other reviewers have criticized the fact that the author is doling out advice on motherhood and children, and I too have to scratch my head and wonder why people are so eager to eat it up when the author has never had children. But that’s really not what’s so bad about her motherhood and kids “lies”… I too have no kids, but just from my own skills of observation, of being out in the world, I feel I could have contributed better content to this and could have done better research and had more empathy for the struggles of the moms who feel like they can’t do it all, can’t manage it all, don’t have time for it all.

Another strangely odd area she gives advice on: marriage. This book is updated, and for most of her life she has been single. In this edition, she’s been married for about two and a half years. TOTAL. Again, I too am a single person, never married, but I really feel like there is a naivety in the way she speaks to people about marriage that makes it so confusing as to why married women would be taking advice from her. After being married for two and a half years, she’s still in the honeymoon phase of the relationship. If I ever get married, I hope to be able to say how I’m happily married, but if I don’t get married, I won’t pretend that I know what it’s like to work on what’s supposed to be a lifelong relationship.

And where marriage and mothering intersect is the area of time management, balance, caring for extended family, and this area made me see red… the pat answers she gives in this area are pathetic. The fact that she has no children is really no reason to not provide more information, more research, more stories from women who do. Answers like “just trust God” and “just do God’s assignment for your life” are inadequate for women who are tired, hurting, in an exhausting season of their lives. For ten years, I watched my Mom care for a sick family member, while working full time and caring for her own household, and you better believe that this book contributes no solutions to that type of struggle, except to say something like “just trust God”. In multiple chapters of Lies Women Believe, women are given pat answers to problems, no real solutions, no real empathy, and while I believe the author is writing from a place of love and kindness, this book lacks practicality and depth, so I really can’t recommend it at all.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

MPnewsroomMemberBadge

United States of Jihad

9780804139564

Peter Bergen has created a highly informational book for those interested in the growing threat of terrorism. Fact-based with lots of details as to the incidents occurring on the homeland. A lot of research seems to have been placed into this book.

FTC Disclosure: I received a free copy of United States of Jihad in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Failure: The Back Door To Success

No one likes to fail.

Failure can be painful, and it can leave a person wondering, “Whats next?”

Erwin Lutzer’s book Failure: The Back Door To Success proposes a positive spin, claiming that failure can actually help you get to the success you want.
9780802413307

Or at least that’s what the cover would have you think. After all, more than 100,00 readers can’t be wrong.

A better title for this book would be Failure: Don’t Let It Happen to You or Failure: How It Can Ruin Your Life. Why so negative? A few examples from the book: a couple decides to become missionaries, and they move to a foreign land. Things don’t work out, and they return home. They’re embarrassed to explain why, so they tell their friends a different story to cover up the “failure” that they are no longer missionaries. Or, a Christian woman marries a non-believer, and she has to work like crazy to make her marriage work. She resigns herself to wondering what might have been – could she have been a missionary had she not gotten pregnant before being forced to marry this guy she’s now stuck with? (What is it with this author and missionaries?) This woman can’t stand her husband, but she has to love him.

If you’re expecting a Christian version of Stephen Covey’s Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, this book isn’t it. I disagree with what seems to be the author’s belief that most human failure results from sin. Yes, much of it does, but just because a career objective does not work out as hoped for, does not mean that it HAD to be the result of sin. Perhaps God had something better in mind, or circumstances changed…. we are human, and our knowledge is finite.

Another major lacking point of this book is how it focuses on failure – it’s very negative – and it lacks the knowledge of how to get from the failure to success.  Information on “the back door to success” is what it’s missing. That positive aspect is lacking. This book focuses on sin so much that it overspiritualizes –  it overlooks the fact that sometimes failure happens even when people are following God with all their hearts.

FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.