Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Edge of the Divine by Sandi Patty

One definition of an edge is "the point at which something is likely to happen" begins Sandi's powerful book about her weight loss struggles, her faith, her family and her life. Sometimes brutally honest, sometimes funny, sometimes sad, but always uplifting, joyful, emotional and hard-hitting. She delves into her lifelong struggles with weight loss, her decision (years in the making) to have lap-band surgery and the resulting "revelations" that come into her life as a result.

Her book leans heavily on her faith as a Christian, but isn't "preachy"....just full of her belief in God and all that we can accomplish through Him.

She gives us a glimpse into her childhood, her marriages, her children and her life as the top performing (and award-winning) Christian singer in today's realm of Christian music. Her struggles have not been in vain, for I feel she has reached a level of contentment in her life, that few of us have obtained. But she gives great insight into how we can ALL reach this same level but believing in ourselves and in God's plan for us. Sandi manages to reveal some of her life's toughest moments and relates the stories and end results (mostly happy ones) a way that causes you to feel that you've known her forever and gone through those tough times with her.

A VERY gripping book, one that you will be glad you read. One from which you will gain some measure of insight into your own life, whether it be your own struggles with weight/health issues, marriage, children or your career. A book that I read in one sitting! I simply could not put it down! Do yourself a favor and pick this wonderful book up as soon as you can. You won't regret it!

Friday, July 30, 2010

PERMANENT OBSCURITY: Or a Cautionary Tale of Two Girls and Their Misadventures with Drugs, Pornography and Death

(Tamer Cover)

PERMANENT OBSCURITY: Or a Cautionary Tale of Two Girls and Their Misadventures with Drugs, Pornography and Death by Dolores Santana (as told to Richard Perez)

While this type of genre is way beyond what I would normally read, I was asked to do a review by the author and so agreed. WARNING: Adult content, sex and drug-use!

I was pleasantly surprised! The story is captivating and interesting. It is presented in a way that delves into the minds of people who follow this lifestyle, yet is "tame" enough for readers who might be interested but never exposed to this subject matter before.

It tells the tale of two young women who are into the fem-dom lifestyle and who are desperately trying to not only make ends meet financially but who are trying to figure out who they are and what their place in life is. It barrels through many of their experiences on a daily basis and their thoughts about where they are going. You become quite attached to them and want them to succeed, but also agonize with them over the difficulties they face. Life is tough for everyone, and how you handle it can make all the difference, good or bad, as you'll see in this book. Sometimes you try your best, based on what you know, how you were raised, etc and things never quite turn out exactly how you plan them.

This is not erotica, not politically correct in any way, shape or form, but when is real life the way it "should" be?

I do recommend this book for anyone who has had a friend who you love dearly, but just flat out won't listen to advice, for anyone who has struggled with not only daily living, but trying to make it in the world and who might have an "off-beat" idea to deal with rent, food and living expenses. 

Just be careful of how you put your ideas into you'll see with these just never know how it will turn out!
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Monday, July 12, 2010

Cast of Characters by Max Lucado

When I first received this book to review, I wasn't very sure I'd like it. I normally shy away from "religious" books as they are quite often way above my head and may not follow my beliefs. They also usually go off on a rampage or else try to get you to follow a set course of action which the author believes is the ONLY way to live.

But, I was pleasantly surprised at Max Lucado's Cast of Characters. He writes in a down-to-earth way which instantly draws you in and makes you comfortable. His way of selecting a character from the Bible, telling that person's story, and then blowing them out of the water by pointing out all their failings is fascinating! And yes, they ALL had failings. Max thens compares OUR lives to those characters, showing us that we are all alike, none of us are free from sin, none of us is perfect and none of us has it all figured out yet. Even Max!

He breaks down chapters and verses in laymen's words so they can be easily understood. An ancedote may be relayed to hammer a point home, but you don't get the impression that he's "preaching" to you, just laying out the facts. It's a very unique way of writing and getting a message across. He will cite instances in modern life that parallel life in Biblical days. And he's spot on with it too! It's amazing how well researched this book is. No reflection on Max in a negative way, it's just that I'm not used to a "religious" writer putting forth the facts in such a clear-cut, easy to understand and relate to, way.

Mr Lucado scores a big one in my opinion with this book. He tells how Joseph, Matthew, John, Paul, Mary, Lazarus, Moses, Esther, Job, etc, were all just "common people in the hands of an uncommon God" we all are even today.

A fascinating read that people of all religions or even NO religion at all, will enjoy and come away with not only a better understanding of God, but of themselves also.

Melodies of the Heart

A short work by Mary Aris containing 29 poems. Relating to love, relationships and marriage. Although I'm not a huge fan of poems and poetry, these are worth a read. Three in particular stand out for me.... Love's Spirit, Marriage of Souls and Eternal Oath. I feel they would be excellent for couple's to recite at their weddings. All in all, a wonderful quick read that is uplifting and inspiring!

Here Comes Your Man

An absolutely WONDERFUL book! If I didn't know Derek was a guy, I'd swear it was written by a woman....he has such insight into the angst that we all go through in relationships. The angst that men suffer through also, but rarely admit to. No offense Derek with the "written by a woman" comment, but man, you are TUNED IN! This is a love story from a GUY'S point of view and Derek pulls it off like he's been writing these for years!

Derek has told the tale of poor, poor Garrett (he's not financially poor, just relationship-poor) a funny, touching and revealing essay into the hearts and minds of men. In it's all-too-familiar litany of "just how the hell do we find a decent person to date?" and "how do we make it past the first few weeks?"....Garrett takes us through his journey to find someone....someone he can build a life with. But we also have to follow him through his "couchatonia" stage (haven't we all been there?) and just hope and pray he pulls out of it.

By the end of the first chapter, you are rooting for Garrett and you continue to root for him the entire book.

I highly recommend this book as an addition to your library, as a great beach read or even as a gift to any person (man or woman) who is romantically just might give them the boost they are looking for. And if not, they'll certainly have a blast reading it!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

How to Wear Your Hair by Morgan Gantt

A spectacular book about hair styles, which one is right for your face shape and how to get the look you've always dreamed of. Morgan Gantt has put together a definitive little book with exceptional photos of celebrities wearing styles which are right for them. You too, can get the perfect style to show off your best features! She explains how to measure your face to determine which shape you have and then goes on to describe which styles work, whether you want short, long, bangs, feathered, etc. Each and every page has bright, colorful pictures and clear-cut, easy to understand explanations. This is a book that is great for carrying with you to your stylist. Also perfect for gift-giving. Available online at her website. 

All in all, a must-have for anyone who has agonized over a bad haircut or wanted to change their looks but just couldn't quite find the proper style. 

Saturday, July 10, 2010

All Over the Map by Laura Fraser

Laura Fraser's All Over The Map is a funny, witty, sometimes sad but honest review of her life and times. It could be a story about MY life, well, except for the world travel,college and the adventurous Mom! But her trials and tribulations with men and relationships struck a chord with me. Been there, done that. Her insight into the relationships, the whys and wherefores of them, is deeply introspective, completely personal, yet makes you feel you're on the journey with her. Her fears, insecurities, lack of self-esteem...all are part of who we are as women. She just boils it all down to what we all don't want to admit. That we aren't perfect and neither are men. But "la bella vita"! Life is beautiful, and each thing that happens to us, good or bad, makes our lives what they are. What we'll reflect back on in later years. As she says..."The love in your life adds up". So, tuck in your jewelry, hold your passport and money close and act like you know where you're going. You'll get there!

The One That I Want: A Novel by Allison Winn Scotch

Allison's portrayal of Tilly and the emotions and hardships she goes through is realistic and engaging. Once you pick up this book, you won't want to put it down! Even though the plot might seem a little far-fetched to us humans, you can't help but get pulled right into it. Each chapter reveals more about what Tilly has gone through, what she's going through and how she deals with each aspect of her life. It's emotional, griping and a thoroughly enjoyable read. As always, Allison's characters make you feel as if you know them and are going through their various turmoils, loves, laughs and life's many ups and downs, right along with them. This is a MUST read book! Perfect for summer reading.

From Zero to Mastectomy by Jackie Fox

Jackie Fox has written the definitive book for breast cancer patients and survivors. Her soul-baring, personal recounting of her clash with breast cancer is honest, thought-provoking, personal and full of wisdom, insight and advice. Her "no-holds-barred" accounting of what she went through will not only bring you to tears, but if you are a breast cancer patient (or know someone who is) will give you hope and steer you down the path of knowing what to ask, how to make your own decisions without feeling guilty and even give you a chuckle or two as she inserts humorous anecdotes throughout the book. Jackie is living proof that cancer does NOT have to be the end, you CAN get through it, you CAN make the best of a horrible, scary situation. She enables you to feel all the emotions that you are entitled to, some you don't think you are, and some you never even knew you'd feel. Jackie speaks (and writes) as a friend, so you don't get the usual...."this is just another book about cancer" feeling.

I read this book in basically one sitting, with only small breaks. It's THAT engrossing! If you are a cancer patient or know of one, do yourself a favor and pick this book up. You won't regret it. It should be required reading for every newly diagnosed breast cancer patient!

Coming soon on Amazon and other fine retail sites!