Monday, July 26, 2010

Asking For Trouble

Asking For Trouble
By Sandra Byrd
If adjusting to a new school wasn’t enough, Savannah Smith had to adjust to a new school in an entirely different country. Once Savannah’s family moved to England her friends from Seattle moved too - moved on with life without her! Savannah could feel nothing but left out. Determined to make her new life as fun as it was in the United States, Savannah sets out to find exactly what she can do to fit in. Will it be the art club? The Science club? Gymnastics club? What about the school newspaper with the cute editor-in-chief, Jack? Savannah has always dreamed of being a journalist and just knows this must be it. Some things are easier said than done. Can Savannah fulfill her dreams, make new friends, and stay true to her faith?

Sandra Byrd has written another winner combining faith, fashion, friendships, and the struggles of everyday life into a fun read with compelling characters and dashes of British culture. My favorite part of the book is how relatable Savannah is. As I read the book I could sense the frustration and confusion Savannah experienced striving to find her place in England while sticking to her values. There isn’t much I did not like about this book. I would have enjoyed more information on Savannah’s life and friendships back in Seattle to understand why she felt so out of place in England. Cheerio!

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Rating: 4 carats

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The Faith Dare

The Faith Dare
By Debbie Alsdorf

About the Book:
Debbie Alsdorf wants women to experience the radically transforming difference that 30 days can make in their lives. It’s what she calls the Faith Dare, in which she challenges women to develop the habit of focusing on God and living out their faith in every situation for 30 days.

Alsdorf, a popular author, speaker and ministry leader, equips women to undertake this 30-day challenge in her new book, The Faith Dare. To cultivate a lifestyle of daily, passionate faith, she helps readers learn, day by day, to develop habits that will help them connect intimately to God.

Every day, readers will be challenged to go deeper. Examples of the daily dares include:

o Dare to live in the miracle of who you are.

o Dare to believe in God’s power in all circumstances.

o Dare to surrender to the process of change.

o Dare to speak praise, sing praise, and live with confidence in God.

Readers will also learn practical ways of applying God’s Word to their own lives, whether it’s in their personal relationship with God, learning to surrender to self, or living out God’s love to others.

With a personalized study guide, including daily readings, affirmations and challenges, Alsdorf’s 30-day challenge helps readers learn to live out their faith like never before and discover the incredible difference 30 days can make.

My Review:

In the first chapter of The Faith Dare Debbie writes, “The goal of this book is to look at life the way the Bible shows us.” Part one of the book explains what faith is, the common places we put our faith and questions to identify where our faith is. She then talks how God uses trials to test and strengthen our faith explaining placing our faith in the right person, God; we can learn to have peace through trials.

Part Two is the Thirty Day Faith Dare Challenge. Each day has a new challenge beginning with a short devotional writing and prayer/praise passage. Debbie then writes a Biblical truth pertaining to faith and goes on to explain what the Bible passage means. After that Debbie list a few dares to try throughout the day ranging from questions to ask yourself to activities like taking a walk specially paying attention to the scenery and wildlife around you. Wrapping up the day is a section to journal three things how the day’s truth spoke to you, what God is asking you to do, and what your challenge is to do. Debbie then closes with a prayer and a new belief to apply throughout the day.

Just reading the introductory chapters I was hooked and really anticipating the 30-day dare. Debbie writes what faith is, how our faith is tried, and common struggles we all have with faith. Yet she doesn’t just tell you, she gives you specific examples to explore where your faith is at. Debbie also breaks down what Bible verses mean and makes them easy to understand and apply. Often times she’ll quote the same verse then list different translations of the verse. I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in a book before.

Taking the time to do the dare and truly absorb what Debbie talks about has the ability to really teach and strengthen your faith. The only downfall I really see is that there is a lot of content focused on each day. When you have a busy life you may be tempted to speed through it. I think it would be best broken down maybe into weeks or smaller parts over a longer period. Debbie does state in the opening chapter that if feel you need to take more time on one challenge than spend as much time as you need on it. Grab a copy if you dare!

Favorite Line:

“You and I cannot generate faith for very long through human determination. Determination does not equal faith. Determination is a by-product of faith; it doesn’t cause faith. God gave us His words and promises to use as gifts. Take them and let them make a difference in your life.”

Rating: gem parcel

Learn about Debbie's Ministry HERE
Buy the book HERE
Rating: a whole gem parcel!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Perfectly Dateless

Perfectly Dateless
By Kristin Billerbeck

About the Book:
The countdown to prom has begun. Daisy Crispin has 196 days to find the right date for the prom. There's only one problem--her parents won't let her date or even talk to a guy on the phone. Oh, and she's totally invisible at school, wears lame homemade clothes, and possesses no social skills. Okay, so maybe there's more than one problem.

My Review:

I really liked this book. I tend to like all things Kristin Billerbeck, from her books to her blog and her weekly Bachelor recaps. In Perfectly Dateless Kristin masterfully crafts an awkward perfectionist teenager, Daisy Crispin, striving to both please her parents and be popular (or at least not invisible).

Daisy has always dreamed of going to the prom. At the beginning of her senior year, Daisy sets out to get a date with the guy she has had a crush on since Kindergarten, convince her parents it is not a sin to date, and find a way to get people at her upscale Christian school to notice her.

Perfectly Dateless is a light, fast, and fun read weaving the world of teen pop culture into what it means to follow God. Kristin did a great job of showing Daisy’s awkwardness and struggles to let go of her perfectionist ways. Along the way Daisy learned things aren’t always what they seem on the outside and sometimes what we think we want isn’t always what is best.

Kristin wrote this book as a young adult but I think anyone could pick it up and enjoy it, especially if you’ve liked the wit and style of her Ashley Stockingdale series.

Favorite Line:

“My image of perfection clouded God’s vision, and I learned a hard lesson.”

I received this book free for review from Revell Book Publishers.
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Follow Kristin's journey through pink, pop culture, and the pursuit of truth
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Rating: 5 carats

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Men and Dogs

Men and Dogs
By Katie Crouch
After her husband cheats and abruptly leaves, Hannah Legare, is forced to face the life she fled years ago. Hannah leaves San Francisco, CA for her hometown of Charleston, SC to live with her mother and wealthy stepfather.

When Hannah was eleven her father disappeared while boating but a body was never found. Hannah believes that he is still alive somewhere and blames her inability to move on for attracting a cheating husband.

This story switches between the summer of 1984 when Hannah’s father disappeared and 2008 where she is searching for answers and following the presidential election. I really liked the in-depth descriptions of Charleston, SC and the quirky habits of the characters but all in all the book wasn’t that great. The characters don’t seem to relate to each other or draw you in as the reader. The plot was strange weaving sparks of real life politics and a fictional accident in 1984.

I received this book free for review from Hachette Audio Group

Favorite Quote:

“There isn’t always a why

Visit Katie's website
Buy the book HERE
Rating: 3 carats