Monday, November 5, 2012

Book Review: Jolt! Get the Jump on a World That's Constantly Changing by Phil Cooke

Well, It certainly has been a while, hasn't it?  I'm back...


Category: Adult Non-Fiction
Format: Kindle
Skomomma's Rating: 3 out of 5

Jolt by Phil Cooke is written for those interested in making change in their life.  In twenty-five easily digestible sections, he documents the key steps and processes that will kick start the reader into doing something differently in their personal, spiritual and/or professional life.   Those 25 segments fall into five major categories:

Jolt your Direction
Jolt what Matters
Jolt your Potential
Jolt your Heart
Jolt your Future

The book includes a wide variety of stories, examples and statistical facts that make this non-fiction book comfortable to read. Each major section (as listed above) includes action steps and questions to get the reader thinking.

There are a couple of drawbacks to this book that kept me from rating it any higher.  First, I don't believe there is any highly new or innovative material in this book. However, the format of the book was very appealing to me and I would probably recommend this book to someone that didn't know where to start with goal setting and implementation.  The second drawback is that this book is very time-sensitive.  I would imagine that with in a year or two a majority of the material would seem out-of-date to the average reader given the number of references to current technologies and the like.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255


Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Spring Reading Thing 2011 Wrap-Up


And so we've come to the end of another SRT challenge at Callapidder Days. I read a lot of books with a good mix between fiction and non-fiction. Below is the list of books I finished, the ones on my original list are marked with a *.







Finished:
* Sisterchicks in Wooden Shoes by Robin Jones Gunn (review)
* The Final Summit by Andy Andrews (review)
* Major Pettigrew's Last Stand by Helen Simonson
* Run by Ann Patchett
* The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison
The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
The Fight of Our Lives by Bennett and Leibsohn (review)
Average Joe by Troy Meeder (review)
A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf (review)
No Place Like Holmes by Jason Lethcoe (review)
Max on Life by Max Lucado (review)
The Greener Grass Conspiracy by Stephen Altrogge
The Green Glass Sea by Ellen Klages
The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews
Madman by Tracy Groot
Divine by Karen Kingsbury (review)
Leaving by Karen Kingsbury
This Fine Life by Eva Marie Everson
The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (Focus on the Family audio)
Pearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Here are the books on my list that I didn't get to for various/unimportant reasons:
How Good is Good Enough by Andy Stanley
Organized Simplicity by Tsh Oxenreider
The Happiest Mom by Meagan Francis

Lastly, here are the books I'm reading right now:
Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas - a mountain I may never finish climbing
The Hole in our Gospel by Richard Stearns
Untamed by Lisa Harper
The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormie Omartian
Jolt by Phil Cooke
The Ministry of Motherhood by Sally Clarkson (with the Good Morning Girls and Jolanthe at No Ordinary Moments)

Twenty-three books finished! I'm amazed...all the crazy spring weather we had in Michigan helped. There was plenty of days to stay inside and read. I really enjoy these challenges just for the sense of accomplishment it brings.

As for my most favorite? Hands down - "The Ministry of Motherhood" (and I'm not even done yet). I wasn't all that wild about "The Happiness Project" or "The Gift of an Ordinary Day". I was surprised to see the strong differences in opinion on "The Reluctant Queen". If, and this is a big if, you can look past the false liberties taken with the Biblical story of Esther - it's a pretty good read. If I remember correctly the author did have a note as to the liberties taken, but I also was puzzled as to why that was done. A more factual account could have been just as enjoyable.

Anyway, if you are stopping by from Katrina's, thank you and have a great summer!

Happy Reading.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Book Review: Average Joe by Troy Meeder

Category: Adult Christian Non-Fiction
Format: Soft-Cover, 179 pages
Skomomma's Rating: 3.5 out of 5

In Average Joe, Troy Meeder writes to a male audience about how the "average joe" - the guy in the cubicle next to you or the neighbor next door - can be some of the most influential people in one's life. To illustrate the point Meeder writes about specific joes that he has encountered - his grandfather, the landscape manager at college, a soldier friend, and a mentor. Tied into those stories are some Biblical examples of average joes - think Jonathan, David the shepard, and Uriah. The third section of the book details Meeder's own experiences as an average joe - including participating in a Habitat for Humanity rebuild after the Tsunami in 2004, learning to fly in the mountains, diving in Hawaii and training horses at his ranch for troubled kids.

Meeder's writing style is down-to-earth and engaging while peppered with humor. I didn't find it to be overly-religious, but full of honesty and truth. I enjoyed reading this book (a girl no less) and am excited to pass in on to my husband to read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Waterbrook Multnomah as part of their Blogging for Books book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Book Review: A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf

Category: Adult Christian Fiction
Format: Kindle
Skomomma's Rating: 4 out of 5

I admit it, I'm a little bit of a junkie for fictional versions of actual Biblical accounts. A Reluctant Queen by Joan Wolf is the story of Esther. As a disclaimer, the reader should recognize that this is a fictional account and story of Esther can be read in it's entirety here in the Book of Esther. That aside, what I enjoy about a fictionalized Biblical account is that the fictionalized stories
typically make the reader really think and wonder about these people and their lives, motives and character. A Reluctant Queen does not disappoint. I anxiously read the story page-by-page as the characters came alive - Esther, Mordecai, and Haman. For some reason, the King is not Xerxes as in the Biblical account, rather in the book, Xerxes plays the role of the Great King's brother.

For the most part, the book stayed true to the Biblical account and explained certain situations that aren't necessarily part of the Biblical account. For example, the reason the first Queen - Vashti did not respond to Xerxes request to show herself before him and his court was due to Persian custom that once married, the woman remains veiled in front of all men except family. Xerxes, knowing this, actually put Vashti in a no-win situation. She would be wrong for not responding to his request and she would be wrong to respond to his request and show herself unveiled. This situation made it easy for him to put her aside in favor of finding a new wife. This may have been for political reasons.

As the story unfolds, Wolf creates a wonderful story of romance, integrity and loyalty. I'm not so sure that Xerxes of the Bible was quite as wonderful as this fictional account, but it makes for a great story and a fun read.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Book Review: No Place Like Holmes by Jason Lethcoe

Category: Young Adult Christian Fiction
Format: Kindle
Skomomma's Rating: 4 out of 5

No Place Like Holmes by Jason Lethcoe is a fun kid-sized mystery novel that I think is appropriate for ages 8 and up. I plan on letting my daughter read this on my Kindle. We follow the story of Griffin, a young curious boy sent to London to live with his Uncle Snodgrass. Snodgrass a invention-building small time sleuth lives at the same address as the famous Sherlock Holmes only in apartment b. Griffin must learn to find a way to get along with his rather cranky Uncle as they work together to solve a mystery involving the infamous Lockness Monster. Told in a fashion similiar to Sherlock Holmes mysteries, Griffin and Snodgrass solve the mystery using inductive reasoning and a whole slew of crazy gadgets that Snodgrass has invented over the years. My favorite being the Snodgrass Information Processor.

The book is made up of several short chapters making this an easy book for young folk to pick up and read in short spurts. It's written from a Christian viewpoint so the parent doesn't have to worry about handing this over to their child or needing to pre-read it for content. There is no poor language and our hero Griffin demonstrates key moral characterisics such as honesty and respect. This enjoyable mystery comes with my recommendations.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Book Review: The Final Summit by Andy Andrews

Category: Adult, Christian Fiction
Format: Hardcover, 245 pages
Skomomma's Rating: 4 out of 5

The Final Summit by Andy Andrews is a wonderful novel that combines faith and history into a fascinating tale. In The Final Summit the reader is reintroduced to the main character - David who made a previous appearance in The Traveler's Gift. The reader does not have to have read the first book in the series in order to enjoy the second. Andrews does a good job of tying the reader into the storyline seamlessly.

The novel's hero - David Ponder is whisked away from his life by the angel Gabriel and is given the assignment to answer a challenging question the answer to which must be determined in order to save civilization. A daunting task indeed. In order to formulate an answer, David receives the help of several significant historical figures. The reader gets a glimpse into the personalities and life of such people as Winston Churchill, Joan of Ark, Abraham Lincoln, Eric Erickson, and King David to name just a few. The reader will be fascinated as this dream team works to solve the puzzle.

But more than a story, this book also provides wonderful encouragement for the reader. The solution to the puzzle is something that the reader can and should apply to their life. The reader will be inspired by the past and hopeful for the future.

The book includes a reader's guide and would likely make a great choice for a book club.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

Book Review: Max on Life by Max Lucado

Category: Adult Christian Non-Fiction
Format: Hardcover, 254 pages
Skomomma's Rating: 2 out of 5

Using the warm, conversational tone that has made Max Lucado's writings so wildly popular, Max on Life attempts to answer over 100 questions about faith and God. Chances are if you have every questioned something about your faith, it's covered in this book which covers the following categories: Hope, Hurt, Help, Him/Her, Home, Haves/Have-Nots, Hereafter.

For the most part I found the book to be enjoyable to read and interesting. But, and this is a big but for me, I think the reader needs to be careful. Personally, I discovered that there is an important issue that I don't see eye-to-eye on with Lucado. No need to go into detail here, but it's regarding the Hereafter. For this reason, I felt that I could not give this book a high rating. I would strongly advise the reader to not just take Lucado's word on every subject but to research it thoroughly in Scripture.

Setting that aside, this is a nice reference that may help you when you get one of those difficult questions from a child or a friend and you feel yourself getting tongue-tied trying to express what you know to be true. Lucado does a nice job making some of those things much easier to put words to.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255