Monday, June 10, 2013

May books

These are the books that I've read in May, my "other" books.  Feel free to read the list of 12 books that I'm planning to read in 2013.  You can also see all the books I've read this year and find links to their reviews on my Pinterest page.  There are affiliate links in this post.

Echoes of Titanic

(I got this book as an exchange when I took back a duplicate Christmas gift.  I've been anxious to read it for a while and I'm glad I finally got it in.)

Synopsis:  In 1912, Adele Brennan becomes one of the few to escape the sinking of the Titanic with her life.  Adele rides the rescue ship to New York to live with a father she hasn't seen for 16 years and never looks back.  She uses her natural business sense (and a few secret sources of income) to bring her father's company safely through the Great Depression and into the new century.

Now Brennan and Tate is in the capable hands of Adele's great-granddaughter, Kelsey.  But when Kelsey's boss is murdered, Kelsey starts to investigate her own company and finds that things are not what they seem to be.  Can she find the murderer in time and prevent the hostile takeover of her company?  Will working with her ex Cole Thornton help her or hinder her?

My Thoughts:  As with all of Mindy Starnes Clark's book, this one's a winner.  Great plot, great mystery, great characters.  I loved it!

(I bought the Kindle version of this at the suggestion of my brother.  It was on sale when I got it, but it's definitely worth full price.)

Synopsis: The Insanity of God is the lifelong account of searching for how God works in the hard places.  After leaving Kentucky to become missionaries, Nik and Ruth Ripkin and their three kids (pseudonyms) endured 6 hard years in Africa.  It was the mid-90's and they had been asked to minister in Somolia to those ravaged by years of civil war and famine, a place so heart-breaking and needy that Nik found it hard to figure out which need to start with.

At the end of 6 years, all relief workers were kicked out of the country and Nik was left wondering if he had really made any difference at all.  He decided to embark upon a journey of discovery.  He spent the next 15 years visiting oppressed Christians in nations hostile to the Gospel, those who have to endure imprisonment, torture and hatred because of their faith.  How is it that Christianity is flourishing in these countries?  Is God still working in places where evil abounds?  In this book, Nik shares his thoughts and conclusions on those topics and more.

My Thoughts:  Absolutely phenomenal book!  Nik Ripkin tells story after story of those who suffer so much.  It opened my eyes to what a lot of people endure in the world just because they believe in Jesus and want to tell others about Jesus.  It makes me appreciate the freedoms we have here and makes me wonder why I'm not more open with sharing Jesus to those around me.  Very convicting book.  Should be required reading for every Christian.

(I won a copy of this book through an online contest.)

Synopsis:  Two successful small business owners tell how they have used Pinterest to increase their sales.  They give tips and ideas for marketing your products on America's fastest growing social media site.

My Thoughts:  This book really wasn't for me.  First of all, it was written last year, which doesn't seem like that long ago, but with social media sites, things change lightning fast.  Some of the specifics they write about the site don't apply any more.  The book is also very much geared towards someone with a product to sell.  Since I don't have a product to sell, I didn't get a lot out of it.

(I've had this book forever, so I'm not really sure where I got it, but I'll bet it was on sale.)

Synopsis:  Are you too busy to pray?  Bill Hybels helps us slow down and remember to take time to talk to God every day.

My Thoughts:  This is my list book for the month (my fifth list book for the year, so I'm right on track).  I guess I didn't realize that this isn't actually "the book", it's a workbook that's supposed to go along with the book.  Since I've never read the actual book, I was afraid that I would be lost.   Thankfully, that was not the case.  This workbook was just wonderful and seems to be completely separate from the regular book.  It gives you a new prompt on each page with an idea for prayer.  Then it gives you space to write out a prayer for the day.  I found it was a good way to think of new and different things to pray about.  I haven't finished the whole thing, as it's more like a devotional, meant to be used over a period of time.

(I bought the Kindle version of this book as soon as it came out.  I really like Jill Savage as an author and snatch up everything she writes.)

Synopsis:  Are you a mom who is tired of trying to measure up to those lives you see on social media?  Are you unable to survive the Perfection Infection that Pinterest brings?  Are you a tired, real mom wading through the child-rearing years needing a cheerleader?  Than this is the book for you.

My Thoughts:  I've read bits and pieces of this book before, but this time I read it from cover to cover (relatively speaking, it was an e-book - no covers :)).  This time Jill Savage, the author, hosted an online Facebook book club to go along with reading the book.  I had never participated in one of those before and it was a lot of fun.  We read one chapter a week.  Jill would then post discussion questions on Tues and Thurs and we would get to have a conversation with other moms in the trenches about that chapter.

I thought the book and the idea behind the book were both just wonderful.  I constantly feel that pressure to measure up to others.  My kids don't eat healthy enough. I'm not smuggling sweet potatoes into their brownies.  My house isn't spotless or decorated well. I don't take good enough pictures.  Jill addresses all these things and more and teaches us to change our expectations in order to fight the Perfection Infection. We don't have to be perfect to be good moms! There is a website/online group that goes along with the book, that includes videos and discussion questions for each chapter.  It was just really fun and encouraging to read this book along with others.  I got a lot out of it.

(Dana White writes the humorous blog A Slob Comes Clean.  She offered an e-book sale one day.  I took her up on the offer and bought a book bundle that included this book.) 

Synopsis: After being overwhelmed by the mess in her house for years, Dana decided to do something about it.  Now you can too.  Follow her simple steps to a much saner existence.

My Thoughts:  What Dana writes about isn't rocket science.  It's coming up with daily cleaning routines and having the discipline to follow them.  In that sense I didn't learn a whole lot from this book.  However, the way she writes is just fantastic.  She's funny and conversational and you feel like she is right there in the room talking to you.  But as the title says, this book is not for the mildly disorganized.  It's really only for those who are covered up in clutter and mess and need help fast.  If that's you, read the book.  If not, I would just pass.

(I got this book through the Paperback Swap program. It's great, you should try it.)

Synopsis:  Told from the point of view of Dinah, The Red Tent follows the story of Jacob from the Bible.  It explores the lives of Jacob's four wives and their only daughter Dinah as she comes of age in a world of men.   See inside the women's tent, the red tent.

My Thoughts:  You know, I am torn about this book.  I thought the writing was great and the characters were even better.  The idea of seeing life through the red tent (the tent that women had to visit during their monthly cycles and for childbirth) is very intriguing.  But I can't get over the fact that she messed with the Bible in the sense that this book does not agree with the Biblical account.  Even though the author makes it clear that she is writing a novel and not a historical account, I still get upset when people mess with the Bible and reinterpret the stories.  I can't in good conscience recommend this book.  If it was just a fiction book about people not in the Bible, than I would have loved it.  But not this way.

I have read 8 books this month, the ones listed above as well as Take a Chance on Me.  That brings my total up to 33 for the year.  I think I'll make my 40 book goal.  Feel free to check out my Pinterest board to find all the reviews.

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