Book Review – The Life Book by Carl Blunt

The Life Book, by Carl Blunt

(Just so ya know up front, this book was provided to me, for review, by the The B&B Media Group.)

I will not be rating this as it is basically a version of the Book of John from the Bible. I will, however, still review it using my regular questions.

My Review
Snackable? For the most part, yes. As much as the Bible is an easy read. It’s pretty much the Book of John with commentary by 4 teens and a youth leader.
“Lundie” ending? n/a
Best thing? It’s the book of John presented in a way that feels like a bit of a discussion.
Worst thing? I wouldn’t say it’s a “bad” thing, but it is definitely geared toward High School students (by design) not to an old “mom” like me.
Special Features from the Publisher

The Life Book Intro Video from The Life Book Movement on Vimeo.



Also, read the next page for more information on The Life Book Movement

Book Announcement – Me, Myself & I AM

I’m excited about this book. I have it, and have started doing it. At first glance it seems like a bunch of memes which float around the email world time and again, but after doing a few, it was a lot more thought provoking.

Back when I was in early grade school, my parents gave me a book called “All About Me”. I found it again a couple of years ago, and it was so fun to see what answers I gave to all sorts of questions. I will have a lot of fun doing this book and putting it away to find in another 20 years or so!


Me, Myself & I AM CoverMe, Myself & I AM, Created by Matthew Peters in partnership with Elisa Stanford

Book Summary

A new experience of God comes one question at a time in this fun and provocative journal. Made up entirely of insightful, profound, and occasionally ridiculous questions, Me, Myself, and I AM invites you to open to any page, open yourself to God, and be the author of your own story.

Questions range from spiritually intriguing—
You overhear God talking about you. What do hear him saying?

to thought-provoking—
You are on a long car trip with a close friend who is not a Christian and the conversation turns to faith. What is your biggest fear about what your friend will ask or say?

to challenging—
Do you believe that all of Jesus’s followers have a responsibility to tell others about him?

to just plain fun—
If your life before you became a Christian were a movie, its title would be:
Animal House
As Good as It Gets
The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
It’s a Wonderful Life

Me, Myself, and I AM will entertain, inspire, and get you thinking about your spiritual life from brand new angles. Whether you use Me, Myself, and I AM as a reflective tool, a way to start conversations with friends and family, or as a spiritual time capsule to look back on years later, their own words will create a powerful journey of self-discovery.

Book Announcement – Wild Goose Chase by Mark Batterson

Hey there – here’s one of the great new books I hope to read in the next month or so. Until I complete the 60-60 Experiment and Soul Revolution, I will probably be out of commission for book reviews. But the look out! I’ll crank back into book reading mode like crazy!


Wild Goose Chase CoverWild Goose Chase, by Mark Batterson

Book Summary:

Most of us have no idea where we’re going most of the time. Perfect. “Celtic Christians had a name for the Holy Spirit–An Geadh-Glas, or ‘the Wild Goose.’ The name hints at mystery. Much like a wild goose, the Spirit of God cannot be tracked or tamed. An element of danger, an air of unpredictability surround Him. And while the name may sound a little sacrilegious, I cannot think of a better description of what it’s like to follow the Spirit through life. I think the Celtic Christians were on to something…. Most of us will have no idea where we are going most of the time. And I know that is unsettling. But circumstantial uncertainty also goes by another name: Adventure.” –from the introduction

Author Bio:

Mark Batterson is the lead pastor of Washington, DC’s National Community Church, widely recognized as one of America’s most innovative churches. NCC meets in movie theaters at metro stops throughout the city, as well as in a church-owned coffee house near Union Station. More than seventy percent of NCC’ers are single twentysomethings who live or work on Capitol Hill. Mark is the author of the best-selling In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day and a widely read blogger (www.markbatterson.com). He lives on Capitol Hill with his wife, Lora, and their three children.

Book Announcement – Love as a Way of Life

Love as a Way of Life CoverLove as a Way of Life, by Gary D. Chapman

A full review of this book will be posted within the next few weeks. Until then, please enjoy the following information about this new book.


Book Summary:

For decades Dr. Gary Chapman’s best-selling books have shown readers how to speak the “love language” of those they care about. Now he digs even deeper to uncover the foundations of what it means to cultivate a lifestyle of love and how doing so leads to satisfaction and success in every area of life.

Drawing fresh insights from timeless biblical principles, Chapman presents poignant stories of real people who have discovered the joys of living out the seven characteristics of authentic love: kindness, patience, forgiveness, humility, courtesy, generosity, and honesty. Enhanced with eye-opening self tests, practical ideas for building daily habits of love, and inspiring examples of love’s power to change lives, this book guides readers in putting love to work in all of their interpersonal relationships.

Convinced that in a world of constant conflict people desperately need authentic love, Chapman paints a compelling vision of how life can be richer and relationships more satisfying for anyone who practices Love As a Way of Life.

Author Bio:

Gary Chapman is the author of twenty-five books, including the New York Times bestseller The Five Love Languages, with more than 4 million copies in print. His daily radio program, A Love Language Minute, is broadcast on more than 100 stations nationwide. Chapman, a graduate of Moody Bible Institute, Wheaton College, Wake-Forest University, and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, serves on the pastoral staff at Calvary Baptist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

Interview with The Author:

  1. Describe some of the everyday situations that can be changed if a person has a foundation of love.

    When love becomes the focus of ones life it will change every encounter we have with people. In the family, the husband is thinking, “what can I do before I leave for work that would be helpful for my wife?” Such thinking may lead him to take the trash out, put his breakfast plates in the dishwasher or feed the baby while his wife takes a shower.

    In the workplace, employees are asking, “on my break, what might I do that would help someone else?” They will also make time to listen to a co-worker who seems to be having a hard time with a personal issue.

    At the bank, post office, or cafeteria, the lover will look people in the eye and smile, perhaps opening the door to a conversation. They will express interest in what is going on in the lives of those they encounter.

    The focus is not on “it’s all about me.” But, rather on “It is all about others.”

  2. What is the take-away message of Love as a Way of Life?

    Love as a Way of Life is designed to help the person who sincerely wants to make a positive impact in the world. I believe that is ‘most of us.’ Our biggest problem is that we don’t know how and we keep getting tripped up by our own selfish ambitions. The purpose of the book is to help us break free from the prison of selfishness and come to experience the satisfaction of truly loving others as a way of life. It is little acts of love that build up to a lifestyle of service.

  3. Why do you need a foundation of love before you start figuring out our love languages?

    The five love languages give information on the most effective way to express love in a meaningful way to a particular person. But, if you are not a loving person – don’t have the heart or will to focus on others – the information is of little value. Most of us must make a conscious change of focus from self to others if we are going to genuinely, and consistently enrich the lives of others. Love as a Way of Life is designed to help people make that change.

  4. When did you realize the need for this book?

    I first recognized the need for Love as a Way of Life when in a counseling session a husband said to me, “I’ll tell you right now, if it is going to take my washing dishes, and doing the laundry for my wife to feel loved, you can forget that.” I had just explained to him the concept of the five love languages and that his wife’s primary love language was ‘acts of service’ and that these acts would deeply communicate his love to her. I realized that he lacked the will to meet his wife’s need for love. He was locked into his own perception of what his role was to be and it did not include washing dishes and doing laundry. I knew at that moment that there was something more foundational than simply knowing a person’s love language.

  5. What are the seven characteristics of lasting love?

    I view love not as a single entity, but as a cluster of traits, which if developed will enhance all of life. These traits are:

    Kindness: discovering the joy of helping others
    Patience: accepting the imperfections of others
    Forgiveness: finding freedom from the grip of anger
    Courtesy: treating others as friends
    Humility: stepping down so someone else can step up
    Generosity: giving your time, money, and abilities to others
    Honesty: caring enough to tell the truth

  6. Why do you think it’s so hard for people to embrace these characteristics?

    All of us have some of these characteristics to some degree. Most people see love as being better than hate. But most of us are comfortable to live somewhere between love and hate in a lifestyle that is fundamentally focused on self. We feel good when we are making money, accumulating things, gaining status, but in time these things do not ultimately satisfy what I call the ‘true self’. The true self longs to make the world a better place to live. To do something to help those less fortunate than we.

    However, we all suffer from the malady of being ego-centric. I call this the ‘false self’. It is that part of man that pulls him to focus on self-preservation and a self-centered lifestyle. This is not all bad. Indeed we must meet our own physical and emotional needs in order to continue life. It is when we never get beyond this self focus, that life becomes a ‘dog eat dog’ world where everyone is out for self even at the expense of others. Such a life never brings long-term satisfaction. However it is often later in life that people discover the emptiness of selfish living. I’m hoping that Love as a Way of Life will help people discover the satisfaction of developing the ‘true self’ earlier in life.

Book Announcement – Experiencing the Resurrection

Ordinarily, I would be posting a book review, but I have not yet completed reading the book for this book blog tour. I do plan to finish the book and review it using my four-point rating system.

Until then, please see below for a summary of this book. I have one copy of this book to give away. Please leave a comment if you wish me to send it to you. Make sure that you leave your email in the email field (not the body of your comment), so I can contact you for your snail mail address. [Note: I can only send to someone in the US]


Experiencing The Resurrection CoverSummary:
What does the resurrection of Christ really mean for us? What does it reveal about the heart and mind of God? And what real differences can the miracle of the resurrection make in your life today?

Discover answers to those and other questions as you examine God’s Word with this companion study guide to the book Experiencing the Resurrection by Henry Blackaby and Melvin Blackaby.
Packed with practical notes, advice, and questions for reflection, this highly interactive guide—ideal for small group or individual use—shows you how to witness Christ’s resurrection in and through your life. Each chapter of the book is explored in a flexible one-week format with “life change objectives” that arise from applying the truth for each day to your life.

Author Bio:
Dr. Henry Blackaby, president emeritus of Blackaby Ministries, is the author of more than a dozen books, including the best-selling classic Experiencing God. He has spent his life in ministry, serving as a music director and as a senior pastor for churches in California and Canada. Today he provides consultative leadership on prayer for revival and spiritual awakening on a global level. He and his wife make their home in Atlanta, Georgia.

Dr. Melvin Blackaby coauthored with his father, Henry Blackaby, the Gold Medallion winner Experiencing God Together. He travels extensively as a conference speaker. He and his wife and their three children live in Cochrane, Alberta, Canada, where he serves as senior pastor of Bow Valley Baptist Church.

Book Review – The Next Level – Rating: 9 out of 10

The Next Level CoverThe Next Level: A Parable of Finding Your Place in Life, by David Gregory

How I came to read this book:

This is another WaterBrook Press book. What got my attention on this book was that the author shares the same name as my brother-in-law. The cover art is clean and conveys the content well.

Score Summary

  • Content: 9
  • Writing Style: 10
  • Re-readability: 10
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 7

Content (and potential spoilers…)

I just loved this book. One of the most effective ways to get a point across, in my opinion, is a story. Jesus used this method of teaching all the time. Mr. Gregory does this very effectively in The Next Level.

This is a story about a man who gets a job at a large organization – his only job is to visit each of the five levels in the building, observe their methods, processes and report his findings.

The levels of the organization are essentially levels of spiritual development, with the last level being personal commitment solely to the goals of the organization, with no selfish concern.

As with many of Jesus’ parables, this story has many little points tucked in that left me mulling them around in the back of my mind. The last chapter left me with a lot to think about. In fact, I just reread it now and got something new out of it that I hadn’t before. (I love that in a book!)

Writing Style

A parable. A very good parable. Easy to read. A lot to process.

Re-readability

Definitely added to my “regularly re-read” list.

Busy Mommy Scale

Well, it’s short, but due to its content, I do recommend having time to read a full chapter at a time. Reading it in snippets is possible, but you can potentially miss the flow of the short story that way.


Summary:

Business degree in hand, Logan enters the immense Universal Systems building and is hired as an organizational analyst – a trouble-shooter. His job: evaluate the company’s five divisions, each on a separate level and each operating on startlingly unique principles. Which set of principles is successful? Why is most of the company’s profit generated by one tiny division? What is real profit, anyway? And who is the enigmatic executive that Logan ends up reporting to?

Logan engages in a life-changing pursuit for The Next Level—a fascinating parable that will help readers answer some of life’s most perplexing, vital questions. Joining Logan in evaluating each level’s approach, readers will be inspired to consider the big picture of their own life from an entirely different perspective – one that holds the key to life’s ultimate purpose. No matter where you are now, get ready to embark on your own passionate pursuit of The Next Level.

Author Bio:

David Gregory is the author of the best-selling books Dinner with a Perfect Stranger and A Day with a Perfect Stranger, and coauthor of two nonfiction books. After a ten-year business career, he returned to school to study religion and communications, earning graduate degrees from The University of North Texas and Dallas Theological Seminary. A native Texan, David now lives in Oregon devotes himself to writing full time.

Book Review – Closer Than Your Skin – Rating: 7.75 out of 10

Cover of Book - Closer Than Your SkinCloser Than Your Skin: Unwrapping the Mystery of Intimacy with God, by Susan D. Hill

How I came to read this book:

It’s a new release from WaterBrook Press that I was given the opportunity to review. The cover art was really good. The full title “Closer Than Your Skin: Unwrapping the Mystery of Intimacy with God” is what really grabbed me – enough to sign up for the review.

Score Summary

  • Content: 10
  • Writing Style: 7
  • Re-readability: 9
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 5

Content

This book is a personal testimony. The title and cover led me to believe that it would be more of a self-help/devotional type book, and that had me confused for the first couple of chapters. By the third chapter or so, I had reset my expectations and was often surprised by how much personal impact Ms. Hill’s story had on me.

That being said, her story really demonstrated to me that God really does reach out in impactful ways if we just slow down and listen – and keep listening.  It helped me to see that some of the things that I had just rejected as coincidences very likely were God’s way of letting me know He’s here and with me.   It has really changed my perspective.  The pursuit of God is the only thing that matters.

Writing Style

Memoir style writing. I think I would have been less frustrated with the writing if I had realized this at the time I started the book. There was at least one or two stories that she shared that I kept expecting to have an object lesson or some later significant meaning, but were just events that she felt were impactful in her life. Once I got into the rhythm of her writing, it improved. This also ties in with the lower Busy Mommy Scale – it required a longer attention span than I currently am allowed to have.

Re-readability

I intend to re-read this book at least one more time. Not now. It’s one of those that I have the feeling will find a place and time of importance in my life when I have forgotten how much God wants to talk to me.

Busy Mommy Scale

I have to say that this book isn’t written in “snippets” format. Not that every book should be, of course. On several occasions I tried reading a few paragraphs here and there and all it did was left me frustrated. This book required more concentration than I could give it a lot of the time. I found that I really only could read it during my set morning (with a cup of coffee) devotional time, or right before bed when I could postpone sleep in order to finish a chapter.

——————————–
Author-Susan HillAuthor Bio:

Susan Hill is an award-winning feature writer, whose work has appeared in The War Cry and Light & Life. A long-time leader of interdenominational women’s groups, she also serves on the board of the Uganda Orphans Fund, a non-profit Christian relief organization. Susan and her husband, Duncan, have three children and live in Montana.

You can read more about this book here: http://closerthanyourskin.com

Book Review – 101 cups of water – Rating: 10 out of 10

101 Cups of Water Book Cover101 Cups of Water:relief and refreshment for the tired, thirsty soul, by C. D. Baker

How I came to read this book:

I was given the opportunity to participate in the Waterbrook Press Blog Tour for this book – to coincide with the book’s release. I receive a variety of these offers, and when I read the description of the book, it sounded really good. You can never tell for sure whether a book is going to live up to it’s summary, but this one did.

Summary (from Waterbrook Press):

C.D. Baker dips into the flowing stream of God’s love and draws out relief, refreshment, mercy, hope and sustenance for a new generation of Christ-followers. Baker’s clean, simple prose is paired with evocative, black and white photographs that will etch each truth into the reader’s memory.

What I didn’t expect was a journey into my soul. I know that sounds dramatic, but this book…it could have been written about me. All of my struggles with legalism, pride, frustration, anger. It’s all in here. And it’s ok. I’m ok. I’m not crazy, and I’m not alone.

If you are a Christian who struggles with the exhaustion of perfectionism and find yourself inexplicably angry with God – especially when you’ve been working so hard to please Him…well…this book is for you.

Score Summary

  • Content: 10
  • Writing Style: 10
  • Re-readability: 10
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 10

Content

Each page is a self-contained topic. There are 101 separate small and powerful points. Just a few pages in, I was so strongly impacted by one entry that I decided to fold the corner (*gasp*) to mark it for later review. The further I got in, I realized that more pages were folded than not, so I stopped. It was that good.

Writing Style

This has been SO easy to read. Not because it’s simple, but because it’s personal. Mr. Baker writes with such soul-baring honesty that it disarmed me. I just could not stop reading. Over the past week or two, it has become the book that I carry around everywhere to sneak a page or two in when I am able.

Re-readability

I plan to re-read this book right away. It will be a permanent member of my personal collection and will probably become one of my “every couple of years” books.

Busy Mommy Scale

Can’t beat it. Each page contains only a few short paragraphs, and is self contained. It could very easily make it as a devotional book.


And for your listening pleasure, here is an excerpt of the author reading the first “cup” – A Cup of Grace:
[audio:A_Cup_of_Grace.mp3]


ETA: Here are two other blogs that review this book. There are many blogs in the blog tour, but these two had personal reviews in addition to the listing. Enjoy!

Book Review – For Parents Only – Rating: 9 out of 10

For Parents Only - Book CoverFor Parents Only, by Shaunti Feldhahn and Lisa A. Rice

How I came to read this book:

I received a copy of For Parents Only in order to participate in the blog tour for this book. I’d like to thank Liz Johnson for the opportunity to read a book that I may not have otherwise purchased. My son may someday thank you as well! 😉 I have to say it surprised me how much good readable information was in this short book.

Score Summary

  • Content: 10
  • Writing Style: 8
  • Re-readability: 9
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 9

Content

Essentially, this is a book of summarized surveys that were taken by teens. They were asked a number of questions and gave some pretty direct and helpful responses.

Because my son is only 2 years old, a vast majority of the information is of the “store that nugget for future reference” nature. However, there were some basic truths about how to treat a child that I think are applicable no matter what the age. In essence, love your kid and stand your ground.

A nice follow up is a reference to Shaunti’s website for more information.

Writing Style

This was a fairly easy to read book. There is a nice amount of story telling about their survey experiences as well as examples from their interactions with their own children.

Re-readability

This one gets good marks on the “re-readability scale” because I have the feeling that I will need a refresher as my son gets closer to his teen years. Right now, our conflicts primarily consist of me telling him it’s nap time and him throwing his body to the floor in the magical too-stiff-to-hold and too-spaghetti-like-to-wrangle combination.

Since I know this will change, I will be keeping this book on hand for future reference. Actually, now that I think about it, this book has similar value to me as does the book by Dr. Laura Schlessinger, The Proper Care and Feeding of Husbands. As I said in that review, that’s a book that I plan to read every couple of years. This one has that same “boy, I really should remember that” kind of quality.

Busy Mommy Scale

I read this book in about two longer (waiting for an eye-appointment, and getting a pedicure) and three short (before bed, bathroom, 5 minutes on the couch) sittings.

Book Review – The Glass Castle – Rating: 8.75 out of 10

The Glass Castle - Book CoverThe Glass Castle: A Memoir, by Jeannette Wells

How I came to read this book:

My mom loaned it to me after having read it for her book club.

Score Summary

  • Content: 9
  • Writing Style: 10
  • Re-readability: 7
  • Busy Mommy Scale: 9

Content

The story told in Ms. Wells’ memoirs are still with me. I finished reading this book a couple of days ago, but it’s still in my head. I’m having a hard time finding the words to write this. It’s a story of a life. A really rough childhood. One of the reviews on the inside cover really summed it up by saying that if anyone had reason to whine about their early life, it is this woman, but she doesn’t.

It’s certainly not a “feel-good” book, but wow.

“Bonanza!” Brian shouted.
“Feast time!” I said to him
He looked at the dishes, I knew what he was thinking, what he thought every time he saw a spread like this one. He shook his head and said, “You know, it’s not really that hard to put food on the table if that’s what you decide to do.”

She was not spiteful or attacking in her judgment of her parents, but with the simple telling, made it clear she was hurt and bewildered at how the people she loved could make such self-centered choices.

Writing Style

The whole time I was reading, I was amazed at how matter-of-fact the author was about some pretty rough times. She excels at storytelling. You can just see her surroundings and feel the tension with every incident she remembers.

Re-readability

Hm. This one is hard. I almost want to read it again to stay in the story. However, it’s not really a happy one. It’s just real. And it’s powerful.

Busy Mommy Scale

This book started, as most do, unfortunately, as a bathroom book for me. If a particular story was a little longer and engrossing, it made its way to my nightstand and my desk. Once I got to about the middle, I got so wrapped up in it that it took over and I had to finish it at every spare moment. It got carried around the house. 🙂


I have to say, I would love to meet Jeannette Wells. I would love to know if she’s really as pragmatic about her life. She really is an example of how though you may come from underprivileged roots, you can truly make responsible choices that change your surroundings.

“Are you saying homeless people want to live on the street?” Professor Fuch asked, “Are you saying they don’t want warm beds and roofs over their heads?”

“Not exactly,” I said. I was fumbling for words. “They do. But if some of them were willing to work hard and make compromises, they might not have ideal lives, but they could make ends meet.”

She is speaking from experience and a victim she is not.