Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Preacher and the Prostitute

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Author Brenda Barrett has done more than a wonderful job of helping the reader see life's difficulties at their worst and how faith and trust in God can see one through.  While there are many circumstances that are found within the book that most every reader would relate to in some form or fashion, there are also blessings and hope for those who don't allow the circumstance to control them.
When former prostitute Maribel changes her lifestyle, gives her heart to Jesus and begins singing in the local church choir she encounters the new pastor Mark Ellington.  Mark is completely head over heels about Maribel until he discovers what she used to do before becoming apart of the church.  This is a heart wrenching time for him as he is writing a book on forgiveness, yet he can't seem to get past what she has done in her past.  
All of this is exposed within Maribel's life because of a boss who wants his way with her and a nosy church member who wants her daughter to marry the new pastor.  This book shares the conflict that many find in the corporate world as well as within the church.  No one is immune to trouble and difficulty, it is how one handles it that makes them strong and the person that God intended them to be.  Being in the church or without doesn't protect one from gossip and hurt, but having Jesus to turn to in the time of need is the difference maker.
This is a very well written book from beginning to end.  I desire to read more of author Brenda Barrett's material after reading this soul searching book.  If you are looking for a book to stretch your forgiveness level this would be a great read to challenge you to become the person you should be in the area of forgiveness.
5 of 5 stars

Hope Springs

Hope Springs

Cash Tate has written a very heartwarming and entertaining book as she takes the reader through a southern community that is filled with hope while hiding their past. So much of the past has stayed the same, including the black church and its neighboring white church. While they get along in their separate locations they aren’t inclined to come together as one. The reader will be engaged in historical struggles through the small group of ladies who meet at the local restaurant and call themselves “soul sisters.”
Hope Springs is very entertaining and moves along at a nice speed never allowing the reader to become bored.There are many new events that seem to pop up at just the right time to create a new level of interest. For instance, there is a sibling that has been hidden for years because one parent was black and the other white. This allows the reader to see a sense of hurt, pride, honestly and respect come together in the middle of uncertainty.
Becca was the character who grabbed my attention as she lead a small ministry and then was catapulted into the big spotlight of a major ladies ministry that traveled and held conferences. While she gets the call to come and does a marvelous job at the event, something happens that causes her to understand that humility comes before honor. I won’t spoil the outcome of this event, but this is one that many readers will be able to relate to and find inspiration for their own lives.
Grandma Geri gives so many family members, church attendants and neighbors wisdom and insight into life if they will only take time to listen. We find it hard to slow down today to listen, but in doing so we would allow the Holy Spirit an opportunity to speak to the heart and learn nuggets of wisdom. So from the youngest child, to the eldest adult in this book, you will find characters who are relational and almost real as you if you only allow your mind into the world at Hope Springs.
This book has so many happy, challenging and inspirational stories, but I want you to read them and learn from them without creating spoilers. I hope you will pick up a copy today and began a great adventure that is Hope Springs.

luxury reading dot com

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gaston's Secret: The Lottery Child

Gaston's Secret: the lottery child

Author Gaston Cavalleri shares his own personal experience within this book.  He shares about being raised in less than ideal conditions.  He was raised, for the most part, by a single mother and his brother a drug user.  The living conditions were less than desirable but they always tried to make the best of every circumstance.  
Gaston seemed to always get into trouble.  When he was low on gas, he would become the runaway bandit by filling up with gas and driving off.  He never seemed to be caught for those transactions, but the police did pull him over frequently because of the neglect of his automobile.  It seemed something was always about to fall off or it ran in poor conditions.  Without funds to make the automobile run and look better he had to just keep driving and deal with the police.
While he takes the reader down his life explaining the difficulties that he and his family had, he also shares about a new day that changed everything when his mother told the family she had won the lottery.  This caused family, friends and enemies to come out of the woodwork seeking their share of the new found funds.  These newfound funds allowed the family to find better living conditions and drive better automobiles.  Gaston traveled more and enjoyed the different cultures that he encountered.  
This book will take the reader along the journey of someone who has nothing and then has a great windfall of wealth and how it affects them. You will see the ups and downs the good and bad associated with how this man was changed.  While this isn't a book that captured my full attention it was interesting to see how finances make a difference within one's life.  I did enjoy learning more about how wealth impacts a individual, yet my greatest difficulty was the amount of strong language found within the book.  This is certainly a read for a more mature audience as the author writes how he feels and speaks but not appropriate for the general reader.  
4 of 5 stars

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

When The Song Left The Sea

When the Song Left the Sea

Hector meets a lovely lady named Sara, who was nearly twenty years his junior.  While age may have created a distance within their lives, they found great peace in each other's arms.  This lasted until the day he realized what she was truly like.  She was someone who wanted more than what Hector had to offer.  She finally exited the family to find a life on her own after the birth of their son.  Hector's sister soon became the child's surrogate mother and helped to raise him.  It was years later when Sara sent a letter desiring to see her son David.  This brought much confusion and raised many questions among them.  After much thought Hector wrote Sara telling her that she could come see her wonderful child.  He was still uncertain of why she left, but didn't want to bring any punishment to her, feeling she must have experienced enough of that on her own.
Sarah was a lady who made her living by taking care of the needs of men.  She did this until she was beaten black and blue and knew she must return to see her son and change her course of life.  When she returned she was warmly received by Hector.  While he knew her life was filled with regret he felt much the same way.  He felt like such a failure in life yet she praised him for the man and father he had become.  
David nearly died in the ocean but the legend has it that the whales saved him.  While his dad pulled him to shore, it was the whales that came to his rescue.  Love is clearly evident in the life of this son and father.  
While life is hard on most people it behooves us to remember that all things can become better if we will only trust and believe.  We don't have to throw in the towel and quit, rather we can succeed if we will just keep pressing on.  Hector helps us to see this and provides inspiration for the reader.
4 of 5 stars

The Eden Relics

Eden Relics (A Zac Woods novel #1)

This book would be of interest to those who enjoyed "Raiders of the Lost Ark".  The author takes the reader back in time to a place where great artifacts are hidden and people have been on the search for years.  There is adventure, drama and action to fill the readers mind.  Going back to the Garden of Eden, the author will introduce the reader to the beginning of creation, Adam and Eve and something they possessed.  Could it be that this artifact has possibility appeared after all this time?
Looking under the Sphinx for the buried treasure has opera singer Adelina Patti on the hunt.  This is an adventure that brings excitement and treasure.  Also, Zac Woods is a character of entertaining notice that the author allows us to follow as he unravels truth that is facing not only his life but the life of the church as it is known.  Could it be that the information found could end people's belief systems as they know it now?  Many are alarmed at what could happen and how it could effect not only the church, but even the world.
Under the church altar is where individuals are lead to find pieces of this new truth as it begins to be unraveled.  There is killing and the desire to find the hidden relics before anyone else can.  When people are fighting against each other to come out on top you know there will be lots of trouble ahead.  The author leads the reader along this journey as you explore, caves, churches and other places of interest trying to be the first to arrive at the treasure.  If you enjoy a treasure hunt then you will enjoy this book leading you along the journey.
From the beginning of the book, where the author takes the reader deep within the confines of a cave to the end where Zac has enemies after him, the reader will find themselves wondering what the next cave, Sphinx or enemy they will find themselves facing.

Monday, September 24, 2012

On the Road to Success

Eunice Elizabeth Nash has written a very informing and enlightening book.  She endeavors to open the mind of the reader to allow them to see there is more available for them than what they may have experienced thus far in life if they will follow her steps on the road to success.
Taking charge of one's life, being positive, working hard and having the right support team around oneself is a strong foundation that Eunice tries to convey to her readers.  She knows that thinking about it isn't enough, one must work hard and endure to make one's life successful.
Being motivated, having energy and being a team player is vitally important in how far a person will be able to go.  She also points out that the support of others around you is important for those long stretches when it seems all is impossible.  While everyone desires to move forward in life making a difference, one must do so with strong ethics and being able to live with themselves.  
Balancing one's personal, work and social life is very hard to accomplish and even more so when you are working for yourself rather than someone else.  Balance is key and Eunice helps the reader to better understand that.  There are Self Analysis Exercises throughout the book that will help the reader better understand who they are and how to move forward to be more effective.
While this is a very short book, it is filled full of insight, wisdom and truth.  I would easily recommend this book to anyone who desires to move forward in their personal, social, or work environment.  
5 of 5 stars
I received this copy from Dorrance Publishing Company for my honest review.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction

Murder & Mayhem In Goose Pimple Junction by Amy Metz

This is a very adventurous, funny, entertaining southern style book.  With many southern drawl sayings I found myself eagerly looking for the next humorous antidote.  I found myself laughing out loud no less than three times in the first couple of pages and couldn't wait to continue on this exciting journey.
Tess is a very inquisitive character and finds herself in the midst of trouble from the beginning of a new move to Goose Pimple Junction.  While she has published one book, it is here she meets nine time published author Jackson Wright.   Jack finds Tess terribly attractive and someone that he desires to draw the attention of in his direction.  It doesn't take long for this to happen, yet in the midst of this budding romance, there is a murder that needs to be looked into from many years prior.
When one is in a small town and everyone seems to know everyone it makes it even more difficult to believe that someone you have known all your life could be involved in a 70+ year old murder.  While Jack and Tess try to find new information to undercover this historical murder, there are new developments that occur trying to throw them off the scent.
Then there is the ever talking and energetic Lou that owns the bookstore that Tess is soon hired to work in.  She goes a mile a minute, yet has such sweet southern charm one can't help to be drawn to her.  There is also the local diner where everyone seems to meet including two elderly men that try to outdraw each other with their tongues and quick quips each day.  
This is certainly a book that I have enjoyed from beginning to end.  Whether I had just a few minutes to spare and could read a few pages or sit for a longer period of time, I found myself laughing, enjoying and excited to return to the next page of adventure.  This is the first time I have read Amy Metz's material, but I certainly hope not the last.  I can't wait for more adventurous books from this great author.
Without a question it is a 5 of 5 star book.  

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sinner's Creed

Sinner's Creed

This is the best book I have personally read in 2012.  Scott Stapp, lead singer of Creed, takes the reader into the very depths of his life from early childhood up to the present.  From the very beginning of the book until the end the reader will feel engaged in Scott's life and what is taking place.  It is a book that was difficult to put down causing one to be stretched by seeing that the heart of an individual is so much more important than the cover by which so often one is judged.
Scott talks about his step-father and the abuse he suffered of such harsh discipline.  While all this happened under the name of honoring God.  Scott had a difficult time understanding how God could be so loving on one hand, yet through his step-father be pictured as someone who demands perfection and nothing less will do.  Scott takes these early childhood events with him to college where he begins to spread his wings and explore the world for himself.  It isn't long before fame, fortune and power take over Scott's life as the group Creed goes to the top of the charts and everything he seemingly ever wanted was happening within his life.  However, Scott found when you can't run fast enough soon life will catch up with you and he came crashing down.  The industry almost cost him his life.  His drinking had gotten out of control and while searching for reality and hope he found the lady of his dreams that helped to turn his life around.  Soon Jaclyn and Scott were married but she soon realized that Scott held many demons within him that caused great trouble.  While going for rehab and turning sober worked well for Scott one night he gave in and drank again, causing Jaclyn to admit him to the Betty Ford Center.  There Scott received the help he needed and his life began to finally turn around concerning the prescription medicines and alcohol he had been consuming.  
After almost killing himself and looking up to find two angels (his wife and mother in law) above him, he knew things must change for good.  He began the change with three steps:  "1.  Scott can't.  2.  God can.  3.  Scott lets God."   In these steps Scott realized that allowing God to lead his life was the only way he would ever make it.  This led Scott to realize his own "Sinner's Creed" and that apart from God he was nothing.  Today it is Scott's desire to share with others his story and help others realize serving God isn't about all the expectations of others rather it is just about pleasing God as you feel lead within yourself.
This book will stretch any believer to look beyond themselves, their church and to explore the hurts and negatives within one's life to see that God is bigger and better than we could ever imagine if He is only allowed to be in full control of one's life.  This is a read that will surely bless and encourage many lives.
5 of 5 stars

Talk Like A Winner

Talk Like a Winner: 21 Simple Rules for Achieving Everyday Communication Success

Author Steve Nakamoto does a fantastic job within his book of helping every person who desires to become a better communicator.  This book isn't about skills needed to become a professional speaker, rather what each person who engages in normal conversation would need to learn.  Simple instructions that pay huge dividends if one would follow the author's advice.
There are suggestions such as:  Learning how to listen to the other person within the conversation; engaging the person rather than talking about one's self; responding with the best reply by reflecting upon the respond before speaking.  These along with so many others are shared within the pages of this well written book.
This is more than a list of things to follow in textbook form, rather written in an enlightening way with stories, laughter and common language that every reader can relate to.  Learning from personal examples of the author and knowing that each of us aren't perfect helps the reader to develop his/her own style of learning to reach out to others in winsome conversation.
While so much emphasis is spent on what to say, the reader will find within this book there is a great amount of emphasis place on things other than the words that are shared.  There are other important elements mentioned within such as; the atmosphere of where the conversation is taking place, being positive in a negative situation, sharing the best about someone rather than their worse.  There is a section on being positive and how to share those thoughts with others helping to encourage others and to build them up as a person.  This type of conversation makes one a winner.
There are many great points and suggestions found within the book that every reader can learn and take something from this material. This is a great tool for anyone who desires to become better at conversations with anyone they come in contact with.  I would recommend this book as a great resource for business leaders, marriage retreats as well as the individual who desires to become better in relating with others.
5 of 5 stars

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Choice

The Choice

Once again author Robert Whitlow writes a best-seller.  Without one second of hesitation, I can quickly recommend this book to anyone who desires to read about the life of a young girl who finds herself pregnant and the choices that she must soon face.  After Sandy, a senior in high school, finds herself pregnant by Brad Donnelly, a star football player, her life quickly changes never to be the same again.  
The first part of the book deals with Sandy's choices that she has to make and the fact that she must follow her inner desires to do what is best for not only one baby but two.  While many people tried to influence her and direct the decision that she would have to make we quickly see that Sandy learns how to stand on her own in her decision making.  She makes many decisions that will not only impact her life but the life of both of her babies that she will give up for adoption.
The second part of the book is over 30 years later and how as a school teacher she faces a young girl in her class that is pregnant.  She desires to help this young girl make wise choices as she was faced with many years earlier.  While on this quest there were many hurtful things that Sandy encountered, yet in the midst of the turmoil she not only comes across one, but both of her sons.  There are many emotions that the reader will experience as they go along the journey that is prepared for Sandy.  
She finds that God never left her, rather He was guiding her along the way all the time.  She in return desired to reach out and help others around her.  She is soon acquainted with her son's family and her grandchildren and later was asked to be an acting grandmother to the young girl who was pregnant and had her child.
From the first to the last page this book is filled with adventure, excitement and thought provoking situations that helps one to become less judgmental and more understanding in the way one views issues in life.  There is also a study group discussion section at the end of the book that would be helpful.  Each book by Robert Whitlow is entertaining and I can't wait for the next to arrive.
5 of 5 stars

The Good Dream

The Good Dream

Author Donna VanLiere certainly doesn't disappoint her fans with her first full-length novel.  This book stirs the emotions,
warms the heart and challenges the mind.  She places such characters as Ivorie Walker, an old maid stated by many in the
town because she is in her thirties and not married.  Then there is George Coley who wants to marry Ivorie but when she finds
a starving, abused boy raiding her garden that she wants to help, he decides that isn't the life for him.  This little boy 
has been abused, neglected, scared and unable to speak because of a cleft palette.  Ivorie can't turn her back on him, even though
most of the town would quickly say it is too much for a single lady like herself to ever get involved in.  
Ivorie's brother Henry and his wife quickly aid Ivorie in her endeavor to help this little boy who after much time she learns 
is named Peter.  She tells the little boy that his mother must have named him that because according to the Bible Peter means
a rock and he is one strong and determined little boy. 
It is amazing what a person can see through the eyes of a young little boy.  Because Ivorie isn't willing to give up on this young lad, she is blessed in return by finding a young man who is smart, loving, engaging, desires to learn and responds with great affection.  
This book challenges the reader to not just look at people in passing rather to look deeper within ones heart to see who they truly are and more importantly who they can become.  It may make the reader ask some pointed questions, such as:  the one who is mean spirited, the hard to get along with, the screamer or hurtful person could be someone who has encountered a great deal within their own life and they aren't sure of how to respond to life's challenges?  Peter challenges the reader to make sure how we respond to others is how we would like others to respond to us.  Ivorie shares the love and compassion of Jesus as she reaches out to Peter to make a difference within his life.
There is suspense, drama, action, romance, and laughter to engage the reader as they turn page by page to find out what will
happen next.  The author does a great job of leading the reader through one situation to the next always building and causing
the reader to want more.  
This is a definite 5 of 5 book, that most any reader would enjoy and certainly one that leaves the reader feeling involved in the reader.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

How To Apologize To Your Woman

Apologizing isn't a easy task for most people, so author Karen Field Bolek goes into detail of the importance of apologizing and the reasoning behind it.  Many men see it as a sign of weakness, and for some women they could as well, however when done in the right context it is very beneficial for both parties involved.
How a man leads is vitally important to his lady.  If he is a dictator then there will be problems along the way, yet if he is understanding and leads with compassion, yet fairly he can be respected and honored within his role.  
Taking time to listen to the lady is so important and something that a man must learn to do if he is to ever be an effective leader.  Listening is more than with just the ears it is also with the heart.  A lady desires her man's attention and is deeply fulfilled when he gives her the attention that she is longing and looking for.  When she goes without this attention there begins to be disharmony within the relationship.  If he doesn't learn how to listen as well as communication in response there will be disharmony.  Communication from both parties is so vital to making the relationship work.  One must really think about what they say and how it is received from the other person.  
There are many illustrations and examples given to better help a couple work through any areas of conflict.  Bringing a conflict to a peaceful resolution is helpful to both involved and strengthens the relationship.  There is additional resources listed for reference and additional study.
This is a very insightful book for any couple who desires to make their relationship deeper, stronger and more fruitful as they move forward together.
This book was provided by for my honest review.
4 of 5 stars

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Essentials of Premarital Counseling

Essentials of Premarital Counseling: Creating Compatible Couples (New Horizons in Therapy)

This is a very insightful and helpful book.  It gives practical advice on what a counselor can do to best help their clients.  There are many illustrations that give various points of view, giving one a better understanding of personality traits and how clients might possibility respond in various situations.  
There is a very nice breakdown on what a 10 session premarital program might look like, sharing the importance of both single and joint counseling sessions.  There are personality and relationship quizzes to take and then great details given concerning answers those particular questions.  There is also included an all important chapter on "Communication and Conflict Resolution."  The author lists the role of the listener as well as the presenter and the importance of both.  This is vital within the life of any marriage and very helpful information.  Then role playing situations are staged allowing each individual to see how the other person may feel in a given situation.  This is helpful to allow one from being so opinionated and more open minded to what their partner may be going through.  Giving one a different perspective or point of view would be huge to avoid difficulty within a marriage. 
There are case studies included that will help one to see the various type of situations that a couple could face and options of how they could be handled in a positive manner.  There are some partners who will not change no matter what and there are examples of that as well.
Also included is a great resource section that allows the reader to dig in further concerning a particular topic or issue that they would like additional information about.  The detailed premarital quiz at the end of the book could be invaluable to better understanding one's future mate, thus allowing the opportunity to cut down on future frustration.
I would recommend this book to premarital counselors as a great resource.  Author Sandra L. Ceren, PhD. does a fantastic job of helping one to consider many items that could be overlooked that would allow one to avoid costly mistakes.
5 of 5 stars

Guillermina and the Rose

Product Details

"Guillermina and the Rose" is one of the finest books that I have read.  This story begins with Robert taking a quick seventeen mile trip from San Diego to Tijuana just inside the Mexican border.  He returned to see how the town fared after being there many years earlier during his youth.  This trip disturbed him as he saw children along the streets in less than healthy conditions.  He begin to inquire why they were on the streets instead of in school and soon was lead to an orphanage that seemed to represent the "Casa."  
This caused a great amount of interest within his mind as he was apart of a large computer firm in California and he wanted to get the computers within the orphanage to test how a child could learn English at an early age as their second language.  Soon the reader will find Robert inside the orphanage meeting with  the nuns that ran the orphanage.  After much persuasion he was allowed to place the computers within the school and then his life forever changed.  Not only had he med a young girl named Guillermina that totally stole his heart, but he learned about many activities that happened within the orphanage that caused great harm to the young girls.
Soon Robert's quest was much more than getting computers in the school and conducting this experiment, rather it was to get Guillermina out of this awful situation and away to a new life as well as helping all the other girls within this gated community.  I experienced happiness at the love of Guillermina and Robert who she learned to call "Daddy" and extreme anger at what was happening behind the walls of this orphanage. 
I can truly say it kept me reading and never wanting to stop.  I can happily say it ends with a great outcome or I think I would have been ripped apart with all the hurt and abuse these little girls suffered.
While there is much more that is presented within this book than a quick review will allow, I can say without hesitation that one can find themselves with a great amount of emotions running as you turn the pages of this fantastic book racing to the end toward a surprise and fulfilling ending.  The rose what does that mean?  Well don't stop reading till you find out, it is a remarkable part of the story.
5 of 5 stars.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Chasing Revenge

Chasing Revenge

Chasing Revenge is an absolutely AWESOME book!  I was engrossed in this page turner from the very beginning and was never disappointed in the flow and storyline all the way to the end.  
U.S. Marshall's Box and Carl are entertaining and enjoyable to follow along as they allow the reader to become quickly involved in their race to catch a fugitive named Fisher who escaped from prison.  This call would cause them to leave sunny California and head to a much colder climate in Portland, Oregon.  Box wasn't excited about having to go to this colder location as he would have to stop and purchase some much needed warmer clothing for this assignment.  He hated the thought of being cold on stakeouts and on this manhunt causing him to leave his warm home front.
After arriving in Oregon, the adventure moves at a pace that keeps one on edge with every page.  There is so much adventure that I can't see anyone who enjoys a mystery, murder, action packed book not enjoying this one.  Fisher seems to always stay one step ahead of everyone, causing a great amount of frustration for Box and Carl as they try to anticipate his next move.
Whether it's in a crowded gun show, a hotel, bar or other establishment, there is always the need for one to look over their shoulder to see who might be around.  Maybe it's a bomb going off that's meant for the judge that sent Fisher to prison?  Maybe it's the dead bodies that seem to appear after Fisher doesn't need their help any longer?  Author Anthony Odom certainly keeps the reader on their toes while moving from one action adventure to another.
Carl is concerned about his wife Julie who seems extremely happy as of late when she's been looking for new carpet.  While Box tries to explain that she is just happy about getting new things for the house, Carl isn't buying it as he has this nagging feeling that something is wrong.  You will want to read and find out about why Julie is so happy about selecting new carpet for the house.
From beginning to end, this is a very well written and enjoyable book.
5 of 5 stars