Archive for the ‘Book Reviews’ Category

For Christmas in 2013, Karen gave me a copy of Brene Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection. She had already read most of it and was sure I’d love it, and she was right! I’ve been reading it and incorporating it into my life ever since.


Brene Brown is a research professor and storyteller who studies vulnerability, courage, authenticity, worthiness, and shame. She’s written three #1 New York Times Bestsellers, her 2010 TEDx talk “The Power of Vulnerability” is one of the five most viewed Ted talks in the world. She inspires millions of readers like me through her websites, interviews, and public appearances. I post her quotes on Facebook a lot.

From The Gifts of Imperfection:

“People may call what happens at mid-life “a crisis,” but it’s not. It’s an unraveling – a time when you feel a desperate pull to live the life you want to live, not the one you’re supposed to live.”

As I’ve been working my way through the book for the second time, reading all of my underlined passages again, I am painfully aware of the places I’ve been digging deep, being brave, and making difficult choices that are making me a more wholehearted person. The word “No” isn’t as scary as it used to be, and I’ve increased the frequency of its use. Friends, it is SO much better than saying “yes” and being pissed off later because I knew I should have said no in the first place. I’m doing hard heart work, and the results are beautiful!

Some other lessons I’ve learned:

  • Our stories aren’t meant for everyone. Hearing them is a privilege and we should ask ourselves who has earned the right to hear them. (p. 47)
  • Incongruent living is exhausting. (p. 28)
  • Cultivating self-love and self-acceptance is not optional. (p. 28)
  • Practicing courage, compassion, and connection in our daily lives is how we cultivate worthiness. (p.7)
  • Courage is contagious. (p.54)
  • Here’s what is truly at the heart of wholeheartedness: Worthy now. Not if. Not when. We are worthy of love and belonging now. Right this minute. As is. (p.24)

I own the other two books and will read them soon. Check out Brene Brown. She’s one of my courage-boosters and currently on my list of Top Ten Most Inspiring People.

These people inspire me too:

Don at https://donhillson.wordpress.com/

Beckie at http://free2b2much.blogspot.com/

Tracy at https://countyroadchronicles.wordpress.com/


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I was excited to be given this book to review because of the valuable lesson of recycle-reuse-renew, something I’m already teaching my children who are 7, 9, and 12 years old. We read the book together, marveling at the soft, bright colors the artist chose. We especially liked that the brother and sister were working together to care for their environment. We all appreciated the tips for conservation, and agreed that it is our job to care for the world around us, but all of us struggled with some of the inconsistencies throughout the story.

While talking about chemicals polluting our water supply, there was a picture of the kids swimming in a pool which requires chemicals to keep it clean, and the scripture on that page references a stream in the mountains. It shows the children unplugging their Wii to conserve electricity, and then depicts them watching a TV as old as I am, with dials to change the channel – not Wii compatible or as energy-efficient as newer models. We live in a big city with lots of bright lights, yet the book looks at that as a bad thing (listed along with poisonous smog) because we can’t see the moon and stars, and where we live in Colorado, it is illegal to collect rainwater for your garden, so we talked about other ways we could conserve that are relevant to us.

My oldest son questioned why the author used scriptures that have nothing to do with caring for the planet. Good question. This book is clearly written for Christians and I’m all for using scripture when teaching, but I was as puzzled as my son.

I give this book 2 out of 5 stars.

I feel as if I’m starting off on the wrong foot with this as my first book review for Book Divas. I rarely give negative reviews, but as a reviewer and a believer, you’ll always get my honest opinion.

Over all, my children liked the book and it was a good discussion starter. While I appreciated the author’s heart for teaching children valuable lessons about caring for creation, I would not intentionally choose this book as that tool. I will say that this is the first book I’ve read by Christy Baldwin, and I would give her other books a chance.

About Christy Baldwin:
Writing has been a passion of Christy’s since she was very young. As a child, she loved to write stories for her grandfather and poems just for fun. She lives in Mason, Ohio with her family and is active in church, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts and volunteering with various organizations. Christy has a bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education from Cedarville University and a master’s degree in Special Education from the University of Scranton. She is a stay at home mom who enjoys spending time with her kids and being involved in their schools. Her previous children’s titles include Nine Things Nathan Noticed at Night and Remembering Wilma.

Book web site:

Christy Baldwin Facebook:

Tribute Books website:

Tribute Books Facebook:

Tribute Books Twitter:

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I’ve been on a dystopian fiction kick for a few months now and I’ve decided to track down the books that will be made into movies in the next few years. I like to be ahead of the game, which is a great segue into writing about The Hunger Games Trilogy, my current favorite in the genre, but that will have to wait a few more days. This past week I read 2 novels by Lauren Oliver, both have been picked up by studios already.

What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world’s most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High—from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last. Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death—and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love–the deliria–blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Haloway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy. But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: she falls in love.

Delirium was much better than Before I Fall. I think it was because I get tired of bitchy high school girls. One can only take so many “mean girls” scenarios. I kind of like Lauren’s style, I’m just hoping she doesn’t become the Nicholas Sparks of dystopian fiction. I hate that someone always has to die, especially someone you’re rooting for.

I like the questions that dystopian books ask, and pondering how things might be in the future. I like “the system” being challenged and abuses being exposed. Some of my favorites in the genre are: Farenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, The Children of Men by P.D. James, and Jeanne DuPrau’s The City of Ember series, which is geared for middle readers. LOVED IT!

Next up for me is Divergent by Veronica Roth, and Uglies (a series) by Scott Westerfield. Also due out in November is Ally Condie’s Crossed, a sequel to her book Matched, which I also enjoyed.

Other than reminding me I’m not 13 anymore, care to share your opinions on this genre? 🙂

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