Friday, July 19, 2013

review of Sparkly Green Earrings

You'll have to read to almost the end of the book to find out why Melanie Shankle titled her book Sparkly Green Earrings, I didn't want you thinking you missed it.

Melanie is relatable but a bit more privileged. I used to read Melanie's blog*, I had to cut back on all my blog reading but don't remember it being a hard decision to give this one up. I think Melanie is part writer and part comedian (comedienne?). Like a lot of comedians, she makes you laugh but challenges what you think and sometimes you feel insulted. Reading other reviews on Amazon, included in the list might be Girl Scouts, those who like Justice clothes (that includes me though I usually pick these up at garage sales or goodwill), and birthday parties. I think readers need to remember this is more memoir than mom-advice book.

Probably my favorite parts of the book were the laugh out loud funny parts or when she waxes poetically about being a parent. "That's why I believe motherhood gives us the first true glimpse of how God loves us. The kind of love that's irrevocable, unrelenting, unconditional. I think it's the closest humans get to living out 1 Corinthians 13. (page 208)"

Most blog writers don't do well in a book format but I think Melanie writes really well. However, it is hard to understand what age Caroline is at because the book doesn't follow a chronological timeline but jumps around a bit.

I happened to download Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn by Melanie Shankle when it was offered free for the Kindle (I rarely actually read Kindle books so hooray for me!). It was a bonus that this is part of the Tyndale summer reading program.

In case you didn't know the blog address -

Review of Faking Grace

Have you ever spent time "faking it until you make it (or become it)"?  I feel like that a lot as a mom, I want to be a "good mom".  But sometimes I just fake it as much as I can until my husband comes home and he can take over.  :)  Grace (well really Maizy Grace) needs a second job to pay her bills so she decides to fake being a "true" Christian (though she thinks she is one) to get a job at a Christian publishing company.  She eventually comes to a cross point between her two jobs, testing the strength of the Christians around her to show her grace.

As usual, author Tamara Leigh has created a great cast of characters, made me laugh, and made me question some of the things we do as Christians.  My husband laughs at all of the "gear" available at the local Christian bookstore and I wonder why people think they need everything to have a Christian message on it.  Do we need to carry "Testamints" for our breath?  But I wonder if a fish symbol would encourage me to be a better driver?

I did check on Amazon for Dumb Blonde's Guide to Christianity, it sounds like a helpful book with those wondering about the Christian faith.  Alas, it must be only a creation of the author.  (For those who are interested, the only books to come up in my search were this book, Faking Grace, and Soul Surfer Devotions by blonde Bethany Hamilton (the surfer who lost her arm to a shark).)

I loved the whole section on forgiveness.  (Paperback pages 254-255.)  I think asking for forgiveness is one of the hardest things for me to do. 

This quote from page 119 is so true, "Sad that Christianity isn't an impenetrable shield? that even after we've accepted Jesus as our Savior, we keep messing up? doing things we know we shouldn't? things He has to wash away again and again?"  Being a Christian doesn't make you perfect, we sin and have to deal with consequences of our sin.  It would be wonderful if that wasn't the case but it is.

One of my favorite characters was Maizy Grace's grandmother.  Quotes form page 162-163, starting with the grandmother.  ". . . but I can fantasize."  [Maizy Grace]  "Fantasize?"  That word does not belong in the vocabulary of a senior citizen!  [. . . then the grandmother again] She rolls her eyes.  "This is silver hair, not a halo."

I just love how the grandmother admits that she's not perfect and owns up to her issues with her son and daughter-in-law.

The only part of the book I disagreed with was that The Message is a translation of the Bible.  It isn't a direct translation, though it can be a useful tool.

Faking Grace by Tamara Leigh is a great contemporary fiction book and should be part of your library!

Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah for giving me this wonderful book to review.  Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group. 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 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Review of Borders of the Heart

I picked up Borders of the Heart by Chris Fabry because it is on the Tyndale summer reading list and I thought it sounded interesting.  Much like another book I've read that deals with the U.S. immigration policy, Borders of the Heart is a challenging story.  Current immigration policy and relations between the U.S. and Mexico are heavy topics.  I'm not sure what the right approach is but definitely know what is in place now isn't working.  I can't imagine living closer or knowing any Border Control agents, they are in constant danger and should be in our prayers!  Borders of the Heart is a good book but also it is good to see how God can take one hard-hearted (but sympathetic) man and make him a new creation in Christ.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Review of Take a Chance on Me

I've looked at Susan May Warren's books before, I think about checking them out of the library.  I add her name to my lists of authors to look into.  But I never did until Tyndale's Summer Reading list.  I really enjoyed Take a Chance on Me.  I think it could've been called, Glimpses of Grace.  I've never thought much about firefighters but recent events in Arizona (death of 19 "hotshot" firefighters) made the book more harrowing.  There are 4 main characters: Derek, Ivy, Jensen, and Claire.  Derek and Jensen used to be hotshot firefighters.  God takes all 4 of them on a scary adventure, with lots of grace and difficult past events to wade through.

I thought the book could've been a little shorter.  I seem to have a personal opinion that characters shouldn't kiss or be really close unless there's a real relationship between them or they are truly ready for it.  I was a little disappointed that the characters seemed to kiss and snuggle more than I thought appropriate.

My moral viewpoint expressed, I really thought Take a Chance on Me was a good book with lots of romance, suspense, and God's redeeming love.  I'm definitely moving Susan May Warren up on my authors to check out list!