Wednesday, July 29, 2009

"Portia's Exclusive and Confidential Rules on True Friendship" by Anna Hays

"Portia's Exclusive and Confidential Rules on True Friendship" by Anna Hays is a fun pre-teen drama book. The story starts off with Portia and her best friend Amy. Portia is the detective that's afraid of math (this stereotype is fixed towards the end when she gets an A on a pop quiz). Amy is the fashionista that's constantly shopping and designing. Then, an animal crazy girl named Misty enters the scene, and she takes to Portia. As Portia's friendship with Misty grows, Amy becomes jealous and does some underhanded deeds. Also integrated into the story is Portia's long lost father who appears to be some sort of international spy; the full story is probably explained in the previous book of this series. Overall, this book is fun for pre-teen girls. It has action, drama, animals, fashion, and innocent romance.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

"What's He Really Thinking?" by Paula Rinehart

"What's He Really Thinking? - How to be a Relational Genius with the Man in Your Life" by Paula Rinehart is a psychological book that delves into the male psyche. It discusses the main differences in how men think as compared to women. Central issues like conflict, respect, hurt, change, and expectations are dissected. While the author occasionally mentions brothers, co-workers, sons, and other male friends, the main men being discussed are implied as the husbands. Rinehart tells women how to act around their significant other, why they need to need them, what damages their egos, and how to effectively communicate with them. Several personal stories are mentioned that highlight what not to do in an altercation. This book is not so much for dating women but more for married wives that seek to better their marriages. In the back of the book, there are questions that couples may answer, as well as Bible verses for them to recite. Intriguing to say the very least, this book will leave women thinking about men thinking.

Monday, July 27, 2009

"Ask Hayley, Volume 3" by Hayley DiMarco

"Ask Hayley:Real Answers for Today's Teen, Volume 3" by Hayley DiMarco is a superb conclusion to the "Ask Hayley" books. With all the appeal of the previous two, this one does not disappoint readers. Full of the same advice, quizzes, and glossy pages, this magazine book is hard to put down. While there is some relationship and family advice that the other two books have, this one has more advanced topics, such as college choices, idolatry, living for Christ, fashion, and jobs. By the time readers are done with this book, they will feel a jolt of satisfaction, fully confident that any problem they could encounter has been answered by Hayley and can be further resolved by looking for guidance in the Bible and trusting in God.

"Ask Hayey, Volume 2" by Hayley DiMarco

"Ask Hayley:Real Answers for Today's Teen, Volume 2" by Hayley DiMarco is a great companion to the first volume. While one does not have to read the first one to understand the second one, they certainly would like to after they realize how helpful and interesting the "Ask Hayley" books are. This book tends to talk more about friendships and family issues, as opposed to the first that focuses more on dating and boy/girl interactions. Serious topics like depression are combated with a biblical perspective. Organized in a magazine style, this is as glossy and fun to flip through as the first. Aside from questions and answers, this book also contains bullet points for self improvement and more in-depth advice. This is a must-have for teens.

"Ask Hayley, Volume 1" by Hayley DiMarco

"Ask Hayley:Real Answers for Today's Teen, Volume 1" by Hayley DiMarco is a seriously fun book. The glossy pages, decorative backgrounds, and full color photos make the book feel like a magazine. In a question-and-answer format, Hayley has letters from teens followed by sincere answers. With a fresh Christian perspective, Hayley offers sound advice and quotes Scripture when necessary. Quizzes are also included, along with healthy promotions. While most questions are from girls, a couple are from boys. Also, the photos depict several nationalities, both boys and girls, and excellent styles that are modestly modeled. This book covers issues from dating to friendship and is a thrill to read--fun to say the very least!

"Blue Like Play Dough: The Shape of Motherhood in the Grip of God" by Tricia Goyer + FREE Giveaway

"Blue Like Play Dough: The Shape of Motherhood in the Grip of God" by Tricia Goyer is an intriguing book. It chronicles the story of a woman who finds God. Her path to religion did not start when she went to church as a child; it started when she had children. With children lost to abortion, pre-marital children, children from different fathers, and more, the main character has had her share of woe. She decided to turn her life around when she realized how God was shaping her life through her children. Sure, her mistakes couldn’t be undone, but she could be a better person for her children. By doing so, she taught her kids morals and led them through tough times. She also realizes that her children are children of God--tiny miracles in her womb. The woman accepts the fact that her children can learn to trust God in a simple yet profound way that she ought to mimic. Although the central message throughout the book is the same, the stories and anecdotes are not. Topics discussed in the book range from death, betrayal, feelings of insignificance, hormones, rejection, compassion, and more. While this book is best for mothers, those who do not have children will find the tale interesting...a view into the looking glass of motherhood, if you will.

This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group.



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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

“Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream” by Tanya Lee Stone

“Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream” by Tanya Lee Stone is a remarkable book. It goes deep into the history and politics of the first women in space. Unbeknownst from what the title may suggest, this book is not some simple biography. On the contrary, it is a livid account of women who supported each other.

Starting out in the sixties [with the Race for Space], it is documented how the United States government pushed space travel. In fact, they practically exonerated the male astronauts who one-upped the Russians. When Jerrie Cobb wanted to go into space as well, she was met with discrimination. Even after completing many astronautical training tests (which Stone describes perfectly) better than males, she was still denied into space.

Trying to start up a space program for women, Cobb and Lovelace gathered together twelve other women. Unfortunately, the women did not get to complete the necessary requirements for space travel due to certain laws and even female opposition. This major stumbling-block is expounded on very clearly in the book. All political pretexts are also accounted for as Stone comprehensively accounts a twisted story of betrayal.

Each of the Mercury 13 is noted, as their lives intertwine; the book even sums up what they are up to currently at the end. This book is as scientific as it is feminist. The male-dominated era of the sixties is unveiled, as extraterrestrial training is elucidated to a tee. Famous names pop up, too, along with surprising facts--Who knew John Glenn was against women in space and Johnson feared that letting women into space would open the door for minorities, too?

Filled with livid pictures and captions, readers literally go on an adventure reading this book. The chapters are easy to comprehend yet not too simple as to make the reader ever want to put the book down. It is a very inspirational book for women, science extraordinaires, and anyone who dares to dream the impossible.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

"The I Believe Bunny" by Tosh Rabe

"The I Believe Bunny" by Tosh Rabe is a cute children's book with a Christian twist. The book starts off with a Bible quotation, and the story works around it to teach a central message. In this particular book in the series, the bunny finds a fellow woodland creature in distress. He tries to help the critter and, when in need of assistance, prays. Later, more friends of the bunny come to help bunny save his new friend. In the end, all the creatures learn the power of prayer.

Illustrated by Frank Endersby, the pictures are very vibrant. They are akin to soft watercolors, oftetimes relying heavily on pastels. The text itself is arragned in a poetic structure with quatrains. The story can be dramatically suspenseful at times since a creature is in need of rescue. Great for children, this teaches a Christian lesson and has a happy ending all thanks to God.