Saturday, September 26, 2009

"Redefining Beautiful" by Jenna Lucado

"Redefining Beautiful: What God Sees When God Sees You" by Jenna Lucado is a self-help book for young girls. It revolves around the notion of self esteem. Topics range from health and beauty to self-mutilation, bulimia, and--yes--boys. Each chapter starts off with a story. Then, there is an explanation of a particular professional development lesson for girls. Interspersed throughout the book are "Notes from Max" (Max Lucado is a famous author and Jenna's father). There are also Bible quotations and fill-in questions provided. Additionally, there is a quiz here and there. The main concept of girl's beauty in God's eyes always goes back to fatherhood. Jenna Lucado discusses girls' relationships with their fathers and correlates it to having God as Father. Girls will enjoy the straightforward and candid style of this book. The current nature is copacetic, too; even facebooking is integrated into a chapter. Also, the aesthetics are nice with fun chapter designs that will excite young readers.

Friday, September 25, 2009

"If God is Good" by Randy Alcorn

"If God is Good: Faith in the Midst of Suffering and Evil" by Randy Alcorn is a mind-boggling book. Written with rhetorical finesse, Alcorn covers every possible angle when it comes to God and evil / suffering. He discusses illnesses, disabilities, depression, suicide, natural disasters, politics, philosophy, relationships, prayer, heaven, and so much more. Scripture is quoted heavily, as are personal anecdotes, stories from others, and quotes from prominent anti-Christians. Arguments are boldfaced as to make this brick of a book a bit more accessible for reference. There are eleven sections, each with sub-chapters. The organization is pristine, and readers will pick up this book whenever they are doubting their faith or just to something wise to say back to the sharp tongues of the world. While this book is scholarly at best, it can still be understood by readers of all levels. The notion of Jesus and Christ's redemptive plan for all of humanity--from even before the beginning of humanity--is a simple concept that is expounded to the utmost degree in this book. The cover is this book proclaims Randy Alcorn as a best selling author. With this book, it is not hard to see why.

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

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

"The First Thirty Seconds" by Stephen M. Armstrong

"The First Thirty Seconds: A Collection of Inspired Thoughts and Reflections for Living" by Stephen M. Armstrong is an intriguing book. Written in poetic form, this is a quick read. On the left side of the page, there is a sort of story. On the right side of the page, there is a question / prompt addressed to the reader. All of the poems and sentences pertain to changing attitudes in thirty seconds--almost with alacrity if you will. The major themes in the book are thoughts, feelings, relationships, power, hands, living ideas, character, and spirit. Since marriage is mentioned with sexual innuendos, this book is not appropriate for children. The book is not graphic, but it does mention not forcing a partner to fulfill desires, not using sexual intimacy as collateral, and how marital intimacy is an illustration of trust and acceptance. Religiously, the author briefly quotes Jesus and discusses the peace of God. Those who are religious will feel this book is lacking. Others will think this book is just a quirky book on self-improvement. This book is unusual to say the least.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

"After the Ball" by Barb Greenberg

"After the Ball: A Woman's Tale of Reclaiming Happily Ever After" by Barb Greenberg is a dashingly good read. It is about Snow White and Cinderella. Long time friends since they were girls, the two are separated when they marry their princes. However, they still find time to talk with each other every now and then--usually over tea or while picking herbs. One day, each princess realizes the other is disheveled. They begin to prod each other and discover that they are both unhappy. Apparently, the princes have taken the power of the princesses. Later, the princesses travel to a sagacious woman for guidance. Many metaphors ensue and the princesses ultimately realize that they must first save themselves before they let a prince save them. This book is short and easy to read with wonderful artwork inside. It is quick, but the hidden meanings and undertones will keep readers pondering for quite some time.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Cracking the $$ Code" by Patricia M. Annino

"Cracking the $$ Code: What Successful Men Know and You Don't (Yet)" by Attorney Patricia M. Annino is a savvy book. It is basically a handbook for working women. The main goal of the book is to give women the masculine skills they need to climb their corporate ladders. Several key issues about women in the workforce are tackled. Some include women being afraid to say no, feeling bad for others less successful, not speaking up, and so on. More interesting topics such as public relations and imaging are also touched upon. At the end of each chapter, there is a table with important lessons from the chapter. Also, there are inspirational quotes interspersed throughout the book. This is a short read--ideal for the working woman that doesn't have time to read a large encyclopedia-of-sorts on corporate success.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

"Fearless" by Max Lucado

“Fearless: Imagine Your Life Without Fear” by Max Lucado is an unconventionally good book. Delving deep into controversially contemporary topics, Lucado takes a literary plunge akin to the one plastered on the cover. Hard fiscal times, control issues, mental projections, natural disasters, terrorism and more are juxtaposed with biblical insights. Lucado takes Bible quotations and stories and inserts them into the chapters that best correspond to letting go of fear. What’s even more interesting is that Lucado actually explains the biblical story in its timeframe and how it relates to today. He does not merely blow hot air and talk about hard times with some quotes at the end of the chapter. Rather, everything is intertwined and in easy-to-understand terms. Also, there are personal anecdotes (they are real with notes in the back of the book to back them up) and a discussion guide. The companion booklet is also nice; it’s a great way to get friends thinking or just a nice complement to a gift. Readers will feel better after reading this book. They will understand God’s promises, why He wants us to fear Him and not the world, and how Jesus’ time on earth some 2000 years ago is as relevant today as it was back then.