Monday, April 30, 2018

"Why Men Marry Bitches" by Sherry Argov

After reviewing Argov's first book "Why Men Love Bitches", I got this second one in the mail to review.  Despite the catchy tongue-in-cheek title, the term "bitch" here does not refer to a nasty drama queen.  Rather, the term means a woman who stands up for herself and has confidence.  There are many concepts in this book that I agree with and many that I disagree with.  First, I agree that a woman who desires marriage in her future should never move in with a man.  Second, I agree that a woman who wants a real relationship should not cheapen herself with revealing clothing.  There is a story in the book about a man who met a woman at a business event where she was dressed very professionally.  He asked her out to dinner later that evening.  The woman went home and changed into a very low-cut top to look "sexy" for the guy.  The guy met the woman for dinner and was immediately un-attracted to the woman.  There is a section of the book detailing how men will use women physically and say / do whatever they need to in order to use them.  This is one of the reasons I think women should save intimacy for marriage--to avoid being taken advantage of.  Many stories from men write about the women they used short-term versus the women they marry long-term.  Confidence and having a backbone are desirable traits.  Now, onto what I disagreed with.  This wasn't so much one particular page in the book but rather the overall message that was lost.  I believe there was not enough emphasis on choosing.  What I mean is, any high-quality woman can get men who want to marry her no problem.  But that does not mean she should go off with just any of them.  So many women nowadays are so obsessed with the idea of marriage that they will simply walk down an aisle with the first man who asks.  I think this is very dangerous as a lack of common values and future goals can lead to divorce.  To all the women out there, use Argov's tips to avoid wasting time with losers who communicate through their words and actions that you are a short time fling.  However, use your own discernment and don't just marry anybody.

Friday, April 27, 2018

"Better Together" by Rusty George

This humorous book is all about the importance of community.  George focuses on the benefits or living life with others.  While there are strong Christian undertones and an emphasis on church community, the overall message can be for any type of community.  George speaks about stories of community from the Bible, from Nehemiah's friends to Jesus' friends.  In one funny episode, the author compares the whining at the last supper to a homeowners association meeting gone bad!  On that note, not all community will be pleasant.  There is an aspect of bearing one another's burdens and having compassion.  Where I disagree with this is when personalities come into play.  With my strong empathy tendencies, I have learned to be selective about how close I let friends get.  I can not be someone's therapist or sit thru 30 minutes of venting.  This simply drains me emotionally.  I can, however, enjoy life with positive friendships.  What matters most is not trying to go thru life alone.  Studies show that having community can increase levels of joy, happiness, success, and even health.  Wherever you are in life, I hope you find community.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

"Blonde Ops" by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman

Bec has caused herself so much trouble that she's been kicked out of numerous boarding schools.  Her high-profile parents are too busy with business to chaperone her this summer, so they send her to Rome where she interns at a fashion magazine company.  There Bec meets a whole slue of characters, including two love interests, members of the Secret Service, and the First Lady who just so happens to be visiting.  When the editor in chief of the fashion magazine is sent to the hospital, things get very suspicious.  Then there are all the strange accidents that happen near the First Lady and her eventual kidnapping (spoiler!).  Bec is trying to enjoy her time in Italy but gets sucked into the intrigue.  Her hacking skills (yes, women can code!) and detective skills help her find out what really happened to the magazine editor in chief and First Lady.  There are twists in turns in this book that I did not see coming.  The book starts out a bit slow and doesn't pick up suspense until a third of the way through.  There are a few swear words in the book and some kissing, but nothing graphic. 

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

"Never Chase Men Again" by Bruce Bryans

This book is both comical and straight to the point.  As the title suggests, the whole premise is that men chase while women choose.  If a woman likes a man, she should never chase him or initiate contact.  If a woman likes a man that she is dating, she should never give up her hobbies or rearrange her schedule for the man.  If she's free, she'll accommodate the date.  If not, the man will learn to plan dates out further in the calendar.  Another obvious piece of advice the author gave was for women to not have physical intimacies relations or move in with a man before marriage.  Bryans talks about how men categorize women into categories of friends, friends with benefits, or long term committment.  Women should only entertain men who put in the effort and communicate thru actions / words that the woman is special.  Otherwise, time is wasted.  I have found this true in my own life.  When I refuse to go out with men who don't put in any effort, I free up time to meet real men who will rise to the challenge of courtship.  There is also a section on self esteem and how women should be happy with their own life regardless of what men may or may not be in their life.  This book was very short and could be read in a day or simple kept as a reference book (the table of contents is excellent).

Thursday, April 12, 2018

"Bountiful Blessings" by Susie Larson

I’ve gone thru devotionals and I’ve gone thru coloring books, but I’ve never gone thru a devotional coloring book before!  What a fun idea and excellent concept.  The left pages have short Bible verses followed by inspirational explanations, and the right pages have coloring images.  The coloring images range from flowers to landscapes to animals.  I enjoy how the pages are normal novel-sized pages.  I’ve colored in large coloring books before, and there is just too much white space to fill in!  Not with this book, though.  There is enough space to relax with coloring but not so much to wear out one’s wrist.  The Bible verses are from both the Hebrew Bible and New Testament.  There is an emphasis on relaxation, calmness, and less worrying.  I recommend this book to anyone who likes to color and wants some peaceful quiet time.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

"The Healthy Living Handbook" by Laura Harris Smith

Full of wisdom, this book is a must for anyone who wishes to have a more healthy lifestyle.  The book is broken up into three chunks--spirit, mind, and body.  The spirit section focuses on prayer and religious service (in Smith's Christian setting, this means church).  The mind section focuses on de-cluttering, forgiveness, laughter, and more.  The body section focuses on diet, exercise, essential oils, sleep, and hydration.  Each chunk has 10 chapters, most of which are about 5 pages, which makes for a quick read.  At the end of each chapter are questions for the reader to journal respond, as well as a guided prayer.  Since Smith is a Christian, there are copious references to Jesus and quotations from the Bible.  Smith balances religion with intentional living quite well.  While some would say God can heal any ailment, Smith argues that God "will not bless food eaten in hell's kitchen" and that people can not pray themselves from a size 24 to a size 4.  This isn't meant to discount spirituality--there is a whole section of the book devoted to spirituality--but rather to teach readers that they have their own responsibility in this life.  God loves humans, I believe, but sometimes we have to learn from our mistakes.  If someone can eat candy all day long and never get cavities, how can they learn to eat sweets in moderation?

Sunday, April 1, 2018

"Courageous Women of the Bible" by Latan Roland Murphy

While many may think of the Bible as a book full of male characters, there are quite a few female characters.  These women are not all just wives and mothers.  They are heroins and champions, dealing with life challenges as difficult as leading nations into battle.  The women of yesteryear had it just as rough--if not rougher--than the women of today.  They faced childlessness, difficult marriages, shameful reputations, personal insecurities, and doubted their faith in God.  Women from the Old Testament and New Testament are detailed.  There is a Christian undertone to this book as there are copious references to Jesus.  Some characters are Deborah, Mary, the mother of Moses, Abigail, and even some women who are unnamed.  I was surprised to see the woman from Song of Songs listed as a courageous woman of the Bible--a women who is nameless in the poem.  Still, I liked where Murphy took the story and how she weaved in the lesson of waiting on love instead of setting for the first person who gives a woman attention--something that can have miserable and lifelong consequences.  At the very end of the book, there is a section for readers to journal about their own fears and courage based on the topics covered in the book.  I found this book to be rather inspiring and uplifting.  May you all find your courage as you cast fear aside.  

"An Astronaut's Guide to Life on Earth" by Chris Hadfield

This book was part of a book club at my workplace.  I wasn't sure if it would be a biography or a self help book or a story.  After reading the book, I discovered it is all that and more. Hadfield chronicles his life journey, from child to astronaut.  There is even a bit about his family and personal life.  I had no idea how young Hadfield married or how straining the life of an astronaut could be on a marriage.  Away for months on end is no easy task for work-life balance.  Throughout the entire book, there is an emphasis on teamwork and humility and being what Hadfield calls a zero.  Being a zero doesn't mean being a loser but rather aiming to keep the machine running without drawing too much attention to oneself.  Don't focus on the spotlight.  Simply focus on doing your best job possible and contribute your piece.  Hadfield also speaks about how loneliness is a state of mind, not a location.  He did not feel lonely in space but noted how many in large cities can feel lonely.  Hadfield speaks about his return to earth and his acceptance of his fame that many will inevitably forget.  For those interested in life in space and how that translates into character on earth, give this book a go!