Sunday, January 31, 2010

Love Him, Love His Kids - Stan Wenck & Connie J. Hansen

Okay, completely not a fan of this book. Now, I have to be honest and say I didn’t really read it. I more just scanned it. Even the title kind of turned me off. Just because you love someone doesn’t mean that you are automatically going to love the people attached to them. Yes, you need to act lovingly towards them. But you won’t necessarily love them right off the bat.

But that’s not my main beef with this book. It is completely kid-centric. Do whatever you can and need to in order to make the kids’ lives easier. They have been through a lot (granted – they have. I was a kid of divorce too) and need understanding and coddling. I just can’t buy into that. They do need understanding. But they also need guidance and rules and stability. After all, doesn’t the Bible teach that if you love your children you will discipline them? How is this different for your step-kids

This book is a bit too far off center for me. I believe that the focus needs to be on your marriage…that’s why you’re there in the first place. And then the kids come after that. Also, in all of that, you need to be careful to not lose yourself.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Back to Life - Kristin Billerbeck

By being a “trophy wife” Lindsay expected to outlive her husband. However, she did not anticipate being a widow at thirty-five. Or to have to deal with Ron’s ex-wife, Jane, as the executor of his estate. But everyone has their secrets, and Ron had a reason for wanting them all together.

I have to be honest, I love Kristin Billerbeck but I was pretty disappointed in this book. (Fingers crossed that her other “newer” book is better since it’s what we chose for book club in February). The story telling was very disjointed and jumpy. And I don’t think that is solely because the chapters alternate voice between Lindsay and Jane. Even within the chapters things didn’t flow.

Additionally, I didn’t really feel or see a lot of character development and change. Lindsay still hasn’t found a plan for her life. She has just found another man (and not the one I was cheering for). Jane grows a bit more, but still not to a satisfying level in my opinion.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Play It Again, SAHM - Meredith Efken

Not a lot to say about this book. I had read the other two in the series. Never really got a lot out of them other than some mindless entertainment. Same can be said for the final book.

 I will say this, a book of nothing but emails is an interesting format…and quick to read.

And for those of you unaware, a SAHM is a Stay at Home Mom.

Going Rogue: An American Life - Sarah Palin

I’ll be honest. I was a bit disappointed in this book. First of all, parts of it completely lost me when they got into technical pipeline things and political acronyms. Apparently I’m slightly less informed on such things than the average person.

Also, I really liked Sarah Palin in the last election cycle. I thought she kept it above board – no mud-slinging or pot shots. She just told it like it is, and I liked what she told.

However, in this book at times it seems as if she’s doing a lot of finger pointing. I want to say that it’s because she wants to set the record straight. And that very well might be the case. But it felt just a little…shady.

And I didn’t put the book down believing that I knew more about Sarah Palin the person. I guess that’s what I was hoping for.

Still, a decent, easy read. And certainly educational in some aspects.

Monday, January 11, 2010

A Career Girl's Guide to Becoming a Stepmom - Jacquelyn B. Fletcher

So, I am not really a “Career Girl” in terms of climbing the corporate ladder and such. Although I have had the opportunity to, my heart is for teaching. Not a large ladder there – and I certainly wouldn’t ever want to climb it to an administrator’s level. Yuck! Too much responsibility and not enough time with kids.

However, that being said, there were still some really valuable tips and ideas and comfort to pull from this book. I do have skills that I have used in various jobs in this step-parenting thing – debate, organization, negotiation. And it is also important to not lose me in the step-mommying. I am still me. And I need to still pursue my interests and not just be wrapped up in homework, PTO, and chauffeuring kids around. Yes, I need to do that too, but to find the balance.

And, at the end of the day, my marriage is about me and him. The girls, the ex-, etc. certainly all affect that. But what am I doing each and every day to invest in this relationship that will last long after the kids move out of the house.

Of course, the book had some required venting as well. We step-mom’s all need to read/hear that every now and then to know we are not evil for having less than positive thoughts and feelings all the time. It allows us to let ourselves off the hook a bit.

Practical, entertaining, easy (to read…not so much to implement all the time).

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Shades of Blue - Karen Kingsbury

Okay, Karen Kingsbury is probably one of my favorite Christian authors. I mean, you have to love an author who gets you all teary-eyed just with her dedication page.

Shades of Blue is her latest book and is a stand-alone title. It came out this summer. But since I requested it from the library, I just got it and read it (in about 2 days – her books are good like that).

In this book, Brad Cutler is getting ready to open a new chapter in his life. But in order to do so, he needs to write some final lines to a chapter from years ago. He needs to find forgiveness and peace so that he can move forward. He needs to seek out his old girlfriend, Emma, and make amends.

I really liked this book. Okay, I really like all of her books. But she tackles the topic of abortion in a straight-forward, yet compassionate way in this book. You truly feel for both Brad and Emma. For their loss, their love, their regret, and God’s ultimate forgiveness and mercy.

The only thing qualm I have with the book is how Brad treats Emma when he goes back and finds her. He is a bit too touchy-feely with an old girlfriend than I would have expected (or appreciated had I been the old girlfriend or the new one). Of course, I guess if you share the kinds of experiences they did, you are bound for life, in a sense.

Monday, January 4, 2010


So, along with reading Shades of Blue (which I should finish by tomorrow), I am reading The Love Dare.  It opens up with I Corinthians 13:1-3.  Here is my version of that:

  • If I talk without love, I am just an annoying noise, neither useful now pleasing.
  • It doesn't matther how much I know or how much I believe.  If I'm not loving then I'm a hopeless dunce.
  • Who cares what I give away or sacrifice.  It is love - speaking love, being love, showing love - that makes the difference.

Friday, January 1, 2010

What is this all about?

Well, you see. I have a problem. An addiction, really. To books.

I like to buy books. I like to borrow books. I even like to smell books (Unless I'm borrowing them from a smoker; then they stink a bit.).

So as a part of my New Year's resolution I have tasked myself with this blog...and books.

I have books on my shelves that I bought last year...the year before...5+ years ago...and have never read. I also have books on my shelves that I would love to re-read. And, truthfully, I'm running out of shelf space.

So for 2010, I will be reading through my bookshelves - encountering new books, revisiting old favorites, and deciding what will stay and what will go. And I will be blogging about it.

Now, since I have a family and a job and another job and a little bit of a life, I will not be reading a book a day (I only read 109 books in all of 2009). I haven't decided what to do with that conundrum yet. Perhaps I will post about the part of the books I'm reading. Perhaps I will post only upon completing a book. Perhaps I will post random life stuff. That remains to be seen.

Also, as a caveat, I still have a basket full of books from the library that I need to read. So I will be reading and posting on those first...before I get to the books I actually own.

I'm going to be starting the new year off reading Karen Kingsbury's latest, Shades of Blue. I've been looking forward to this one for months.

Happy reading!