REVIEW: “No More Christian Nice Girl” by Paul Coughlin & J.Degler

This is a short book, but an informative one, on how to switch from being a “nice” girl to a “good” woman of God. Nice girls are often cowardly and non-confrontational, while Good women will speak the truth in love and not let others take advantage of them.

Each chapter features a short “story” snippet of the life of fictional “Christian Nice Girl“, Nicole, and how she is changing into a “Good” woman through her reading of “No More Christian Nice Girl“, and by putting what she reads into practice. There are also study questions at the end of each chapter, for further reflection.

Chapter topics deal with life scenarios such as family, dating, work, marriage, s-x, and abusive relationships. There’s a chapter that gives examples of women in the Bible who were “good” instead of just “nice”. And, the book is filled with examples of how Jesus, Himself, was “good” but not “nice”.

I didn’t find the book to be overly preachy, either. It’s just a short, practical book that has you feeling more confident by the time you turn the last page.

Recommended.
[This book was received via LibraryThing.com’s Early Reviewers program]

REVIEW: “The Eden Diet” by Rita Hancock, MD

Listen for hunger pangs, and when you feel them,
eat small quantities of the foods you enjoy
.”
(from page 182)

That, right there, basically sums up this book’s premise. 🙂

THE EDEN DIET is a good guide for learning how to eat according to your “internal weight control system”. Dr. Rita’s approach is very freedom-focused, and she gives people ‘permission’ to eat what they truly enjoy, no matter their starting weight. There’s no guilt or condemnation here! She, herself, knows what it’s like to struggle with being overweight, as she lost 75 lbs with this way of eating, and has kept it off (if imperfectly) for over 25 years.

Even though the program is a Christian one, and God is a primary focus, this book is not at all “preachy”. I think, even if you don’t have a Christian worldview, you could still read this book for its weight loss advice/plan without feeling like you’ve been beat over the head with the Christian message.

The challenges presented inside — from the 7-Day Challenge, to the 30-Day Blocks, to the Apple Test — are all very helpful, but they’re not so complicated or intimidating as to scare you off. They have just enough to them to motivate you.

Many topics are covered inside, including (but not limited to): whether or not to eat breakfast, how to handle buffet meals and other special occasions, food- and people-triggers, and how to still eat when your family does.

I really liked how, at the end of each chapter (and even at the end of some sub-sections), Dr. Rita would give you a summary of what you’ve just read in order to help cement the ideas presented.

Overall, this is a fantastic book, and a terribly sensible plan. I definitely give this book my highest recommendation (and will be back in a few months to let you know how it’s working for me!). 😉

5*****
(Rated: A+)

REVIEW: “Evermore” by Alyson Noel

(Book 1, The Immortals)

A fantastic book — I couldn’t put it down! There were twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, as well as a couple that I did. But, i found this to be like one of those movies where nothing is as it really seems. And, that definitely made it a better story. 😉

When I thought the book was over, it kept going for about 30 more pages… that was the only thing that really bugged me. But, it was still a decent ending, and I can’t wait to read the other two books in this series to find out what happens next.

Rated: A-

REVIEW: “Dr. Colbert’s ‘I Can Do This’ Diet” by Dr. Don Colbert

While this book often encouraged “mindful eating” — of which I’m a huge fan! — it also highly promoted herbal weight-loss supplements, and recommended giving up all “whites” (flour, sugar, etc). I don’t agree with having to give up anything, unless you have an allergy/sensitivity, or were told by your own physician to do so.

I hated that the author kept promoting his own books and website over and over again. And, I really disliked the push for eating foods “in the right combinations”.

But, the parts about mindful eating — waiting for true, physiological hunger, and watching for your satiety signals, and that sort of thing — were great!

There is a little bit of everything in this book, so it’s not terrible, and I’m sure that it can be really useful to some! I know people who need to stay away from the “whites” as recommended by their doctor, so this might be a book that they can use!

In general, though, this book wasn’t for me.

Rated: C

REVIEW: “Scars & Stilettos” by Harmony Dust

Harmony was a victim of sexual abuse from a very young age. Abandoned by her father, and living with an emotionally distant mother, she turns to a boy her age for love and attention. But, as her debt increases, she is forced to find a way to support herself and the boyfriend. So, she takes up stripping. But, God still finds her where she’s at. And, through a series of circumstances, Harmony’s life is redeemed.

I really enjoyed this book — I wasn’t sure I would, but after a slow start, I couldn’t put the book down! 🙂 The book isn’t preachy at all. It’s just a good look at what love can do to change a person’s life for the better.

Recommended.

Rated: B+

[This book was sent to me through FIRST Wild Card Tours]

REVIEW: “Switch” by Chip Heath & Dan Heath

I loved this book! There were sooooo many stories of people who faced huge, seemingly impossible challenges, had very limited resources, and still — because of clever thinking, and small steps — managed to overcome the odds, and completely change things for the better.

This book is humorous, and yet hugely practical. I can think of three or four different areas of my life where I’m going to try to apply what I’ve learned.

Oh, and that was the other cool thing! Every so often, throughout the book, you’d get a couple of shaded pages called “Clinics“, where the authors give you a scenario, and you have to try to use what you’ve learned to come up with a “fix” for the scenario… they, of course, give you their opinion, but only AFTER… so you get to try your hand at using the tools they’ve provided.

Definitely a book I’d recommend.

Rated: A-

REVIEW: “Godmother” by Carolyn Turgeon

This was a good story. I loved the description of the bookstore where Lil worked. Heck, the descriptions of everything throughout the book were very vivid, making you feel like you smell, touch, or taste what was being described. And, I cared about Lil, and her predicament.

The ending of this book was something I didn’t see coming. I should’ve — had I been paying more attention — but I didn’t. Either way, it was still good, and I’m okay with how things turned out. It makes sense.

Recommended.

Rated: B-

REVIEW: “The Twilight Gospel” by Dave Roberts

 I kind of expected this book to be different. I’m not exaclty sure what I expected — maybe a “don’t read these books because they’ll corrupt you” sort of thing — but I didn’t find that. Instead, Mr. Roberts says to go ahead and “enjoy” these books, just not to “believe” their story. ((Not that I’m looking for a book that says you shouldn’t read the ‘Twilight’ series… I LOVED the 4 books, and highly recommend them!)) I guess what I wanted was more argument for what I can tell my kids — especially my daughter (who won’t get to read the series for another 2 years, at least) — about what to be aware of when reading these books, and what is good/bad about them, from a Christian perspective.

For me, the book was sort of “heady”… it seemed to go around in circles a bit. Don’t get me wrong ~ there was helpful information here. I just didn’t think the author made a very strong argument. He praised the series, on one hand, but also gave a few points to watch out for, on the other. Overall, though, I didn’t feel that it changed my stance on anything, one way or another. I would’ve liked to see more of an argument about the elements that go against the Christian worldview.

One thing I really hated about this book was that it spoiled a lot of “Midnight Sun” (the unpublished, unfinished manuscript for the 5th book in the “Twilight” saga), and almost spoiled Dan Brown’s new book, “The Lost Symbol” ~ two books I haven’t yet had opporunity to read.

Overall, this is an okay book, but I’m going to seek out other, similar, titles to see if they will present me with a more in-depth perspective.

Rated: C

Edited to add: For a fantastic, alternate take on what to do with the Twilight series, please see My Friend Amy’s blog post about the relevancy of books like this!

REVIEW: “Eats With Sinners” by Arron Chambers

Author, Arron Chambers, has a true passion for reaching lost people with the Good News of salvation, and it shows through this book!

Arron suggests that we set up regular times to meet with people who don’t know Christ, and to share a meal with them. Over those meals, we can get to know each other, and share our stories of what Christ has done for us, and how our lives have been changed because of this. Also suggested is that we go where the lost are… instead of waiting for them to come to us. As Arron says, fish don’t just jump into the boat! 😉

I loved chapter 2: “Accessibility” as it talked about the ways we make ourselves inaccessible to those who are searching. We wear fancy clothes to church and tend to shun those who don’t feel the need to do so (Finally! The permission to wear my jeans to church! LOL), and we expect the lost to come to us instead of going to where they are.

I also loved that there were recipes shared throughout the book! Some of them look really good, and I think I’m going to give them a try! 😀

At the end of each chapter are questions for digging deeper. Also, there are suggestions throughout for how we can put what we’ve learned in the book into practice — some practical ways that we can do more to reach the lost.

Overall, this is a great book. It’s humorous, honest, and down-to-earth. And, I think that Arron’s right… it doesn’t take a lot for us to change the whole world — it just takes a firm resolve to step out of our comfort zones & be obedient to God’s leading. 😉

Recommended. Rated: B+

PS… HUGE thanks to the author for graciously sending me a copy of his book for review! 😀