Friday, January 31, 2014

Ten Days Without: Daring Adventures in Discomfort That Will Change Your World and You

Author: Daniel Day
Publisher: Waterbrook-Multnomah

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


Daniel chose to go ten day without various things such as legs, furniture, a coat, touch, his voice, and media in an effort to raise awareness for different organizations and causes such as homelessness, modern slavery, disabilities, etc. From the publisher, "Ten Days Without is a compelling story and practical guide that will equip you and your friends to break through walls of convenience and indifference, and join a movement that is confronting apathy and ignorance around the world to make an impact on people’s lives in a God-honoring way. Ten Days Without is where our good intentions end and making a difference in the world begins."


I chose this book for only one reason -- of the three that were available to me it looked the least boring. I wasn't particularly interested in reading it and it hasn't kept my attention. It's a nice little book about how he spent ten days without something and what those around him thought about it and his experience in doing so, the discomforts he faced, the odd looks, and the epiphanic moments he had. He tells you a little bit about the organization he was raising awareness for and gives you some hints and tips if you choose to do this experiment yourself.

The publisher calls this "a compelling story." Please do not set your hopes too high. It's an easy read, you can blow through it quickly, you may not fall asleep, but I would never define it as compelling. It doesn't compel me to stay awake to read it nor did it compel me to do any of these challenges myself. It lacked inspiration and while, yes, attention was drawn to the organizations and causes that he was attempting to draw attention too, I think that during his experiments more attention was probably just drawn to himself. I fail to see how it can make a difference in the world to spend 10 days without furniture...

Ten Days Without is "where our good intentions end and making a difference begins" but I think it falls short of it's claim.

It did not inspire me to do any of the above nor did it really strengthen a desire to help any of the causes listed. I'm not saying that I'm not interested in aiding the cause, this book just wouldn't be a reason for that desire.

The author has a nice, casual writing style. You feel as if you are reading his personal blog, which does make this more pleasant to read. It's simple.

Daniel Day seems like a genuinely nice guy with great intentions. I just didn't find the book to be worth my time. You can decide for yourself by purchasing it online at Amazon or from your local retailer.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Day by Day: The Inspiring Stories behind 175 of the Most-Loved Hymns

Title: Be Still My Soul
Author: Randy Peterson

Disclaimer: This books was provided to me for free from Tyndale House in exchange for an honest review.

From the Publisher:

Be Still, My Soul is a collection of 175 of the most popular hymns and the stories behind them. Many of these hymns were written out of incredible life experiences—from the heart cry of a repentant slave trader to the renewed hope of a survivor of attempted suicide. In this devotional you’ll discover the stories behind the songs we sing. You’ll experience the passion and joy contained in these hymns’ lyrics and melodies. In addition to the hymn stories, Be Still, My Soul includes the musical score, lyrics, and in-depth biographies of 12 of the most-prolific hymn writers, singers, and composers.

Whether you are new to hymns or have cherished them for a long time, you’ll enjoy this illuminating book on the stories behind some of the most popular hymns you sing in worship.

My Review:

I play piano so I requested this book for the music more than the stories. Because of its format, I have not read the book cover to cover, but I have flipped through it and played many of the hymns and read the accompanying stories. I really have been enjoying this book. The musical score is written in typical hymn fashion so they’re easy to play (and need some frills added to make them sound good!). The stories are inspiring and really cause you to read the words that you’re singing to not just sing them but to understand what they mean.

I had never paid much attention to Day by Day until this book and I realized the depth and truth of the lyrics. We are given the strength and grace for each day, not in excess, but exactly what is needed.

If you love music, especially hymns, you’ll enjoy this book.

Claiming Mariah, by Pam Hillman

Title: Claiming Mariah
Author: Pam Hillman
Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Tyndale House in exchange for an honest review.

After receiving a letter from Mariah Malone after her father’s death, Slade Donovan and his brother make the trip to her ranch to right the wrongs done by her father many years ago. Slade confronts Mariah with the truth as he knows it: that her father stole his father’s gold and left him to die with a gunshot wound to his head. After seeing proof that the gold mine was deeded to Slade’s father, Mariah and her grandmother turn the ranch over to Slade. Slade, torn between feeling tender toward the women who have done nothing wrong and feeling the need for vengeance toward Seth Malone, struggles to balance kindness toward Mariah and Mrs. Malone with his resentment toward Seth.

Frederick Cooper, a neighboring smooth-talking and suspiciously well-groomed rancher, has been trying to court Mariah for a few months. Mariah is tempted to accept his proposal of marriage as a solution to her financial predicament… but there’s only one problem: she doesn’t love him. In fact, if she’s honest with herself, it’s Slade, the man who has taken her home, her ranch, and her financial security, who is is now claiming her heart as well.

Mariah begrudgingly admits to herself that the ranch has prospered under Slade’s leadership and as he runs it he discovers the reason for its lack of success. Follow the twists and turns of this entertaining novel as you delve into the world of ranching, thievery, betrayal, murder, and love. Can Mariah and Slade put their fathers’ past behind them or will they allow their fathers’ mistakes to rob them of their future?


I really enjoyed this book. It was well-written and easy to follow, but just intricate enough to allow you to catch on to the story and figure things out before you’re told the whole story.

Mariah is sweet and kind, strong but gentle. She stands strong in the face of adversity and takes it on with courage and integrity.

Slade is Mr. Tough Guy with a tender heart that he struggles to let show. He struggles with the desire for vengeance and the desire for Mariah.

The book is a perfect mix of love, suspense, and a touch of mystery. I would like to read more books by Pam Hillman in the future. You can purchase Claiming Mariah at your local bookstore or online at

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tea With Emma (The Teacup Novellas - Book One)

 From the Publisher:

Fresh from a Jane Austen tour in England, Maddie Cooper returns home to Texas, determined to bring a touch of "Austen to Austin." She dreams of opening an authentic English tea room and, like Austen's Emma, put into practice her self-proclaimed gift as a matchmaker. But an airport mishap with a cranky Englishman gets her off on the wrong foot (quite literally), especially when he moves into the university guest house across the street. Can Maddie find a love for her unapproachable new neighbor, or has she finally met her match?

My Review:

Sweet book, not really stellar. I am currently reading Sense and Sensibility so it was interesting to read quotes from Sense and Sensibility while reading Tea with Emma. The book gave me a few smiles and inner chuckles, but no real LOL moments. I liked the characters and the story.

Long Time Coming

Author: Edie Claire
Pages: 300

From the publisher:

Originally published in 2003 by Warner Books (Warner Forever).

Years and distance kept the memories at bay. But back at home, the past is ready and waiting to haunt her...

Eighteen years have passed since Joy's childhood best friend, Jenny, met her death in a tragic car accident just a few days after their senior prom. A broken Joy left their small Kentucky hometown shortly after--determined never to come back. But when her father's illness forces her to return, she realizes that neither time nor distance have truly healed her troubled soul.

Plagued with nightmares of the accident and crippled by a vague fear whose source she can't identify, Joy realizes that in order to move on she must face the truth behind several disturbing gaps in her memory of that fateful spring. But the only person who can help her is a man she despises--Jenny's erstwhile boyfriend Jeff, now a respected doctor, whose carelessness as a teenager was the cause of Jenny's horrendous death--and Joy's own emotional destruction. Can she ever forgive? She may have no choice but to try. Because both the danger she sensed--and the childhood friendship she treasured--now suddenly seem very much alive...

My Review:

I really liked this book. It was a good, clean romance with light suspense. The characters were interesting, the storyline was good, and I didn't want to put it down.

As much as I enjoyed the book there were a few things I didn't like. Jenny supposedly was haunting her old house (now Joy's home). This is weird and creepy. The Bible tells us that the dead know nothing and that they are asleep in the grave until Jesus comes. So this part of the book was in contradiction to Biblical truth and kind of ruined it for me.

The person who was the culprit behind some bad things happening... I feel like part of her story, the relationship with Joy's parents, etc could have been highlighted a little more. She needed to play a larger role in the book.

Overall, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it if you can look past the ghost thing.

The kindle version is free at right now.

Love by the Letter (An Unexpected Brides Novella)

Author: Melissa Jagears
Pages: 125

From the publisher:

 Dex Stanton has never had much time for book learning. He's been too busy helping to provide for his family. Now that he's heading west, Dex is hoping to start a family of his own. However, his attempt to acquire a mail-order bride fails miserably when the lady writes back ridiculing his terrible spelling. Rachel Oliver may be the last person he wants to know what a dunce he is, but she's also the smartest woman in town--and it's clear he needs her help.

As their time together runs short, can two of the most stubborn people in town set aside their pride long enough to find love?

Love by the Letter is a companion Christian romance novella to A Bride for Keeps, Melissa Jagears's full-length debut novel available fall 2013. Includes an extended sneak peek at A Bride for Keeps.

My Review:

I liked this book. I wouldn’t say that it’s one of the best I’ve ever read, but it was good, light reading for my Christmas vacation. It had the typical misunderstandings that arise from a lack of communication and making assumptions, which caused some drama. The characters were ok but not unique enough for me to keep any of the supporting characters separate. That wasn’t so important for this book; however, the extended sneak peek at A Bride for Keeps made me long for more individual, unique characters since the two books shared characters. I had just finished reading Love by the Letter and had to keep skipping back during the sneak peek to remember who people were.

Good book. I recommend it since it’s free on Amazon right now. I got the kindle version for free and I am writing this review under no obligation from the publisher.

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