Saturday, June 8, 2019

Book Review: Behind the Laughter by A. Griffith and B. Travis-Griffin

We are surprised when comedians like Robin Williams commit suicide because they always laugh and make jokes. This book tells the story of a comedian who is telling jokes to his audience while living a personal nightmare - his child is dying from cancer.
While the book has plenty of humor in it, the book and author cannot and do not try to hide that the nightly laughter is in many cases just a facade that hides a person with problems like everyone else. And while the rest of us can sit in our cubicle and have a sour face, a comedian is supposed to be funny and entertaining all the time. This book shows the reader how the author and his wife overcame the tragedy and continue to live and find laughter again.
This book is recommended to people who also face tragedies in their lives and feel that there no positive end. This book will provide insight into how this couple managed to overcome tragedy and find happiness again as well as how they leaned on each other, their religion and in the end found happiness and laughter again.

available on amazon.com
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is my own and has not been influenced by any third parties.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Book Review: From Monk to Money Manager

 Jesus may have been poor, but that does not mean that we all have to adhere to living in poverty. Actually, if we have money enough so we do not struggle with financial difficulties every waking hour, it puts us in a position to focus on helping others and doing good.
Using a good sense of humor, we learn about the author's own life and experiences, including mistakes, with money. Growing up in a rich family, then going through a wild phase, before finding peace in his life and with having regular income and some wealth, the authors guides the reader to a healthy relationship with money and wealth.
In the process, the author assures the reader that it is okay as a Christian to want financial independence and achieve it. Having some money and enough of it to stop worrying about living from paycheck to paycheck will enable a Christian to adhere to religious ideals rather than consider them lost due to having sought and attained wealth.

available on amazon.com
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Saturday, May 25, 2019

book review: Brave Surrender: Let God’s Love Rewrite Your Story by Kim Walker-Smith

Kim Walker Smith is a well known recording artist and worship leader, probably best known for her rendition of How he loves. But her life was not always going in perfect ways. This book describes her struggles in childhood all the way to early adulthood and how she found her ways through God and to God. We learn about her difficult childhood, with divorced parents and due to frequent moves being considered the new kid and never really fitting in. Being a shy kid made it difficult for Kim to fit in, feel like she was one of the crowd and contributed to her withdrawing more. 
Finding a home in religion and God while in college, she gained confidence and now a recording artist that performs in front of large crowds. Trusting in God and believing that Jesus will be on her side, gave Kim the strength to overcome her fears and find a way to showcase her true character. This book is excellent for anyone doubting themselves, struggling in their life and career. If you feel that you need support and do not really find it among your peers, this book will show that trust in God will provide you with a support that allows you to overcome obstacles and fears and allow you to be your true self.

A very inspiring book about an honest person that is now flawless, but provides guidance on how the rest of us can overcome obstacles and how faith can give us the strength to reach our dreams. 

available on amazon.com


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for review purposes. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party. 

Friday, May 10, 2019

A Love Letter Life: Pursue Creatively. Date Intentionally. Love Faithfully. by Jeremy & Audrey Roloff

Falling in love is never easy and doing so on TV, watched by millions is even more daunting. But that is what happened to the authors of this book. Jeremy was part of a nationally known TV series and we saw him grow up in front of us. Audrey not only started dating Jeremy, but she also in the process signed up to be on TV on a regular basis. This book details the relationship from the initial dating stage to marriage and how their love and life changed in the process. They are now parents and still have a social media process. But the lessons they tell in the book can be applied to anyone in love and struggling with the decision of sharing their life with someone, the trust that is required and how to effectively communicate with that other person.
The book covers the difficulties of a long distance relationship, how to mature as a couple to the point where marriage is the right decision and the understanding that any relationship to make it work is hard work.
I recommend this book to anyone that is in a relationship, whether they are just dating or have been married for many years. It is always good to read the story of other couples, especially their struggles and how they tackled hiccups in the relationship.

available on amazon.com
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Book Review = The Rock, the Road, and the Rabbi by Kathie Lee Gifford

I have followed Mrs Gifford for a long time on TV from the show with Regis to her current stint, that just ended, on NBC morning TV with Hoda. Her on TV personality is very different than the person we see in this book that is deep into religion, philosophy and esoteric.
She tells the reader in this book about her journey of many years to get a deeper understanding of religion and God's lessons for us. This book is about her journey and combines the lessons from her with insights from Rabbi Sobel. Rabbi Sobel contributes lessons about Hebrew language and culture to support our lessons from God as Christians. Israel also plays an important part in the book written by Mrs. Gifford. In the part of the book describing "The Road", Mrs Gifford helps the reader explore landmarks and historically significant sites from the country that are relevant to the Christian religion. But the main focus of the book is "The Rock" namely Jesus Christ and Mrs Gifford talks openly her experiences that brought her closer to God and his Son.
This is an interesting book for Christians to learn how a well known TV personality found religion, but also contributes important general understanding about religion for anyone interested in the origin and relevance of Christianity.


available on amazon.com
Disclaimer; I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this blog is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Friday, March 29, 2019

Book Review: Rewired: An Unlikely Doctor, a Brave Amputee, and the Medical Miracle That Made History by Dr. Ajay K. Seth & Robert Suggs

Miracles are rare, but the topic of this book is a medical procedure that is nothing short of miraculous in terms of allowing a patient to feel and use a prosthetic arm just like it was the arm pre-amputation.
What started innocently enough with a racoon bite, turns at first a fight to survive and continue living. The decision is made to amputate due to recurring infections and the physician performing the amputation is a novice surgeon that never before has performed such a procedure. But all turns out well, not only that - the patient is able now to use the prosthetic arm like a real arm, guiding the arm movement by thinking and actually feeling with the hand.
This sounds at first far fetched and impossible, but this book will walk you through the long journey of both patient and physician to get where they are now. Both patient and physician are determined to restore function to as high a degree as possible and what these two dedicated fighters come up with can bring improvements for all amputees. This book goes to show that medical advances can occur anywhere, they just need dedication, maybe luck and some higher power certainly does not hurt.
I recommend this book to anyone that is inte4rested in medical advances and how advances in treatment can happen, but they will not occur overnight and take time and the rare combination of people as described in this story. People that do not give up and are willing to be patient, but also determined to see things through.

available on amazon.com
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this review is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Book Review: A Brave Face: Two Cultures, Two Families, and the Iraqi Girl Who Bound Them Together by Barbara Marlowe & Teeba Furat Marlowe

This is an inspirational story about the efforts of one woman to help an Iraqi girl, badly burned as a consequence of a roadside bomb. Barbara Marlow saw a picture of a then four year old girl that was burned during an explosion and this image moved her so much that she was determined to provide any assistance needed to this girl, including bringing her to the US for medical treatment. What is described in this book is an example of determination by one individual that can move mountains. Even though Ms. Marlowe was already in her 50s and had an established career, the fate of this young girl become the focus of her life and she spared no expense in terms of money and, most importantly, time to get the girl Teeba the resources it needed to recover from the damage of the bombing. This not only included bringing her to the US, but in the end also adopting the girl and providing her with the opportunity to live in the United States. Over several years of hospital stays and many surgeries, what Ms Marlowe describes is the strength that both Ms Marlowe and Teeba drew from each other and the bond that formed helped them get through all the obstacles to the present, in which both have fulfilling lives.
Despite the differences of origin and many obstacles faced by each, Ms Marlowe and Teeba provide the reader with the inspiration that hope and determination can overcome many obstacles.
available on amazon.com


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book for purposes of the review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party. 

Friday, March 15, 2019

Book Review = Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise by Horst Schulze

While studying for my Masters in Leadership I read several research papers on the topic of leadership qualities and how to become an effective leader versus merely occupying the position of leader by title. So this book sounded really interesting and I love the no-nonsense approach of the author. Plain English is quality that is often lacking, authors hiding behind fancy words that are supposed to sound knowledgeable, while not really revealing anything new or newsworthy. This book is definitely about showing the reader the author's opinion on what makes an effective leader.
The author is an experienced CEO, having led the Ritz Carlton Hotel chain and he is now making his lessons learned available to the reader in this book. A vision is important, but never forget that a company's success is built upon its people. So as important as formulating a cohesive vision may be, stay focused on your staff and enable them to be successful - this in turn will drive the success of the company. Making the staff understand that excellence is just good enough and setting the standard high will only work if the staff buys into your vision. Knowing that you will support and enable them to be their best, will go along ways towards having a workforce that wants to excel and wants to see the business excel.
I recommend this book to any company leader, whether in hospitality or not, who wants to learn how to bring out the best in his staff as a means to secure the success of his business.
 
available on amazon.com


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Friday, March 8, 2019

Book Review: Better Together: Life Is Best with a Friend Like You by Zondervan

This is the perfect gift for your best friend. It shows cute pictures of unlikely animal pairings accompanied by writings that focus on all aspects of friendship, including the respect you show your friend, the love that is part of friendship and the understanding that is the basis of such a close relationship.
The pictures are cute, but they also underscore that we are often friends with very different people that we have only little in common on the surface. That is why the text is really the focus of this book. Because the writing underscores what makes up a friendship - you should really focus on the text and use the images as a nice addition.
available on amazon.com
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Book Review: Grateful American: A Journey from Self to Service by Gary Sinise & Marcus Brotherton

We all remember Lieutenant Dan from Forrest Gump because Gary Sinise has really stepped up and helped veterans through his foundation and his endless engagement with the USO. This is now the book about the man himself and how he became the real life hero that we know today.

Growing up in Chicago, his early life was typical for many American boys - sports and rock 'n roll. By chance he made it on to stage and the rest was a stellar rise to the Hollywood elite. But life was not quite full it seemed and his portrayal of the disabled veteran in Forrest Gump made him a hero among veterans, who felt he really represented them in the movie. This started a two-way road, veterans supporting Gary and Gary giving back to the veteran community.
 
This book details the life of Gary Sinise and what made him into the person he is today. Traveling regularly with the USO, raising fund for this foundation and supporting veterans in many different ways. An honest book that is a must read for anyone who wants to get to know the real Gary Sinise.


available on amazon.com


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Friday, February 15, 2019

The Theft of America’s Soul: Blowing the Lid Off the Lies That Are Destroying Our Country by Phil Robertson

We all know about Phil Robertson, head of the family that is known for Duck Dynasty. After the show, he stays busy with the company, but also finds time to write books. This is another outpouring of Robertson, who is a well known conservative Christian. As is hinted at in the TV series, Robertson is concerned with the current values of America. He feels that  America and we as a society have allowed morality and virtue to loose their former value and high standing.While he is upset about the slide of our society, he also has hope that things can be turned around.
While he proposes certain changes, I think this book is worth reading for his analysis of our society and what some of the problems are we have brought upon ourselves by giving up traditional values.
This is definitely a book for a Christians. People of other faith may also feel that our society has problems, but while can agree on the problems, this book is very much written from a Christian standpoint. Which on one hand is sad, but also understandable knowing the character and person of Robertson as seen on TV.

available on amazon.com


Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Even though Duck Dynasty is no longer on TV, you can still enjoy stories about and by the infamous Duck Commander family. This book is a compilation of stories that showcases the various members of the family and their at times really funny, but always believable, experiences. Whether it deals with people getting lost on a trip or going on an outing and forgetting things; we can all relate to these experiences and they make for perfect bedtime stories. Every story has a lesson about family and what makes us good human beings. Add into that cute images and a word choice that is relatable, age appropriate and contains a lot of funny experiences - you get one entertaining book that also teaches life lessons.

available on amazon.com
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is my own and has not been influenced by a third party. 

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Book Review: Dangerous Prayers: 50 Powerful Prayers That Changed the World by Susan Hill & Francesca Resta

Christianity as a religion of challenging the status quo, seeking a fight and not being afraid of danger. This is the theme of this book and the collection of prayers underscores the tenet that Christianity was never a safe or conformist religion. Taking lessons from MLK, Mother Teresa, Abraham Lincoln and St. Francis will embolden the reader to also seek out challenges and not being afraid to test unknown waters.
Wonderfully created with pictures and background on each person as well as representative prayer, this book is perfect to grab and read on person and prayer at a time, think about the content and then taking time to let it sink in, before tackling another chapter.
 While clearly a religious book, the content is more than simply a list of prayers and background on select Christians, it is a book that underscores that Christianity involves thinking for yourself and challenging others and norms without fear.
available on amazon.com

Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Thursday, January 17, 2019

Book Review: Still in the Game: Finding the Faith to Tackle Life’s Biggest Challenges by Devon Still

 Even if you are not a football fan you may have heard the inspirational story of Devon Still and his dedication to support his daughter Leah in her fight to beat cancer. Leah was diagnoses with late stage neuroblastoma and Devon put his career on hold to be by his daughter's side throughout her battle with cancer, sleeping in the hospital room with and inspiring others to donate to the cause of berating childhood cancer. 
Leah is now cancer free and Devon wrote this book about the past few years, their fight together against what seemed like impossible odds and how through it all, he never regretted giving up football nor lost faith that his daughter could be cured.
I really like this book, being a cancer survivor myself (20 years and counting) and it shows that the belief has also a role in beating cancer, next to the talent of the physician and the advances in modern medicine. While faith will not heal cancer by itself, it can contribute to a healing process by keeping the patient more relaxed and in a better mindset. This is exactly what this book is about. 
I recommend this book to anyone who is suffering from cancer or has a family member battling the disease. There is hope in the darkest corners.

available on amazon.com



Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Book Review: I Love You, Funny Bunny by Zondervan & Sean Julian (Illustrator)

This is a cute book, perfect to read at bedtime to a toddler or to bring along to a restaurant, when the little one has to sit still and you just need something to keep them entertained. The drawings are fun and cute and give plenty of things to talk about, which is why I like to take books along to restaurants. The subject is love and relationships in general and show that a mother loves her child for all kinds of reasons and loves all aspects of the child.
The book is written in rhymes that are perfect to train the memory of the child when reading the book over and over again. I like to switch up images and rhymes to see if the little one remembers which rhyme goes with which image. The drawings are realistic and the book is of sturdy material, sure to last a long time.
I recommend this book to parents of toddlers that need a bedtime story book, but also to parents who like me take a book along to a restaurant to entertain the toddler with reading, but also discovering new details in the images that are in the book. Overall, this is a book in the traditional style of children's books, which is quite rare these days, but I love it.
available on amazon.com

Disclaimer: In exchange for an honest review, I received a free copy of the book. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Book Review: Love Does for Kids by Bob Goff & Lindsey Goff Viducich

Bob Goff has written this book as a follow up to the prior book Love Does and geared this edition towards kids. In brief stories, with child-appropriate images, he explains concepts such as friends are people we trust, how to overcome our fears and that we can  get to know people without having to invest significant time by breaking the ice three minutes at a time.
The stories are focused on Christian principles and often refer back to what Jesus had done, drawing parallels between the Bible and our everyday life. For kids, this book is a guidance on how to grow and how they as kids can improve their lives and the lives of the people around them.
It does not take much time to get to know someone, such as a person you see regularly at the bus stop or at the grocery check out. But investing that time, rather than blankly staring at the other person, can be very fulfilling and pave the way to a friendship that can span generations.
While this book is strongly focused on Christianity and lessons from the Bible, it is not religious in a sense that it focuses on interpreting the Bible and the religion a certain way, but rather uses them as a starting to help kids grow as people.
I recommend this book to parents; the stories are the perfect length for bedtime stories or to have your elementary school child read on a regular basis. Find the time to discuss the stories with your kids and see how they feel they can incorporate the principles touches upon in their lives. It will build their self-esteem by showing them that even as kids they can make a difference.  
available on amazon.com
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. The opinion expressed in this post is solely my own and has not been influenced by any third party.