The Polygamist’s Daughter by Anna LeBaron Review

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Description: “My father had more than fifty children.”So begins the haunting memoir of Anna LeBaron, daughter of the notorious polygamist and murderer Ervil LeBaron. With her father wanted by the FBI for killing anyone who tried to leave his cult–a radical branch of Mormonism–Anna and her siblings were constantly on the run with the other sister-wives. Often starving and always desperate, the children lived in terror. Even though there were dozens of them together, Anna always felt alone.She escaped when she was thirteen . . . but the nightmare was far from over.A shocking true story of murder, fear, and betrayal, “The Polygamist’s Daughter” is also the heart-cry of a fatherless girl and her search for love, faith, and a safe place to call home.

My Thoughts: This book is a gritty and disturbing look into what life was like for Anna LeBaron, who grew up in a polygamist cult, under the rule of her murderous father Ervil LeBaron. If I could sum up my thoughts for this book in one lesson, it would be how selfishness and narcissism can destroy lives.

Anna’s childhood was spent moving from place to place, living in poverty with too many people in small places, and facing many tragedies. The book takes you to these places with Anna and as the reader, I  felt like I was with her, feeling the sadness, fear and uncertainty that she was facing…frustrated at how she was treated and neglected.

I appreciated that this book was real, the “nasty” stuff wasn’t glossed over and Anna was brutally honest about the struggles she faced in adulthood as a result of her childhood.

Anna LeBaron is a very strong woman and I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to have read her book. I think it will be therapeutic to women who have struggled with issues in their childhood, particularly with their fathers. I highly recommend this book.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Tyndale House Publishers in exchange for an honest review.

Your Next 24 Hours by Hal Donaldson and Kirk Noonan Review

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Description: If asked, who among us wouldn’t say we were kind people? But kindness is often manifested in feelings of pity or sympathy–especially when others are watching–rather than in deeds. And when it comes down to it, what good does mere feeling do for the world?
Your Next 24 Hours is about something much bigger–a lifestyle of kindness, without thought of reciprocation, extended toward every person in our lives, both friend and foe. Through powerful true stories of kindness lived out, this book shows readers the enormous difference they can make through small, doable acts of kindness in their families, communities, workplaces, schools, and churches. It shows how every encounter with another person is an opportunity to be kind–and a chance to change our world.
Readers of Your Next 24 Hours will find deep satisfaction and joy as they discover how they can be part of a revolution of kindness that starts with them and reaches out through every person their lives touch.

My Thoughts: Lately I’ve felt that the world really needs more kindness and the quote “be the change you want to see” came to mind when I would think this. So when the opportunity to read this book came along, I really wanted to read it.

This book is filled with stories of ordinary people as well as celebrities who chose kindness in big and small ways. It also has ideas for how you, the reader can perform acts of kindness in day to day life.

I found this book very inspiring and uplifting. It was a nice reminder that there is still good in this world and encouraged me to look for opportunities to give and serve each day.

It was enjoyable to read and very fast paced for a non-fiction book. I highly recommend this to all people who want to see more kindness in the world.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for an honest review.

The Fatal Gift of Beauty by Nina Burleigh

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Description: The sexually violent murder of twenty-one-year-old British student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy, on the night of November 1, 2007, became an international sensation when one of Kercher’s housemates, twenty-year-old Seattle native Amanda Knox, as well as her Italian boyfriend and a troubled local man Knox said she “vaguely” knew, was arrested and charged with the murder. The Fatal Gift of Beauty is award-winning author and journalist Nina Burleigh’s mesmerizing literary investigation of the murder, the controversial prosecution, the conviction and twenty-six-year sentence of Knox, the machinations of Italian justice, and the underground depravity and clash of cultures in one of central -Italy’s most beloved cities.

When Perugia authorities concluded that the murder was part of a dark, twisted rite—a “sex game”—led by the American with an uncanny resemblance to Perugia’s Madonna, they unleashed a media frenzy from Rome to London to New York and Seattle. The story drew an international cult obsessed with “Foxy Knoxy,” a pretty honor student on a junior year abroad, who either woke up one morning into a nightmare of superstition and misogyny—the dark side of Italy—or participated in something unspeakable.

The investigation begins in the old stone cottage overlooking bucolic olive groves where Kercher’s body was found in her locked bedroom. It winds through the shadowy, arched alleys of Perugia, a city of art that is also a magnet for tens of thousands of students who frequent its bars, clubs, and drug bazaar on the steps of the Duomo. It climaxes in an up-close account of Italy’s dysfunctional legal system, as the trial slowly unfolds at the town’s Tribunale, and the prosecution’s thunderous final appeal to God before the quivering girl defendant resembles a scene from the Inquisition.

To reveal what actually happened on that terrible night after Halloween, Nina Burleigh lived in Perugia, attended the trial, and corresponded with the incarcerated defendants. She also delved deeply into the history, secrets, and customs of Perugia, renowned equally for its Etruscan tunnels, early Christian art, medieval sorcerers, and pagan roots.

A New York Times bestseller, The Fatal Gift of Beauty is the thoughtful, compelling examination of an enduring mystery, an ancient, storied place, and a disquieting facet of Italian culture: an obsession with female eroticism. By including the real story of Rudy Guede, it is also an acute window into the minds and personalities of the accused killers and of the conservative Italian magistrate striving to make sense of an inexplicable act of evil. But at its core is an indelible portrait of Amanda Knox, the strangely childlike, enigmatic beauty, whose photogenic face became the focal point of international speculation about the shadow side of youth and freedom.

My Thoughts: I went into this book with very little knowledge about the trials of Amanda Knox or the murder of Meredith Kercher. Initially I found this book to be very interesting but the vast amount of information caused me to lose interest. The day of the murder isn’t described until around page 175 and by that time, I was bored with the story. The book would have been better, in my opinion, if some of the information dumps had been edited out.

The facts are presented in a fairly non-biased way, which allows the reader to form their own opinion about the case. I feel very like I know almost everything about this case now but it took a long time to wade through all the information.

My Rating: 3 stars

I received this book from Blogging for Books in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating by Katie Robles Review

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Description: Laugh until you love your body
Are you ready to lose weight and get healthy, but you hate celery sticks and sweat? This book is for you. Sex, Soup, and Two Fisted Eating is:
*Fun: laugh-a-minute encouragement complete with cartoons, poetry, and enough cheesy puns to make you lactose intolerant.
*Sustainable: for long term results, look no further because the healthy habits you develop will help you stay fit until you die. (See how encouraging this is?)
*Flexible: easily adaptable to fit your needs and preferences like a need for chocolate and a preference toward spandex, for example.
*Educational: the science supporting healthy habits is explained in a memorable way, like how REM sleep is like a toilet.

My Thoughts: This was a very fun look at weight loss, unlike anything I’ve read before. The author gives 3 important keys to losing weight and keeping it off…sex, soup, and two fisted eating.

At first I was concerned that it would be too heavy on the humor and light on the information but I was wrong. I found myself motivated to try the tips in this book. The author presents you with small changes that can make a big difference. There are also fun illustrations and relevant Bible verses sprinkled throughout.  There are also many recipes at the end that are healthy and contain lots of vegetables.

My only problem was that at times I felt the author was trying too hard to be funny and the humor fell flat. But for the most part, I was entertained throughout and found it to be very informative. I recommend this to any woman, especially busy moms, who might not have the time to sit down and read a long boring book on weight loss.

My Rating: 4 stars

I received a copy of this book from Book Fun in exchange for an honest review.

Web Thinking by Dr. Linda Seger Review

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Description: The author helps people shift from “rugged individualism” to a “relationship-oriented” outlook and presents a step-by-step process for rethinking linear thinking and using new images to visualize one’s place in an interconnected world.

My Thoughts: I work alone in my job for the majority of the time so I didn’t expect to get much out of this book. Fortunately, the concepts described in this book can be applied to almost every aspect of a person’s life so I found it to be interesting.

The author describes different ways of thinking and working together…the line, the circle, the spiral, and the web. This book promotes web thinking as it incorporates the other 3 concepts together. I had no idea that I thought in a linear fashion but this book really opened my eyes to that. It helped me to realize that it’s not healthy to look at those in positions of authority as “higher up” because it can make yourself feel lower and unimportant. I’ve always struggled a bit with talking to those in positions of authority as I get extremely nervous and afraid I will sound unintelligent…this book gave me concepts to help me overcome those feelings of inadequacy.

I also found the concepts of circular, spiral, and web thinking to be very interesting. Everything is described in a way that is very easy to understand.

Overall, this would be a great book for people who struggle in their work environment or with interpersonal relationships.

My Rating: 3 and a half stars

I received this book from Bookfun in exchange for an honest review.

 

Remember and Return: Rekindling your love for the Savior by John MacArthur Review

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Synopsis: In the busyness and trials of life, it’s easy to drift away from the Savior. We may continue to go to church and even read the Scriptures and pray, but we can still lose our first love. Christ commended the church in Ephesus for their works and for their intolerance of false doctrine yet admonished them to remember and return to their first love–him. In the same way, our outward religiosity can mask an inner lack of love for our Savior.
In this 31-day devotional, John MacArthur takes readers down a biblically prescribed path as they rediscover who Christ is, what he has done, and how they must respond. Each entry will move readers from understanding to application to reflection and prayer, with a goal of rekindling their first love for Christ. Makes a thoughtful gift for any believer.

My Thoughts: This book came at a perfect time. It is so easy to drift from the Lord as this world is hectic.

Each devotional reminded me of my first love and I could feel the Lord drawing me nearer. I can see so many parallels with the church of today and the church in Ephesus of the Bible (doing many works but losing the relationship). This book reminds us to keep the relationship with Christ central to our lives.

I highly recommend this book to all Christians…it provides hope and grace and helps us return to our first love.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Baker Books in exchange for an honest review.

The Daniel Code By O.S. Hawkins Review

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Synopsis: We live in dangerous times. Not only does violence stalk us in the form of terrorism and crime, but our culture itself is crumbling. Our society tolerates and even praises what would once have been barely spoken of. If we stand up we are branded as intolerant, the term today’s culture considers the inexcusable offense.  If we don’t speak up, people won’t know biblical truth.  How is a Christian to respond?

Inspired by the story of Daniel in the Old Testament, bestselling author O.S. Hawkins shows how we can engage our broken culture with integrity. Daniel was a young man who “wrote the book” on how to survive in a pagan, permissive, and perverse culture.  His value system was challenged at every turn.

Daniel steps off the pages of scripture and into our modern culture today to reveal some timeless principles—a sort of “Daniel Code”—that enable you to not simply exist in our culture but to engage it and survive it as well. You will discover that the same God that ensured Daniel’s victories is here for you today.

My Thoughts: It’s no secret that this world can be a scary place to live in. As a Christian, I’ve noticed the divide growing wider and wider between Christians and non-Christians and it is becoming more and more difficult to stand up for what I believe in as it seems like everything is turning upside down.

This book goes into the book of Daniel. Daniel also lived in a crumbling and permissive culture but he “dared to stand alone”.

This book was extremely relevant to today and gives hope as well as prophecy for the future as described in the Bible. It is extremely informative and also very interesting.

I highly recommend this book for any Christian who feels discouraged and silenced by the way the world is headed.

My Rating: 5 stars

I received this book from Booklookbloggers in exchange for an honest review.