Friday, August 24, 2012

Almost Amish by Kathryn Cushman

This book is a light fictional story about a family who agrees to go on a reality TV show where they will experience the Amish way of life.  Two sister-in-laws and their children embark on this journey, each searching for different things.  Julie is tired of life being so busy and juggling her over-committed schedule.  Susan is hoping to use the show to launch her career.  While the Amish life is not "easy", the simplicity ended up teaching both women about themselves and how to better set their priorities.

I enjoyed this story, but didn't find myself very involved in it emotionally.  I tend to prefer books with more drama and depth.  However, I did like the main lesson the book had to teach.  We all have gifts...things that we are good at.  As women we tend to compare ourselves with one another, envying the gifts we see in others rather than recognizing and appreciating what we do well.  Or we can become prideful over our strengths and become frustrated with others who don't adhere to our standards.  I think in some way we can all relate to the struggles these characters faced.

I have always wondered what it would really to be like to be on a reality TV show.  Since this is fiction, I don't know if the way the show was depicted is representative of how these shows really work, but it was interesting to think about.  I don't think I could endure that invasion into my privacy :)

Overall, if you're looking for a light, entertaining read then this is a good book to check out!

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Choice by Robert Whitlow

Teenage pregnancies are on the rise.  This fictional story is about the choice that each of these young girls must make...what to do with the life growing inside of them. 

The main character is Sandy who gets pregnant while in high school.  We follow her as she examines all possibilities and decides what to do with her baby.  Part way through, the story jumps ahead 30 years and Sandy has the opportunity to help another girl in a similar situation.  I love shows how we can use our experiences and heartaches to speak into the life of someone else and encourage them. 

There is plenty of suspense mixed into this story to keep the pages turning quickly.  While a bit unrealistic at times, I enjoyed the plot.  My only complaint is that I would have liked a few additional chapters added.  I felt it ended a bit abruptly.

I don't want to give away much of the story, but adoption is a major theme.  The author says that his "ultimate hope is that readers of this story...will be encouraged to make unselfish, sacrificial choices." Thank you, Robert Whitlow, for writing a story to honor mothers that entertains us as well :)

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Booksneeze in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Be the Mom by Tracey Eyster

Since I am a mom, a book about overcoming attitude traps and enjoying my kids seemed like a good one to read.  I could relate to each of the 7 "traps" mentioned because they are attitudes that I have struggled with as well at some point during my parenting journey.  While this book would have been more beneficial to read shortly after becoming a mom when I was going through the transition, I still found the author's insights to be good reminders.  The key to overcoming these traps is to recognize them and to align our thoughts with the truth.

My kids are now to the age that they can begin helping with chores.  I still haven't figured out the best way to tackle this.  I tend to do things myself, but I know I need to teach them to share in the responsibility.  I found a neat idea in this book to help make family chores fun!  Tracey suggests writing down each weekly chore on a slip of paper and placing them in a jar.  Each family member would draw out a chore and do it.  There are also slips that say "Mom's Choice", "Kid's Choice", or even "No Chore" to keep things interesting :) 

Another idea that stood out to me was a response to a kid's saying "Whatever".  She had her daughter memorize Philippians 4:8 "Finally brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."  Whenever her daughter said "Whatever" she was asked to recite the verse.

Be the Mom is simply advice from one experienced mom to another.  It is a book meant to enlighten, encourage, and remind us of the high calling of motherhood.

*I received a complimentary copy of this book from Tyndale Publishers in exchange for an honest review.