Reading in 2012

In 2010 I posted my year-long¬†reading schedule and posted reviews as I finished each book. I am a list maker and a planner, so this was helpful to me and helped me stay accountable and put effort into making time to read. In 2011 I didn’t make a specific list, and I don’t think I posted many book reviews. And to be honest, without the list holding me accountable, I didn’t read as much. Of course in 2011 I was pregnant, started homeschooling, and then gave birth. So I suppose those things could have something to do with not accomplishing as much reading. ūüôā

But, I did do some reading in 2011. And I read a lot of really great stuff. Some really challenging, encouraging, and helpful books. So I did want to share some of my favorite reads from this past year.

Helper by Design by Elyse Fitzpatrick

Elizabeth Prentiss ‘More Love to Thee’¬† by Sharon James

The Faithful Parent by Martha Peace and Stuart W. Scott

The Intimate Marriage by R.C. Sproul

Faithful Women & Their Extraordinary God by Noel Piper

Mission to the Headhunters by Frank and Marie Drown

Passionate Housewives Desperate for God by Jennie Chancey and Stacy McDonald

This year I want to challenge myself to read more than I did this past year, but allow myself a bit more flexibility than in 2010. So I am going to challenge myself to read 15 books this year, and to post reviews as I finish reading. Reading good books is a great way to learn and grow. I am praying that in 2012 the Lord will help me to learn and grow, in part through the books I read. 

I have already started on a really great book this year and I can’t wait to share a review with you when I finish. What are you reading right now?


“Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door” by Josh McDowell and Bob Hostetler

“Don’t Check Your Brains at the Door” is geared toward teens and helping them make sense of different issues concerning the Bible and Christianity. Each of the forty-two¬†chapters takes a myth or misconception and exposes it as such. Some of the various topics include myths concerning Jesus, the Resurrection, faith,¬†heaven, the Bible, sex, and love.

This is written in very simple, easy, and even fun way, and would be something any teen could read. I would suggest it for teens that are searching for answers or¬†are new Christians, and do not have a strong foundation. It is very basic, and not deep or very theological. I liked that¬† at the¬†end of each chapter there is a section called¬† “Brain food” with more scripture references and questions that encourage the reader to get into the Bible and find out more about the topic.

Disclosure: I received this book free as part of the BookSneeze review program from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Washington: A Legacy of Leadership by Paul Vickery

Washington: A Legacy of Leadership¬†focuses mainly on the military career of George Washington prior to his presidency. The author does a comendable job of showing how Washington’s time in the military as a leader prepared him for his job of president, both for himself and in the eyes of the people.

I appreciated the honest approach of the author in that he set forth the excellent character¬†and skills¬†of the man Washington, but yet also addressed his failures and weaknesses.¬†Reading about his victories and his defeats¬†made him more human, and showed how he was prepared better¬†for future descisions and events. ¬†His account of his rise through the military ranks, and the time spent serving in various places and posts was interesting and well written. Though I prefer a biography with plenty of personal and¬†family history and details¬†(which in this case is unlikely the fault of the author but more due to little being known about Washington’s early years), this book was far from boring. I enjoyed learning more about George Washington and thus more about the history of our nation.

Disclosure: I received this book free as part of the BookSneeze review program from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

“On This Day in Christian History” by Robert J. Morgan

On This Day in Christian History: 365 Amazing and Inspiring Stories about Saints, Martyrs and Heroes

The author of this book gives brief biographical sketches of 365 different men and women from Christian history. The stories are arranged in daily readings, one short story for each day of the year. The day of the year correlates with a significant date in the life of the person being written about.

I really enjoyed this book, and learning more about a myriad of different men and women from history. While I wouldn’t call all of¬†the people¬†mentioned in the book a¬†“Saint, Martyr, or Hero” as the book claims, I did appreciate the vast majority of those he wrote about. It was great to have my memory refreshed about many faithful Christians that I have learned about in the past, and also to learn about new men and women who lived, and¬†many times¬†died,¬†for Christ. Many of the stories left me eager to learn more about that individual.

This book would be great to use along with your devotions, or as a brief reading to start or end your day. I read it cover to cover, but I think it would be more enjoyable in small portions spread over a period of time as was intended.

Disclosure: I received this book free as part of the BookSneeze review program from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

“The Dragon and the Turtle”

The Dragon and the Turtle

“The Turtle and the Dragon” by Donita K. Paul and Evabgeline Denmark

This little book about a¬† dragon and turtle who love adventure and yummy treats was a fun read for my five and three year old boys. The story follows two young animals, Padraig and Roger, as they search for Rogers house. Roger has lost his way, and isn’t certain how to get home. He describes his house and his new friend Padraig helps him find his way home. The story is cute, and I liked how it used the five senses to describe Roger’s house, as well as many good descriptive words throughout the story. Padraig displays kindness and helpfulness , and at the end of the story there is a short section with a Scripture verse and disussion points. It also includes a recipe for the “Chocolate Chip Snappers” that Rogers mother bakes in the story.

Overall I thought this was a great story, though I found it a bit long and drawn out when they were searching for Roger’s house. It took them quite a few tries before they¬†found the correct home.¬†But, my boys really enjoyed it, and we all really liked the cute illustrations.

Disclosure: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group . I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Want to Swap Some Books?

I have mentioned PaperBackSwap before, but it’s worth mentioning again. It is a free site where you can swap books with other members. I have an account, and so does my husband. We have both been filling our bookshelves with great books this way!

How does it work? You post books on your account that you are willing to pass on to someone else. Posting is very simple and usually only requires typing in the ISBN number. When someone orders one of your books you ship it to them, paying the postage. When your book arrives, they let PaperBackSwap know and you get a book credit. Then you can order any book you want, free of charge. The sender pays the postage. Postage usually runs between two and three dollars to send a book. That’s a pretty inexpensive way to add to your library!

I have a wish list on paperbackswap for all the books I want that are not yet available. When someone posts that book then I get a message asking me if I want to order it. I have found the wish list to be very helpful, and that is how I have gotten most of my books.

If you want to check it out you can go here to Joining is free and easy. If you would like to use me as your referral¬†you can use my nickname of “happyhomemaker” or my e-mail address¬†in the referral box.

Happy reading!

“God Gave Us So Much” by Lisa Tawn Bergren

God Gave Us So Much: A Limited-Edition Three-Book Treasury

God Gave Us So Much¬†is a beautiful special edition children’s book with three stories – God Gave Us the World, God Gave Us Love, and God Gave Us Heaven. The art is well done and appealing to little ones with plenty of color and cute characters. It also includes a satin ribbon to¬†keep your place.

This book is about a polar bear family that lives in the North Pole. In “God Gave Us the World” Mama bear teaches Little Cub that God made the world and everyone and everything in it. In “God Gave Us Love” Grampa Bear teaches Little Cub about God’s love and how we should love others. Lastly, in “God Gave Us Heaven” Papa Bear teaches Little Cub about Heaven and how wonderful it will be to live there.

I like how the author uses dialogue between the curious Little Cub and his parents and grandpa to teach him about God.¬†I also¬†appreciated that it ¬†is written in a very understandable way for young children. While I certainly won’t be using this book to teach my children Theology, it is a fun and cute book of stories¬†that they can enjoy.

Disclosure: I received this book free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group . I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Book Reviews

“Heaven at Home” by Ginger Plowman

Product Details

Ginger Plowman’s “Heaven at Home” is¬†a¬† biblically sound and helpful book geared toward establishing and enjoying a¬†peaceful home.¬†She touches on various issues relating to the home,¬†husband, and children.¬†I find her writing to be down to earth, practical and witty, but it also seems at times a bit disorganized and that was somewhat bothersome to me. While I certainly would recommend this book, I would not consider it the best on this subject. I found chapters fifteen (“Demonstrating Grace in Parenting”) and sixteen (“Avoiding Traps of Ineffective Discipline”) to be the gold nuggets in this book. It would be well worth reading just for these two chapters.

“Feminine Appeal” by Carolyn Mahaney

Feminine Appeal

For a while now I have followed the “GirlTalk” blog that Carolyn Mahaney¬†and her daughters write. It was through this blog that I heard of Carolyn’s book and decided to add it to me reading list. I am so glad I did. This may very well be the best book I have read this year. “Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother” is¬† Bible saturated, completely convicting, and an excellent¬†read. I love Carolyn’s down to earth, humble, real approach to writing. The pages¬†of my copy are inundated with yellow highlighting. We purchased several of these for Christmas gifts, and I will using this next year for our¬†monthly ladies Bible Study. Yes, it is that good.

Just to give you a taste of what she writes, these are the chapter headings – 1. “Transformed by Titus 2” 2. “The Delight of Loving my Husband” 3. “The Blessings of Loving my Children” 4. “The Safety of Self-Control” 5. “The Pleasure of Purity” 6. “The Honor of Working at Home” 7. “The Rewards of Kindness” 8. “The Beauty of Submission” 9. “Margaret’s Story”

I loved this book. She gets right to the point, hits right at the heart of the issues, and I recommend every wife and mother read it!

“Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl” by N. D. Wilson

Product Details

I am not quite certain if the author of this book is a complete genius or totally insane. Wilson’s big idea seemed to be that this world is crazy and unique, but God is the maker and controller of it all. While I agree with that and accept his premise, I did not glean much more from this book. I did¬†gain¬†one very unique¬†and interesting thought that caused me to stop and ponder, but that one small thought was not enough to make reading the rest of the book worth my time. His writing is scatter brained, unorganized and off the wall. He seemed to¬† write down every thought that entered his mind and then published it. Though his writing style was not to my liking, that wasn’t what made me close the book before I finished. It was his use of¬†vulgar language. As a Christian writer writing about God, I found his use of profanity unacceptable, offensive and ill-mannered.

Perhaps he is a genius and I am not enlightened enough to appreciate his work. But my personal suggestion would be that you will find more spiritual benefit elsewhere.

Lee: A Life of Virtue by John Perry

Lee: A Life of Virtue (The Generals)

John Perry gives a good overview of General Robert¬†E.¬†Lee’s life in¬†this well written book. He starts with a young Robert and gives quite a lot of background and history that leads up to the man we have heard so much about from the Civil War. As he follows his life through his professional career and time in the military, he also documents Lee’s family and his personal spiritual growth. It was these¬† portions of the book that really spoke¬†of who Lee was as a man, and caused me to appreciate and respect him for his character. He was a loving¬†and devoted husband and father, though sadly absent for much of the time due to his military career. In some chapters of the book I expected to be bogged down in the descriptions concerning battles and war related events, but I was pleasantly surprised to enjoy those chapters and found them well written and interesting.

I enjoyed reading about Robert E. Lee, his faith, family, and political thoughts and beliefs. I learned some new and interesting facts about this great general, and completely enjoyed the journey through this book. The author has produced an excellent easy to read, easy to love biography.

Disclosure: I received this book free as part of the BookSneeze review program from Thomas Nelson Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

July Book Reviews

“Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God”¬† by Lisa Tatlock and Pat Ennis

Becoming a Woman Who Pleases God: A Guide to Developing Your Biblical Potential

Very Biblical and practical, this book is a great read for any woman. Even those who are single. While much of it deals with marriage or family, there is specific parts dedicated to the unmarried woman. The authors tackle various subjects  related to womanhood, all in a very practical manner. This would be especially great for a woman who is engaged or newly married.

Some of the topics include various aspects of home management, Biblical stewardship,  Biblical hospitality, contentment, our position in the Body of Christ, developing a proper worldview, and discipling and mentoring other women.

I very much enjoyed reading this book, and have already lent it out to my sister who is soon to be married.

“Survivor” by Tania Kauppila

Survivor: A woman's search for peace

I love autobiographies, and this one I couldn’t put down.¬†The author was a young russian girl during World War I. At the age of twelve she was forced to leave her family and go¬†labor in a German work camp.¬†She recounts her time in the work camp, and the horrifying conditions and hardships she endured. She was from a Christian family, but she herself did not know God at this point in her life. Her story continues after the war, and she writes of moving to the United States and of her¬†conversion to Christ.

This was a sad but beautiful story. The sad part came from the sin of man, the beautiful part from God who “meant it for good” in her life. Truly an enjoyable book to read.

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