What is your reading goal this year?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

(Summary taken from the back book cover) "Out of the evil called the Holocaust arose a witness, a voice that even the Nazis could not silence, a voice that testified to the power of God to overcome every wickedness and sorrow. Corrie ten Boom is that witness and her powerful story recounts the courage of one Christian family of Dutch watchmakers who determined to save Jews and resistance workers from the Gestapo forces which had overrun the Netherlands. As the pressure against the Jews grew, the risks increased and the ten Booms accelerated their efforts. The family transformed their quiet home into an underground station in the network of the Dutch Resistnace, creating a safe room that would shelter and feed scores of fugitives. For this, all the ten Booms were arrested, from Corrie's aging father to her young nephew, with Corrie and her sister Betsie ultimately deported to the Nazi death camp Ravensbruck. Through the slip of a pen, a clerical error, Corrie survived, though her family did not, and following the war, she began to tell her story of God's faithfulness and his mercy even in the darkest and deepest pit. The same faith that compelled the ten Boom family to stand firm in the face of evil would continue to shape Corrie's life as she bore witness to the great power of God's love to forgive, to heal, and to restore."

Miss ten Boom's story is amazing. How have I not read this before? Her voice is so real and sincere, and it draws you in. I've learned about the Holocaust, and I knew about the horrible death camps. I've even reviewed another survivor's story, but I had no idea that people other than Jews were sent to the death camps. Now that I think about it, it makes sense, but I'd never thought about it before. The courage and faith of the ten Boom family, and those they worked with, is just astounding. The things they went through, in order to help other people, were terrible, and yet they did not regret their decisions to help. Their faith in God stayed strong even in the worst of situations, and that is what is so impressive. To be grateful for fleas because they allowed them to speak more freely of God, without the guards' presence, is simply astonishing, and is such a good example to me.

I spent most of this book in awe of these women and their family. Over and over I asked myself if I would have had the courage to put myself in danger to help others. Over and over I asked if I could have had such a good attitude about such a horrible situation. And over and over I realized that their faith outweighed my own. I truly hope that I would do the same if the situation arose. I am such a rule follower that I hope my common sense and sense of justice and faith would allow me to go against the rules to help others. Not only this, but we have so much today. With my small problems, compared to theirs, can I find the best of each situation? Can I look for the good? Can I refrain from only seeing the negative in people? And, can I teach these things to my children? It's not usually the big things we are asked to do, it is the little things we do daily that matter.

This book is written so well. Miss ten Boom's narrative is easy to follow and each sentence is filled with emotion. It is difficult to read because of the topic and all that comes with it, but I think everyone should read this book. It is full of life lessons and I think we should all know these lessons from the past so we prevent them from happening in our future. I thank Miss ten Boom for her example and know that I am a little better today because of her and her family and their story.

Rated: PG-13+ (Almost an R) The Holocaust is not easy to read about. The dire circumstances in the camps are difficult to read about. There are deaths, sicknesses, and people treated with cruelty. The women are to stand without their clothing. She talks of the gas chambers. There is no language.

Recommendation: High School Senior and up. This would be a fabulous book for a senior history class to read. I highly recommend this book and think everyone should read it!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Common Denominators for Success by Kenny J. Anderson

(Summary taken from the back book cover) "For centuries people have sought to find the secret to achieving lasting success. Common Denominators for Success reveals the seven universal formulas for getting the results you want from life. Whether you are pursuing a lifelong dream or wish to develop deep, meaningful relationships, enjoy optimal health, or make the most of your time and money, application of these seven timeless principles holds the key to reaching your full potential and turning your dreams into reality. Ordinary people in all eras have achieved extraordinary results as they have applied these seven powerful formulas. Now is the time for you to live your dreams and get the results  you want!"

If you search my postings for self help books you will see that I have read a few of them. I've read weight loss books, compliment books, eating healthy books, and even some business books. This book is one of the best self help books I've read. It is easy to understand and motiviational. Mr. Anderson makes it seem so easy! He does say that it won't always be easy, but I finished it and was ready to change the world! I know I'm not quite there yet, but it actually has been really helpful. I have had a really hard time finding a good balance the last few years. I'm a stay at home mom, and I could clean my house 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and not be finished. It's crazy! So I loved the balance part of this book. I also loved how it applies to everything! Not only does it help me find a good balance to family/cleaning/husband/me/etc. time, it has helped me to remember who I am. I know that sounds silly, but after ten years of being at home with children, I've kind of forgotten that I am smart, that I had a career, that I have a college degree, and that I can be of worth in more places than just my home. Now, I'm still needed at home, and I will not be going back to work any time soon, but just remembering that I have potential helps me keep perspective.

I love the sections on keeping a positive attitude. I'm always telling my kids that it is all about attitude. And now I have a source to cite to them! Here are a few quotes I underlined (yes, I wrote in a book......don't tell my kids): "Choose to surround yourself with positive influences that motivate and inspire you to greatness." Isn't that great??? I love it. "The world around us is a product of how we view it." Yes! And here is my source whenever a bad attitude enters our home: "The point is that it is not our circumstances in life that define us, but rather it is the attitude we maintain through those circumstances. We can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we react." Hahahaha....they'll never see it coming! Thank you Mr. Anderson!

I could go on and on.....those quotes were only on three pages. There are many more! I like how this book can apply to everyone and almost every situation: finances, relationships, goals, business, cleaning, achieving a dream, etc. No matter what it is you want, or want to achieve, these principles apply to it. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who wants to live a happier, more fulfilling life. So, yes, to everyone!

Rating: G Clean!

Recommendation: 12 and up. I will be sharing many of the ideas with my children, who are younger, but I think a 12 year-old would be able to read it, mostly understand it, and apply a lot of the principles. This could be a really good book to read as a family if your children are 12 and up. I think younger kids would get bored and not really know what to do with the information. However, the information is great for everyone, and can be shared in age appropriate ways with younger children as well.


Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. (Thank you Media Guests and Mr. Anderson!) However, this does not change my opinion of the book--all my reviews are honest.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Speed of Light

Speed of Light by Lee Baker

(Summary taken from the back book cover) "A secret technology and a test pilot. Pierce Black becomes light and his mind changes. They want him dead. The race begins...."

This book is fast-paced, thrilling, and an easy read. It's crazy to think that someday we may travel at the speed of light. The storyline is very creative and different, which I like. Mr. Lee's writing style is easy to read and follow, and takes you on a crazy journey to save Pierce's life and his son's life. There are many twists and turns, and even though the events that happen are (right now) not feasible, Mr. Lee makes it seem completely normal and possible. I felt connected to Pierce and his son Danny, and his sister-in-law Vanessa, and thought the character development was really good. I especially loved the connection between Pierce and Danny. The love they felt for each other shone through the pages and into my room. I almost cried it was so sweet when Pierce felt that for the first time. The "visions" Pierce sees may seem corny when described in a summary, but seem very real in the context of the story. Even though I cringed at many of the things Pierce did, I felt his fear, frustration, joy, and pain.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it, if you like fast-paced action adventure books. It was clean except for a lot of violence. A lot of people die, and some of the deaths are described in great, gory detail. There are police chase scenes, airplanes flying the speed of light, suspense, drama, a little romance here and there, and cover-ups.....what's not to like??? The one thing I didn't really understand was why "they" (I won't tell you who) wanted Pierce dead. He was the star, the one who would bring publicity and fame. I thought that would be a good thing??  In any case, I enjoyed this book and do recommend it.

Rating: PG-13+  (No language or "physical intimacy" but a lot of deaths. And some of the deaths are described in great depth and are difficult to read.)

Recommendation: 16 and up.


Disclosure: I'd like to thank Media Guests and Lee Baker for allowing me to review this book. I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my review. That does not change my opinion of the book: all reviews are honest.