Quick Reviews

I love to read. Seriously. Even as a kid I would totally win those book reading competitions. (I don’t really remember why we had book reading competitions, sounds weird now that I think about it, but I dominated.) For me, the key to continuing to enjoy reading is to mix it up a bit. I might read a parenting book then a religious/Christian book then I’ll throw in a fiction book written for 12 year olds (seriously, they’re the best) or perhaps something with magic wands and/or vampires just to keep things interesting.

This year I’ve read some great books and wanted to give you a brief review on some of my favorites.

The Trylle Series by Amanda Hocking (Switched, Torn, Ascend) – If you’re looking for deep, meaningful, life-altering reading material…this is definitely not it. But if you’re like me and enjoy an easy read that has no basis in reality then this is a pretty good series. Great books to read between “serious” topics to have a break and just enjoy the reading for the reading.

Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore – I cannot say enough good things about this book. Its about a black man who was raised on a plantation in the south and eventually winds up homeless in Texas. When he crosses paths with a wealthy white man both lives are forever changed – as is their entire community. Based on a true story, this book is a great picture of what can happen when you love people and value them as God does.

Radical by David Platt – I probably wouldn’t have read this book if we hadn’t studied it in our community group. Not because I didn’t think it’d be a good book but because I thought it would be convicting. It was. Very. A great book and I would urge anyone to read it – just be prepared to have your little toesies ever so delicately stomped on.

Steady Days by Jamie C. Martin – For moms who love organizing, this is a must read. Great ideas for organization tricks/tools to use day to day to make life with children simpler and easier.

Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins (The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay) – Great, great, great series. This series ranks near Harry Potter on my list of favorite-fiction-books-written-for-kids-that-I-love-even-though-I’m-an-adult. Set in future North America, the nation of Panem is ruled by an evil and heartless government. A teenage girl stands up to the evil leaders and starts a revolution that changes everything. They’re making a movie that I’m sure will be epic. Read the books first.

Quitter by Jon Acuff – How to effectively transition from your day job to your dream job. A great book for anyone who has ever said, “I currently do this, but would love to do that.” One idea shared in the book that has stuck out to me is that when you hustle in one area you will likely hustle in other areas. The opposite is also true – when you’re lazy in one area you tend to be lazy in many areas. Mind-blowingly true. Don’t let laziness in any part of your life – it spreads. Check out Jon’s site to see him talk about the book – and many other fantastic things.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling – I’m still surprised at the “strong” reactions people have toward the Harry Potter series. I land squarely on the LOVE side of this debate. It is such a beautiful story about love and friendship and loyalty and redemption and forgiveness and the power of good to defeat evil. Here’s an article by Andrew Peterson about his experience with the series. A FABULOUS story! If you’re only going to read one thing – give Harry Potter a try.

Everyday Absurdities by Tyler Stanton – It is what it says – humorous…everyday…things. Seemingly random yet hilarious. A quick, fun read. Also check out Tyler’s blog for more funny stuff.

Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story by John Sowers – John is the President of The Mentoring Project, an organization that works with local churches to train and equip mentors. This book is full of truly heart-wrenching statistics and facts about fatherlessness and how it affects children and teens in the US. It’s also full of promise and hope for a generation plagued with fatherlessness. I think every parent should read this book – every parent, single, married, divorced or otherwise – we as parents need to be aware of how our actions (or lack of) affect our children. Same for anyone who works with children/teens in a ministry/mentoring setting.

Making Children Mind without Losing Yours by Dr. Kevin Leman – Reality Discipline – allowing reality to discipline your children. Sounds quirky when I say it – Leman says it a lot better. The idea is that you allow natural (or sometimes logical) consequences to discipline or teach your children. If your child over sleeps on a school day (assuming, of course, your child is old enough to set and wake up by his own alarm clock) rather than waking him up and nagging him to get ready you let him be late for school – maybe he has to walk or he misses a test or has to face some other “natural consequence” but chances are he’ll learn to get up on time and you didn’t have to “discipline” him – reality did it for you. Or, say your daughter has chores to do before going to a friends party. You don’t nag her about it but if she doesn’t get the chores done you don’t allow her to go to the party. Next time she’ll probably remember. Great book, lots of information. I’ll probably have to read it again someday.

What books have you read this year? Which ones would you recommend?

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