Monday, May 23, 2016


Hairstyled: 75 Ways to Braid, Pin & Accessorize Your Hair

Whether your hair is long or short, thick or thin, straight or curly, and whether you favor elegance or simplicity, there is a style in this book for you. 

If you're ready to freshen up your look and make the most of your hair, then Anne Thoumieux will be a good advisor. Each style has step by step instructions and accompanying photographs, and the "difficulty level" is listed for all of them so you can start with easy ones and work up. 

Anne covers all the basics, outlining several types of braids, various updos and buns, and multiple creative uses for headbands and scarves. She gives curly hair a section all to itself, and another one for medium length hair. She even has a selection of short hair styles, showing how much variety you can achieve with a basic pixie cut. 

So, what will I be trying? Mostly the variations on my basic theme: a braid. I like the braided crown, and the fishbone braid. I've always admired buns and French twists, yet my straight hair seems too slippery to stay in an updo. Maybe some of Anne's tips and tricks for adding texture and then holding it all in place would help? 

I know one thing for sure- this basic stylist book could inspire little changes here and there that revitalize your whole look. Be bold, try something new, and surprise yourself. :-) 

I thank Blogging for Books for providing me with a review copy. 

Monday, May 9, 2016

None Like Him~

None Like Him: 10 Ways God Is Different from Us (and Why That's a Good Thing)

You know those moments of fear- some of them legitimate, some not- when you realize that you are terribly limited, and so much is outside of your control and beyond your comprehension? Those are moments when life in this world feels more like a bet made against you than anything else, and you wonder how you're supposed handle it. 

The plain, hard truth is that we can't handle it all. We can't bear it all. We can't respond to everyone, or give everything that is needed. Only God can, and there is none like Him. 

This truth crushes us- we are not God. And then it saves us- because God is God. And we don't need to worry any more about what we aren't, because God is. That's why Jen Wilkin wrote this book. When we exalt God, we reassure ourselves in the process, because we are his, and we don't need to play god. 

Jen arranged this book around ten attributes that only God possesses. Self-existence, immutability, omniscience, eternality, sovereignty, ..... these aren't merely abstract concepts for us. They're aspects of God's nature, and therefore they underpin the universe he made. In him we live and move and have our being, and "None Like Him" leads us to consider what his being is. 

I thank Crossway Publishing and Flyby Promotions for providing me a review copy. 

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Mother Letters~

The Mother Letters: Sharing the Laughter, Joy, Struggles, and Hope

Looking back at human history all around the world, we see that wise people have always understood the power of a spoken blessing. When goodness is called out and a good name is bestowed, that is a powerful part of growth and transformation. Today, we need these moments of invocation more than ever. When life is hard, we need to hear what God made us to be. When all we can see is trouble, we need to hear about the hidden treasures. 

This book, "The Mother Letters" is a sweet ray of sunlight, a spring breeze, a friend's hand warm on your skin. Amber Haines, author of the beautiful book "Wild in the Hollow," and her husband Seth, author of the honest and hope-filled "Coming Clean," have curated this selection of Mother Letters. 

The Mother Letters are for every woman who has ever mothered any child. If you have borne the weight and glory of that title, whether there was DNA involved or not, whether "Mom" was ever spoken aloud before or not, then you are a Mother. 

Some of the contributors have names you may know from their books or blogs, and others you'll meet here for the first time. Yes, they're plainspoken about motherhood's messiness. You will read about temper tantrums and multiplying laundry piles. Yes, they're truthful about motherhood's pain. You'll hear their hearts as they discuss watching a child grow and reach for independence. Yes, they write poetically about motherhood's delights, from holding the newborn child to seeing your grown child living well. 

Despite all these familiar themes, though, this isn't your ordinary mother-book. The authors aren't selling you on any particular parenting method. They aren't determining your worth by the productivity of your womb. They aren't defining you in terms of your offspring's success. Instead, they're calling out to you as a God-designed individual. They won't encourage you to do or be more for you children's sake- no, they'll call for you to be alive in Christ's name. They'll declare you a Mother-soul, which is strong and wide and generous. 

I thank Revell Publishing for my review copy, which was provided in exchange for an honest opinion. 

Dear Mother.... 

When it comes to the mother/child relationship, my favorite image is of the mama black bear with her cubs. When the little bears come out of their winter den, they know nothing about the world outside. It's wild and dangerous, a place to flourish and a place to be cautious all at once. The small bears learn everything by following right behind mama. 

Human mothers teach their children all the practical things, too. We need these practical skills and essential lessons. But Mothers-all-over-the-world, most of all you teach us how to be. You show us how you move through the world, how you stand in your own skin, how you look at others and reach out to them. 

My wish for every Mother Soul would be happiness, wholeness, and whimsical holiness. 

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"Seven Laws of Love"

The Seven Laws of Love: Essential Principles for Building Stronger Relationships

Imagine that you're going about your ordinary day- waiting in an elevator, riding a bus, standing in line- and all of a sudden this random guy comes up and taps you on the shoulder and says "Hey, did you ever think about what love really looks like?" 

That's what this book is. It's Pastor Dave Willis, appearing at your side and saying "Let's just take a minute and imagine what love sounds like, how it moves, how it grows, how it feels, and most of all- how to give it away." 

This book is a practical primer for those who are ready to love and care more fully for the people around them. The first seven chapters describe seven principles that govern love. Love is honest, love heals, love commits, love conquers, love is gracious, love gives and continues to give, love cannot die.

The next seven chapters zoom in on particular relationships- with family, friends, children, spouses, enemies, neighbors, and your Maker- and envision what better love would look like in those contexts. 

You might laugh while reading this book, your might shake your head at the way we humans treat each other, you might be injected with fresh hope. 

I thank Thomas Nelson for my review copy.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Laura McNeill Mystery

Sister Dear

This is destined to be a very short review. First, I much appreciate Laura's descriptive writing. Reading this book, it was as if I wore her characters' skin, saw with their eyes, and heard with their ears. I'd try another of her books to experience that sensory-involved reading again. 

Second, the mystery. Whoa, did it hook me right in. I wanted to see how all the angles came together, how all the pieces added up. The questions of guilt and innocence in a small town rarely fail to catch my attention. Especially when the mystery is also a sister story. 

Which brings me to my third point, the sisters. I absolutely hated their relationship, and I think the author intended for me to. I can't say more about this, except that I kept wishing and hoping for total restoration or even a single ray of hope, and there was no such resolution. 

If you read this, expect a fast, deadly mystery, that is peeled back layer by layer by a woman desperate to begin her life again. 

I thank Litfuse for my review copy.