Saturday, May 18, 2013

Book Review: Hold Me Down Hard by Cathryn Fox

Cathryn Fox’s latest novella, Hold Me Down Hard is a sizzling page turner and the perfect accompaniment to a hot summer.  It will definitely capture your imagination and you won’t be able to look at a police uniform in quite the same way again. 
I really enjoyed the tension and chemistry between Eden and Jay. The give and take between the two is wonderful and I love the strong characterization of Eden. Although she is a small town girl, she is a strong heroine who isn’t afraid to go after what she wants. The conflict both Jay and Eden feel about taking their relationship beyond friendship is palpable and realistic. 

Ms. Fox has done an exceptional job of developing an intriguing, attention holding story that warms the heart, makes you laugh, (just wait until you see what Jay says about Eden's self composed script) and sets your e-reader on fire with scorching hot love scenes, all wrapped up in four chapters that make leave you wanting more. And really that is my only complaint; Just as we get into the good stuff between Jay and Eden, the story ends.  I want to read more about Eden and Jay. 

I definitely recommend this novella if you are looking for a quick, spicy summer read.

Note: I received my e-book copy from Entangled with the promise for an honest review.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Book Review: Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes by Shauan Niequist

Author Shauna Niequist shares her newest collection of essays in Bread and Wine: A Love Letter to Life Around the Table with Recipes about "family relationships, friendships, and the meals that bring us together. It's about the ways God teaches and nourishes us as we nourish the people around us, and about hunger, both physical and otherwise, and the connections between the two."

Her anecdotes of life around her table are filled with wit, as she shares touching tales of life experiences shared over a meal. She elaborates on creating and sharing traditions...and then she laments over some of the difficult moments of life. There is a healthy dose of reality, as she admits to the demands of trying to be "perfect" and the days when she must choose to "fast rather than feast." There is planning...and there is spontaneity.

As she provided a peek into her little world, it triggered memories of time spent gathered around the table with my family and friends...of favorite foods and tasty treats. The book challenged me to try new make "birthday toasts" attempt basic freeze blueberries in order to make a hot berry crisp, long after the berry season has left create many of her recipes, that are now dog-eared and highlighted.

 I am inspired to fondly recall those memories and also encouraged to take more risks in gathering around my table. This is a book I will treasure for many years to come and one I plan on gifting to many friends to encourage them to nourish each other emotionally.  

Disclosure: I received this advanced reading copy via Handlebar Publishing as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Book Review: FreeFall to Fly: A Breathtaking Journey Toward a Life of Meaning by Rebekah Lyons

I was really drawn to Freefall to Fly at first. Being a mother to six small children of my own, I can understand what it is like to go through a big move and also journey through anxiety. 

However, at her lowest in the book she writes,
"I must give in.
I"ll do what I swore I would never do.
I'll numb out.
We woke up the next morning after yet another restless night, and I told Gabe (her husband) my resolution: I would take antidepressants to get me through. I was no longer able to cope and ready to do whatever I needed to do."

I guess I have a different opinion of anti-depressants. I dealt with undiagnosed post-partum depression for nine months after the birth of our youngest child, and contrary to what Rebekah considers, the anti-depressant I was finally prescribed when I summoned up the courage to visit the doctor didn’t numb me out. In fact, it helped me get back on track and get back to who I really was. 

A few pages further and Rebekah shares her breakthrough. One night she prays to God in desperation and she is immediately cured. While I don’t doubt this for a minute because I have seen God work amazing miracles in short time frames, for others God’s timing works differently. I think that she would have served her audience better if she had made mention of that. Otherwise it becomes misleading. It comes off as though if you just pray hard enough God will instantly take away your depression.

The one thing that drew me into the book further to keep reading though was Rebekah’s passion for women finding and using their God-given gifts. Her passion for this really resonates with me. She is very encouraging in this aspect, especially to young mothers. She writes: "... the displacement of a mother's purpose (beyond child rearing) becomes a huge loss to our communities. If women aren't empowered to cultivate their uniqueness, we all suffer the loss of beauty, creativity, and resourcefulness they were meant to inject into the world."

Another quote: "But if God has buried in each of us good gifts, doesn't it follow that He desires for us to find and use them? To ignore these gifts or fail to develop them, it seems, would be to bury our treasure..."

Would I recommend it? Yes and no. I love the parts where she encourages women to grab hold of their gifts and use them. There are parts of her recovery story that bother me, and I would hesitate to recommend this book to someone who is really struggling with undiagnosed depression.

Disclosure: I received this advanced reading copy via Handlebar Publishing as part of their book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.