Friday, July 31, 2009

It's Not About Him by Michelle Sutton

I am really excited to do this review! It’s Not About Him is a young adult novel, by my friend Michelle Sutton. Michelle is known as the Edgy Inspirational Author for a reason. Her books are edgy and they smack of the reality of the world we live in – whether Christian or not!

This book is the follow-up to Michelle’s first novel It’s Not About Me. And it picks up where the first one left off – with a young Suzie, pregnant from a rape that occurred at a party, in which she remembers nothing about, because she passed out while drinking. While she can’t change the past, she’s determined to move forward and have something good come out of this tragedy, so she enters into an open adoption agreement with friends.

Michelle Sutton hits hard with realism and openness. She is not afraid to confront the issues that young people face every day. Her characters are imperfect people living in an imperfect world. They stand strong and they fall. They turn to God and away from God. Sutton does a wonderful job of portraying sin while never glorifying sin, and in fact clearly shows that there are consequences, often severe consequences, to giving in to sinful desires.

This is a good book for mature teens, young adults and adults, but I would not recommend for the tween crowd. It is both heartbreaking and hopefull. It is filled with lust and love, abuse and healing, selfishness and selflessness, wrong choices and right choices, along with romance and friendship. There is a Discussion Guide included at the back to assist in talking about the various issues.


It’s Not About Him
Second Glances Novel #2
By Michelle Sutton

Susie passed out while drinking at Jeff’s party and later discovered she’s pregnant. She has no idea who the father is and considers having an abortion, but instead decides to place her baby for adoption. Following through ends up being more wrenching than she imagined, but she’s determined to do the right thing for her baby.

Jeff feels guilty that Susie was taken advantage of at his party and offers to marry her so she won’t have to give up her baby, like his birth mother did with him. But Susie refuses, insisting he should marry someone he loves. Can he convince her that his love is genuine before it’s too late? Can she make him understand that it’s not about him – it’s about what’s best for her child?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Blue Like Play Dough by Tricia Goyer

In her book, Blue Like Play Dough, author Tricia Goyer is transparent, honest, fresh and real. I loved this book and I couldn’t put it down. With stories and confessions, she shows us that she is a Christian, wife, mother, author, homeschooler, and ministry leader. In short, she is just like us! Ok, so maybe not all of us are authors, but the point is, we’re all busy, we’re all stretched, we’re all flawed, and our lives can be pretty messy. I kind of suspected that I would be in trouble when I was reduced to tears only half way down on page two! And I was relieved to experience much laughter mingled with the tears throughout the book.

If I could suggest one thing that was a disappointment to me, it is that Tricia mercilessly shattered my delusion that I was the only one who had insecurities to spare, and to give up. She is a shining example of how God will take a broken vessel and lovingly restore it into the beautiful work of art He created it to be. Her life shows us that we don’t have to be picture perfect to be used by God to touch other lives, that if we allow Him, He will meet us and use us where we are, and help us to grow and mature, while He is touching others through us. Blue Like Play Dough, shows us that we all make mistakes in life, and usually, the greater the mistake, the greater the pain, and lesson, associated with it. The good news is, our mistakes don’t define us, but rather they help us to grow.


Blue Like Play Dough, the shape of motherhood in the grip of God
By Tricia Goyer

Someone is putting the squeeze on you.

In the everyday stretch and squeeze of motherhood, Tricia Goyer often feels smooshed by the demands of life. In Blue Like Play Dough, she shares her unlikely journey from rebellious, pregnant teen to busy wife and mom with big dreams of her own. As her story unfolds, Tricia realizes that God has more in store for her than she has ever imagined possible.Sure, life is messy and beset by doubts. But God keeps showing up in the most unlikely places–in a bowl of carrot soup, the umpteenth reading of Goodnight Moon, a woe-is me teen drama, or play dough in the hands of a child.In Tricia’s transparent account, you’ll find understanding, laughter, and strength for your own story. And in the daily push and pull, you’ll learn to recognizes the loving hands of God at work in your life… and know He has something beautiful in mind.


Author Bio:
Tricia Goyer is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, including Generation NeXt Parenting and the Gold Medallion finalist Life Interrupted. Goyer writes for publications such as Today’s Christian Woman and Focus on the Family, speaks to women’s groups nationwide and has been a presenter at the Mothers of Preschoolers (MOPS) national convention. She and her husband, John, live with their family in Montana.

To learn more about Tricia Goyer, please visit her website at

To get more information about Blue Like Play Dough, including online purchase options, simply visit

Don’t forget to leave a comment to be entered in the drawing for a free copy of Blue Like Play Dough!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Everyday Greatness by Stephen R. Covey

I am so thrilled to be reviewing this awesome new book! Everyday Greatness by Stephen R. Covey and David K. Hatch, is a wonderful and inspiring read. It is a compilation of stories that have appeared in Readers Digest over several decades, along with commentary and great quotes. It highlights people and situations that show what true heroism and character is all about, lived out in everyday lives. There are stories by people we all recognize, but most of these stories are about people most of us have never heard of.

Contents include: Searching for Meaning, Taking Charge, Starting Within, Creating the Dream, Teaming with Others, Overcoming Adversity, and Blending the Pieces. Topics include: Contribution, Charity, Attention, Responsibility, Courage, Discipline, Integrity, Humility, Gratitude, Vision, Innovation, Quality, Respect, Empathy, Unity, Adaptability, Magnanimity, Perseverance, Balance, Simplicity and Renewal. Reading through these stories, I have laughed and cried, been challenged and motivated, and was inspired to take stock of my own life and look at my own motivations, habits, actions and character.

The beauty of this book is that you can read it straight through or bit by bit. It is a book you will want to visit often. It is timeless and will be a source of motivation and inspiration for many years to come. It is a book I am truly grateful to have in my library. And yes, I do, highly, recommend this book!


Everyday Greatness
By Stephen R. Covey and David K. Hatch

Inspiring stories and practical insights challenge readers to live a life of everyday greatness.
Best-selling author Stephen Covey and Reader’s Digest have joined forces to produce an extraordinary volume of inspiration, insight, and motivation to live a life of character and contribution. The timeless principles and practical wisdom along with a "Go-Forward Plan" challenge readers to make three important choices every day:

1) The Choice to Act - your energy
2) The Choice of Purpose - your destination
3) The Choice for Principles - the means for attaining your goals

With stories from some of the world's best known and loved writers and celebrities, such as Maya Angelou, Jack Benny, and Henry David Thoreau, and insights and commentary from Stephen Covey, the Wrap Up and Reflections at the end of each chapter help create a project that can be used for group or personal study.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

12 Ways to Turn Your Pain Into Praise by Linda Newton

Once again I am blessed to be a part of a blog tour for a fantastic new book that's just been released. I hope you enjoy the interview with the author.

Linda Newton
“12 Ways to Turn Your Pain Into Praise: Biblical Steps to Wholeness in Christ” Blog Tour

Opening: I’m delighted to be here with you sharing about something that puts wind in my sails—helping people heal from emotional pain and lead empowered lives.

What a timely book, 12 Ways to Turn Your Pain Into Praise: Biblical Steps to Wholeness in Christ! With our current economic and political climate we certainly need steps to turn our pain into praise.

I agree. I find that the same tools that help us deal with our damaged past can guide us through an insecure future. I wrote this book to help people who feel “stuck” because of the dysfunction, divorce, depression, abuse, grief and guilt in their lives, but I am walking through these same principals each day in my counseling office with folks who are dealing with the difficulties of job loss, anxiety, and marriage issues in a struggling economy.

You’re a counselor and an abuse survivor. Will you tell us a little of your story?

I grew up in the deep South and I wish I could say we spent happy hours saying, “Yes Ma’am” and “No Sir” and “Good Night, John-Boy.” But nothing could be further from the truth. In reality, I was ten years old before I realized that God’s last name wasn’t damn! My Daddy took off when I was five, and raising four kids alone brought out the worst in my mother. She became abusive with a bust-your-lip, black-your-eye kind of punishment--the kind of pain that stings your face for a while but sears your soul for a lifetime.

The neighbor-lady from across the street took me to church, I found Christ and He changed my life. That church helped me get to Christian college. On my quest for my own healing, I became a Christian counselor and have had the privilege of working with God’s precious people for the past seventeen years in my office at a growing church in California.

This book can serve as a workbook for the reader as well, right?

Yes, at the end of each chapter, I’ve included an exercise titled, “Truster Reconstructer” to help the reader pause, ponder and personalize each step. I told you I like alliteration! If you complete the exercises in this book you will have the equivalent of 12 sessions of therapy. At the national average of $80 an hour, the price of one book is quite deal! But don’t stop with just one book. 12 Ways works as a powerful small group study. Each chapter presents an obstacle to faith and the scriptural solutions for that obstacle. Women have shared with me they feel like it is equivalent to 12 weeks of applicable Bible study.

In your chapter on People, your mentioned the importance of confidence only you didn’t call it self-esteem. You called it “Jesus-teem.” What does that look like?

We have heard enough over the past few years about self-esteem, but Scripture tells us that when we embrace the Lord’s view of ourselves, we’re free to be comfortable in our own skin. God’s view of us is revealed in his Word and through the compliments of others. In chapter 3 about the Power we find in the Bible, I have included a page full of verses with the personal pronouns left out and a blank space provided for you to write in your name. That way you can take ownership of each verse, let it soak into your soul, and change the way you feel about yourself. When we can fully get our heads around how God feels about us, it changes the way we feel about ourselves. That’s Jesus-teem!

You mentioned compliments defining us. Can you explain that?

My old pastor used to say that compliments are bouquets thrown from the hand of God.
When we don’t take the compliments given to us, it’s as though we are ripping the heads off the flowers God has given us, throwing them to the ground, and stomping them. Compliments are God’s way of telling us who we are. When we receive them it builds our confidence in the qualities and gifts He’s given us. But when we don’t, we remain static and self-critical.

I took those words to heart and stopped dismissing compliments some twenty years ago. In that time God has had the opportunity to remake my self-image. Before that I had to climb a ladder to look an ant in the eye!

“Jesus in the Rearview Mirror,” now there’s a title. Tell us about that chapter.

God has a plan for us, but many times the view we have of what is happening around us as we cruise through life is often challenging, even frightening. From our viewpoint, looking through the windshield, we only see calamity, but all the while God is working. Later, when we look back over our lives, as we peer into the rearview mirror, we are able to see the Plan that God was working out all along. Recognizing God’s plan builds our faith.

In your chapter on Pardon you share about the healing power of forgiveness. It’s not always easy to forgive someone who has caused us pain. Was that difficult for you?

It was one of the hardest things I had to do. That’s why I walk through the process with you. We learn that forgiveness doesn’t make the offender right; it just makes us free. We also see that forgive and forget is not a biblical concept. Instead it’s forgive and set boundaries.

Sometimes the hardest person to forgive is ourselves, and many times we find that we have to forgive God because He didn’t do things the way we thought He should.

You present a powerful prayer exercise to help people unpack their emotional baggage in the chapter on Provision. What can you tell us about that?

Years ago a wonderful Christian counselor taught me this life-changing prayer exercise to help me dump the anger, hurt and resentment of my abuse. Until that point, I thought I would have to bear the burden of my painful childhood forever. But I walked out of her office that day a new person. I have had the privilege of sharing this gift many times in my office and now, I am sharing it for all to read. It’s enough that abuse victims have experienced pain, we don’t have to keep reliving it. We can be set free, thank God!

Is there anything else you would like to tell us about your book?

Since the book’s release last fall I have heard feedback from readers and I can say with confidence that whether you are seeking tools to empower those you are helping or needing the tools to transform yourself, you will walk away from this book spiritually stronger as you learn to:
¨ remove your offender’s face from God and stop blaming Him for life’s pain
¨ stop renting space in your head to bad memories and offenses
¨ relinquish the stinkin’ thinkin’ that causes you to emotionally circle the drain
¨ stay constantly connected to Christ with time-tested tools to process your pain
¨ realize your full potential as you seek God’s divine purpose for your life.

Closing: Thanks so much for having me on your blog. I hope your readers will visit me online at Please remember that God deeply desires to turn your pain into to praise.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Between Wyomings by Ken Mansfield

I’ve been reading a very interesting book, Between Wyomings ~ My God and an iPod, by Ken Mansfield. This is a look back at his life and times as a music executive and producer. Throughout his long and illustrious career, Ken worked with such musical greats as The Beatles, Waylon Jennings, Roy Orbison, Don Ho, Willie Nelson, and more. This memoir has it all – drugs, rock and roll, country and Outlaws, good times and bad, the peaks of success, the depths of failure, and somewhere in the midst of it all, he found his way to the love of his life and to God.

Between Wyomings is a fascinating read, with colorful stories, melancholic musings and a powerful testimony. It begins with a cross-country road trip with his wife, in a van they’ve appropriately named Moses. The pages show a life of pride and humility, excess and lack, emptiness and fullness, and a life lived for self then a life lived for God. Perhaps because of his decades of experience in the music business, Ken writes in a way that is almost lyrical. If I listen hard enough, I can almost hear the melody and cadence of his life. Several times I even laughed out loud, at both his stories and his humor. I was particularly touched by his passion for Jesus.


Between Wyomings
By Ken Mansfield

Join Ken Mansfield on a road trip through the canyons of Hollywood, the outlaw alleys of Nashville, and the backstreets of his soul as this Grammy Award-winning producer recreates his journey through the lush landscapes of success and the deserts that led him home.

For three decades, Ken Mansfield lived the heady life of a record executive and friend to such cultural icons as the Beach Boys, the Beatles, Dolly Parton, and Waylon Jennings. Along the way, he collected a Grammy, number-one albums, and a disquiet that he pushed soul-deep. Between Wyomings invites readers to travel with him on a tender journey that calls readers to reflect on the highways of their own lives and the deserts that press them into the heart of a Creator who has been there all along. As Ken discovers, sometimes when we see how lost we are, we can finally begin to find home.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Find Your Balance in an Out of Balance World by Barbara Tessari

I’ve just finished reading Finding Your Balance in an Out of Balance World ~ How to Get Over Too Much Food, Too Little Time, Too Many Excuses and Take Care of Yourself. Long title and subtitle, but well worth the read. Author Barbara Tessari is a Lifestyle Coach, Author, and Motivational Speaker, and a former overweight, over-tired person herself. In this book she shares her insights and secrets. What are these insights and secrets? Well it’s not a new fad diet or exercise routine. Barbara goes old-school, using good old-fashioned common sense and advice given by grandmothers and mothers not too long ago.

In Find Your Balance, Barbara focuses on the basics like calories in vs. calories out, simple nutrition, and choosing to be more physically active, whether at a gym, at home, or while you’re out and about doing life. She also shows us how easily sabotaged we are by eating out (a favorite of mine). Barbara reminds us of “Grandma’s Rules” which were/are: Eat three square meals a day, you can’t have dessert until you finish dinner, eat your vegetables, don’t leave the house without breakfast, if you’ll eat too much you’ll get a bellyache, don’t spoil your dinner, go out and play, and go work up an appetite.

There is nothing “new” in this book, it just takes us back to common sense and good nutrition. Thirty or forty years ago, when these “rules” were the norm, obesity was the exception, not an epidemic. She shows how things in the realms of “diet” and “exercise” have gotten so complicated and confusing. I really liked this book because it was simple cuts through all the “do’s and don’ts” and contradictory, biased, information we normally get from this program or that. It’s an easy read and full of great old and uncomplicated information.