Tuesday, November 29, 2011

America: The Last Best Hope ~ Volume III by William Bennett

As a fan of William Bennett, I was eager to receive and read his 3rd and final volume in America: The Last Best Hope Series. Once again Bennett delivers American History, (the last 20 years in this volume) in a manner that is articulate, honest and fair. Bennett himself is an amazing historian and a pretty good storyteller, which makes history interesting, alive and easy to read. Even people who may not normally be History buffs are easily drawn in by his ability to relay the why of historical events, as much as what they were and when they occurred.

Many of us will remember the events of the last 20 years well. Bennett discusses the fall of Communism; the presidencies of George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, along with the election of Barack Obama; the first and second Gulf Wars; the first bombing of the World Trade Center; the Oklahoma City bombing; the attacks on 9/11; and even Princess Diana and Pope John Paul II and their influence on America. He tackles political and social topics in way that is seemingly effortless. This book, and the whole series, would be good for someone who is even mildly interested in American History. I highly recommend it!

This book was provided to me for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.


America: The Last Best Hope (Vol III)

From the Fall of Communism to the Rise of Radical Islam

by William Bennett

Author, historian, and educator William J. Bennett examines America’s last two decades.

Twenty years ago, John McCain was serving his second year in the Senate, and Colin Powell had just been promoted to chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. There was no Fox News Channel, no American Idol. Saddam Hussein and the Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeni ruled Iraq and Iran, respectively. George W. Bush was the fairly unnoticeable son of the then-president. If you asked someone to “email me,” you would have received a blank stare, and “Amazon” was a forest in South America. Finally, 20 years ago a young man named Barack Obama was elected the first black president of the Harvard Law Review. The two decades from 1988 to 2008 have proved to be some of the most pivotal in America’s history. Based on a lifetime of experience in government and education, William J. Bennett defines the events that shaped American history during the final years of the century.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

One Call Away by Brenda Warner

One Call Away . . . An appropriate title. This is a memoir by Brenda Warner, wife of Super Bowl Champion Quarterback Kurt Warner. We’ve all either gotten “the call,” or will be at some point. The phone rings, we answer and BAM! life is no longer the same. Many times, the ringing of a phone brings news of death, loss, tragedy, and illness, all of which lead to pain. Brenda Warner has gotten several of such calls. And she invites us into her life to witness the aftermath of these calls. She also shows us how she has gotten through these crises – with strength, determination, and most-importantly, her faith. She leaned on and trusted in God through the tragedy, through the pain, through the anger.

The thing I liked so much about this book is the raw honesty with which Brenda shares her story. She is not a perfect woman and seems to share her flaws openly with both thought and regret. She admits that she hasn’t always handled everything well and she’s made mistakes – some that she’s still dealing with today. But it’s real and it’s fresh. Most of us can’t relate to the lifestyle that comes with being a sports celebrity and we often see it as a sort of fairytale. However, most of us can relate to the authentic struggles she faced throughout her life before, and even after, the “glamorous” life of NFL stardom arrived. With the blessings of life that have come their way, she and Kurt seem to truly live out the phrase “blessed to be a blessing.” I enjoyed this book very much and would recommend it to others.

This book was provided to me for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.


One Call Away: Answering Life’s Challenges with Unshakeable Faith

Brenda Warner

with Jennifer Schuchmann

Brenda’s life has taken twists and turns that are stranger than fiction. It always seemed as if she was just one phone call away from the next explosive change. Each time her plans fell apart, she had a choice: would she give up, or would she press forward and learn from the unexpected? One Call Away is the inspiring story of a woman who has prevailed through many of the circumstances that discourage women: tragedy, poverty, betrayal, and humiliation. But unlike most women, her life has been on display in the media.

Brenda’s faith and God’s strength enable her to face challenge after challenge: an accident that leaves her son blind and brain damaged, a crumbling marriage, a tornado that kills her parents, a new relationship with promising football player Kurt Warner, and the pressures his sudden success brings to their growing family.

Through food stamps and funerals, Super Bowls and serving others, Brenda’s strength is unwavering. Her determination to dream new dreams, willingness to learn from her mistakes, and commitment to giving back to her community make her a role model for women of all backgrounds.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

A Place Called Blessing

The book A Place Called Blessing: Where Hurting Ends and Love Begins is a rare treasure. It is a fictionalized retelling of the bestselling relational classic, The Blessing. Josh is a character that many people can identify with – an angry, distrusting, hurting and lonely young person who is merely a product of the life he grew up with. Bad things happen all the time, especially it seems to children. They then grow up wounded, believing they are damaged goods and can only count on themselves and that there’s no such thing as unconditional love.

A Place Called Blessing shows how important love is and how much of a difference it can make in a life. Relationships are difficult. There are challenges and hurts that must be overcome and forgiven for any relationship to thrive. Unconditional love and acceptance, plus forgiveness and understanding have immense power to change a life and a person. However it doesn’t just happen, it is a choice that must be made – sometimes even daily. This wonderful book touches the soul and does a superb job of showing that the past doesn’t have to be the future. It stays with you long after the last page has been turned. I really loved this book, consider it to be a must read, and would enthusiastically recommend it to others.

This book was provided to me for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.


A Place Called Blessing

John Trent, PhD

with Annette Smith

Five-year-old Josh and his two older brothers lose their parents in a drunk-driving accident. A series of foster homes and a shocking tragedy eventually separate them, leaving Josh alone, angry, and distrustful of most everyone. At age eighteen, Josh strikes out on his own to find work. With only a high school education and few life skills, he is one step away from homelessness when Providence brings him to a place where he finds much more than physical shelter. For the first time in his life, Josh receives unconditional love and something every human being craves, the gift of "the blessing."

The book includes an introduction and reader’s guide designed to identify and discuss the five elements of the biblical blessing that every person needs. Through the power of Josh's story, readers are shown how to give this gift to their children and others as outlined in the more than one million copy bestseller, The Blessing.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Time to Dance by Karen Kingsbury

Karen Kingsbury is an amazing Christian author who writes stellar fiction, and in A Time to Dance, she does not disappoint! Marriage, and relationships in general, can be both rewarding and challenging. It is often tough to navigate the path from young, fresh, newly married and “in love,” to a long-term, mundane, everyday married life with challenges, children, work and activities. Kingsbury shows us the importance of putting first things first ~ God, then marriage, then family and so on. It is far too easy to take our marriage and our spouse for granted, rather than to continually focus our time and energy into keeping it fresh and thriving. The truth is that even “perfect” couples have issues, problems and struggles in their marriages.

Can a marriage be saved? Does blaming ever get us anywhere? Can one person make a difference? Can pain, loneliness, distrust and anger be overcome? Does any of it really matter? Marriage takes work. It takes commitment. It takes active (not feeling) love. Kingsbury shows us deftly that it takes all of these and more. It takes forgiveness – forgiveness of others and sometimes self. And it even takes A Time to Dance.

This book was provided to me for review by Thomas Nelson Publishers.


A Time to Dance

Karen Kingsbury

Karen Kingsbury’s celebrated series that shows the depth, passion and power of marriage.

A Time to Dance - John and Abby were the perfect couple with the perfect family. But on the verge of an affair, John is no more the man Abby married than she is the bride of his dreams. So they decide to divorce. But when they gather their children to tell them the news, their daughter announces she’s getting married.

Determined not to ruin Nicole's happiness, Abby and John agree to postpone their divorce. But as the wedding nears, they wonder: is it possible to still find joy and perhaps the time…to dance?