Sunday, January 22, 2012

Boundaries - Review

Boundaries: When to Say Yes, How to Say No to Take Control of Your Life

By: Henry Cloud & John Townsend

Published: October 20th 1992 by Zondervan Publishing Company (first published January 1st 1992)

314 pages

Genre: Nonfiction, Self Help, Christian, Psychology

Source: Personal Library

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Goodreads description--Having clear boundaries is essential to a healthy, balanced lifestyle. A boundary is a personal property line that marks those things for which we are responsible. In other words, boundaries define who we are and who we are not. Boundaries impact all areas of our lives: . Physical boundaries help us determine who may touch us and under what circumstances. Mental boundaries give us the freedom to have our own thoughts and opinions. Emotional boundaries help us to deal with our own emotions and disengage from the harmful, manipulative emotions of others. Spiritual boundaries help us to distinguish God's will from our own and give us renewed awe for our Creator. Often, Christians focus so much on being loving and unselfish that they forget their own limits and limitations. When confronted with their lack of boundaries, they ask: Can I set limits and still be a loving person? What are legitimate boundaries? What if someone is upset or hurt by my boundaries? How do I answer someone who wants my time, love, energy or money? Aren't boundaries selfish? Why do I feel guilty or afraid when I consider setting boundaries?

Not in my normal genre so I can't give this 5 Stars...SCREW THAT!!!! 5 Stars, 5 Stars, 5 Stars! 100 Stars if I could give 100 stars! *Sigh* Oh well, 5 Stars it is.

This is a book that every human being alive or dead should be required to read. Christian or Non-Christian alike. Yes, Cloud and Townsend relate the idea of boundaries to God. However, this idea of boundaries and how we apply them to ourselves and other people is universal. And it blew my mind. I never thought about this idea of boundaries and I have already been working since reading this book on establishing strong, clear, Biblical boundaries with myself and others.

I can see boundaries everywhere now. Perhaps just as easily seen as established boundaries are the lack thereof. And even though I have only just begun practicing better boundaries, and I have by no means "arrived," it's so easy for me to see where others could benefit from establishing their own boundaries.

And as with anything else, because this is truly the way God intended things to be, it is so easy to see how much better life would be with properly established boundaries.

I truly want to thank these authors for breaking this down for anyone and everyone who might take the time to read this book. And I want to thank my friend, Kay, for introducing me to this book and opening up a whole new world to me. I will say that I will be investing in the other books they have written on boundaries (Boundaries in Marriage, Boundaries with Kids, Boundaries with Teens, etc.).

I really don't know what else to say about it. Honestly, this is one of those books that I could probably go on and on and on about, but I'd just end up repeating myself. Only other thing I'll say on the subject of this book (other than YOU MUST READ THIS!!!) is that it's totally okay to take your time with this book. Read it slowly, soak it in. You'll be glad that you did.

Have you read Boundaries? What did you think? Let me know!

Updated: January 31, 2015

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hare Moon - Review

Hare Moon (The Forest of Hands and Teeth, # 0.7)

By: Carrie Ryan

Published: April 5th 2011

40 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Horror, Zombie, Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic

Source: Personal Kindle Library

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Goodreads description--Tabitha can’t shake the feeling that something exists beyond the fences of her village. And when she sneaks out, past the gates and down the path into the Forest of Hands and Teeth, she meets a boy who teaches her heart things she never knew. But love in a world surrounded by so much death doesn’t come without its sacrifices, and Tabitha gradually realizes just how much she’ll have to give up to live among the Unconsecrated.

From New York Times bestselling author Carrie Ryan comes an original story of love after the Return.

Hare Moon gets 3 Stars.

Hare Moon is a prequel to The Forest of Hands and Teeth and it tells Sister Tabitha's story. Some of this makes The Forest of Hands and Teeth make a little more sense because it is just another piece of the puzzle. Sister Tabitha, when she was younger, it turns out was very much like Mary (or should I say, turns out Mary was very much like a young Sister Tabitha). Tabitha feels a call to the forest, to see if there's more to the outside world than what she's always been told. She feels a call to anything that remains hidden or forbidden from her. Sound familiar? It makes her being so hard on Mary make more sense because she sees herself in Mary, but Tabitha made a very different choice than Mary will make. And I believe Sister Tabitha can see that coming.

Tabitha meets a boy and falls in love. And this shows us that the Sister Tabitha we thought we knew from The Forest of Hands and Teeth wasn't always cold and uncaring. She wasn't always without feeling or ambition. She didn't always know which course she was going to take. You get the impression from The Forest of Hands and Teeth that Sister Tabitha views Mary as this horrible person, that Sister Tabitha believes Mary will bring about the downfall of their village, the village she gave up everything to protect, but Mary didn't even push the limits as much as Tabitha did when she was younger. Mary never ventured outside the gates until the breech occurred first. Tabitha did. Mary didn't choose to pursue the ocean until no other option presented itself. Tabitha did. Mary didn't let infection inside the village. Tabitha did. And even though Sister Tabitha could undoubtedly see herself in Mary, it wasn't Mary who brought about the downfall of their village like Sister Tabitha feared.

Tabitha is faced with the decision to flee and pursue love or to stay and sacrifice it all for the protection of her village. We all know what she chose.

That's the story. Now to how I felt about the story. Tabitha's story so closely follows Mary's own story that it frustrated me. I felt like I was re-reading parts of The Forest of Hands and Teeth. I understand why they needed to be similar in some ways and almost exactly the same in others, but that doesn't mean that experiencing it again under a different name made it feel any different (or any better). The best parts weren't fully explored and the things that frustrated me about Mary I just got to relive through Tabitha. So while I felt this was an addition to The Forest of Hands and Teeth and it did make me understand Sister Tabitha more and why she behaves the way she does in The Forest of Hands and Teeth, this was only worth 3 Stars for me.

Have you read Hare Moon? What did you think? Let me know!

Updated: January 30, 2015

Crossing Oceans - Review

Crossing Oceans

By: Gina Holmes

Published: April 26th 2010 by Tyndale House Publishers

382 pages

Genre: Adult, Christian Fiction, Realistic Fiction

Source: Amazon Prime Lending Library

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Goodreads description--Jenny Lucas swore she'd never go home again. But being told you're dying has a way of changing things. Years after she left, she and her five-year-old daughter, Isabella, must return to her sleepy North Carolina town to face the ghosts she left behind. They welcome her in the form of her oxygen tank-toting grandmother, her stoic and distant father, and David, Isabella's dad . . . Who doesn't yet know he has a daughter. As Jenny navigates the rough and unknown waters of her new reality, the unforgettable story that unfolds is a testament to the power of love and its ability to change everything--to heal old hurts, bring new beginnings . . . Even overcome the impossible. A stunning debut about love and loss from a talented new voice.

I might be stepping out on a limb here, but I'm going to give Crossing Oceans 5 Stars.

This was a different type of book from the genre I've been reading regularly, but no one can say I'm not willing to step out into a different genre. Sometimes I've found that the books I've liked the most are the ones I have the least to say about in my blogs (that's not always the case). Sometimes I just feel like the reader needs to experience the book for themselves. Just take my word for it. This is one of those books. I wasn't expecting much because it's not my typical genre, but I gave it a try as my first borrow from the Amazon Prime Kindle Lending Library--need to get my money's worth from that investment. And boy am I glad I did. I would have been willing to spend money on that one though.

This is a sad book. Let me go ahead and warn you up front. I didn't ever actually cry where tears spilled out and onto my cheeks, but my eyes definitely teared up a time or two. (I'm not the easiest person to make cry, but not the hardest either.) The reason why tears didn't actually fall is probably due to the fact that I'm not a mother yet. I'm sure if I had been I probably would have been bawling my eyes out.

Some of the plot seemed predictable which I normally really count against a book/author, but this book didn't suffer because of the predictability. It was heartfelt through and through, and I think that made up for any easily predictable moments. Ecclesiastes says "there's nothing new under the sun." And I really think this book shows the sacrifices we, as humans, as Christians, as mothers, are called to make in today's world. And while I might not experience something that's never been experienced before, I might not feel something that no one else has ever felt before, my circumstances, my experiences, my feelings all join together to make me unique. And that's why this book didn't disappoint.

Check out Crossing Oceans.

Updated: January 31, 2015

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Ballad - Review

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie (Books of Faerie, # 2)

By: Maggie Stiefvater

Published: October 1st 2009 by Flux

352 pages

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Faeries

Source: Personal Library

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Goodreads description--In this mesmerizing sequel to Lament: The Faerie Queen's Deception, music prodigy James Morgan and his best friend, Deirdre, join a private conservatory for musicians. James' musical talent attracts Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. Composing beautiful music together unexpectedly leads to mutual admiration and love. Haunted by fiery visions of death, James realizes that Deirdre and Nuala are being hunted by the Fey and plunges into a soul-scorching battle with the Queen of the Fey to save their lives.

First book completed in 2012: Maggie Stiefvater's Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie. Only 3 days into the year and I'm knocking my books out already. By the way, giving Ballad 4 Stars.

I didn't really read the summary of Ballad before I started it. I only knew that it was the sequel to Lament. That being said, I assumed Ballad would be a continuation of Dee and Luke's story. So when I quickly found out that the majority of the narration was in James' voice, I was a bit disappointed. And it actually took me a bit to get into the story because of that--that and the fact that I seem to be in a non-fiction mood right now. However, I decided quickly that I liked the idea of James having an end to his story. And hopefully a happy ending.

So while I was initially disappointed that Ballad didn't follow Dee and Luke into more detail, I was overcome with excitement about James and the possibility of him having a relationship with Nuala. Maybe I feel this way because Ballad is fresher in my mind having just finished it than Lament is, but I think I really enjoyed James' story better than Dee and Luke's.

Dee still has a major role in Ballad. I found that the essence of who James really was as a character in Ballad is so much different than the picture of him that we get in Lament. And the same is true of Dee. The Dee that we come to love in Lament is quite different and annoying through the eyes of James and Nuala in Ballad. While this type of thing annoyed me in books past--namely The Dark and Hollow Places by Carrie Ryan--because the characters didn't maintain who I believed them to be from one story to the next, I think that was due to how attached I was to Gabry in The Dead-Tossed Waves and that wasn't really the case in Lament/Ballad and Dee. Don't get me wrong, I liked Dee in Lament, but I really can see the way that James sees Dee, the way that Nuala sees Dee, and what's happened to Dee that might cause some changes in her behavior from one book to the other that honestly makes sense.

Again, I probably enjoyed Ballad better than Lament. Good books. Another win for Maggie Stiefvater. 4 Stars. Check it out.

Updated: January 31, 2015