July 31, 2012

Mary, Queen of Angels by Doreen Virtue

Mary, Queen of Angels by Doreen Virtue is a truly inspirational book about Mother Mary. Doreen Virtue is one of my favorite inspirational, spiritual authors, and this book does not disappoint to my incredibly high standard of her work.

Book Description
Mary, Queen of Angels is a nondenominational book that follows in the successful vein of two of Doreen Virtue's previous works, The Healing Miracles of Archangel Raphael and The Miracles of Archangel Michael.

Within these pages, Doreen brings forth a collection of true stories from people who have experienced dramatic healings by, and visitations from, Mary. Doreen ties these stories together by category-with comments and narrative for those who wish to deepen their own connection to Mary and the angels. 

Mary, Queen of Angels is for people of all faiths and beliefs. It is filled with prayers for various life situations, fascinating discussions about the history of Mary, and details about geographic locations where there have been sightings of her.” – Mary, Queen of Angels

My Thoughts
Mary, Queen of Angels is all about Mother Mary. The story of Mary and a basic introduction is given for her. It is however, mostly a collection of stories about Mother Mary from people all over the world that have experienced her in their lives. Stories include everything from physical and emotional healings to helping find the right job (and everything in-between). These personal experiences are uplifting and brought a calming warmth of peace as I read them. Doreen does an excellent job with commenting on them.

This book isn’t just filled with her reader’s personal experiences though. She adds in encouraging words throughout the book about Mother Mary and how she can help us. Included in the back of the book are modern versions of prayers to Mother Mary and also the traditional Catholic prayers. I especially liked the use of these prayers in the book, and found it to be an easy go-to reference for praying to Mother Mary.

I really enjoyed reading this book and learning more about Mother Mary. It is a book that I think many people, especially believers and Christians should have and/or read. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Mary, Queen of Angels, Hay House, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

July 30, 2012

Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds Giveaway

Cereal is one of my favorite breakfast foods. It is fast, affordable, and usually quite nutritious. Thanks to MyBlogSpark I was able to get the new Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds for my family to try out.

Unfortunately I couldn’t eat it (it isn’t gluten-free), but they sure enjoyed it! My dad said it is his favorite cereal now and wants this again in the future. For someone who usually sticks to his Cherrios, this is quite a statement.

As stated by Fiber One, it contains 11 grams of fiber (43% of the Daily Value), 23 grams of whole grain (at least 48 recommended daily), and 180 calories per serving. It is also full of delicious crunchy nut clusters, real sliced almonds and whole grain flakes.

Want to try the cereal with a coupon? Go to: http://bit.ly/Fiber1NCAcoupon for a coupon for $1.25 off one box of this yummy cereal.

Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds Giveaway
I have one gift pack to giveaway to a follower of my Blog. The winner will receive 2 boxes of Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds cereal and a nut bowl and spoon.

One entry (mandatory) – Follow my Blog and leave a comment saying how the new Fiber One Nutty Clusters & Almonds will work into your diet.

One entry – Post about this contest on your Blog. Leave me a comment with the URL to it.

One entry – Follow me on Twitter and post about this contest on your Twitter account. Leave me a comment with the URL to it. @sherinewton the tweet so I can find it easily.

One entry – Post about this contest on your Facebook page. Leave me a comment with the URL to it. Add me as your friend, if you want.

Note: If you don’t have your e-mail address showing on your Blogger profile, or don’t enter it, I can’t contact you if you win. If you’re unsure if it is there or not, put it in your entry.

Giveaway ends on August 6, 2012. Good Luck!

“Disclosure:  The product, gift pack, information, and additional sample have all been provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.”

July 28, 2012

Peacock Wedding Dress

Check out this peacock wedding dress I came across today.

This beautiful dress was made from peacock feathers from a peacock farm in Linyi, which is in Northern China’s Shandong Province. It took 3,150 peacock feathers and two months to construct the dress. From what I read, it collected feathers from 200 male peacocks. Nothing was mentioned if the animals were harmed or not. Hopefully they are still alive and producing more feathers.

I think it is absolutely beautiful and a really unique wedding dress made of peacock feathers. I’ve never seen one like it before, and the woman is stunning in it. I just wonder what will happen with the dress after the wedding. Hopefully it isn’t just stuffed into a box and put into the back of her closet (which I’m sure is filled with other highly beautiful and exquisite items).

What do you think?

July 26, 2012

What I Did by Christopher Wakling

What I Did by Christopher Wakling is a novel that shows the intensity of childhood from a six year old’s perspective. It is the author’s sixth book as well, but does it really live up to the praise, or does it fall flat?

Book Description
This is a story about a terrible thing which happens to me. I have to warn you that nobody is bad or good here, or rather everyone is a bit bad and a bit good and the bad and the good molecules get mixed up against each other and produce terrible chemical reactions. Did you know cheetahs cannot retract their claws?"

Six-year-old Billy loves animals, David Attenborough documentaries, and sneakers that flash when he runs. He does not love sitting still, the blood-soaked sky in Watership Down, or his father's cell phone.

When Billy runs into a busy street, ignoring his father's commands, he sets in motion a series of unexpected, family-altering events. What I Did is a heart-wrenching reminder of how best intentions can lead to disastrous consequences, and how one rash decision can take on a life of its own.” – What I Did

My Thoughts
What I Did is a unique look at family life from a six year old’s point of view. Billy’s attention span is barely there, unless it involves something that interests him. He is often extremely clueless, and it is annoying to read his constant thoughts. Sadly, his lack of attention and concern makes me as a reader not that connected to him or the story. I was more interested in the parents than him, which is sad to say, especially since Billy was the narrator.

I think that the author’s use of a six year old as a narrator was risky. It makes for an interesting perspective for the story, but is also extremely frustrating for the reader to read the book. It isn’t something I’d want to read again, and the narrative just doesn’t work for me. It doesn’t read like a six year old’s voice. It reads like an adult pretending to be a smart child, but still an adult pretending.

* Thank you to the publisher of What I Did, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

July 25, 2012

Kristen Stewart Cheated on Robert Pattinson: Surprise or Not?

I love my Twilight books and movies, so when the big piece of news broke yesterday from US Weekly that Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson, I was somewhat surprised. I haven’t done much celebrity news or gossip lately, but this is one story I wanted to comment on.

The two had reportedly been in a relationship since 2009, shortly after meeting for the series Twilight. At the time, Kristen was in a relationship with someone else though. She eventually dumped the other guy and was just with Rob. I’m not sure if she cheated on the other guy with Rob or not. If she did though, Robert should have known she was a cheater and wouldn’t be faithful to him either.

Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart were hush-hush and avoided PDAs for a long time during their relationship. However, recently they had been displaying their relationship out in the open more often. Maybe this was Kristen trying to cover-up her affair with a married director?

Speaking of the affair, Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson with her Snow White and the Huntsman 41 year old director Rupert Sanders. He is British too, maybe she just digs that accent? Did I mention he is married with kids?

Today Kristen issued a public apology to Robert stating that, “"I'm deeply sorry for the hurt and embarrassment I've caused to those close to me and everyone this has affected. This momentary indiscretion has jeopardized the most important thing in my life, the person I love and respect the most, Rob. I love him, I love him, I'm so sorry.

Rob hasn’t said anything to the public about it yet, and Kristen probably had to issue the public apology because her calls are going to the “ignore” option on Rob’s phone. Also, her press people probably thought it would be a good idea to do because she looks bad. To me, this apology sounds more like she is sorry for getting caught than for the affair. Nothing is mentioned about the wife or kids of Sanders.

So, were you surprised by this bit of celebrity gossip on the couple that was once known as Robsten? Do you think they’ll stay together? If they breakup, it will make for some very awkward Breaking Dawn: Part 2 interviews and touring.

Mind Reader by Lior Suchard

Mind Reader: Unlocking the Power of Your Mind to Get What You Want by mentalist Lior Suchard is an interesting book about the author’s life, and how he uses some of his mind reading abilities for his performances. Do you want to know some of the secrets of mentalists, or perhaps try them out for yourself? If so, be sure to read this book!

Book Description
Do you believe it's possible for someone to read your mind?

Lior Suchard can. He can read your innermost thoughts, and knows what you are going to say before you say it—before you even know you're going to say it!

As a six-year-old boy in Haifa, Israel, Lior first realized he had an extraordinary mental power. Now he is known throughout the world as a dazzling entertainer and peerless mentalist, astounding audiences everywhere with his singular talent for mind reading, thought influencing, and telekinesis. In Mind Reader, Lior takes us on an incredible journey through the wonders of the human mind, sharing his remarkable personal story while offering invaluable advice. Lior's secrets and lessons, illustrated throughout with interactive elements and brainteasers, will enable readers to achieve phenomenal success by unlocking their untapped mental powers and freely embracing their inner mentalist.” – Mind Reader

My Thoughts
Mind Reader is written in a fun and engaging manner that pulls the reader in and makes them feel as if they are in the audience of one of the author’s performances. Lior shares his path to becoming a mentalist stage performer, and even though it isn’t a common profession, it does make for some interesting reading.

Lior doesn’t share that many secrets of his trade, but does give a few good examples of things you can do to try mind reading out for yourself. The most useful is probably the way he suggests reading body language and other non-verbal expressions. Creating positive energy is also another good area to focus on because this is something that everyone can definitely use more of in their life.

I would have preferred there to have been more examples or exercises for the reader to try mind reading for themself. Most of the book is focused on the author’s life and the stage performance he is recounting for us to read about. While fun, it doesn’t honestly “unlock the power of your mind to get what you want.”

* Thank you to the publisher of Mind Reader, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

July 24, 2012

Book Review: “Shadow Show” all new stories in celebration of Ray Bradbury

Shadow Show is a collection of short stories from noted authors such as: Margaret Atwood, Dave Eggers, Neil Gaiman, Joe Hill, Jacquelyn Mitchard, Audrey Niffenegger, and more. Each story was chosen to celebrate Ray Bradbury, and these fantastic authors did just that.

Book Description
What do you imagine when you hear the name . . . Bradbury?

You might see rockets to Mars. Or bizarre circuses where otherworldly acts whirl in the center ring. Perhaps you travel to a dystopian future, where books are set ablaze . . . or to an out-of-the-way sideshow, where animated illustrations crawl across human skin. Or maybe, suddenly, you're returned to a simpler time in small-town America, where summer perfumes the air and life is almost perfect . . .almost.

Ray Bradbury—peerless storyteller, poet of the impossible, and one of America's most beloved authors—is a literary giant whose remarkable career has spanned seven decades. Now twenty-six of today's most diverse and celebrated authors offer new short works in honor of the master; stories of heart, intelligence, and dark wonder from a remarkable range of creative artists.” – Shadow Show

My Thoughts
Shadow Show is a tribute to Ray Bradbury, so not all of the stories are in his style, but they are instead inspired by him. The authors of these short stories did an excellent job with them, and I found them to all be memorable and worthy of their place in this anthology.

I don’t have a favorite story in this book, but instead found many that I enjoyed reading very much. Some of these include: “Headlife” by Margaret Atwood, “The Man Who Forgot Ray Bradbury” by Neil Gaiman, “Earth (a Gift Shop)” by Charles Yu, and “By the Silver Water of Lake Champlain” by Joe Hill.

The editors for this book, Sam Weller and Mort Castle did an excellent job in deciding on each short story to include in the collection, and also how they arranged it. I think that this is an excellent book for fans of this genre to read, and would make a great gift for those who enjoy these stories as well.

* Thank you to the publisher of Shadow Show, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

July 18, 2012

A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie

A Year of Writing Dangerously by Barbara Abercrombie is a book that all writers should use to help them write 365 days out of the year. It is filled with fun anecdotes, quotes, writing prompts, and much more!

Book Description
In this collection of anecdotes, lessons, quotes, and prompts, author and writing teacher Barbara Abercrombie provides a delightfully varied cornucopia of inspiration — nuts-and-bolts solutions, hand-holding commiseration, and epiphany-fueling insights from fellow writers, including Nobel and Pulitzer Prize winners and Abercrombie’s students who have gone from paralyzed to published.” – A Year of Writing Dangerously

My Thoughts
A Year of Writing Dangerously is a seriously useful tool to help with writing, even dangerously if you so desire. Each day has an anecdote or inspiration to some degree for you to read. Beneath that is an inspirational quote from an author, which I always found to be highly encouraging.

The days aren’t listed by days of the month, they are numbered 1-365, so you can start your year of writing on any day of the year you wish. I really like the whole idea of this book, and hopefully in a year from now I’ll be finished with my very own novel.

I found this book to be an incredibly helpful writer’s tool. It inspired me to not only come up with a new idea for a novel, but also pushed me to go back and look at one I started writing a few years ago. Barbara Abercrombie is an excellent writing coach just from this book alone, and I’m sure I would be amazed by what her actual in-person writing classes are like.

I highly recommend this book for all writers to have in their writer’s space, especially if you suffer from any form of writer’s block.

* Thank you to the publisher of A Year of Writing Dangerously, New World Library, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

The Angel Oracle Deck by Ambika Wauters

The Angel Oracle Deck by Ambika Wauters is a beautifully designed angel deck. Both the artwork and the relevance of the angel cards make for truly divine daily guidance. If you enjoy working with the angels and reading oracle cards, this is the perfect deck for you.

Oracle Deck Description
Angels have immense power to touch us with their protection, guidance, and love. With this beautiful deck you now have the means to access this divine wisdom from the heavenly realm. You can pick a card to help you with an everyday problem, or you can make a selection to gain past, present and future perspectives on a major challenge.” – The Angel Oracle Deck

My Thoughts
The Angel Oracle Deck features beautiful cards with a medieval quality to them. The designs are intricate without being overly fancy. Sometimes oracle cards are filled with too much fluff and background designs, which I feel distracts the reader from reaching the true meaning of a reading. Luckily, this deck doesn’t have that, so it makes for a truly remarkable and easy to read deck of oracle cards.

The cards are easy to shuffle, which is a major bonus when it comes to decks of cards. There isn’t anything worse (in my opinion) than having a beautiful deck that is too hard or big to shuffle.

There are three different categories that the cards are sorted into. It was a little bit confusing at first when doing a reading, but once you do a few, it isn’t hard to figure out at all. As the author suggests, looking at each card, sorting them, and reading all of their meanings before doing a reading, is very good advice.

I really enjoy working this deck of angel oracle cards, and I’ll continue to use these often. I found them to be quite accurate for me and easy to read. I highly recommend this deck for others (beginners or advanced users) to use as well.

* Thank you to the publisher of The Angel Oracle Deck, Connections Book Publishing, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

July 17, 2012

The Sims 3: Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats Review

The Sims 3: Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats is a “Stuff Pack” that has exclusive Katy Perry themed items for your Sims to decorate their homes with, venues, and dress them up in. If you are a fan of Katy Perry and also play The Sims 3, this is a must buy stuff pack for your game!

Game Description
Indulge your Sims with the sweet and vibrant style of Katy Perry. The Sims™ 3 Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats pack showcases a vast range of décor items, furniture, and, of course, fabulous fashions and hairstyles! Inspired by Katy’s real-life clothing and props, these fun furnishings, décor, and fashions will add a dash of sweet style to your Sims’ lives.  Packed with more stuff than you have ever seen, your Sims will also enjoy three all-new spectacular venues including a local hangout, a town park, and a neighborhood swimming pool—each decked out in delicious Katy Perry style!

o     Sweeten your Sims’ lives with delicious, Katy Perry-inspired items from a cupcake-themed guitar and candy playground equipment, to luscious cotton candy trees and more.
o     Turn your Sims’ homes and neighborhood into a vibrant candytopia, complete with whimsical and colorful furnishings and décor, such as a banana split sofa, a fountain made of candy, or even a waffle cone picnic table.
o     Outfit your Sims in an array of new clothing and hairstyles that are straight from Katy Perry’s red carpet appearances, music videos and concert performances all recreated for The Sims in a true to life way.
o     Transform the neighborhood with three, all-new, pre-built venues. Stroll over to the Bonbon Lawn Park where your Sims will find loads of candy playground equipment. Players can also take their Sims to the Cake Pleasure Dome, the town’s charming local hangout.
o     Rock out with your Sims to a Simlish version of Katy Perry’s hit song, ‘Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.),’ recorded for the game by Katy Perry.

My Thoughts
I love The Sims 3 and Katy Perry, so her addition to the “The Sims 3: Showtime” expansion pack and this whole stuff pack with her items is something I really wanted to use in my games. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by the amount of really good and unique content that was added in with this stuff pack. Sometimes the stuff packs are a little bit of a letdown, but this one is fabulous! Sure, Katy Perry fans will enjoy it the most, but so what? It adds bright, fun new items to the game that are completely original. I love it!

This “Stuff Pack” has a large amount of new items, especially clothing for female adult Sims. Most of my characters I care about dressing up differently are adult female Sims anyways, so this didn’t bother me in the least. By my count, there are 33 new clothing items, and only 2 of those are for adult males. I had quite a bit of fun dressing up my Katy Perry Sim and other Sims around town in her costumes. I also designed her home to include a variety of the new objects as well. It makes for a fun pop singer experience with the Showtime expansion pack as well.

Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats also includes three new venues for your Sims to hangout at. “Bonbon Lawn” is a park that features candy playground equipment. The Sim kids I took there enjoyed playing on the equipment, but I bet they were pretty disappointed they couldn’t wear any of Katy’s new clothing items. The “Cake Pleasure Dome” is a charming local hangout that I quite enjoyed taking Sims to visit. However, my favorite out of the three is “Patty’s Natural Baths” which is a new pool location that features candy inspired décor and even a licorice slippery slide. This is a fun place to throw a birthday party at, especially for kids!

Overall, I really enjoyed this stuff pack. It has so many new clothing selections and objects that it really allows you to turn your neighborhood into a candy-wonderland if you so desire. It is fun and uplifting, and I highly recommend it.

Check out these videos about the game and watch the Katy Perry interview about it here:

* Thank you to the publisher of The Sims 3: Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats, Electronic Arts, and Gamers Gate for providing me with a digital copy of this game and allowing me to review it. All experiences and opinions expressed are my own.

July 13, 2012

Discretion by Allison Leotta

Discretion by Allison Leotta is a captivating thriller about the secretive world of sex and power in Washington D.C., written by a woman who really knows the subject matter of the story. She was a federal prosecutor for twelve years in Washington D.C., and this expertise on the subject makes the story that much more appealing for readers.

Book Description
When a beautiful young woman plummets to her death from the balcony of the U.S. Capitol, Assistant U.S. Attorney Anna Curtis is summoned to the scene. The evidence points to a sexual assault and murder. The victim is one of the city’s highest-paid escorts. And the balcony belongs to Washington, D.C.’s sole representative to Congress, the most powerful figure in city politics.

The Congressman proclaims his innocence, but he’s in the middle of a tough primary fight, and the scandal could cost him the election. For Anna, the high-profile case is an opportunity. But as the political stakes rise, she realizes that a single mistake could end her career.

At the same time, her budding romance with Jack Bailey, the chief homicide prosecutor, is at a crossroads. Determined to gain respect in the office, Anna wants to keep their relationship under wraps. But the mounting pressure and media attention that come with the office’s most important case will inevitably expose their relationship—if it doesn’t destroy it first.

The investigation leads Anna to Discretion, a high-end escort service that caters to D.C.’s elite. But with each break in the case, the mystery deepens. And the further Anna ventures into D.C.’s red-light underworld, the larger the target on her own back.

From the secret social clubs where Washington’s most powerful men escape from public view to the asphalt “track” where the city’s most vulnerable women work the streets, Discretion is a gripping exploration of sex, power, and the secrets we all keep. ” – Discretion

My Thoughts
Discretion is a very well written novel by a highly imaginative and talented author. She keeps the pace of the novel throughout the book, and as a reader, I constantly wanted more before I had to set the book down to do something else. She is a truly captivating writer that I want to read more of.

The story surrounding the murder of a high class call girl isn’t a new story idea. However, because Leotta has so much experience in real life cases, she gives this legal thriller so much for the reader to be entertained with. It is fast paced and fascinating, so really, what more could I want in a thriller? I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of Discretion, Touchstone, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

July 12, 2012

Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot

Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot is the new “Heather Wells” mystery that has Heather Wells being an assistant residence hall director at New York College. Quite a big step down from being a pop star, but she is handling it with as much pride as she can muster, especially since her ex just married her pop star replacement.

Book Description
Summer break . . . and the livin' ain't easy!

Just because the students at New York College have flown the coop doesn't mean assistant residence hall director Heather Wells can relax. Fischer Hall is busier than ever, filled with squealing thirteen- and fourteen-year-old girls attending the first ever Tania Trace Teen Rock Camp, hosted by pop sensation Tania Trace herself—who just happens to be newly married to Heather's ex-boyfriend, heartthrob Jordan Cartwright. But the real headache begins when the producer of a reality TV show starring Tania winds up dead . . . and it's clear that the star was the intended victim.

Grant Cartwright, head of Cartwright Records, wants to keep his daughter-in-law (and his highest-earning performer) alive. So he hires his oldest son, black sheep of the family and private investigator Cooper Cartwright—who just happens to be Heather's new fiancé. Heather should leave the detecting to Cooper. But with a dorm full of hysterical mini-divas-in-training, she can't help but get involved. And after Tania shares a really shocking secret with her, this reality suddenly becomes more dangerously real than anyone ever anticipated.” – Size 12 and Ready to Rock

My Thoughts
Size 12 and Ready to Rock is a part of the “Heather Wells” mystery books. Meg Cabot does a good job catching up a new reader to the series though, so reading the previous books is not necessary before reading this one.

Heather Wells is a size 12 character that is fun and honest. She is a character I really like, and found to be the most interesting part of the book. The other characters didn’t do much for me, especially the pop star Tania Trace and her reality TV show for a rock camp.

Before reading this book, I had never read of or heard of any of the “Heather Wells” mystery books. I really like the character of Heather Wells, and think that any main character that is size 12 or higher is great for self-esteem issues of girls and women. Meg Cabot writes extremely well, and I’m sure there is a very large fan base for this series. However, this series is just not for me. I found it to be a bit predictable and an odd mixture of after school special meets reality TV.

Although this isn’t a book I enjoyed overall, I do think that many teens and younger adults will enjoy this series. I could see it being a perfect read for fans of American Idol, and MTV reality shows.

* Thank you to the publisher of Size 12 and Ready to Rock, William Morrow, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

One Big Thing by Phil Cooke

One Big Thing by Phil Cooke is more than the typical self-help book to guide you on your path to finding what you are good at. This book doesn’t guarantee to help you find what your “One Big Thing” is, but does give you all of the tools and inspiration to find it so you can start living a life of purpose for yourself.

Book Description
Stop being average at so many things, and become extraordinary at One Big Thing.

What were you born to accomplish with your life? One Big Thing will help you discover what you were born to do and allow it to revolutionize your business, your ministry, and your life. In today’s distracted, digital culture, it’s harder than ever to identify your calling, get your voice heard, and achieve your dreams. To stand out and communicate your ideas and message, you need to cut through the clutter and get noticed. Making that happen means focusing on the one thing that drives you, inspires your passion, and separates you from the pack. If you’ve ever felt pulled in different directions or wondered what to do with your varied talents and interests, Phil Cooke will teach you the secrets of living a life-on-purpose that rises above the noise and leaves a lasting mark on the world.” – One Big Thing

My Thoughts
One Big Thing is a very helpful book to help you discover for yourself what you were born to do. There is no list that is given that details what you specifically should be doing, but if you read this book and actually work on discovering it for yourself, you should be able to find what it is that makes you special with your “One Big Thing.”

The book is also filled with a large amount of inspirational and excellent quotes from a large variety of famous people. I love quotes, so this stands out for me. There are so many that I’ll have to go back later and copy down the ones I really like.

Phil Cooke wrote this book for the mass of people that are living lives that don’t really feel like their own. They aren’t doing what they were born to do, and aren’t really living the life they want. Personally, I feel that this book really spoke to me and shook me up a little to actually do what I was born to do: write. If you need a push to do what you were born to do, this is the book to do it. You might need a gentle push or a hard shove, but reading this book will get you there. I highly recommend it.

* Thank you to the publisher of One Big Thing, Thomas Nelson, for providing me with a copy of this book for review as part of their Book Sneeze program. All opinions expressed are my own.

July 10, 2012

Soul Space by Xorin Balbes

Soul Space by Xorin Balbes is a unique perspective of transforming your home that blends design techniques with psychology and spirituality. The eight stage process is fully manageable and when used, can transform your home and your life in ways you probably couldn’t even imagine before you started the process.

Book Description
Xorin Balbes created his eight-stage SoulSpace process to help his clients create homes that reflect and celebrate what is essential about their inhabitants. The process works for any budget, anytime, anywhere and results in inspiration, self-discovery, and practical solutions. Through the stages — assess, release, cleanse, dream, discover, create, elevate, and celebrate — you will explore not only the design of your abode but also your own interior: how you think, feel, and sense the world. Empowered with this self-knowledge, you will discover fresh ways to declutter, refresh, and enhance your living space. Xorin’s wonderfully unique technique will nurture and transform both your soul and your home.” – Soul Space

My Thoughts
Soul Space is perhaps one of the best (if not the best) books I have read about organizing, decorating, and creating a peaceful home. It is a bit ironic that I read this book while contractors were at my home working on the damages caused by a water leak. It definitely wasn't peaceful in my home while the work was being done, but reading this book then was really the perfect time to actually do all of his steps in the Soul Space process – just on an increased and rushed timeframe.

My family and I were in the forced to assess and release stages on many areas in the home, but continued to do those beginner stages with the rest of the house as well. Even though the house is not finished yet, and we’re still working on all of the stages, this book was the perfect reminder and friendly push I needed to let go of some things and enjoy my Soul Space.

I passed this book on to my Mom who is also going through all of these renovations, and normally it takes her awhile to read a book. This one she started reading and found it extremely inspirational (especially since we’re doing the stages right now) and she had many “ah-ha!” moments when reading it. She almost has it finished, and each time I see her reading it, she always has something to say about it and how she is going to use it to help with the process we’re going through now. I’ve told her many of these suggestions before either of us read the book, but Xorin does a better job expressing it than I did.

I highly recommend this book to everyone to read. It should really be read by everyone to create a relaxing and revitalizing home environment. This is about much more than deciding which pieces of furniture to keep or which clothes to display in your closet. This book helps you on a soul level, and helps you get rid of the extra baggage holding you back. Not many books can encourage such dramatic changes, but this is one that truly does, and should not be skipped.

* Thank you to the publisher of Soul Space, New World Library, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Destiny’s Divas by Victoria Christopher Murray

Destiny’s Divas by Victoria Christopher Murray is a novel about a gospel group made up of three women who aren’t as pure and genuine as they appear to their adoring fans. Sierra, Raine, and Liza are all big personalities that make this novel an enjoyable and fun read this summer.

Book Description
Sierra, Raine, and Liza are Destiny’s Divas, a fresh, new gospel group whose unique blend of singing and testifying has gained them fans across the country. They tell the world about how good God has been to them, but off-stage, each is living a life totally opposite to what she preaches—and each is harboring a secret that could ruin them all.

Twenty-something Sierra Dixon speaks about the joy of being single and celibate, though she is anything but, drifting from one relationship to another. Although she stresses the importance of unconditional love within the family, Raine Omari has hit her breaking point with her mother-in-law and is ready to take drastic steps. And when Liza Washington discovers that her pastor-husband is in the middle of a scandal that could bring down more than just their ministry, she knows she must do something to stop him. One fateful evening their secrets are exposed, and one diva commits an act that could land her in prison for the rest of her life. Each has motive—who will crack?” – Destiny’s Divas

My Thoughts
Destiny’s Divas is a thought provoking good read. The Divas in this book aren’t dealing with necessarily average lifestyles, but they are “divas” and struggling with the images they are projecting to the world while actually being something completely different behind closed doors.

I enjoyed reading about each of the Divas, but one stood out as a favorite of mine: Sierra. She is like many people I know who pretend to be innocent and “Saved by God” and are now “saving” themselves for marriage. When in reality, she (like those women I knew) are anything but celibate.

Much like in reality, everything is not what it appears in this book, and the author does a fabulous job writing this novel to make sure your attention is captivated by her words throughout the book.

* Thank you to the publisher of Destiny’s Divas, Touchstone, for providing me with a copy of this book for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

July 8, 2012

Weekend Update

I don’t usually post “life” updates, but I thought it would be good to post what is going on with me lately and why I haven’t been able to blog often. As some of you may remember, there was a huge amount of water damage at my home, so things have been crazy with the renovations now that the contractor is actually working on it.

My bedroom is finally finished, so this weekend has been the first time I’ve actually been able to sleep in my new bed in my bedroom. My old mattress was ruined from the water issue. I gotta say that I am loving this new mattress though – so plush and cozy!

I’m still trying to find boxes and bins and random things that my stuff was moved to though, and one of those things is a box with books I need to read and review. Luckily, I had a large pile of books to read while things have been going on, but it isn’t easy reading with hammering and pounding going on either. I’ll post some pictures once things are finished. Everywhere is in a limbo area with nothing being completely done yet (it is driving me insane too).

I really want a new coffeemaker. The old one is taking around 18-20 minutes to brew one pot of coffee, which in a house full of coffee drinkers is just too long. I’m thinking of getting this Bunn coffeemaker. Does anyone have one? It is a bit pricey, so I want to make sure it is good before getting it.

Tonight is a new episode of True Blood so you know I’m highly excited I actually get to watch it on my nice TV finally. Seeing Eric Northman in anything less than 720 pixels is just wrong. LoL The show has veered so far off from the books, I don’t know what is coming next, and I love it. It is two completely different stories now, but that is okay with me because the characters are fangtastic and I can't get enough. Have you been watching this season? What do you think of it so far?