platform | book review

Ever feel like you have something to share with the world but you’re not exactly sure how to go about it? We live in a media saturated society and it’s really easy to get lost in the shuffle. Well this past month I listened to a book that you might be interested in. It has definitely impacted my direction as a blogger.

Platform

Platform by Michael Hyatt

Rating: 5.0 – 5.0

My Thoughts: 

So, you may know that I’m a lover of lists. I like things set out in bullet points or numbered items that are easy to scan, breakdown, organize and take in. This is one of those kinds of books. Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson, speaks from his expert knowledge of the publishing world and his personal brand building experience and gives step-by-step counsel on what branding is, why it’s important and why you need to do it if you want to be heard in this noisy world. If you’ve got a business or a ministry or you’re a creative who just wants to gather a following, this book is for you. Seriously.

It’s not a message for everyone but for a blogger like myself who’d like to spend my life doing work that I love, it was perfect. If you think that this book might be something you’d be interested in, here’s what you need to do:

Go to MichaelHyatt.com and see what he’s all about. Seriously, it’s a great site.

Go to Audible.com and download Platform and listen to it. Seriously, it’s a great book!

Or go to Amazon and buy a print copy. Seriously, I’m going to get one for my shelves, it was that good and I need it for reference.

I’m now a huge Michael Hyatt/Platform fan and I think some of you, dear readers might want to check out what all the fuss is about! It may change your life too :)

Happy reading, y’all!

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beezus and ramona | review

I was shopping Audible today, trying to figure out what to spend my monthly credit on when I came across the Ramona Quimby Audio Collection.  I know I’m in my twenties and all but you have to understand, I LOVED Beverly Cleary books when I was growing up and here was a $40 collection of all 8 Ramona books available to me for 1 Audible credit!

I got it.

I finished the first two books while weeding the garden beds.

I should have been listening to something else.  Something more…mature.  But it was sooooo sweet revisiting Klickitat street again, it was worth it!  I have a feeling I’m going to finish this collection pretty quickly!

912441Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary

Rating: 5.0 – 5.0

My Thoughts:

I don’t remember how old I was when I first listened to this audiobook but I’ve always loved it.  It gains a new kind of precious when you’re an adult. You gain a new kind of appreciation because you better understand childhood and you remember what it was like to be a child.  As an older sister, I can totally relate to Beezus Quimby.  But since you know what’s going on in Ramona’s little, imaginative head, you can’t help but love her and her exasperating ways.

I absolutely love the way Cleary tells her stories.  She connects events and makes things come full circle.  The way the applesauce incident ties in with the surprise party.  The way Beezus’ feelings about her relationship with Ramona and her admiration of the relationship between her mother and Aunt Beatrice.  They’re quite simple really but they’re touching and sweet and homey the way a children’s book should be.

And I must say, Stockard Channing’s reading of the Ramona books is superb and if there is another audiobook production of these stories, I will not ever listen to them cause no one can narrate these books the way she can!

I have 7 more books to go so I’ll have plenty more to write about Ramona in my next several posts!

Happy reading y’all!

This book counts towards the following challenges:

make it happen |review

Allow me to introduce you to my new favorite book:

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This book was recommended by a friend on Instagram and, I have to admit, the cover was so beautiful, I had to check it out on Amazon.  Then the subtitle pulled me in further – Surrender your fear. Take the leap. Live on purpose? Me, me, me!  I want to read that! That book is for me!  Needless to say, as soon as I had a new Audible credit, I downloaded it.  Man, am I glad I did!

Make it Happen by Lara Casey

Rating: 5.0 – 5.0

My Thoughts:

Have you ever felt scared about pursuing a more purposeful life?  You’re stuck in the routine grind of work or you’re not sure what’s going to happen after graduation.  There are dreams tugging at your heart but you know that if you took that leap, you’d be free falling and you’re not sure how you’d handle the great unknown.  If you’re like me and you have doubts about your place in this thing called life then this book is for you.

Lara Casey tells her story.  The highs and lows.  The details she’d rather not remember much less see in print.  And it’s not that her story is anymore remarkable than anyone else’s but what drew me in was her honesty and the candid truth that God created each of us with a specific purpose.  The journey can get messy and scary sometimes but He still wants the best for us despite our not-so-good choices.

What also drew me in was her invitation to practical application.  I like practical books.  I don’t just like to know someone’s story, I want the manual that comes with the story and tells me how to make the successes work for me.  I want lists and bullet points, writing prompts and inspiring new ideas.  This book as it.  And that’s why it’s my new favorite.

I can’t recommend this book more highly.  It was soooooooooooo…ooo good!  If you don’t go to Amazon.com right now and order it, at least go to Lara Casey’s website and check out all her cool resources!  You’ll be glad you did :)

Stop chasing the world’s version of perfect and live on purpose for God.

Happy reading y’all!

This book counts towards the following challenges:

 

the kite runner | book review

You know that book that seems to take you forever to get comfortable in?  Be it audio or paperback, you can’t seem settle in and enjoy the story.  Then, all at once, it grabs you and pulls you in and you can’t stop until you’ve read the whole thing.  That’s what happened when I read The Kite Runner.

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The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Rating: 5.0 – 5.0

My Thoughts:

Okay so I didn’t read the paperback that’s sitting on my shelf.  I came across the audiobook and decided to listen instead.  It took me a couple of tries. While it was good from the beginning, it didn’t grip me until about halfway through.  It was a fascinating ride though and I’m glad I stuck with it.

It’s an extraordinary look at life through the eyes of a boy named Amir whose coming of age is anything but happy, peaceful, or normal.  Political upheaval is on the horizon and family life has much to be desired.  From his boyhood in Kabul Afghanistan to his adulthood in America, Amir’s life takes twists and turns that kept me on the edge of my seat, wondering what would happen next.  His is a story of betrayal, a fierce, unconditional love that is strong enough to forgive, and redemption that didn’t seem possible.

This is the first book I’ve ever read set in the Middle East and I have to say, for the first time, it wasn’t just a place on a map, images on the news, reports on the radio, or overheard bits of other peoples’ conversations.  For the first time I saw actual people who live in actual villages and lead actual lives with their actual families.  And it was ridiculous because I know this stuff.  I know there are people in other countries who eat, sleep, drink, breath, laugh, cry, fear, and feel and experience all the millions of things I do be it as differently as it is.  But it wasn’t until I stepped inside the pages and walked around in Amir’s shoes that I got a better perspective of what it’s like on that side of the world–I LOVE that about reading!!

I haven’t seen the movie but I plan to now that I’ve finally read the book.  One thing I will say about the audio version–it’s an abridged performance.  I didn’t realize it until I was halfway through and I was flipping through my hard copy to see how far I was and compared what was on the page with what I was hearing.  Yeah, kind of disappointing.  I’m not planning on picking up the paperback anytime soon but it sits on my shelf if the desire ever arises.

The movie is rated PG-13 and I would give the same to the book.  Some of the scenes are more than a bit intense.

I’m planning on reading Hosseini’s other books A Thousand Splendid Suns  And the Mountains Echoed. Anyone else read them? What did you think?

Happy reading, y’all! :)

This book counts towards the following challenges:

the reluctant heiress | book review

One of my absolute favorite YA novels is Eva Ibbotson’s A Countess Below Stairs.  A few years ago, I picked up another one of her books hoping that I would enjoy it just as much.  A started it several times, not being able to sink into the story. I listed it as an alternate title on my 2014 TBR list and after spotting it on Audible, I decided to give the audiobook a shot.

5711852The Reluctant Heiress by Eva Ibbotson

Rating: 2.5-4.0

Let me first just say that I have a hard time with the title.  This book, as well as A Countess Below Stairs, was re-released in 2009 from its original publication in 1982 with the title Magic Flutes.  I think the original title fits the story better, but whatever – it is what it is!

Eva Ibbotson tells the story of Austrian heiress Princess Theresa-Maria of Pfaffenstein. With nothing to her name accept a castle that is far past its prime, this princess cheerfully hides her identity and secures a position as an under-wardrobe mistress for an opera company with its own financial struggles.

Completely unselfish and unwavering in her belief that everyone is equal, she throws herself into her work and her passion for music believing that it is the medium that will level the social playing field. Meanwhile, her broken-down old castle is purchased by self-made millionaire Guy Farne who has grand designs of his own.  Only Guy’s plans center around re-capturing the heart of a woman from his past. When their paths cross, both Tessa’s and Guy’s respective worlds are flipped around and each is forced to evaluate what love means and what they truly want in life.

This book definitely charming and has its clever moments just as I expect from Ibbotson. However, I wouldn’t put it up their with A Countess Below Stairs though.  I don’t know but there wasn’t the same level of dignity in this book. And while Tessa is very sweet and likable, I didn’t warm up to the other characters very much.

I think, perhaps, I’ll give the audio another shot in the future. Distant future….lol.

I’m glad I finally got through this read and I can cross it off my TBR list and add it to my Audio Book Challenge for this year!  Two birds, one stone. Yeah, baby!

Hope y’all are having a great week so far!

Happy reading!

the pursuit of holiness | book review

The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges The_Pursuit_Of_Holiness_Ca_large

Ratings: 4.0 – 4.0

My Thoughts:

I got this audiobook as free download from Christian Audio awhile ago.  After having listened to it, I want to get a hard copy to go over what I missed and make marks and notes.

This was a fantastic look at holiness and how Christians should make the pursuit of holiness, not an activity to fit into daily life, but a lifestyle.

We need to brace ourselves up and to realize that we are responsible for thoughts, attitudes, and actions. We need to reckon on the fact that we died to sin’s reign, that it no longer has any dominion over us, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power and has given us the Holy Spirit to work in us. Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God’s provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness.

There’s this idea in modern Christendom that we’re human, we sin, that’s the way it is, and there’s nothing we can do about it.  That’s is hopeless theology right there.  Jesus died on the cross so that, through Him, we would have victory over sin.

What I like about this book is that, while Bridges was straight forward and real about holiness and sin, it didn’t feel preachy or holier-than-thou, or over bearing.  While the subject matter was serious, he was matter-of-fact and honest throughout the whole book.  His approach was also very practical, which I totally appreciate!  When reading a book or listening to a sermon, I look for the practical application.

“The Christian living in disobedience also lives devoid of joy and hope. But when he begins to understand that Christ has delivered him from the reign of sin, when he begins to see that he is united to Him who has all power and authority and that it is possible to walk in obedience, he begins to have hope, and as he hopes in Christ, he begins to have joy. In the strength of this joy, he begins to overcome the sins that have so easily entangle him. He then finds that the joy of a holy walk is infinitely more satisfying than the fleeting pleasures of sin. But to experience this joy, we must make some choices. We must choose to forsake sin, not only because it is defeating to us but because it grieves the heart of God.”

Bottom line, this book was deeeeeeeep!  And I totally recommend!  If you have the chance, I also recommend the audiobook, the narrator was easy to listen to and wasn’t super long.  And like I said in my Lies Women Believe review, approach it with an open mind and prayerful heart.  God has amazing desires for our lives and we should be pursuing Him and the things He loves with everything we are.

Happy reading :)

‘Stuff Christians Like’ Review

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The book Stuff Christians Like is a collection of laugh-out-loud essays from Jonathan Acuff’s blog StuffChristiansLike.net.  It was a free download on ChristianAudio.com a some months ago so I had the extreme pleasure of listening to the audiobook read by Acuff himself.  I totally recommend the experience.

Sometimes Christians give off the vibe that we don’t laugh or have any fun.  Oh, so not true!  Christians are funny simply because people are funny!  And it’s great to losen up every once in awhile and laugh at ourselves.  Jonathan Acuff’s satire about different stereotypes and common church happenings had me cracking up!  I think one of my favorite essays was about the 7 people you meet in a prayer circle – The Opener, The Almost-er, The Rambler, The Cave-In, The Gunslinger, The Shot Blocker, and The Closer. FU-NNY!!

I finished it in one day while cooking and baking last Friday.  If you do end up listening to the audiobook, I must warn you not to listen to it while you’re doing something that requires you to pay attention to things like numbers or measurements.  I totally quadrupled the amount of water required for the bread recipe I was only planning on doubling.  Let’s just say that remedying that mistake totally threw off my entire day!  But I had a few great laughs in the meantime!

A word about the negative reviews I saw on Goodreads and Amazon.  I didn’t waste my time reading through all of them but from what I gathered, some people think he’s legalistic or the material is too specific or he’s being hypocritical.  First of all, it’s satire.  He’s being sarcastic about 75% of the time.  While the book should make you think because much of it is so true, it’s not supposed to be a serious, comprehensive study on Christian behavior.  Satire is the key word.  Don’t take all his comments seriously.  Secondly, he’s writing from his own background and experience so not every Christian is going to be able to relate to everything in the book.  I certainly didn’t.  I go to a small, hymn-singing church that doesn’t flash numbers on a big screen to tell parents their child is misbehaving in class.  I’ve never been to youth camp and I didn’t ‘fall in love’ on the last mission trip I went on (which was also the only mission trip I went on).  But while I couldn’t relate to some of the essays, I still found them funny cause I was familiar with stereotypes and culture and…it was funny!  Some readers are going to be able to relate to every page in the book, other’s will pick, choose and leave the rest and that’s fine.  I don’t think the author himself could ask for more than that!

So if you get a chance, check out the book.  If you like Christian comedy, it’s totally worth a read (or a listen!).

Y’all stay blessed :)

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Counts towards:

 2013 Audiobook Challenge

audio vs. hard copy: how do you read?

africa

With all this reading and book reviewing I’ve been doing will will be doing, there is a question that I’ve never quite been able to answer for myself:

I still haven’t decided whether or not I count audiobooks I’ve listened to as books I’ve read.

Part of me says yes and part of me says no.  I’ve been an audio bookworm for years and still haven’t settled that in my head.  I just think reading and listening are two different things.  Or has reading become the all-purpose term for taking in information from a book?  Whether you physically hold the book in your hands or your parents read it to you before bed or you pop the tape into your player doesn’t matter, but rather that you are taking in the story or information that the author penned.  It certainly sounds better to say, “Oh yeah I read that book awhile ago,” instead of “Yeah I listened to that on tape once.” (Okay, I know books-on-tape are so very antiquated, but you get my meaning!) Often, after I’ve finished an audiobook, I’ll want to get my hands on a physical copy so I can read it and pick up on anything I might have missed.  This is usually the case with non-fiction titles.  However, I don’t hesitate too much to say that I’ve read a novel I’ve only listened too.

I don’t know.

I know I’m probably over-thinking this :P.

What do y’all think?  How do you read?  Which do you prefer?  Do you consider audiobooks and hard copies equals?

Y’all have a blessed day =)

Image courtesy of africa/Freedigitalphotos.net