Tag Archives: book blogger

Review: Jesus Lives by Sarah Young

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This book of devotions is designed as a gift book, with glossy pages, a padded cover, ribbon book mark, and a presentation page following the flyleaf.  Each of the 180 devotions corresponds to an emotion, virtue or concern.  For example, there are meditations on “Joy”, “Fear”, “Emptiness”, and “Right Living” among many others.  There is no discernible order for the devotions, but there is an alphabetical index at the front that directs you to all devotions on a particular topic.  Each devotion covers a two-page spread, with the left page containing the meditation, which is written as if in the voice of Jesus, with scripture passages presented on the right page.

The tone of the meditations is very soothing and pleasant, although I found it difficult to engage with the voice of Jesus in this book.  This is Ms Young’s style, and it may be very helpful to some, but I found it distracting.  Catholics will find some of the theology off, but other passages will have alternative uses to those that the author intended.  The meditations on being in the Presence of Jesus could work very well at Eucharistic Adoration, not at all what the author intended, but beautiful nonetheless.  For example, one of the meditations on the topic “His Presence” begins:  “I want you to spend time with Me for the pure pleasure of being in My company. When you take delight in My Presence, you experience a foretaste of the eternal pleasures I have prepared for you…”.

A lovely little book, although probably not suitable for an orthodox Catholic.

This book was provided for review free-of-charge through the Thomas Nelson Book Sneeze program.

Book Review: The Sweet By and By by Sara Evans with Rachel Hauck

I just finished reading The Sweet By and By

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 by multi-platinum recording artist Sara Evans with best-selling author Rachel Hauck. Set in the Southern United States, the main character Jade is preparing to marry Max, a successful lawyer. As she struggles with whether to invite her mother to the wedding, she revisits difficult events from her past. This is achieved in the novel through the use of flashbacks.

The book does not shy away from addressing tough issues. An interesting and engaging story, we come to understand the problems that have faced Jade from early childhood. We meet the grandmother who raised her, and get to know Jade’s mother and siblings who are also experiencing their own troubles.

The writing style is straightforward and the book is an enjoyable, easy read. Jade’s character is appealing, as are those of her family and friends. Some of the minor players seem a little flat though: Jade’s mother-in-law and the minister, for example. They are almost caricatures of the wealthy, controlling woman and the Baptist preacher. As well, the spiritual aspects of the book were not particularly convincing, as they seem to appear out of nowhere near the end of the book, in an episode that seems rather contrived.

This is the first in a series of books about Jade from this collaboration of Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck. I would recommend this book to someone interested in light romance coupled with an encounter with the Divine.  An interview with Sara Evans about the book follows:

[The book was provided to me free of charge by Thomas Nelson, the publisher.  If you are interested in becoming a Thomas Nelson Book Blogger, please visit them here.]

Book Review: Derailed: Five Lessons Learned from Catastrophic Failures of Leadership

This accessible and engaging book should be required reading for middle- and upper-level managers seeking to stay on the track to success. Tim Irwin, an authority on leadership, profiles six well-known corporate executives whose careers derailed, and analyzes the factors that led to these spectacular downfalls. These include Robert Nardelli (Home Depot) and Carly Fiorina (Hewlett-Packard). It becomes clear in reading these cautionary tales that flaws of character, not competence, are most likely to lead to premature derailment. Specifically, Irwin describes four dimensions key of character 9 authenticity, self-management, humility, and courage) and how their “dark side” can stall a career. By referring to the six profiles as well as examples from his own life and career, Irwin outlines the key characteristics of strong leaders and provides advice for executives who wish develop these “habits of the heart.”

Irwin writes in an appealing and straightforward way, and while a quick read, the book offers sage advice and counsel. Irwin also provides a free online personalized risk assessment at www.DerailedLeader.com and other resources including free teleseminars. In addition, purchase of this hardcover also includes access to the e-book AND the audiobook, simply by emailing a copy of your receipt to the publisher. Great additional value!

I have provided this review as a Thomas Nelson Book Review Blogger!