Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Great and Terrible-Series

My Rating: 4/5
Pages: 0ver 2,00o together, or over 300 each  • Speed: Very Fast
Subject: Fictional, Political, Religion, Thriller

This modern-day thriller feels like a few 24 episodes mixed with religious perspective, family values and military heroism. I enjoyed this series, partly because its' storyline was more accurate to our times than--say--Harry Potter. The language could be suitable for a teenagers as well and treads on delicate (OK, earth-ending) topics respectable. These surely should be read as a group since the storyline carries strongly to the end. They lead you to view your own struggles and inner-thoughts through an entirely new perspective. You'll never want to go without food storage again!
 (The following summary is provided by

"This thrilling series by national bestselling author Chris Stewart takes us from the beginning of time to the final hours of the last days. Filled with rumors of wars and political intrigues, deadly epidemics and economic disasters, uplifting twists and inspiring miracles, the volumes in The Great and Terrible series reveal the greatest secret of all: The children of God can defeat the adversary, for we have fought him before.
This set includes all six volumes in the series:
  • The Brothers: In the time before Creation, before so many of the children of God turned away from their Father and walked knowingly into the dark, there was a choosing, a sifting, a contest of ideas and a battle for souls. In that great premortal war, each of us learned the first lessons of life: The great ones may fall. The wicked can change. The weak and the foolish can become the strongest of all. And the battle between good and evil is the same regardless of the time or place.
  • Where Angels Fall: The war that began before we entered mortality is escalating into the final battle for freedom, liberty, and the hearts and souls of all men. Into this world filled with turmoil, our Father will send some of his most valiant servants. A child is born who may have the power to change the course of history. But will Elizabeth remember the covenants she made in the premortal world? Will she and her brothers have the strength to withstand the terrible forces of evil that reign in the Last Days? Against the backdrop of Middle Eastern conflict, the story of war and intrigue will have you riveted! 
  • The Second Sun: The old king struggled, lifting his had again. The prince smiled at the motion and placed his mouth to the old man’s ear, feeling the heat of his skin on his lips. As he spoke his voice changed, as if another man were there. “It has started, my father,” he whispered in a soft, evil hiss. “There is no turning back. You might as well lift your hand to stop the sunrise as to bring an end to this plan. Like your own death, it is inevitable. A new day is dawning, a day of secret alliances and powerful men, an age of dark miracles, dreadful rumors and a red sinking moon, a day of a bright flash on the horizon that does not come from the sun. It will be an age of power and oppression far greater than has ever fallen on the earth. Even as I whisper to you, Father, even as my breath touches your ears, the great battle has started. The sun is setting on the frail world you have known. It is passing, and with its passing, the greater kingdom shall come. A world poised at the brink of a disastrous war is unaware of the evil forces that will stop at nothing to achieve their aims. But in the midst of turmoil and impending doom, some of the Father’s most valiant servants are in place – sons and daughters who may have the power to change the course of history. 
  • Fury & Light: The world waits in suspense as America struggles to survive following the attack on Washington, D.C., but who remains to run the government? Who will make the world-changing decisions that must be made? As King Abdullah prepares for the final attack that will bring America to its knees, the characters are trapped in a desperate fight for their lives. Sara Brighton and her sons, Luke and Ammon, head west in a doomed attempt to reach Salt Lake City. Sam returns to the States in anticipation of a U. S. retaliatory strike, but finds his home abandoned, with no trace of his family there. In Chicago, Azadeh Pahlavi meets her adopted mother and little sister, who are enmeshed in their own crisis with life-or-death consequences. The end is near now. 
  • From the End of Heaven: The battle of good against evil intensifies in the darkness of an EMP-devastated America. For Sara Brighton, the time is fast approaching when she must face the frightening realities her husband, Neil, warned her about before his death. Sam's problem is more immediate: How can he get his family to a safe place? Bono is still trying to get to his family, and Azadeh is struggling to find her role in the family that has reached out to welcome her in. Meanwhile, the followers of Satan plot to take over the government of the United States and remake it to fulfill their own greed and lust for power. 
  • Clear As the Moon: The nuclear explosion over Washington D.C. and the subsequent EMP attack have left a decapitated government and 300 million helpless citizens. In the ensuing chaos, a dark and powerful cartel steps forward to claim power. The Constitution of the United States hangs in the balance as the eternal struggle between good and evil spreads through the government. After Sara Brighton agrees to help a shadow government rise to power, Sara and Bono are sent on the most dangerous military mission of their lives. Azadeh agrees to guide them through the mountains of Iran as they seek for the key that could save the world. Struggling against overwhelming odds, they realize the most important lesson of their time: Faith is the only thing that matters as the final day draws near.
Best price here.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Waiter Rant

My Rating: 5/5
Pages:302  • Speed: Very Fast and Funny
Subject: Cynical Real-Life Job

Have you ever wondered what the waiter thinks when you ask for a different table, stiff him on the tip, or act like you are God's gift to the restaurant? Well now you do. Waiter Rant is the front of the restaurant version of Kitchen Confidential, and is a must read for anyone attempting civility eating outside their own confines. Believe me, after you see what these guys go through, you will want to give them at least a 25% tip every time (unless they're incompetent.) Waiter Rant began as a blog written in secret by a New York waiter revealing restaurant stories that sharpen your pupils and leave you speechless. That lead to his instant New York Times bestseller which landed him interviews with Oprah & Matt Lauer. His proven ability to write creates readability you'll finish before dessert and want to share at the table. Beware of the potty-mouth, as in-the-field-type language is unabashed. I am definitely buying his new book, Keep the Change, about the world of tipping and how to become its "guru".

Check out his blog here. Still hilarious and spot on.
Both books available there with links to major booksellers.

Personal Note: My husband was in the tipping world of valet parking for 6 years, so I can understand the frustration and outpour of stories from the service end. These guys are people; we seem to forget that when they're picking up our keys or delivering our plate. Last month while visiting my sister in Ohio, I picked Waiter Rant up at a unique bookstore called The Book Loft of German Village. I'm so glad I did. 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Florence of Arabia

My Rating: 4.5/5
Pages: 272 • Speed: Fast
Subject: Satirical Thriller
"...a blistering comic novel sure to offend the few it doesn’t delight" (B&N.COM).

Christopher Buckley's spot-on pun of dysfunctional world-Saudi-American relations gives the reader both a laugh and heart-aching reality check. Widely gutsy and hilariously understood, his ironic parallels of warped-Islamic culture leaves a shocking mark of intrigue regarding the women of our oil providers. For example, an executioner reduces a woman's sentence for driving a car (the most seditious of offences) from beheading in front of the plaza's Starbucks to a mere 1,000 lashes. Buckley's response? "God be praised." His sarcasm and deep comprehension of world-order seeps through every page. This Arab-jibing adventure is filled with sweaty romance, undercover CIA and a taunting taste of evil disguised as religious rule. Hold onto your hat, your burka...and quite possibly your head as Florence Farfarletti attempts to liberal Arab women through jaw-dropping television!

Here's the back-cover summary: "Appalled by the punishment of her rebellious friend Nazrah, youngest and most petulant wife of Prince Bawad of Wasabia, Florence Farfarletti decides to draw a line in the sand. As Deputy to the deputy assistant secretary for Near East Affairs, Florence invents a far-reaching, wide-ranging plan for female emancipation in that part of the world. The U.S. government, of course, tells her to forget it. Publicly, that is. Privately, she’s enlisted in a top-secret mission to impose equal rights for the sexes on the small emirate of Matar (pronounced “Mutter”), the “Switzerland of the Persian Gulf.” Her crack team: a CIA killer, a snappy PR man, and a brilliant but frustrated gay bureaucrat. Her weapon: TV shows. The lineup on TV Matar includes A Thousand and One Mornings, a daytime talk show that features self defense tips to be used against boyfriends during Ramadan; an addictive soap opera featuring strangely familiar members of the Matar royal family; and a sitcom about an inept but ruthless squad of religious police, pitched as “Friends from Hell.” The result: the first deadly car bombs in the country since 1936, a fatwa against the station’s entire staff, a struggle for control of the kingdom, and, of course, interference from the French. And that’s only the beginning. A merciless dismantling of both American ineptitude and Arabic intolerance, Florence of Arabia is Christopher Buckley’s funniest and most serious novel yet, a biting satire of how U.S. good intentions can cause the Shiite to hit the fan."

Available here.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Number the Stars

My Rating: 4/5
Pages: 144 • Speed: Very fast
Subject: Children's Historical Fiction

Awarded the Newbery Medal in 1990 as the "most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."

Ten year old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think about life before the war. But it's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching in their town. The Nazis won't stop. The Jews of Denmark are being "relocated", so Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be part of the family. Then Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission. Somehow she must find the strength and courage to save her best friend's life. There's no turning back now. (back cover summary)"

I loved re-reading this children's classic, that reminds us that even kids had to make courageous, selfless decisions in the middle of war-torn Europe. The simpleness of the storytelling makes it absorbable, believable, and sympathizing. This is appropriate for maybe 3rd grade and beyond, and is a great introduction to World War II, an important part of world history for any child.

Available here.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Major Pettigrew's Last Stand

My Rating: 5/5
Pages: 355; Speed: Slow but witty & real
Subject: Romance, Literary Fiction

"In the small village of Edgecombe St. Mary in the English countryside lives Major Ernest Pettigrew (retired), the unlikely hero of Helen Simonson’s wondrous debut. Wry, courtly, opinionated, and completely endearing, the Major leads a quiet life valuing the proper things that Englishmen have lived by for generations: honor, duty, decorum, and a properly brewed cup of tea. But then his brother’s death sparks an unexpected friendship with Mrs. Jasmina Ali, the Pakistani shopkeeper from the village. Drawn together by their shared love of literature and the loss of their spouses, the Major and Mrs. Ali soon find their friendship blossoming into something more. But village society insists on embracing him as the quintessential local and regarding her as the permanent foreigner. Can their relationship survive the risks one takes when pursuing happiness in the face of culture and tradition? (back cover summary)"

Charming, intelligent, heart-warming and dignified, Simonson's attention to detail and witty renditions creates a very strong British novel! Major Pettigrew and Mrs. Ali's appreciation for both the old-ways of civilized people and their disgust of hypocrisy builds a riveting relationship both know is impossible. A joy on every page and characters you feel are real, give the old Brit a chance, and enjoy some herbal tea while you're at it!

Available here.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

My Rating: 4.5/5
Pages: 230; Speed: Very Fast
Subject: Young Adult, Culture

"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is Alexie's first foray into the young adult genre, and it took him only one book to master the form. Recently nominated for a National Book Award, this is a gem of a book. I keep flipping back to re-read the best scenes and linger over Ellen Forney's cartoons…For 15 years now, Sherman Alexie has explored the struggle to survive between the grinding plates of the Indian and white worlds. He's done it through various characters and genres, but The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian may be his best work yet. Working in the voice of a 14-year-old forces Alexie to strip everything down to action and emotion, so that reading becomes more like listening to your smart, funny best friend recount his day while waiting after school for a ride home," (Bruce Barcott, The New York Times).
Available here.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Wall Street Journal Complete Money & Investing Guidebook

My Rating: 3/5
Pages: 224; Speed: Slow
Subject: Finance

"Unravel the Mysteries of the Financial Markets—the Language, the Players, and the Strategies for Success. Understanding money and investing has never been more important than it is today, as many of us are called upon to manage our own retirement planning, college savings funds, and health-care costs. Up-to-date and expertly written, The Wall Street Journal Complete Money and Investing Guidebook provides investors with a simple—but not simplistic—grounding in the world of finance. It breaks down the basics of how money and investing work, explaining:
• What must-have information you need to invest in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds
• How to see through the inscrutable theories and arcane jargon of financial insiders and advisers
• What market players, investing strategies, and money and investing history you should know
• Why individual investors should pay attention to the economy
Written in a clear, engaging style by Dave Kansas, one of America’s top business journalists and editor of The Wall Street Journal Money & Investing section, this straightforward book is full of helpful charts, graphs, and illustrations and is an essential source for novice and experienced investors alike. Get your financial life in order with help from The Wall Street Journal" (barnes&
This received a less-than perfect score due to its often mundane tone, yet the information contained is both vital and thoroughly written. 

Available here.

Friday, December 31, 2010

New York: The Novel

My Rating: 5/5
Pages: 860; Speed: Small Print, Not Fast, but Engaging
Subject: Historical Fiction
Winner of the David J. Langum, Sr., Prize in American Historical Fiction
Named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post and “Required Reading” by the New York Post

"Edward Rutherfurd celebrates America’s greatest city in a rich, engrossing saga, weaving together tales of families rich and poor, native-born and immigrant—a cast of fictional and true characters whose fates rise and fall and rise again with the city’s fortunes. From this intimate perspective we see New York’s humble beginnings as a tiny Indian fishing village, the arrival of Dutch and British merchants, the Revolutionary War, the emergence of the city as a great trading and financial center, the convulsions of the Civil War, the excesses of the Gilded Age, the explosion of immigration in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the trials of World War II, the near demise of New York in the 1970s and its roaring rebirth in the 1990s, and the attack on the World Trade Center. A stirring mix of battle, romance, family struggles, and personal triumphs, New York: The Novel gloriously captures the search for freedom and opportunity at the heart of our nation’s history" (barnes& Rutherford's extremely readable work makes one almost forget they are learning history, as the reader is wrapped in a generational patchwork of time-appropriate individuals and their interrelated human stories. A must read for any history buff and well worth the time.

Available here.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Finding Alice

My Rating: 4/5
Pages: 371; Speed: Regular
Subject: Psychology, Religious Fiction

"Sliding into the Rabbit Hole… Would She Ever Return?" (back cover). Alice Laxton is a regular college girl who begins experiencing irregular non-drug-induced visions, voices and psychotic episodes. Her mother is worried and her landlord is starting to get complaints, as regular encounters with the people she loves turns frightful and suspicious! Through a rapidly spiraling imbalance of reality, she finds herself in the rabbit hole of schizophrenia. Soon, she is convinced she is "the chosen one" called to uncover hidden truths from God. She believes a guardian angel and others are speaking to her (or rather shrieking) as she becomes obsessed with journal writing and protecting an imaginary key. Before she knows it, she's locked up in a mental institution, Forest Hills. After traditional therapy of dooping drugs and occasional arm restraints, she breaks free and finds herself meeting Wonderland-like characters on the real streets of Portland. The twin homosexuals remind her of Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dumb, but they give her the rules of homeless living and lead her to "the cat lady" Faye. It is imperative that this girl learns to differentiate between her controlling church's "joy-is-sin" teachings at Salvation Center and the genetic existence of her mental disease. Said in first person, you can see the hardships of steering her rampant mind as she struggles with who to trust and which reality to believe. A good read for anyone trying to find hope and love in mental illness as a whole, particularly with schizophrenia. This award-winning author of more than 90 books has a bit of a Christian undertone, but is not too preachy. The wonders of the mind possibly have a stairway back, but can Alice first discover she's on the wrong end of the looking glass?

Available here

(P.S. I do not get any commissions by clicking above; its just for your convenience. Feel free to shop where you like.) :-)

Thursday, July 22, 2010


My Rating: 5/5
Pages: 272; Speed: Very Fast
Subject: Teen Fiction, Choices & Transitions

I have had this book on my shelf for years but never guessed it would take only hours to rush through! This succincly written non-fiction is of a thirteen-year-old girl from Napal who lives the simple life with her family. When their meager lot sinks deaper, they decide she must work in the city as a maid for a rich family to help carry her weight. After traveling hundreds of miles, she arrives at "Happiness House" where she learned the unfathomable truth that she has been, unknowingly by her family, sold into prostitution. Trying to survive the torture of existence, she learned of the stories of the other girls; some even choose to stay there-for fear of the "bad Americans-" all lies to keep them from rescue or running away. It's devastating to walk these days with her (written in diary form) as she tries to follow her mother's motto: "Simpy to endure is triumph." I highly recommend this well written text, whose chapers are sometimes but half a page. Cry, see the realities of what exists in the world, and feel what it would be like to be Sold.

Available here.

(in the teen section, but a bit heavy subject matter; handled with discrepancy in most places)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Help

My Rating: 5/5
Pages: 451; Speed: Regular
Subject: Occupations-Fiction, Social Issues

"Three ordinary women are about to take one extraordinary step..." (Amy Einhorn Books). A delightfully fresh story line on Southern white ingratitude and black maids' living conditions. Three characters narrate this drama-that defies social lines and statues quo-in voices real and humorous.  Their knots may lead to lost friendships, work, or love interests, but can they be true to conscience without losing everything?  Author Kathryn Stockett grew up in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960's (the where and when) so her authentic first novel honorably tributes the true hands that raised her. Their chains may be loosed as "the help" find a voice of their own!

Available here.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Twenties Girl

My Rating: 4/5
Pages: 435 ; Speed: Fast
Subject: Women's Fiction, Mystery

Author of the popular Confessions of a Shopaholic series, Sophie Kinsella writes a delightfully heartwarming read for the chick-lit lover. Twenty-something-year-old Laura Lington is facing a crumbling headhunting business, a heartbreak from the-one-that-got-away, and discouragement from her parents. Even her famous uncle, founder of Lington Coffee (Starbucks equivalent) won't give her a chance. At the funeral of her unknown great aunt Sadie, the deceased's ghost demands help from Laura with unfinished business (and unmended heartbreak). Sadie-in her feisty twenties flapper form-can't rest without her dear missing necklace. Laura doesn't believe in ghosts, but after being pestered in the most professionally embarrassing ways, gives in. They ensue on jewelry-hunting mayhem as Laura sees her family through knew light and learns the difference between infatuation and love. Taking place in modern-day London, this quick read leaves you feeling warm and fuzzy as generational differences blend and confidence is discovered. With plenty of fashion, dancing, and a splash of art history, Laura's already spazzed life gets turned upside down as Sadie tries to teach her the real way to live-twenties style.

Available here.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Eat Pray Love: One Woman's Search for Everything Across Italy, India and Indonesia

My Rating: 5/5
Pages 331 • Speed: Slow but captivating
Subject: Biography & Travel

After an overwhelming bout with depression and divorce, eloquent writer Elizabeth Gilbert leaves her New York life behind to take a year-long journey to find herself.  In some of the most intriguing parts of the world-Italy, India and Indonesia-Gilbert spends four months in each place and the reader gets to piggy-back for the ride.  This real-life travel memoir gives a step-by step eccentric yet hilarious account of her search; destination-a balance between worldly pleasure and spiritual harmony.  In Italy she learns that, to speak Italian, you "say it like you eat it," since there all of life revolves around food.  In India (where they say, "Congratulations to meet you") she finds her initially grueling Yogic path to inner peace.  In Bali, Indonesia she claims the joys of contentment and love and makes a roadmap of overcoming obstacles and regret.  The people and events are described so vividly, you feel you're experiencing the moments along with her, or at least watching the movie (which comes out this August starring Julia Roberts).  Told through witty vocabulary and captivating descriptions, each site's history and culture is an intellectual bonus.  Her journey's spiritual depth is filled with humorous honesty and self-deprecation.  By the time you put this book down, you feel like you and Elizabeth Gilbert are personal friends, knowing all her deepest fears and greatest triumphs.  I can't wait to read her sequel Committed: A Skeptic Makes Peace with Marriage.

Get it here.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Getting the Girl

My Rating: 2/5

Pages 250 • Speed: Very Fast
Subject: Self-Actualization and Social Situations

On the other side of the tracks in Sydney, Australia, Marcus Zusak tells the seemingly real (& often profane) story of a sweet, confused adolescent who narrates with "an earthly working-class dialect" (phrase quoted from  Cameron Wolfe is used to being the quiet one in his aggressive family.  Living in the shadows of his older brothers, (Steve, the local soccer star, and Rube, who has never lost a fight--or struck out with a girl) he's longing for companionship. "My brother never really had to say or do anything. He just had to stand somewhere... or even trip up a gutter and a girl would like him."  Rube's latest weekly fling-Octavia-was thrown to the curb, but she was different from all the rest.  She wasn't embarrassed by Cameron-and he becomes obsessed with her, even sharing his closet poetry. They potentially have a connection unlike anything she had with his brother. For her, he even stops waiting outside the window of a 'missed opportunity' he'd previously walk across town to pretend to visit.  Octavia is mezmorizing!  When Rube finds out his little brother's trying to pick up his "scraps," there's a face-off between family loyalty and self-actualization.  And how does Octavia feel about this?  I absolutely love the way Zusak plays with words and incarnates his characters; but the storyline is bland, so the low score pains me despite the writing technique.  Does Cameron get the girl?  And will his brothers ever give him the respect (or at least acknowledgement) his ego yearns for?  Very masculinely told, with not a few profanities in blunt teenage street talk, I feel like I've just read the real-life journal of a struggling teenager.

Get it here.
(I still can't figure out if the cover is of a guy or a girl. Weird.)

Monday, February 8, 2010

90 Minutes In Heaven

My Rating: 4/5
Pages 205 • Speed: Fast
Subject: Inspirational

In 1989 Don Piper's car was crushed by an eighteen wheeler at 110 mile an hour impact against the metal rail of a bridge in Texas.  He was pronounced dead at the scene and for 90 minutes remained without a pulse.  Don Piper immediately went to heaven where he saw his deceased family and friends praising God with music, joy, and glory beyond description.  Meanwhile, back on earth a bystander who happened to be a minister felt the undeniable impression from God to go pray for the victim.  Despite the EMT's reassurance that he was already deceased, he knew what he had to do.  After offering prayer he began to sing "What Friend We Have In Jesus."  The dead man woke up and began to sing with him.  For the next several months Don Piper underwent excrutiating surgeries, pain and procedures.  He said his biggest trial was not the pain, but tasting the sweet joys of heaven without being allowed to stay.  Not wanting to be thrown into a looney bin, it took 2 years for him to share his experience with anyone.  After realizing what hope his message can bring, he's written a book- unpretentious and direct.  Chapters are of his life before the accident, his short time in heaven, and the pains of recovery learning.  He shares  lessons of humility, service, and faith that won't be soon forgotten.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Being Enough

My Rating: 4/5
Pages 214 • Speed: Regular
Subject: Christianity, Inspirational, Self-Improvement

Do you ever feel that no matter how much you give, it just isn't enough?  In life, love and especially the endless landscape of spirituality, when can we truly say, "I gave it my all"?  Chieko Okazaki, 1st Counselor of the Relief Society General Presidency, teaches the peace-giving truth that our heart is enough.  Chieko's unique voice gives intellectual encouragement through quick-witted stories and interesting personal epiphanies.  (This is most generally a Christian book.)  She starts off by telling the New Testament story of the widow who gave two mites to the temple.  Christ taught that this woman gave more than the rich because she gave all that she had.  Even so it is with our time, talents, and efforts. This is a book of hope that no matter your circumstance, Christ can save and redeem you through your faith.  This especially applies to those with financial loss, medical trials (such as depression), divorce, or the death of a loved one.  She quotes the scriptures heavily; one such is, "Our hope is not in our own strength but in the strength of Christ, 'who is mighty to save.' (2 Nephi 31:19)."  In the end, my favorite was from the Savior: "Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not.  Behold the wounds which pierced my side, and also the prints of the nails in my hands and feet; be faithful, keep my commandments, and ye shall inherit the kingdom of heaven.... I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee (D&C 6:36-37; Hebrews 13:5).  I just loved reading that when we do all we can, we are enough, if we let Jesus Christ make up the difference.

Get it here.

Saturday, December 26, 2009


My Rating: 5/5
Pages 304 • Speed: Fast, considering its a self-help
Subject: Self-Improvement, Christianity

This is one of my most recommended books.  As Christians and good neighbors it is almost natural to socially play the martyr to the point of self-deprecation.  (This is non-denominational Christian but can be applied to any school of thought.)  The stories embarrassingly remind you of yourself and those you know, and give appliable ideas on how to handle people and situations.  The book starts out with the scenario of woman's typical day in a boundaryless life and how unhappy a person can be if she gives too much in the wrong areas.  The first section defines boundaries, how they develop, and their associated laws and myths.  Boundaries exits whether or not we recognize them, and if we don't set limits on our lives, someone else will.  The second section tells of different types of boundaries, which are with your family, friends, spouse, children, work, self, and Heavenly Father.  The principles are taught through true stories that keep you turning the page.  One thing I learned is that it is as vital for us and our kids to to say no as it is to say yes.  The ability to say "no," done with love and respect, cultivates agency and confidence.  Reserving our "yeses" for when we mean it establishes trust and joy on both parties.  The self section is particularly enlightening to me.  It describes one patient who began a session with: "I haven't told you about this relationship before, though I guess I should have.  I have tremendous boundary problems with this woman.  She eats too much, and has an attacking tongue.  She's undependable-lets me down all the time.  And she's spent money of mine and hasn't paid me back in years."  The therapist (the author) asked, "Why haven't you mentioned her before?"  Sarah replied, "Because she's me."  The third section is about developing healthy boundaries and how to track success continually.  This book can be used to reestablish down trodden boundaries as well as a tool to keep skies blue.  The last chapter illustrates the same typical woman's day but with boundaries and healthy priorities.  Her whole paradigm changes and she is genuinely happy, which illustrates that with your same circumstances you can take control of your life.

Get it here.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Time-Starved Family: Helping Overloaded Families Focus on What Matters Most

My Rating: 4/5
Pages: 175  •  Speed: Fast
Subject: Family, Parenting

"In the scriptures, the Lord warns us not to run faster that we have the strength to run (Mosiah 4:27; D&C 10:4).  When we spread ourselves too thin for too long, everyone loses--especially our families."

This is just one lesson taught in this quick witted book from a mother of 7.  She learned first hand how to nurture individuality while strengthening family unity- all with busy schedules.  I have read many self-help family books, and I'm amazed at how a book on time management could be 600 pages.  Like I have the time to read that.  It's like the joke on 3 steps to be a Millionaire.  "First, you get a million dollars... and then..."  This author is inventive in her ideas, realistic in her goals, and understanding of what mothers go through.  There are 16 ideas suggested to get a family not just surviving but thriving.  Eating dinner together, you modeling controlled behavior, and knowing when to say "no" are three of them.  Other ideas include delegating tasks through mini family councils and learning to let kids fall so they can learn how to get up.  Here are a few things I underlined in the book.
  • (in relation to kids' activities and accomplishments:) "C.S. Lewis had these wise words to share on the subject of comparison and competition: 'Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man...It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest.  Once the element of competition has gone, pride has gone.'"
  • (prioritizing and recognizing the ticking clock") "If I were to tell you that your earth life would end exactly three months from today, what would you change about your current schedule?"
  • "By doing too much to help our kids, we're actually relaying these messages to them: 'You can't do it without me' and 'You're not capable.'"
A quick read with practical ideas on how to refocus and make time for who you care about most.  It made me realize that if I am not making time for my kids, they are on the road to not making time for theirs.
Get it here.