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book review: 7 Ways To Be Her Hero

7 ways to be her heroTitle: 7 Ways To Be Her Hero: The One She’s Been Waiting For

Author: Doug Feilds

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Complimentary copy provided by: NetGalley

Rating: A+

 

Celebrating ten years of marriage this year, I committed to read one book each month for the next twelve months about marriage and relationships. What a great way to start my “marriage enhancing” journey than with 7 Ways To Be Her Hero by Doug Fields.

7 Ways To Be Her Hero is the reason I enjoy reviewing books. Fields has written a witty and insightful self-help ‘manual’ intended to act as a guide for men who wish to enhance their marriage.

Yes. I know. I am not a man. I admit my curiosity and I read it anyway. I am one of the “sneaky women” Fields refers to who picked up a copy in order to scope it out. As much as I wanted to see how “on target” the author is when it comes to marriage advice for men, I also hoped to glimpse into the male psyche to glean what’s occurring in the “man chatter” these days about marriage so that I may learn how to improve my relationship with my hubby. I was pleasantly surprised on both accounts. Fields is right on target and I walked away with a fun list of ways to improve my relationship.

With a great deal of humour infused, Fields’ conversational style is endearing and immediately disarms any potential prickles that could poke the reader by sharing so openly from his own mishaps and experiences over 30 years of marriage.

While 7 Ways To Be Her Hero can certainly be considered a quick read, I’d advise against it. Skimming through will defeat the purpose. The principles and advice shared are relevant for men in any season of marriage (or can be referenced for a genuine refresher).

My only critique is in regard to the formatting for e-reader devices. I use a Kindle Paperwhite and at times I found the formatting choppy and broken, especially around chapter transitions, which I found distracting.

(I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.)

About the Author:

Doug FieldsDoug Fields was a youth pastor for 25 years and has been teaching pastor at Rick Warren’s Saddleback Church since 1992. An award-winning author of more than 40 books, Doug speaks regularly at Saddleback and other locations around the world. He and his wife Cathy have 3 children.

To find out more about Doug Fields visit: http://www.dougfields.com/

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book review & Nook Color giveaway: Angel Eyes

 Title: Angel Eyes

Author: Shannon Dittemore

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Complimentary copy from LitFuse Publicity Group

Rating: B+

To Read what others have to say about Shannon’s debut novel, visit the Litfuse blog tour for Angel Eyes, by clicking here.

What happens, Jake, if I choose not to believe any of this?” “I don’t know. But after what you’ve seen, is that possible?”

The essence of Shannon Dittemore’s debut fantasy novel, Angel Eyes, can be summed up in one word: choices. Throughout the novel, Gabrielle Matthews encounters a series of circumstances that challenge her perceptions of truth and deception, of good and evil, of God and the celestial world, of reality and perception. Opening herself to consider the deeper forces operating around her, Brielle begins wrestle with what to do in situations when exposed to truths that challenge her own; of how to respond when perceptions forming a safe world are challenged; and whether to give in when reality crumbles revealing something larger than her scope once believed possible.

Angel Eyes is an enjoyable read for teens and adults alike. It is clear from the cliff-hanger ending there is more to come in the life and adventures of Brielle Matthews and Jake Shield. Shannon Dittemore is an author to keep on your radar. Here are a  few of my thoughts on why I’d recommend this read.

Protagonist Transformation. In Brielle, we find a character worth rallying around. At the beginning of the novel, Brielle is in a state of shock. She is numb to the world after a traumatic event shatters all she knows to be real, true, and solid in her life. Passably functioning each day is a chore. Brielle is paralyzed by fear, grief, and guilt. New kid in town, Jake Shield, takes note of her loneliness and fear, offering his friendship. Through his kindness and humour (*not to mention a really cool super power of healing*), Brielle opens up, becomes vulnerable, and learns to trust again. In so doing she is able to begin the healing process. By novels end, a subtle transformation has occurred in that Brielle gains inner-strength and confidence.

Varied Points of View. It’s not easy to pull off multiple points of view in a way that truly develops a story. I’ve read too many MPV’s that left me confused, frustrated, or feeling as if the book lacked an overall substance. Not so with Angel Eyes! I applaud Dittemore for her ability to lure the reader into such dramatically diverse perspectives. Each distinctive voice adding multiple layers to the story, and a fresh perspective which kept the story moving along nicely.

Descriptive language. Dittemore’s innate ability to use uniquely descriptive means to describe ordinary mundane actions enabled the scene to portray a heavier mood, revealing glimpses of the emotional depth swirling just beneath the surface of the characters. One of my favorite passages:

“Slugger hasn’t had time to warm up, and white smoke monsters climb from my nose and mouth. I wrap my scarf around my face, leaving the tiniest slit possible for my eyes. I glance at myself in the rearview. I’m a cable-knit ninja. A cashmere wrapped mummy. But I’ve killed the smoke monsters—another small victory.”

In addition, I found Dittemore’s use of language beautiful in many places and haunting in others. The depiction of the world as seen in the celestial is vivid, sharp and stunning. The imagery used to describe the presence of fear as seen in the celestial realm–thick, clingy, heavy, like tar–is haunting; an image that stayed with me long after I finished reading.

Touches on Human Trafficking. Modern day slavery is an insidious evil that currently ensnares more than 28 million people in its tentacles around the world. I was thrilled to see the author not only incorporate elements of trafficking into the storyline, but also provide resources on how readers can get involved and learn more.

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Win a Nook Color! @ShanDitty’s “Angel Eyes” Giveaway & Facebook Party {6/26} Enter today & RSVP. http://ow.ly/bthUg @NelsonFiction @Litfuse

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Celebrate with Shannon by entering her “Angel Eyes” Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 6/26!

One winner will receive:

  •  A Brand new Nook Color
  • A Copy of Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore

Enter today. But hurry, the giveaway ends at noon on June 25th. Winner will be announced at the “Angel Eyes” Author Chat Facebook Party on 6/26. Shannon will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills and giving away some great prizes!

About the book:Angel Eyes| Shannon DittemoreOnce you’ve seen, you can’t unsee. Everything changes when you’ve looked at the world through . . .Angel EyesBrielle went to the city to chase her dreams and found tragedy instead. She’s come home to shabby little Stratus, Oregon, to live with her grief and her guilt . . . and the incredible, numbing cold she can’t seem to shake.

Jake’s the new guy at school. The boy next door with burning hands and an unbelievable gift that targets him for corruption.

Something more than fate has brought them together. An evil bigger than both of them lurks in the shadows nearby, hiding in plain sight. Two angels stand guard, unsure what’s going to happen. And a beauty brighter than Jake or Brielle has ever seen is calling them to join the battle in a realm where all human choices start.

A realm that only angels and demons-and Brielle-can perceive.

About Shannon:


Shannon is a wife and mother. A sister. A daughter. A friend. She was raised in Northern California by her parents-pastors of their local church and constant figures of inspiration.

As a youth, Shannon traveled with an award-winning performing arts team, excelling on stage and in the classroom. As a young adult, she attended Portland Bible College, continued acting, and worked with an outreach team targeting inner-city kids in the Portland-Metropolitan area.

It was in Portland that she met her husband, Matt. They were married in 2002. Soon after, they took the reins of the youth ministry at Living Way Community Church in Roseville, California where they continue to serve in that capacity. In October of 2004, their son Justus was born, followed by their daughter Jazlyn, born in 2008. Find out more at www.shannondittemore.com.

A complimentary copy of Angel Eyes was provide by the publisher, Thomas Nelson, via Litfuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.

book review & Nook Simple Touch giveaway: My Stubborn Heart

Title: My Stubborn Heart

Author: Becky Wade

Publisher: Bethany House Publishers

Complimentary copy from LitFuse Publicity Group

Complete Blog Tour, click here.

Rating: A

I know what you’re thinking. Contemporary romance … Really? And contemporary Christian romance to boot … Seriously? I understand. I felt the same way. I was a bit skeptical too. But, one of the reasons I started blogging for books is to branch out beyond the world of non-fiction. With this disclaimer, I must admit that in My Stubborn Heart author Becky Wade creates an uplifting and touching account of the power of friendship and love to heal a wounded heart.

 In A Nutshell:

We find in the central character, Matt Jarreau, a man hurt deeply by tragedy. In his late twenties, Matt had it all: fame, wealth, and love, in the form of a promising career in the NHL and a marriage to a kind-hearted Miss America. But the high life proved temporary. Within a few short years of bliss and stardom, Matt’s wife dies of brain cancer. Devastated by this loss, Matt’s whole world falls to pieces. He gives up, retreats within, walking away from everything that once held meaning—hockey, family, friends, and faith. Now in his thirties, Matt’s reclusive lifestyle consists of avoiding people at all cost and taking odd jobs as a handyman.

Enter Kate Donovan, a thirty-something, burned-out social worker, on a three-month leave from work to help her grandmother, Beverly, restore her childhood home, Chapel Bluff. Kate is patient, kind, and … persistent. Sensing the rawness, the hurt present in Matt’s soul, Kate determines to befriend this withdrawn carpenter contracted to handle the larger restoration projects on the Chapel Bluff property. Through prayer and compassion Kate reaches out to Matt. Their friendship is rocky and slow in the beginning; navigating through Matt’s defenses and tightly guarded walls presents plenty of challenges. Over time, however, Kate begins to represent a lifeline back to all that was once real, solid, and true in Matt’s life.

The primary storyline focuses on the journey of healing in Matt’s life. I am touched by the way the author captures the ups and downs, the movement forward followed by the setbacks involved in the process of healing. Within the pages of My Stubborn Heart I could see myself. I think if we’re honest, we can all pinpoint a season in life when we needed others to help walk us back from a hurt so deep we lost our way. Helping to make sense of the world again after our foundation crumbled a bit. It’s a gift from God, really, who uses just the right people to tenderly draw us back to ourselves and Him.

The character of Matt Jarreau represents those who hit rock bottom. Who feel overwhelmed by circumstances and retreat within. Who lose hope or lose their way due to life’s curveballs. Who are blessedly, tenderly, lovingly reeled back in by that one person who saw the hurt, felt the pain, and reached out. The character of Kate Donovan represents the compassionate souls who venture to walk the murky, dark places with those in need to restore the hope, courage, and confidence that dangles frailly at times in others. In the overarching theme of restoration, Ms. Wade beautifully illustrates God’s desire to restore and heal all who are hurting by picking just the right people at just the right moment to draw us back to all we are created to be.

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Win a Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™!

Celebrate with Becky by entering her My Stubborn Heart Giveaway and connecting with her during the Author Chat Party on 5/24!

One fortunate winner will receive:

  • A Brand New Nook Simple Touch™ with GlowLight™
  • A $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Certificate
  • A copy of My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on 12:00 noon on May 24. Winner will be announced at the “My Stubborn Heart” Author Chat Facebook Party on 5/24. Becky will be hosting a book chat, testing your trivia skills and giving away some great prizes! So grab your copy of My Stubborn Hear and join Becky on the evening of May 24th for a chance to meet Becky and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book—don’t let that stop you from coming!)

Don’t miss a moment of the RSVP today. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK  or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning.

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

During her childhood in California, Becky frequently produced homemade plays starring her sisters, friends, and cousins. These plays almost always featured a heroine, a prince, and a love story with a happy ending. She’s been a fan of all things romantic ever since.

Becky and her husband lived overseas in the Caribbean and Australia before settling in Dallas, Texas. It was during her years abroad that Becky’s passion for reading turned into a passion for writing. She published three historical romances with Avon Books, then put her career on hold for several years to care for her kids, then recently returned to writing sheerly for the love of it. She felt led to move to the genre of contemporary Christian romance and couldn’t be more thrilled with it.

These days Becky can be found failing but trying to keep up with her housework, sweating at the gym, carting her kids around town, playing tennis, hunched over her computer, eating chocolate, or collapsed on the sofa watching TV with her husband. Learn more at: www.BeckyWade.com

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers via LitFuse Publicity Group in exchange for an honest review.