Five by the Sea

Book Review: MOMOLOGY- A Mom’s Guide to Shaping Great Kids
June 10, 2010, 6:20 am
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MOMOLOGY- A Mom’s Guide to Shaping Great Kids

By Shelly Radic

My Review:

The road to Motherhood is filled with tons of information on how to be the best/most effective/most loving, etc. (the list goes on and on….) Mom that we can all be. There are many books out on the market through MOPS and publishers of all sorts that give advice on how to raise our kids. It’s hard to be different, hard to carve a niche for yourself in this crowded space of too much information and too little time. Author Shelly Radic fills the space nicely, Momology is a creatively set-up little book that is a combination of facts about Motherhood and helpful hints on how we can all get through this journey with our feet on the ground.

I really enjoyed the ease of reading this book, put together in short little snippets that even busy Mom’s can find time for. As one of our MOPS speakers once said- if you have just five minutes of time you can spend that five minutes doing something to benefit your family. Spending just a little time reading this book will encourage and enlighten every Mom in many different seasons of motherhood. Shelly shares what she believes to be the four core elements of successful mothering and divides the book accordingly into four parts: core, finesse, circle, and grandscape.

One theme in the book that I particularly liked is that while God created each of our children as unique individuals; he also created each mom to be uniquely equipped to raise the children he blessed us with. I think this is a core belief of MOPS, and it really came through in this book and gave me the encouragement that I need to push on despite the sometimes bumpy road of Motherhood.

Each chapter, besides having great content, contains a field study (a different mom’s learning situation), practicum (questions, journaling topics or resources on how to incorporate truth into your mothering) and a quick review. The unusual format of using“post-it” notes, paper clips, and memo pages made the book a little more creative than most, and also adapted to her idea of getting concepts out in brief snippets.

Shelly did a great job on the content of the book, it is kind of like a report on Mom’s. Detailed statistics and website links provide much information for a busy Mom that wants to find out more. Analytical personalities will enjoy this, because the book is filled with more than enough facts and trends. Over 1800 moms participated in the research for the book, so there is a great deal of data to read! If you take it in small baby steps, it may be easier to read.

Many will like the interactive style of the book, which directs you to several websites for more information. One website is actually based on the book, and when you visit you’re able to give more feedback to the researchers and author.

If you are a new Mom participating in MOPS International, then this is the theme book of the year and you’ll probably have many MOPS activities based upon the book. So the book is a must read for MOPS members!

Available June 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. The only compensation I received for reviewing this book was a complimentary copy, courtesy of Revell. 


Book Review: Plan B
May 3, 2010, 9:19 am
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Plan B –  What Do You Do When God Doesn’t Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?  

By Pete Wilson

My Review:

How many times have we all said- this wasn’t the way it was supposed to turn out! This isn’t what I planned! We all think that we have such control over our lives, we live day to day with the authority to make decisions for ourselves and our family that we feel is best and we go with it. Some people are more controlling than others in their quest for the “perfect life”. Ultimately though at one point or another I think we all come to the realization that WE do not have the ultimate control over our lives, God does. This is a very difficult realization to discover for many people, and oftentimes it comes smacking us in the face when we are down and want to blame someone…something…anything besides ourselves. We get mad, sad, frustrated and feel let down, how can God love us and still let us live the lives that He does? With so much pain and uncertainty, so many ups and downs, how can a God that loves us let these things happen? This is what the author Pete Wilson discusses in Plan B. The book is about how even when we are questioning everyone and everything around us about things that have happened in our lives, God is always there, just many times in ways in which we don’t see.

I think during this time of our lives when so many friends and neighbors are struggling with the loss of jobs, loss of houses, loss of spouses, we are ALL affected in one way or another and question why these things are happening. I have been in the midst of discussions with friends that are so difficult, so many questions of why? and what do I do now? These aren’t easy questions to answer, but to be able to give a friend this book and have them read what Plan B is and how Pete Wilson gives a different perspective on things and hope for the future is worth the price of admission (buying the book).

It is a great read for anyone, because at this time of great uncertainty even if you aren’t going through a rough time yourself, you know someone that is. And chances are that at some point you’ll be traveling down a path in your life you weren’t anticipating, and this little book might just be the resource to support you and get you through.

Book Description:

Learn how God often does His best work in our most hopeless situations.

What do you do when a shattered dream or an unmet expectation causes you to turn to Plan B? Pastor and author Pete Wilson uses real life stories of disappointments and tragedy along with biblical stories such as David, Joseph, and Ruth to help readers face their own overwhelming situations and through them to learn God is working to help them surrender their plans to receive His. He identifies our common responses to difficulties and offers hope, helping us to

Understand what God might be up to See how surrender helps us to receive God’s plan Embrace the community of believers Reconcile a God of love with a life of tragedy and suffering Wilson points readers to the cross as not just the starting line but the centerpiece of our stories with God where we turn in our Plan B and find the undeniable relationship between crisis and true spiritual transformation

Be sure to checkout the book’s website

Book Review: You Can Be Everything God Wants You to Be
April 27, 2010, 11:36 am
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You Can Be Everything God Wants You to Be  

By Max Lucado

You Can Be Everything God Wants You to Be is a condensed version of his book the Cure for the Common Life. Both of which are excellent reads with an amazing message. The beauty of You Can Be Everything God Wants You to Be is that it is short and to the point while packing a powerful message in easy to read hardcover book. This is a perfect gift for a new grad or a person struggling through a tough time. Max Lucado continues to amaze me with his writing, it is a sermon in a book, complete with humor and personal touches that make it easy to read and apply to everyday life. I like that he doesn’t come across as perfect, he doesn’t “preach” in the sense that he tells a message, but in a loving and supportive way while bringing his own experiences to his writing. This little book is really a must-have for anyone’s bookshelf. I can see myself coming back to it on a day where I am feeling frustrated and alone, it has a backbone and as always Max is able to support his faith that God has the big plan and that we need to just be patient and listen and that the Lord will lead the way and that He ultimately wants the best for us. I am fortunate to have read this book and would recommend it to just about anyone.

Book Description:

God made only one version of you. He custom designed you for a one-of-a-kind assignment.

You are heaven’s Halley’s comet; we have one chance to see you shine. You offer a gift to the world that no one else brings. So find it and bring it! And when you do, both you and God will smile.

Yes, you can be everything God wants you to be.

Thomas Nelson has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes, I was not compensated in any other way for my thoughts and the opinions expressed in this review are my own thoughts and words.

Book Review: The Twilight Gospel
April 23, 2010, 10:31 am
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The Twilight Gospel- The Spiritual Roots of Stephenie Meyer’s Vampire Saga   

By Dave Roberts

The Twilight phenomenon is all around us, from the actual books to t-shirts, posters, magazines, the list goes on and on, the marketing blitz of all that is Twilight has become to people today was Harry Potter was a few years ago. I resisted reading the first Twilight book for a long time, until finally my curiosity won the best of me and I gave in. To be honest, it was pretty intriguing and easy to read, so easy that I felt like I had to read the next book, and then the next, and of course I had to finish out the series. Before I knew it I had read (to my embarrassment) the entire series of books and actually kind of liked them. They are a strange mix of romance, teenage angst and mythology. I am still not quite sure what the fascination is, but I also didn’t get it about Harry Potter.

When Litfuse Publicity Group offered readers a chance to review the book “The Twilight Gospel” The Spiritual Roots of the Stephenie Meyer’s Vampire Saga I jumped at the chance. After reading the books I had some questions myself about how my role as a Christian Mom might play into whether or not I would allow my children (when they are old enough) to read the books. It was an interesting premise to dive into and I looked forward to what the author had to say

About the book: The blockbuster Twilight Saga is being read by teenager and adult alike. These powerful novels are getting even more popular as the movies hit the theaters. Crisply written and with a gracious spirit, The Twilight Gospel will help teens, their parents, and their pastors discern what is good from what is unhealthy in the novels and equip them to be biblically literate readers.

My thoughts: I liked how the author wrote the book using very easy to read topics that can be easily applied to the storyline of Twilight. He is very clear about explaining the characters in the book and their storylines and how they can be compared to ideals not only in Christianity but other religions. As a Mormon writer, Stephenie Meyer has a little different perspective than that of a Christian writer, Dave Roberts also takes this into account with her writing. It was a very easy to read book that explained a lot about the characters and their special “gifts” and how those ideas many times came from different pagan and Christian beliefs as well as scientific figures. The way that the author was able to connect the problems of the characters with those of society as a whole was very interesting. I liked the book, it gave a bit of a different perspective on the whole Twilight series and its background and enlightened me on many different facets of where the storyline came from. An easy read that is a nice compliment to the series.

About the author: Dave Roberts is a professional journalist, editor and speaker. For more information please visit his website at

Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of this book was provided by the publisher and LitFuse Publicity Group. See more reviews in this blog tour at Litfuse’s tour page.

Book Review: Free* Book
February 24, 2010, 7:02 pm
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Free* Book                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                By Brian Tome 

This was an interesting book with a twist on traditional conservative thought that brings to light a compelling question- how to be free and let go of all of the constraints that we as Christians often times place not only on each other but on ourselves. The author is passionate about freedom in Christ through a relationship with Him. He takes the tone of agitator throughout the book, oftentimes creating a sense of aggression against those who constantly follow the rules with a strict sense of doing what is “right” in the eyes of so many. The author creates a new sense of self in those that break the rules and live a life of freedom, yet still comply with the life of a Christian- loving the Lord with everything that we do. As he states (and I believe) Jesus was a man that loved everyone, not just those that were clean and well-to-do, he loved the dirtiest, filthiest and poorest and brought them into His kingdom for no other reason than that he loves them, as he loves us. Even in the dirty ways in which we live with temptations and lies surrounding us, He loves us completely. The main theme in the book is to let go of those things which bring us down and tie us to the thoughts of “I have to do this to be loved, accepted, etc.”. God loves us, with all of our faults and His true love shines through everything we do. He wants us to live fully with freedom to live a life created by Him.

There are challenges in getting through the book at the author consistently challenges conservative thinking on so many levels. I think he was trying to punch though the wall that many have that Christians are uptight, rule givers who don’t have any fun (which is unfortunately true in way too many cases).

Throughout the book I liked that the Scripture being referenced was both natural in the conversation and referenced at the bottom of the page. The principles were solid and the suggestions to break bondage, deal with the spiritual, and enjoy freedom were presented much well as the book progressed. My thoughts on the book- it is worth the read if you take it with a grain of salt and apply it to your own life as applicable.

Thomas Nelson provided this complimentary copy to me for review.

Book Review: The Crimson Rooms
February 23, 2010, 5:06 am
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The Crimson  Rooms                                                        By Katharine McMahon                                                                                                                                                               By Katharine McMahon

About the Book:

There are events that happen in our lives that change everything from that moment on. In the life of Evelyn Gifford that defining moment was a ring of the doorbell and an officer announcing the news that no one wants to hear- her beloved only brother had been killed in action in the Great War. Life goes on, but she is still haunted by the immediate loss.

Evelyn is completely unprepared when a young nurse named Meredith, and her six-year-old son Edward appears on their doorstep one night. To add to the angst and mystery, Meredith claims that Edward is the young son of James, conceived in a battlefield hospital. The grief-stricken Gifford’s’ take them both into their home with trepidation but with a sense of duty as this is family- even if newly discovered. This move proves to be stressful on all fronts- Meredith bursts into the very conservative home run by the Gifford women with a bit of extravagance and spunk, which puts them all on edge.

Evelyn is a struggling newly appointed attorney to Bascomb and Breen, a firm run by men that are taking a chance on hiring a woman to the firm, and a bit resistant to what she brings. Her first two clients are challenging to say the least. The first, a woman, Leah Marchant, who gave up her children to be cared for by the social services, but then decides she wants them back. And an intriguing murder mystery- Stella Wheeler, found dead in a field of grass after a picnic with her new husband. Both cases weigh heavily on both the time and thoughts of Evelyn who is working so hard to break into a man’s world. Coupled with the weight of having to support her entire family financially at a time when work for women lawyers is almost nonexistent leads to much anxiety and fear in Evelyn’s life.

My Review:

This story has twists and turns that keep the reader engaged and interested in the lives of the characters. The author has a compelling style that kept me guessing about where the storyline was headed and how it was all going to wind up. She is a brilliant writer in creating memorable storylines and characters. A good read for anyone interested in this time- 1920’s London and how women in this time period were on the edge of creating new careers for themselves. I really enjoyed it and now plan to read more by her!

The book is now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indie Bound and other online retailers.

“I wrote this review while participating in a blog campaign by MotherTalk on behalf of G.P. Putnam’s Sons/Riverhead and received a copy of the book to facilitate my candid review. Mom Central sent me a gift card to thank me for taking the time to participate.”

Book Review: From Peanuts to the Pressbox
January 12, 2010, 8:36 pm
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From Peanuts to the Pressbox: Insider Sports Stories from a Life Behind the Mic
by Eli Gold

About the Book:

In this behind-the-scenes look at sports broadcasting Eli Gold tells how a kid from Brooklyn, New York, went from selling peanuts at Madison Square Garden to being one of the most recognizable voices in all of radio sports broadcasting.

My Review:

I am a sports fan of sorts, but not really any of the sports that Eli Gold reports on- I am more of a jump on the bandwagon at the end of the season football and baseball fan. I tend to only be interested if it is the home team and it happens to be a play-off game with great importance, and even then really if there are only 5 minutes left in the game. I tend to ride the wave at the very end cheering them on to victory. Enough said, even though I may not follow many of the sports of Eli Gold’s illustrious career, I did find this book entertaining and informative. It gives the reader an inside look at the career behind the microphone by telling how it all began and how it cascaded into a lifetime of memories of some of the most well known events in sports history. An easy read that is sure to please most readers that have any interest in sports or the voice behind the plays.

Eli’s book starts off telling the story of a young boy who dreamed of one day working on the radio, doing what he loved to do most- talking about sports.  He has now been a sportscaster for over 25 years. He began his work as a young man, not even out of high school, on the radio and eventually landed on TV, doing commentary for NASCAR. Along the way he met many fellow sportscasters who would one day become well known to many, including Marv Albert and Bob Costas. Eli has covered a wide array of sporting events- from hockey to NASCAR. His dream began as a little boy listening to the radio before bed and even now has not diminished regardless of the success he has achieved as a renowned sportscaster. The book does not really go too deeply into Eli’s life but it does describe the world of sports during the 1970’s to today wonderfully.