In the Middle Reading Challenge Update! 4/3/13

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So you may remember a while back that I took the In the Middle Reading Challenge. Today I am going to check my first book off the list! If you remember, the In the Middle Reading Challenge was for books 300-400 pages and I selected the Cruising Through the Pages level which means I need to read a minimum of 5 of these books. So I’m updating you on my first one!

1. Cassie (Sunfire No. 14) by Vivian Schurfranz – 2.5 stars – 331 pages

This book was just okay. It wasn’t horrible, and I enjoyed it, but I probably wouldn’t read it again. I found it to be a little predictable and straight up romance, but if that’s your thing, I just listed it on Paperback Swap so you could always go there and request it! I also wish that not every guy would fall for Cassie – or at least that’s what it seemed like sometimes reading this book.

Happy reading! I look forward to bringing you another update soon.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate or advertising links which will generate me a small amount of income. You are under no obligation to click! 

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Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool Review and Giveaway!

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Name of book: Nerve: Poise Under Pressure, Serenity Under Stress, and the Brave New Science of Fear and Cool

Author: Taylor Clark

Summary (from Amazon): Nerves make us bomb job interviews, first dates, and SATs. With a presentation looming at work, fear robs us of sleep for days. It paralyzes seasoned concert musicians and freezes rookie cops in tight situations. And yet not everyone cracks. Soldiers keep their heads in combat; firemen rush into burning buildings; unflappable trauma doctors juggle patient after patient. It’s not that these people feel no fear; often, in fact, they’re riddled with it.

In Nerve, Taylor Clark draws upon cutting-edge science and painstaking reporting to explore the very heart of panic and poise. Using a wide range of case studies, Clark overturns the popular myths about anxiety and fear to explain why some people thrive under pressure, while others falter-and how we can go forward with steadier nerves and increased confidence.

Rating: 5

Reason for rating: I thought this was an excellent book. Even though it was a non-fiction book, it was a compelling read. He made the science really entertaining. It was also well organized and well thought out, something I especially appreciate in a non-fiction book. And I felt like I could use the science in my life. I really get stuck in worry sometimes and while I know I shouldn’t worry, sometimes understanding why I get sucked so easily into the worry loop (which he talks about) is helpful to ending the worry loop. Trust me, you do not want to miss this book. He makes the results of studies accessible, entertaining, and informative and looks at people in real life situations, not just hypothetical ones. I look forward to reading his other book someday.

Find Nerve on  Amazon

Find Nerve on Goodreads

And now for the giveaway! What happened was I won this book in a giveaway on another blog (which blog I don’t remember, it was a while ago, otherwise I would link to it) and I was accidentally shipped two copies of it. I called the publishing company and they said to keep it and do whatever I wanted with it. So in exchange, I am going to pass that along to you and giveaway my spare copy! No need for me to have two!

To enter, click on the link below that says a Rafflecoper giveaway and fill out the form – easy peesy! Let me know if you have any questions! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Terms: Contest is open to US only (sorry, I can’t afford to ship it internationally) ages 13 and older. Contest will end on December 1st at midnight (so last day to get your entries in is November 30th) and I will pick a winner using random.org. I am solely responsible for this giveaway and Little, Brown and Company are not responsible or affiliated in any way.

Disclosure: I won this in a giveaway on another blog! I am just reviewing it because I liked it and did not receive anything to do so. These thoughts are 100 percent real, honest, and mine. The Amazon link is also an affiliate link and if you purchase it through there, I will receive a small portion of the funds! Thanks for supporting me!

Reading To Your Kid!

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As many of you know, I was a writing major in college. As you may guess from that, I value words, reading, writing, books and everything else along those lines.  So to me, it’s important to find time to read to Dom on a regular basis. I shoot for daily, but that doesn’t always happen depending on how crabby he is and what we’re doing during the day. However, I still find time to do this when I can, because the benefits are huge. Reading books to your kid is really crucial and important for their language development. So today I thought I would share some of the books that Dom and I love to read. In no particular order, here are five of the books we really love right now.

1.The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

I don’t know exactly what it is about this book, but it’s fun and it’s cute. It’s a short and easy read, with entertaining colorful pictures. This is the book I’m most likely to give to Dom to look at by himself.

2. Hello, Animals! by Smriti Prasadam

This is one of our favorites. I could easily read this book to Dom three or four times in a row and he would keep paying attention. Additionally, it’s full of a lot of fun sounds that are really entertaining. This is actually a library book, but I keep thinking I’m going to have to buy a copy for our personal book collection.

3. My Daddy And Me by Amy Sklansky

Being a SAHM, it means I am the one that Dominic spends the majority of his time with. However, it’s important to me that Dom builds a good relationship with his dad. So while Nick is away, I like to read books like this to Dominic and talk about the fun things that dad will do with him when he gets home. This one is so cute and is a particular favorite. It talks about pairs of things that go together, just like dads and their children do.

4. Time for Bed by Mem Fox

This is a cute book that rhymes (which helps with language development). It’s all about mothers telling their various baby animals that it’s time for sleep. It’s a very cute book, in my opinion, and great to read before nap time or bedtime.

5. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle

This one is a favorite for us just because it’s classic and it helps teach colors. Really, who doesn’t love Eric Carle?

Reading “Moo Baa La La La” – another great book!

And here are my tips for reading with a little kid!

1. Try and pick books that they can touch and play with without the fear of them getting wrecked. This is why I pick board books. Occasionally, I will read to him from nicer picture books, but I don’t want him to rip the pages of those, so not very often.

2. Read to them at a time when they are in a good mood and have all their needs met. I.e. if they are hungry, feed them before you read to them.

3. Don’t try and force them to sit there too much longer than their attention span. I just find that it’s better to read to him a little bit and maybe not finish the whole story, than force him and sit there and be crabby about it. I want reading to be a positive experience for him, so I try and gauge his interest level. Sometimes he just wants to be moving about and I know there will be downtime later where it would be a better time to read to him.

Tell me, what are you favorite books to read to your kids? Or, if you don’t have kids, what were your favorite books as a kid?

This post contains Amazon affiliate links. If you click on the link and buy the book, a small portion of the cost of your book will come back to me. Thanks for supporting me!

Book Review: Chazown by Craig Groeschel

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So, I used to review books for my other blog, but with the shifting focus here, I decided why not just combine the two? Then it can be the best of both worlds – plus I know some people do well with having multiple blogs, but I think I have come to realize that I do best when I put my energy and focus into just one blog. But I love reviewing books, so I’m bringing that over here.

Name of the book: Chazown: Define Your Vision, Pursue Your Passion, Live Your Life on Purpose

Author: Craig Groeschel

Summary: (from Goodreads) “Chazown (pronounced khaw-ZONE) from the Hebrew, meaning a dream, revelation, or vision.

You were born with your own Chazown. Do you know what it is?

You’re invited on a most unusual odyssey—to find, name, and live out your personal Chazown. It’s a journey you’ll never forget because it’s impossible to return unchanged.

Practical, fresh, and biblically sound, Chazown is a one-of-a-kind life planning experience. Perhaps for the first time, you’ll clearly understand what you’ve always suspected:

I have been created and put on earth for a unique and important purpose.
And God intends for me to know it and live it with passion and fulfillment for His glory.

Craig Groeschel will help you get under the surface of your life to discover your life purpose in three often overlooked areas: your core values, your spiritual gifts, and your past experiences. He’ll help you turn it into a highly motivating credo—complete with short-term goals, action steps, and a supportive network to make your big dream a reality.

And then Craig will show you how to apply your own chazown to five critical areas of your life: your relationship with God, your relationships with people, your finances, your health and fitness, and your work.

Are you living someone else’s dream for your life, or no dream at all? Get ready for Chazown.

For resources, visit The Chazown Experience at www.chazown.com

Rating: 5

Reason for Rating: I really like this book for a number of reason. The first reason is that it really makes you think. And the best part about the thinking is that it makes you think about a general concept that we all sort of talk about (God has a plan for your life) in a more concrete way (what is God’s plan for your life?). I think sometimes we often assume we can’t know God’s plan or purpose for our life so we don’t think critically about the spiritual gifts or the core values that God has given us. This book will encourage you and help you to think about how those things work together. The second thing is that it’s concrete. In the sections it asks you specific questions that apply to the concept being talked about. For example, it asks you to identify your spiritual gifts when it talks about them. In this way it’s a good book because I think it’s easy to read books that might fall under the sort of “self help” category but then you’re like, okay, that’s fine and dandy, but how do I do that? What does that look like practically? How do I start? Groeschel can cut a lot of that out because he’s provided specific pointed questions for you to think about. I also think it’s a really great book for small Bible studies. We’ve been studying this book in my Bible study (as I mentioned earlier) and it’s been working really well for that. The questions in the back definitely get us having long thought out discussions. Lastly, I can honestly say since I read this book, I really have been giving more thought to how can I be purposeful about serving and my life. This has been especially helpful since becoming a mom and has helped me to try and maintain some perspective. 

Find Chazown on Amazon

Find Chazown on Goodreads

Disclosure: I received a copy of this for free to provide my honest thoughts about the book. I was under no obligation to review it positively.

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