Book Review of Unshattered by Carol J. Decker

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Book Review of Unshattered by Carol J. Decker

I’m speechless. Seriously. This story is so amazing and inspiring. Carol went through the unimaginable and was able to overcome. For anyone going through a trial (Pretty much everyone, right?), this book is a must! As I read this book I found a profound sense of gratitude for those everyday things that I take for granted. My life has been changed for the better. I hope you enjoy my book review of Unshattered  by Carol J. Decker.

Blurb:

“On June 10, 2008, Carol Decker walked through the hospital doors a healthy woman with flu-like symptoms and early labor contractions. Three months later, she returned home a blind triple-amputee struggling to bond with a daughter she would never see.

Unshattered: Overcoming Tragedy and Choosing a Beautiful Life recounts Carol’s fight for survival against sepsis and its life-shattering complications. From excruciating skin grafts to learning how to function in daily life without lower legs, a left hand, or her sight, Carol takes us on a personal and raw yet inspiring journey. She travels through the darkness of trauma, anxiety, and depression to arrive, literally, at the peak of a mountain with a heart full of gratitude and love.

More than a story of triumph over tragedy, the book offers inspiring life lessons and insights that can help readers to do more than endure unimaginable pain and darkness in their own lives. This book can give them the perspective and strength to pick up the pieces of their own tragedies and choose a life of healing, purpose, and joy—a beautiful life.”

My Book Review:

Although I try to be grateful for all that I have, I know there are still so many things I take for granted. I have the ability to see, hear, walk on my two feet, and type with my two hands and ten fingers. Brushing my teeth is a piece of cake. When I need to go somewhere I hop in my car and drive there, or I walk or ride my bike. I get to see the beautiful faces of my husband and children all day long. Cooking dinner may not be my favorite thing, but I get to do it for my family each day.

Carol Decker doesn’t have many of these opportunities. The story she tells of her illness and consequential disabilities brought me to tears several times. I cannot imagine going through what she did. About the same time this was going on, my fourth baby was born 5 ½ weeks early. She was in the NICU for 15 days, and it was awful. I had three kids at home, and one of them had strep, so I couldn’t even enlist the help of babysitters. My husband would go see her on his lunch break and I’d go up to the hospital when he got home. This one thing was so hard for me, and this was only one small part of what Carol went through.

Her writing is engaging and well written. She just sucks you right into her story. It’s a fast, easy read, but there isn’t anything fast or easy about her story. It’s amazing. Seriously amazing. Her ability to pull herself out of this tragedy and find light and positivity is an example to all. It would have been so easy for her to give up and live life as a victim, but she chose to live instead. This is such a powerful lesson!

I loved, loved, loved this book! I will be recommending it to everyone I see, I’m sure. And my three oldest children will be reading this book for sure. This past year has been rough for my oldest, and I think he will really benefit from her positive attitude, hard work, and accomplishments. Unshattered is a book that doesn’t leave you when you close the final page. I finished it last night, but haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. In my prayers last night I thanked my Heavenly Father for all my blessings. I am so full of gratitude for all that I have, and I will not be taking the little things for granted anymore.

What can you learn from this book? So many things! Never give up, find the joy in the simplest of things, and have a positive attitude. Surround yourself with good people, it’s okay to ask for help, allow people to help you, and work hard for your dreams and goals. Life is hard and not fair—get over it and move forward with gratitude and hope. Family is everything.

Content Rating PG-13Content Rating: PG-13 (There isn’t any profanity, violence, or “intimacy” in this book. However, there are some graphic descriptions of medical procedures, and suicide is discussed.)

Recommendation: YA (12-18) and up

My Rating: 4.5/5

4.5 Star Rating

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here:https://amzn.to/2xL38Kf 

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

I'm Possible by Jeff Griffin  Overcoming and Avoiding Illness by James Lilley
 

Make a Teacher Happy: Prevent Summer Brain!

Summer Fit 2-3

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Prevent Summer Brain with Summer Fit Workbooks!

Remember last fall when the kids went back to school and had forgotten most of what they’d learned the previous year? It’s called…Summer Brain. Ouch! All of that work–gone. How do you prevent Summer Brain? You have to be a mean mom and make the kids use their brains this summer. I know, it’s hard. I’ve grown callous to the mean summer mom eye rolls because I’ve been doing it for so long.  It’s a good thing, I promise.
 
I’ve tried a few different things like printing off my own packets, workbooks, and online programs. I finally settled on the Summer Fit workbooks. It’s so easy and mom friendly!
 

Why Use Summer Fit Workbooks to Prevent Summer Brain?

I have used the Summer Fit workbooks for a few years now, and I LOVE them!!! They have a level for each grade in elementary school (they start with pre-K and go to 8th grade), which is great. The workload is the perfect amount. Each day there is a page of reading and a page of math. It isn’t super hard, but it is hard enough to keep the kids from forgetting everything over the summer.
 
I love the Friday material. Every Friday is a value (compassion, determination…..that kind of thing), and it highlights a person who exemplifies that value. The kids do activities surrounding that value and person. Also, each day has an exercise for the kids to do. It’s not hard, but it gets them up and moving. And the great thing about these books is that it eliminates all the mom-work. There’s no searching the internet or printing off individual worksheets; it’s all right there in the book. It makes mom’s job so much easier!!! They even have a book for 7th and 8th graders, which is great because it’s harder to know what the older kids need. I highly recommend the Summer Fit workbooks!
 
 

Content Rating GRating: G (clean!!!)

 Recommendation: Pre-K to 8th grade

 

Which One Is Right For You?

(If you’d like to purchase a workbook, click on the image below.)

This post was first published on 5/23/16; Updated on 5/11/18.

Book Review of Essentialism by Greg McKeown

Essentialism by Greg McKeown

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Book Review of Essentialism by Greg McKeown

I have heard so much about this book. It has been recommended to me several times. I put it on hold at the library and didn’t receive it for a few months–that’s how popular it is. And now I can see why. From the very beginning of this book I felt like it was written for me. It spoke to me! Seriously. Weird. It’s kind of creepy that Greg McKeown, the author, knows me so well. Of course he doesn’t know me at all, but wow, I think he wrote this for me. I hope it helps you as much as it has already helped me! Please enjoy my book review of Essentialism by Greg McKeown.

 

Blurb:

“Essentialism isn’t about getting more done in less time. It’s about getting only the right things done.

Have you ever found yourself stretched too thin?

Do you simultaneously feel overworked and underutilized?

Are you often busy but not productive?

Do you feel like your time is constantly being hijacked by other people’s agendas?

If you answered yes to any of these, the way out is the Way of the Essentialist.

Essentialism is more than a time-management strategy or a productivity technique. It is a systematic discipline for discerning what is absolutely essential, then eliminating everything that is not, so we can make the highest possible contribution toward the things that really matter.

By forcing us to apply more selective criteria for what is Essential, the disciplined pursuit of less empowers us to reclaim control of our own choices about where to spend our precious time and energy—instead of giving others the implicit permission to choose for us.

Essentialism is not one more thing—it’s a whole new way of doing everything. It’s about doing less, but better, in every area of our lives. Essentialism is a movement whose time has come.”

My Book Review:

As I stated above, I have heard a lot about this book. It’s been recommended to me a few times, and I’ve heard about it on podcasts and from other people. Now that I’ve read it, I can see why it came so highly recommended. I’ve been converted to Essentialism for sure! It makes so much sense. The philosophy is truly life changing.

I’m a people pleaser and a rule follower. My husband is always getting on me because I can’t say no. I’ll take on whatever anyone asks of me, and then I get bogged down and stressed, and I don’t have enough time to do it all. Well, not anymore! This book has liberated me. It has given me permission to say no, and I’m going to use it! Honestly, it’s going to be hard. A lifetime of apparently bad habits will not be easy to change, but I am going to try really hard because I need to. For my family and me, this could be life changing.

The book is so well written. Greg McKeown has a way with words. It’s easy to read and understand, it flows well, and it is so inspiring. He makes it all seem so easy, so hopefully it will be. I love the formatting of this book. There are a few illustrations, and some pages are white on black. He uses really big fonts to highlight important points, and it’s eye catching.

The chapters are broken down into bite size pieces. Each chapter begins with a quote, which I love. Then he makes sure to state how an Essentialist would think in certain situations compared to how a Nonessentialist would think in the same situations. Ooops! I usually fit under the Nonessentialist way of thinking, but that is already changing. The writing is clear and concise and does a great job of illustrating his points.

As stated above, I got this book from the library, but I think I need to buy it because I want to highlight and bookmark almost the whole thing. I want to remember what he said because I know it’s going to take time to change my way of thinking. This is one of those rare books that I know I will want to reference time and time again. To be able to take back the control in my life will be amazing. What? I can choose? Seriously. How do we forget that we have agency? I love this book, and I highly recommend it. 

Content Rating GRating: G (It’s clean. There’s nothing inappropriate in it.)

Recommendation: 16+

My Rating: 4/5

4 Star Review

If you’d like to purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2HPdcCM

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

the seven habits of highly effective families by stephen r covey Does Change Have to be So Hard by Julie Donley, RN  The Compliment Quotient by Monica Strobel
 

Winning the Battle for the Night by Faith Blatchford

Winning the Battle for the Night by Faith Blatchford

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Book Review of Winning the Battle for the Night by Faith Blatchford

I have never been a good sleeper. Never. Even when I was little I remember lying awake for hours every night. Usually I just can’t shut my brain off, and oftentimes anxiety exacerbates it. When I heard about Winning the Battle for the Night by Faith Blatchford, I got really excited. I truly hoped that I would be able to find answers to help me sleep better.

Blurb (from Netgalley):

In our fast-paced world, we see sleep as “wasted time,” or else we lie awake as anxiety, fear, or distractions run through our minds. That was never God’s intent for the night. Without realizing it, we’ve handed this sacred time over to the enemy.

With warmth, compassion, and keen biblical insight, counselor and speaker Faith Blatchford reveals that it’s during this precious time that God imparts everything necessary for us to be equipped for the day. Without peaceful sleep at night, we are robbed mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually of the resources we need. 

God created the night and the dark–and he called it good. He dwells in it. The dark does not belong to the devil, so don’t let the enemy steal it from you. Here are the tools you need to take back your night, to encounter the God of rest, and to sleep peacefully the whole night through.

Includes a chapter on how to help your children overcome nightmares and fear of the dark.
 

My Book Review:

As I stated above, I do not sleep well. I want to, but I’m not good at it. Going to sleep is the hardest part. My brain does not shut off. And anxiety usually exacerbates the problem. I saw this book on Netgalley and got super excited. Finally I might be able to get answers!

Then I got into the book and found a different story. This book does talk a little bit about insomnia and not sleeping well, but mostly it discusses dreaming. Faith Blatchford didn’t dream when she was growing up, and it bothered her. She spent a long time talking to other people and trying to figure out why she didn’t dream. I don’t really care about that, as much, but it was interesting.

Ms. Blatchford delves into scriptures and discusses dreams told in scripture from God to prophets. This is a very Christian book. It’s all about prayer, scripture, and making yourself worthy to receive dreams. If you want to dream, and receive inspiration for your life through dreams, then this book is for you. She’s done her research, that’s for sure!

Start by giving yourself enough time to sleep, setting a routine, and turning off the screens. Don’t have caffeine before bed, and get rid of all negative thoughts and energy, are a few of the first steps to dreaming. Keep paper and pen by your bed so you can record your dreams, and then ask God the meaning of your dreams.

Although this book did not really answer the questions I had, I did find it interesting. Will I put forth the effort to learn how to dream? No, probably not right now, but maybe I will in the future. I am Christian and am familiar with most of the scripture stories in Winning the Battle for the Night. I am also familiar with a lot of the Christian advice.

One thing I disliked was that she tended to tell as truth things that we don’t know for sure. And she almost makes it seem like you’re not a good Christian if you’re not receiving inspiration from God in your dreams. In my opinion, I feel like receiving inspiration through dreams is a spiritual gift that not everyone has. However, if it’s something that you can learn, then this book will be a great resource to those who want to learn that skill.

 

Content Rating PGRating: PG (There’s no profanity, no “intimacy,” and no violence. It does go into some heavier topics like demons, but it’s all found in the scriptures.)

Age Recommendation: Adult

Rating: 3/5

3 Star Rating

To purchase this book, click here: https://amzn.to/2GdVmIB

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Compliment Quotient by Monica Strobel I'm Possible by Jeff Griffin  the seven habits of highly effective families by stephen r covey
 
 

Girls Who Code: Crack the Code! by Sarah Hutt

Girls Who Code: Crack the Code by Sarah Hutt

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Book Review of Girls Who Code: Crack the Code! by Sarah Hutt

I don’t know anything about coding. I know, not good for someone who spends a lot of time online! My daughter is really into coding right now, and I have not known what to do to inspire or help her along this path. Until now. Thank you Girls Who Code! Girls Who Code: Crack the Code! by Sarah Hutt is full of activities, games, and puzzles that reveal the world of coding. It is put forth in conjunction with Girls Who Code.com.

Blurb:

“You might not realize it, but computer coding is everywhere! It’s not just in your phone and computer, but also in music, movies, robots, spaceships, and more. The world is powered by code, and your key to understanding how is at your fingertips!

Grab your pens and pencils for this book packed with word games, mazes, quizzes, and more that show how coding is a part of everything we see and do. You might even find inspiration for your next coding project!”

 

My Book Review:

This activity book is packed full of activities surrounding coding. It has a topic for everyone: robots, digital art and animation, sports, and music. There are activities like mazes, crossword puzzles, collages, and designing your own emojis. Then there are activities that are more in-depth like cutting out and gluing together your own robot or working with a partner and having your partner draw as you explain step by step what to draw. There’s a fortune-teller that you may cut out, and activities that you do on each side of it.

This looks like so much fun! I like how it breaks everything down into bite-size chunks so you learn, but don’t get overwhelmed. I had my 12 year-old daughter do a bunch of these activities. She had a lot of fun! She is really into coding right now, so I’m just going to have her keep on going in this book!

 

Content Rating GRating: G (Clean!)

Age Recommendation: 5th -6th grade and up

Rated: 4/54 Star Rating

To purchase this book click here: http://amzn.to/2ueK1ql

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

GWC_BlogBanner

 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Girls Who Code: Lights, Music, Code! (Book #3) by Jo Whittenmore   Princess Academy by Shannon Hale
 
 

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey

Book Review of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey

Have you ever looked over at a family that looks as if they have it all together? Have you wondered what it is they’re doing that makes them so successful? Has there been a time in your own family where you have struggled to hold it together? Do you have a great family but you want to make it better? Then The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families by Stephen R. Covey is the book for you!

Blurb:

“With the same profound insight, simplicity, and practical wisdom that have already reached tens of millions of readers, Stephen R. Covey demonstrates how the principles he introduced in The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People can be used to build the kind of strong, loving family that lasts for generations. As Covey says, ‘When you raise your children, you are also raising your grandchildren.

Covey explains that strong families don’t just happen, but need the combined energy, talent, desire, vision, and dedication of all their members. Sharing insightful, often poignant or humorous experiences from his own life and from the lives of other families, he imparts practical advice on solving common family dilemmas, such as finding quality time to spend together, dealing with family disputes, healing a broken relationship, and changing a negative family atmosphere.

He shows how families can learn to incorporate principles into their daily lives through activities, meetings, and games that involve all family members and help to create a spirit of understanding, support, and enthusiasm.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families is destined to become the preeminent work on the family, providing a new benchmark on a very important global topic.” 

My Book Review:

This book is very well written. Even though it’s self help, it’s easy to read and understand. It flows well, and has enough humor and anecdotes to make it an enjoyable read. Covey has included many examples written by people who have implemented the strategies in their own lives. I liked these examples a lot because they help show how the strategies work. They also show that the strategies put forth are practical, useful, and attainable.  This book discusses common sense solutions and talks about the importance of  self -improvement.
 
I really liked how at the end of each chapter there is a page titled, “Sharing this chapter with adults and teens.” There’s another on how to share the info. with children, which is so helpful. Also listed at the end of each chapter is an action step. It lists 3-4 things you may do with your family to implement the strategy discussed. 
 
By the time I finished reading this book, I had many pages marked and lots of quotes underlined. Here are a few of my favorites:
Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our happiness.
 
My friend, love is a verb. Love–the feeling–is a fruit of love the verb. So love her. Sacrifice. Lister to her. Empathize. Appreciate. Affirm her.
 
There is a difference between principles (or true north) and our behavior (or direction of travel).
 
The greatest thing you can do for your children is love your spouse.
 
Be patient with yourself. Even be patient with your own impatience.
I highly recommend this book. It’s full of examples, humor, and practical advice. I have a great family and family life, but I wanted to make it better. The information in this book helped to do that. I would recommend this book to any individual or family that wants to take a good thing and make it great.
 

Content Rating GRating: G (Clean!)

Age Recommendation: Great as a family read-aloud. I’d say 12 and up to read alone. This is especially good for parents to read.

4 Star Rating

You may purchase this book here: http://amzn.to/2FZuIGN

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

The Compliment Quotient by Monica Strobel cheers to eternity by al and ben carraway  The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman
 

(This post contains affiliate links. You don’t pay any extra and I receive a small commission.)

This post was originally published on 4/16/09; updated on 3/15/18.

The Five Love Languages

The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

[Book Review] The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman

 

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I have a book review for you of The Five Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I have read this book a few times now, and each time I learn something new! Believe me, the concept works!

Blurb:

“He sends you flowers when what you really want is time to talk. She gives you a hug when what you really need is a home-cooked meal. The problem isn’t your love–it’s your language! In this international best seller, Dr. Gary Chapman reveals how different people express love in different ways. In fact, there are five specific languages of love: Quality Time, Words of Affirmation, Gifts, Acts of Service, and Physical Touch. What speaks volumes to you may be meaningless to your spouse. But here, at last, is the key to understanding each other’s unique needs. Apply the right principles, learn the right language, and soon you’ll know the profound satisfaction and joy of being able to express your love–and feeling truly loved in return.”
 

My Review:

I love this book! I’ve read it several times, and each time I read it I get something new out of it. The first time I read it, I couldn’t believe how accurate it was, and I tried to put the principles into practice. I thought I was. But then my husband kept getting upset about a certain situation every time it happened. I couldn’t figure out what I was doing wrong. So, I went back and reread this book. Then it clicked! Oh my. Yes, I’m a little slow. But, once I figured out how to speak his love language, it has been so much better. I knew his love language before; it hadn’t changed, but it took me awhile to figure out how to speak it in his way. It’s so simple, yet so complex. Loving someone should be easy, right? Well, it’s even easier if you know how to do it according to what that person wants and needs.
 
There is a quiz that you and your spouse can take to determine your love languages, and then there is a whole chapter devoted to each love language. It’s well written, and is easy to understand. He uses lots of real life examples of people that he has worked with, and they are very helpful. What’s great is that it takes things that our spouses might “nag” us with, and it puts them into perspective. So, if your wife keeps nagging you to do things around the house, then her love language may be acts of service. Maybe you’ve been bringing her home flowers often and you can’t figure out why she’s still upset; it’s because gifts is not her love language, acts of service is. Does that make sense? I love it.
 
Several years ago my church had this Valentine’s Day activity for all the adults. There was a dance, but if you needed a break or weren’t into dancing, they had a bunch of classes you could attend. The person in charge knew that I had read this book and asked me to teach a class on it. I felt super nervous (my throat was so dry that a nice guy went and got me a drink of water), but I’ve seen so much success using the five love languages in my own life that I said yes. It turned out great, and I treasure that experience because I was able to help people improve the way they loved each other.
 
It’s also great because the same principles apply to our children. You don’t need to give the children the quiz; once you know the languages it’s pretty easy to spot them in your children. For example, I have one child that needs words of affirmation constantly, while another constantly wants hugs. Do you see how that works? That way you can make sure you’re speaking your spouse’s love language and also your kids’ so everyone feels loved in his or her own way. If you are married or in a dating relationship I highly recommend this book.
 

Content Rating RRating: R (There isn’t any language or violence, but it does talk a lot about “intimacy” between husband and wife.)

Recommendation: Adult

Rated 4/5 Stars

4 Star Rating

Book Review first published 11/6/14, updated on 2/13/18

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[Book Review] Cheers to Eternity by Al and Ben Carraway

cheers to eternity by al and ben carraway

[Book Review] Cheers to Eternity: Lessons We've Learned on Dating and Marriage by Al and Ben Carraway

I have heard Al Carraway speak twice now; the first time I heard her speak, she wasn’t married to Ben yet. She is such an engaging speaker, so I was excited to read and review this book. I hoped it would be as engaging as her talks are.

Blurb:

“Author of the best seller More than the Tattooed Mormon, Al Carraway and her husband, Ben, remind you that marriage isn’t supposed to be ‘serious and hard.’ A successful marriage is one that you build as a team—emphasizing constant communication, working through hard times together, and (above all) remembering to put God first.

Using a wonderfully open dialogue, the Carraways share the funny, embarrassing, and honest lessons and struggles that have shaped their life together.

Written for singles, newlyweds, and marriage veterans, Cheers to Eternity will help you bring new insights into your relationships, keep life in perspective, and make the rest of your life here and in eternity exciting, amazing, and meaningful.”

 

My Review:

This is a fast, yet engaging, read. The Carraways seem to have a good relationship, and seem to have their priorities straight. I like how they play off of each other, and I like how Ben talks and then Al responds, and vice versa. Sometimes in marriage we see the same situation differently, and you see that come through a few times. There are a few parts where this comes across as very cutesy, bordering on cheesy, but it didn’t bother me too much.

The Carraways haven’t been married very long, and this definitely comes through in their book.  There were a few times I may have rolled my eyes at them; my husband and I have been married just shy of twenty years now, so they don’t have all the experience that comes from time together. However, their marriage has still gone through some difficult struggles, so their opinions are valid. Also, it’s always good to remember what it was like in the early days of your marriage, and to remember what it was that you loved about each other, etc.

Although there isn’t anything in this book that is groundbreaking or especially new, it’s definitely a good reminder. Sometimes we get caught up in the day to day grind, and it’s good to remember to take the time to love each other and put each other’s needs first.

            As you move forward with marriage, it will no longer be about “I” and “Me,” but will always and forever be “Us” and “We.” Let’s not let anything come in the way of loving our spouse and putting them before our selfish desires. It is always better to be kind and understanding than to be right. Let’s lose ourselves in them and, no matter what happens, be there for them. Forgive quickly and always. Every day let’s wake up and think of what we can do to make things easier for them.

I like how they start each chapter with a quote or two on the topic they’re discussing. A few of their discussion topics are: It’s Not About You, Communication, Finance, Intimacy, Expectations, Always Have Time For Love, Affection, and Doing Hard Things Together. There is definitely a religious overtone to this book; Al and Ben Carraway are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (sometimes known as Mormon or LDS). They are Christian, and they just talk about how in marriage you also need to put God first.

Even though I’ve been married for many years longer than the Carraways have, it was good to hear their perspective. I may not have learned anything new in their book, but it’s always a good reminder of what we should be doing. If you’re dating or a newlywed then I would definitely recommend this book. If you’ve been married for awhile, like I have, then it’s still a good read. Trying to improve your marriage is never a bad thing, right?

 

Content Rating RRating: R (There’s no profanity and no violence. However, it is all about marriage, and “intimacy” is a part of that. They don’t shy away from the topic.)

Age Recommendation: Adult 

 

 3.5/5 Stars 3.5 Star Rating

 
 

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

the seven habits of highly effective families by stephen r covey The Compliment Quotient by Monica Strobel  Does Change Have to be So Hard by Julie Donley, RN
 
 
 

[Book Review] Overcoming and Avoiding Illness by James Lilley

Overcoming and Avoiding Illness by James Lilley

[Book Review] Overcoming and Avoiding Illness by James Lilley

James Lilley approached me last fall to review his book Overcoming and Avoiding Illness. At the time, my son had been sick for a very long time, and we still didn’t have a diagnosis. I agreed to read his book in hopes of finding help for my son. Before I was able to read his book, however, my son spent a couple nights in the hospital, where he finally received a diagnosis. Although the information in this book didn’t end up helping in that particular situation, James Lilley has a lot of great information about how to overcome and avoid illness; he’s definitely done his research!

Blurb:

“Based on six years of research this is the remarkable story of one man’s obsession to overcome serious illness. When doctors failed him, James Lilley succeeded by applying common sense and an extraordinary level of dogged persistence.

Inside you’ll find the strategies he used to rebuild his own health brick-by-brick. Covering more topics than a Swiss army knife, these techniques are easy to implement and apply to a wide range of ailments.

With an exceptional ability to breakdown the complex, James shares his many insights using a blend of empathy and humor. This is an inspiring story which will open your eyes to a whole new way of thinking about wellness.

This isn’t just another hyped up health book designed to look good sitting on the shelf, it’s an empowering, comprehensive, problem solving tool. ~James Lilley

In every sense of the word, this is a truly independent book. There was never any slick marketing campaign or big launch date to draw on. It’s actually quite remarkable that you even found this book or perhaps this book found you.”

My Review:

As I stated previously, my son was super sick for most of last year. He’s still not fully recovered, but has come a very long way. Life is almost back to normal, although it is something he will probably always deal with in some way. James Lilley reached out to me in the middle of all of the craziness, so I was excited to read his story and see what he was able to do to overcome his illness. He spent many years researching solutions to his health problems, and it definitely shows; this book is packed with information!

For the most part, I liked his writing style; it’s easy to read, humorous, and casual. He does use quite a bit of profanity, which I didn’t love or think necessary, but that’s just my opinion. Mr. Lilley does have a knack for taking difficult medical terms and procedures, and making them easy to understand. He includes advice that is very common sense like eating your vegetables every day and good nutrition, but then he’ll add something about testing your blood’s acidity levels or detoxifying the metals in your body. There are some very in-depth and technical things that he advises, and a lot of them are things I’ve never heard of.

I liked reading his story. The one about how he was so sick that he had to be in a wheelchair, and now because of these strategies he’s walking again. I wished that there had been more of that story because I felt at times that it was just a huge information dump. It would have been great if he had included how doing each of those individual things had helped him overcome his illness. Something to the affect of, “Doing A helped decrease this…” or “After six months of doing B, I started to see this…” Without those little pieces of information, I was left feeling overwhelmed with all the information.

James Lilley put many years into this research, and there is so much to learn from his book. On the one hand, I trust him because he has read and researched for many years, but on the other hand, he’s not officially a doctor. What I decided to do was to take what he said, and if I thought it would help or I liked the concept, then I would talk to my doctor and research it myself as well.  By doing this, I feel it’s a good compromise.

One little nitpicky thing that annoyed me was the cover. Mr. Lilley put an acronym on the cover. The acronym is: What’s The Formula? Well, as we all know, that acronym is used in texting to say something very different.  I didn’t feel comfortable with that acronym big and bright on the cover of a book that I read in front of my children and took to many different places, so I took a sharpie and covered it up. I know it’s little, but sometimes it’s the little things that make a big difference.

Overall, I thought this book was okay. There is a ton of information; some of it seems great, and other things seem kind of way out there. I wish he had connected the dots more along the way, but if you’re looking for information on how to overcome or avoid illness, this could be a very good resource for you.

Content Rating R

Rating: R (There is a lot of medical jargon and quite a bit of profanity.)

Age Recommendation: Adult

3 Star Rating

Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

Similar Titles You May Be Interested In:

Chestnuts

Chestnuts
by
Gilbert Ohanian

Blurb:
“Is there a bully in your life that you don’t know how to deal with? I had one too. It prompted me to write ‘Chestnuts: A True Story About Being Bullied,’ a book outlining practical strategies for defending against bullies and resolving the conflict and aggression that often plagues victims of bullying. Inside these pages, I will take you through my own harrowing journey with bullies–from boarding school beat-ups, to violent attacks from crazed skinheads on the streets of London, to bullies in a public school of America. In each chapter a reflection of my personal story will show you what I did wrong, and how you can actually defend yourself in this modern day and age.”
My Review:
Bullying is something that, as a teacher, I do not put up with. As a mom, I don’t put up with it. There’s definitely a zero tolerance policy on bullying in my house. However, a couple of my kids have been bullied at school. My children have been physically harmed, and they have been verbally and emotionally bullied as well. Our school does have a zero bullying policy, but it’s not always easy to see happening when it’s verbal or emotional. When I have brought it up with principals and teachers they have taken it seriously and it has stopped. It’s not as easy when the kids are in junior high, so it’s been more difficult to take care of there. Anyway, I’m telling you this to let you know that I am no stranger to bullying. I think it is a topic that needs to be discussed continually with children at home and at school. This is a very important subject, and so I was glad to hear from Mr. Ohanian about reviewing his book. His story is tragic. It broke my heart to read about everything he went through during his childhood. There were definitely things that his school leaders could have done differently to help him, and there were things that he also could have done differently, but looking back doesn’t change anything. What happened, happened. I’m glad that he was brave enough to speak out and tell his story. It’s important for people to read about and understand the dynamics of bullying. There are some good aspects to this book. Speaking out against bullying is always important and beneficial. He gives some good ideas on how to deal with bullies, and he writes about the things he could have handled differently. Those are all good things. Reading about his story will definitely help others to speak out against bullying. Unfortunately, this book needs to be edited. A lot. It’s written from the heart, but he discusses several situations that are not relevant to the story at all. Also, it may be written from the heart, but there are many grammatical errors and portions of the book that do not flow well or transition well. One other thing that bothered me was that he is not a psychologist or doctor. I understand that he lived through these situations, but I wasn’t sure if the advice he gives in the book is just his philosophy or if it’s sound advice from bullying experts. Does that make sense? He does cite many articles in this book, so I know that he did research into best practices. I hesitate to state these things because he has endured a lot of criticism in his life, and I don’t want to add to that. It is a very sad story, and I feel terrible that he had to endure such hardships in his life. I think this book has a lot of potential, and I hope that he will find a great editor and publish a second edition.  
Rating: PG+ (There is no profanity or “intimacy,” except for maybe a brief kiss. There is a lot of violence in this book. He is beaten-up, harassed, and bullied. Some of the stories are difficult to read because of how harsh they are.)
Recommendation: 13 years-old and up (YA)
Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.