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Revolutionary WarScrap Crafting Lego History Latin Calendar

Wednesday, December 30

Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen)

Adolescent Love
Holding Out for a Hero (Victoria van Tiem) *five star alert*
The problem with first love is that it never truly dies . . . Libby London fell in love with the eighties, came of age in the nineties, and now the twenty-first century is baffling her. Her New-York-City style is more, erm, vintage tragedy than retro babe and her penchant for All Things Eighties might just be what's holding her back in matters of life and love . . . At least that's what her well-meaning friends think. They've staged a #80sIntervention in an effort to bring Libby bang up to date. What with her dreaded birthday party, friends' madcap ambush, and being forced to relocate her vintage shop, Libby's nearing breaking point! Will she ever be able to move on when the one she loves keeps her in the past?

I loved this book!  The characters were funny and quirky, but easy to relate.  The storyline was completely plausible, and the 80s references were a TOTALLY fabulous blast from the past!  While the base was a rip-off of the Breakfast Club, if you love Brat Pack movies, you'll enjoy this light-hearted read.  The ending even left wiggle room for a #90sintervention High Fidelity sequel.

Marital Love
Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage (Greg & Erin Smalley)
Every couple who wants a happy marriage will appreciate the revitalizing secrets in Crazy Little Thing Called Marriage. In it, Dr. Greg and Erin Smalley explore the traits of a healthy and thriving marriage.  Based on research of thousands of strong couples across the country, the twelve essential elements outlined are not only biblically based; they also chart a course for a romantic adventure that will last a lifetime.  With practical advice and stories from their own marriage and counseling experiences, Greg and Erin guide couples to find ways to work around roadblocks in their current relationship and to intentionally create communication patterns that will take them to emotionally safe places.  Yes, marriage can have its twists and turns. But the detours don’t necessarily have to lead couples off course. Greg and Erin help couples map out a journey for their marriages so that they can enjoy the passionate and intimate relationship that God has promised.

While the author is a little goofy, I love how it lightens up such a serious subject.  Husband and wife team up to bring both perspectives to this book, and they keep it real.  The suggestions are do-able, the scenarios happen everyday, and you've probably experienced (or known someone who has experienced) every one of them.  Pop culture references are mixed with biblical scripture to make the book relatable.  All in all, great suggestions for the newlywed and golden couples alike, and a good one to re-read when times get tight.

Unconditional Love
Midnight Jesus (Jamie Blaine)
The heart of God can be found in the unlikeliest places, in the unlikeliest people.  Midnight Jesus shares fascinating, bizarre, and sometimes humorous true-life stories of everyday people looking for hope in their darkest hours.  Poignant and unpretentious, Jamie paints beauty where at times it seems none exists—from skating rinks and bars, late-night highways and lonely apartments, broken churches and rundown trailer parks, jail cells, bridge rails, ERs, psych wards, and that place over the levee where God laughs and walks through the cool dark night.

I wasn't sure what this book was going to be, but it's a book about life's hardest moments, and how a person is never too far gone to be saved.  There are important messages for everyone, regardless of your faith, about stereotypes and judging.  It takes you down to the rock bottom and exposes you to addiction, despair, depression, self-harm...and then shows how each person pulls themselves up by their bootstraps.  It's about finding your place in the world...fighting to go on and keeping the faith.  It'll make you laugh, and cry.

Domestic Love
The Lifegiving Home  (Sally & Sarah Clarkson)
Does your home sometimes feel like just a place to eat, sleep, and change clothes on the way to the next activity? Do you long for “home” to mean more than a place where you stash your stuff? Wouldn’t you love it to become a haven of warmth, rest, and joy . . . the one place where you and your family can’t wait to be?  There is good news waiting for you in the pages of The Lifegiving Home. Every day of your family’s life can be as special and important to you as it already is to God. In this unique book designed to help your family enjoy and celebrate every month of the year together, you’ll discover the secrets of a life-giving home from a mother who created one and her daughter who was raised in it: popular authors Sally and Sarah Clarkson. Together they offer a rich treasure of wise advice, spiritual principles, and practical suggestions. You’ll embark on a new path to creating special memories for your children; establishing home-building and God-centered traditions; and cultivating an environment in which your family will flourish.

Foster / Adoption Love
Walk to Beautiful (Jimmy Wayne)
Imagine yourself a thirteen-year-old hundreds of miles away from home, in a strange city, and your mom leaves you at a bus station parking lot and drives off into the night with her lover.  That's the real life story of country music star Jimmy Wayne. It's a miracle that Jimmy survived being hungry and homeless, bouncing in and out of the foster care system, and sleeping in the streets. But he didn't just overcome great adversity in his life; he now uses his country music platform to help children everywhere, especially teenagers in foster care who are about to age out of the system.  Walk to Beautiful is the powerfully emotive account of Jimmy's horrendous childhood and the love shown him by Russell and Bea Costner, the elderly couple who gave him a stable home and provided the chance to complete his education. Jimmy says of Bea, "She changed every cell in my body."   It also chronicles Jimmy's rise to fame in the music industry and his Meet Me Halfway campaign: his walk halfway across America, 1,700 miles from Nashville to Phoenix, to raise awareness for foster kids.

This book provides great insight into the world of foster care, and will inspire those wanting to help others.  It's a book about finding the peace of forgiveness, no matter how badly you’ve been wronged, and trusting in God, even when it seems he is nowhere to be found.  The author pulls you into a world of neglect and abuse, making you feel as though you're going through it with him.  His courage and ability to do the right thing in very dire circumstances shows how a simple child-like faith in God can give you a wealth of strength.  I really enjoyed this book because it teaches you how to be gracious for what you have, even if it's a little bit.  My emotions rode a roller coaster as I wanted to rescue the little boy from the nightmare!

Change Your Brain, Change Your Life (Daniel Amen) *one-star alert*
In this completely revised and updated edition of the breakthrough bestseller, you'll see scientific evidence that your anxiety, depression, anger, obsessiveness, or impulsiveness could be related to how specific structures in your brain work. You're not stuck with the brain you're born with. Renowned neuro-psychiatrist Dr. Daniel Amen includes cutting-edge research and the latest surprising, effective "brain prescriptions" that can help heal your brain and change your life.

This book is almost entirely composed of three things: (1) encyclopedia information; (2) juicy stories of the author's patients that he says were cured; and (3) advice you have heard for your whole life.  It is an easy read, with fascinating stories that pull you in, but it is not academic.  The book shows pictures of brains with different emotional/chemical imbalances, and provides evidence that problems like depression, aggression, ADD, and Alzheimers are physically-based. It demonstrates with the SPECT series brain scans that our brain chemistry rules our emotions by showing the 'phenomenal' changes in patients' brains before and after treatment.  And it's all a gimmick.  As a trained psychologist with more than a decade of experience, the 'junk science' behind this book was disheartening.  There will be many who read it, with no understanding of the correlations and {faulty} causations, and spend insane amounts of money for these brain scans in the hope of a quick fix.  At best, they will get a new prescription.  Don't fall for it!

I received several of these books in exchange for an honest review.
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