Brain Washed

Author: Manny Arango

Publisher: Bethany House

Release Date: September 13, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A great book that will help readers take back control of their mind in a world where our minds are constantly being attacked.

Our world bombards us with so many distractions and things that can take our minds and thoughts captive, and we have a choice, let it take us captive or take the thoughts captive. Throughout the pages of this book, readers see how important it is to look to scripture in order to transform our minds and overcome what the world wants and expects of us. Many times throughout my life, I have heard that the Bible is the instructional manual for our lives. That can be hard to believe but it really is true. The Bible gives us instructions to deal with whatever may come our way, and I’ve had several hard things come my way lately. Learning to truly rely on God and his word is a hard thing but when we do find that faith it will change lives.

Dealing with trauma and pain can make relationships and our journey through life very difficult but using the words throughout Brain Washed will help make things easier. As I read through the pages of this book, I found myself nodding my head and smiling at many of the lessons it taught. With social media and all the outlets available to escape into, it is easier than ever for evil thoughts to get into our head and take us down a path we don’t want to be on. Readers will go throughout these pages and find helpful advice for everyday life and so much more.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Rise of the Black Quarterback

Author: Jason Reid

Publisher: Andscape

Release Date: August 2, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Good history of black quarterbacks throughout the NFL and the caliber of young quarterbacks currently in the league. 

Throughout the history of the NFL, there have been many players to don a jersey in many different positions.  Some quarterbacks have been great, while others weren’t even the best player on the team.  A far cry from most of the players to start in that position for todays’ games.  However, one trait was very common for the position of quarterback for decades: they were white.  There have been a few black quarterbacks with teams that challenged the status quo, but many of them never saw the Super Bowl.  Flash forward to present day, names like Patrick Mahomes, Kyler Murray, and Lamar Jackson are linked to high talent teams who regularly make playoff and even Super Bowl appearances.  Times have changed and what is in store for the future of football?

It’s easy to forget how difficult change comes to any organization, but one as large as the NFL seems to have major difficultly making any kinds of shift.  Reading this book and looking back in time, it was really startling to see how different the position of quarterback was compared to what it has become today.  It’s just so easy to think of things in the present only.  Reid does a great job chronicling this history and how changes came to be.  He also gives dedicated chapters to several of the players who helped to shape that change as well as the current players who are pushing the envelope even farther. 

Readers who enjoy documentary type reads and sports books will love this one!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Rookie Mistakes

Author: Kelly Bandas

Publisher: July 19, 2022

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Rating: 4 out of 5.

We all make mistakes; this book helps us learn to laugh at the mistakes and learn from them so we can have the best life possible.

Kelly Bandas is a comedian that uses her humor to help others by learning from the mistakes she has made and our own at trying to become a functional adult in this crazy world we live in. She was raised in a catholic home and all throughout her childhood Kelly was afraid to upset God, that she would never be good enough. As she grew, she tried to learn what it was like to live in a world that was cruel and hard at times and even though she felt alone, she was never alone. Each story that Kelly shares brings laughter and a sense of head nodding readers can agree with and feel connected to someone in ways they might not have expected.

As I read this book, I found so many of the stories relatable and made me feel better as a parent and person in this crazy life. We all make mistakes, every single day, but if we can learn from the mistakes and learn to do better without judging ourselves or others too harshly for it life will be better. If we can learn from our Rookie Mistakes and not keeping making the same ones over and over, maybe it will all be worth it.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Her True Worth

Author: Brittany Maher & Cassandra Speer

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: July 5, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A powerful book that hits home in this day and age of social media and feeling like we have to live up to the false identities all around us.

Brittany Maher and Cassandra Speer have the ministry Her True Worth and are popular on social media. They are using their calling to help other women work to break free from the chains that social media can impose on them. Brittany worked for years in the beauty industry while Cassandra became depressed with the messages being sent about a woman’s worth. All around they would both see women lost and seeking attention and affirmation without looking to the only one that can give us what we need, Jesus Christ. Within the pages of this book, these two women show readers what God intended our identity to be, not what we have been told it should be. Each chapter is a reminder that our true worth is found in the one that loves us unconditionally and will steer us away from the false messages we have been led to believe.

This book hit me hard at a time I have doubted my worth not only with God, but with others around me. I recently had a great friend of mine celebrate a birthday and had lots of friends post about times with her and I started to wonder if I was as good of a friend because I didn’t post on Facebook about our friendship. How crazy is that? I had to take a step back and realize if that affected our friendship, which it didn’t, the friendship wasn’t real to begin with. With social media in our world, we see more and more young adults and even older adults becoming obsessed with being online and “liked” and depressed if they don’t have the right social media presence. I loved each and every chapter of this book and the way it pointed out how our value is much more than we realize based on social media and the world around us. If we can continue to remind us to look to Jesus and what he thinks of us instead of the world we will all be in better shape.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Running with Purpose

Author: Jim Weber

Publisher: Harper Collins Leadership

Release Date: April 26, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

An insightful read about how to take on larger competitors in business and in life.

In Running with Purpose, Jim Weber tells his life’s story from growing up to college to business to becoming the CEO of Brooks.  He shares his triumphs and his tribulations throughout his journey both in business strategies but also in his life.  He shows why the connections you make throughout your career are so important and how you can think strategically to overtake your competitors in market areas by being true to yourself and your brand!

Let’s be honest here.  I picked up this book because I love to run and I love to use Brooks shoes for running.  So, it just made sense that I would likely enjoy this book and I did!  I didn’t even know Brooks existed until the 2000s when I would get my first pair for recreational running, which would turn into competitive obstacle course racing.  There is a lot of backstory to Brooks and how they tried to compete on the level of other name brands that had a lot more apparel for each sport until Weber came along and refocused the brand to be just about running.  I also enjoyed getting to learn about Weber’s life and the challenges that he has faced to show people that he is just as human and the next guy.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

100 Great American Parks

Author: Stephanie Pearson

Publisher: National Geographic

Release Date: May 10, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A great book to give readers the traveling itch and hit the road!

If you love to travel, and visit national parks in particular, this book is a must for you.  This book selects 100 of the best National Parks throughout American with a glimpse into each one.  The book is organized around different regions, so if you live in a particular area or just want to travel there, you can skip to that section and find out what parks are available by state (or territory) and get your travel list in order.

I love that this makes it easy and fun to get the travel bug.  I’ve been to some of these parks, but there are still so many more to go.  Just yesterday we hit up Sleeping Bear Dunes in Michigan and I can’t wait to see what else we can see.  With amazing pictures and history of the parks, it makes it fun to just read about and plan your visit.

I recommend this book to travelers and those who just love a good book on travel for reference.

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

Faith Pump 40 Day Devotional

Authors: Beth Duewel, Edie Melson, Karen Porter, Kaley Rhea, Rhonda Rhea, Karen Sargent & Tina Yeager

Publisher: Bold Vision Books

Release Date: April 14, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

A devotional book that I can see myself reading again, and again, and again! So much good within the pages that readers will absolutely love.

With all the wit and fun that Faith-Pump has brought to their Facebook Group and previous books, this new devotional will leave readers feeling refreshed and spirit soaring. One of the nicest things about this group of ladies is that anything they write is always exactly what I need to read at that moment. No matter what you are going through, you will always be able to find encouragement, wisdom and insight from this group. Each day comes with a story from the different authors that is filled with humor and more than enough personalization to make you feel like you are sitting on the couch with a group you might gather for bible studies on a regular basis.

This is the kind of book I see myself buying up all the copies and giving out to anyone I come into contact with. So much good within the pages, readers will have trouble spreading it out to 40 days if they are anything like me. As soon as I finished one day, I would continue to the next to see what other wisdom was on the pages for me. A lot of times when I pick up a devotional book, I will read a few pages and then put it aside and not think about it for a while. Not with Faith-Pump, I kept turning the pages and felt so encouraged as I kept reading. I recommend this book to anyone and everyone, if you are down you will be encouraged, if you are needing a laugh you will find it, if you just wonder what God might be saying to you, listen closely as you read and you will hear him talking to you. I am so happy I came across the Faith-Pump group on Facebook, it has been a huge blessing to me and I hope it will be to others that pick up this book.

Never Give Up

Author: Bear Grylls

Publisher: National Geographic

Release Date: March 1, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Fans of Man vs Wild will not want to miss this book!

Bear Grylls is known by many for his adventures in the hit television show Man vs. Wild.  His grit, tenacity, and ability to get out of a sticky situation resonated with many while others were just shocked at what he was willing to put his body through.  In his previous book, Bear told his life story and mostly omitted the many adventures he had on the small screen because he wanted people to know who he was as a person.  After popular demand, he has documented the best of the best (and worst) of these adventures into another book to share with the world.  Focused largely on the television series, viewers and readers alike will continue to be awestruck and shocked at what all he went through to bring his world into your living room.

I’ll admit, I never really got caught up in the hype of the show Man vs. Wild, but I have watched a few episodes and heard Bear Grylls talk about some of his adventures, so I had some background before diving into this book. But even if I hadn’t, this would have been such a fun read!  It goes through many of the most extreme things that he had to do and it’s amazing that he lived through all of it.  It is also interesting to read about how the show was filmed and what they had to do to make it work, especially when the crew were dropping like flies.  He sprinkles in a lot of great life lessons through this and breaks it up with several chapters so that it is not a daunting read.  Probably going to be one of my favorite biographies for the year.  There is some language as well as some pretty gross things, so take caution before you jump in!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.

I’ll Start Again Monday

Author: Lysa Terkeurst

Publisher: Thomas Nelson

Release Date: January 4, 2022

Rating: 5 out of 5.

So much more than a book on eating healthy, readers will find great advice for not only healthy eating, but also a better overall way to live.

Eating healthy is never something that sounds fun but can sometimes leave you feeling worse for wear. Lysa TerKeurst delivers a wonderful new look at how eating healthy isn’t just about the food we put in our bodies. If we continue the cycle of losing weight and gaining it back, eventually we will see it’s not just about the food, the issue goes much deeper. I can think of many times I have craved foods that were not good for me, especially when I was trying to avoid them. Once I had them, I found out the craving didn’t always go away and I never fully felt satisfied.

I’ll admit, I’m not the target audience for this but was able to gain a lot of insightful information and came away after reading it feeling lighter and more satisfied than I had in a long time. It’s not just about the food, that is the main point driven home in this book; if we will look at the deeper meaning of our cravings and look to a higher power to help provide the sustenance we need, our lives will be fuller than we could have hoped for.

I recommend this book for everyone looking for something to fill the spaces they keep trying to use food for and see that God created us to crave Him instead of all the processed things that will never leave us satisfied.

Beyond Possible

Author: Nimsdai Purja

Publisher: National Geographic Kids

Release Date: January 4, 2022

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A great biography for overcoming obstacles in your path set at the highest of altitudes!

Nimsdai Purja has set goals all his life to achieve.  Growing up in Nepal, he wanted to be a Gurkha soldier, just like his father.  Through perseverance, he was able to achieve this goal.  Then he wanted to be more than just a soldier, but an elite warrior, so he set his sights on becoming a member of the Secret Boat Service (SBS) for the British military during the war on terror.  During his years of service, he was given the chance to climb Mount Everest and he was bit by the climbing bug, to say the least.  Wanting to do what everyone thought impossible, Nims developed Project Possible, a mission to climb the fourteen highest mountains in the world in only seven months, which is seven years faster than the world record.  What Nims learned about himself and fellow climbers throughout this mission is shared for readers to discover that they too can conquer the impossible.

Young readers who love action and adventure will love this autobiography of Nimsdai Purja with his pursuit to climb all fourteen death zone mountains.  The first half of the book is geared towards his life up to the point he decides to make the lifestyle transition necessary to climb all fourteen peaks.  The second half is dedicated to a chapter-by-chapter description of each mountain and what occurred while he and his team were climbing.  They had to overcome several obstacles on the way up and the way down.  Just because you have achieved something doesn’t mean you won’t face something on you journey back!  There is quite a bit of climbing lingo, but with enough context clues, readers will be able to understand what is going on.  Very exciting book for young readers!

I received a complimentary copy of this title from the publisher.  The views and opinions expressed within are my own.