Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul by John Eldredge

The secret is out: men are wild. Eldredge presents a solid case for men being warriors who yearn for a battle and beauty to win. Men were created to desire risk, courage and adventure. Wild at Heart explains how our culture has minimized and even stripped masculinity from the male population. Somewhere along the journey from childhood to adulthood boys stop being rough, rugged and adventurous. Being a man and masculinity is God’s design. Eldredge describes how most men find themselves far from feeling like a man and how to reconnect with the true identity God gave them.
As a woman, the subtitle, Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul, piqued my curiosity. Men think women are hard to figure out but, men are equally mystifying. The ways of men and boys leaves me shaking my head in wonder. I was hoping to have my husband (and son) all figured out upon concluding the book. Saying I have them completely figured out would be an overstatement but, my understanding made great gains. The best way I can describe it is like this: any mom of boys has said countless times with an apologetic tone, “Boys will be boys.” Eldredge taught me not to apologize for my son being “all boy.” He’s supposed to be! and it’s my role to encourage and foster that as he grows.

Wild at Heart may seem like a book only for male readers but, the opposite is true. Eldredge intended for women to read this book just as much as men. As much as this book is for men, it is also for wives and mothers. All who read Wild at Heart will encounter many “aha” moments before the last page is turned.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

And The Book Goes To....

Congratulations to the Brokaws! They are the winners of the Love & War Devotional For Couples giveaway.

Thank you to everyone who participated in the give away. And as always, thank you for following Cover to Cover.

Back to my book--
J Renee Archer

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Love & War Giveaway

It just so happens that I have two copies of Love & War Devotions for Couples. I would be happy to give another couple the opportunity to experience a good devotion time with each other.

Click here to read what I thought of this book. Then you can decide if you would like this devotional for yourself or to give away (it is wedding season you know).

It's simple to enter:
  • subscribe to Cover to Cover via email and leave a comment on this post saying you are a subscriber
  • become a follower of Cover to Cover and leave a seperate comment on this post saying you are a follower 
  • leave a comment telling me if you will keep the book for you and your husband or if you'll pass Love & War on to another desrving couple

 If you already subscribe and/or follow:
  • leave seperate comments on this post for two chances to win
Each person has up to three chances to win. All comments must be posted by 11:59 p.m., Sunday, June 26. The winner will be randomly selected and announced June 27.

Back to my book---

J Renee

Monday, June 20, 2011

Love & War Devotional For Couples by John & Stasi Eldredge

A devotion time with my husband has been, well, a struggle. You see, I’m married to a truck driver who is gone a few nights a week. And reading a devotion over the phone is less than fulfilling. So, Love & War was up against a few obstacles from the get go and I’m happy to say the book has conquered them all.

John and Stasi have written this 8-week devotional book as a sidekick to their book, Love & War. I have not read that book and can verify that it is not a prerequisite to the devotional. Each devotion begins with a scripture verse that is followed by John and Stasi’s words. A prayer and concluding verse complete the day’s reading. Once a week there is a brief exercise; something for you and your spouse to discuss. Along with the reading being brief each day, we also appreciate the short-term commitment this book requires.

The format of this book is different from other devotionals for couples my husband and I have (unsuccessfully) tried. Each week is dedicated to one theme and each week consists of five devotions. This may not seem like much of a difference but, having five devotions per week rather than the typical seven has been a key to our success in sticking with the book. As I mentioned, my husband is gone two nights a week so a five-day week works well for us. For other people it may work well to skip devotions on the weekends. We don’t feel like we’re behind; it’s ok to not do devotions a couple nights. It’s nice not having the psychological pressure and guilt of always being behind.

Another positive element of Love & War is the low key approach. The devotions are not preachy or condemning. We don’t feel like John & Stasi are telling us our marriage is a mess. If anything, they help the readers feel good about their marriage being a mess and reassure them others have the same trials and shortcomings.

If my husband and I can successfully complete this devotion book, anyone can!

I received a copy of Love & War Devotional for Couples from WaterBrook Press as a participant in their blogging for books program.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Utopia Texas by Betty Byrd

I must say that Utopia Texas is difficult to review. This novel was very hard for me to read, so much so that I couldn’t complete the book. Writing a review without reading the entire book is not something I make a habit of doing. In fact, leaving a book unfinished is rare for me (I can’t think of any other book I started but didn’t finish).

I read the first eight chapters of Utopia Texas and a few random passages beyond that. At the end of chapter eight I still did not understand where the story was going. The story through page 50 does not match the description on the back of the book.

There are major gaps in the plot (I use that term loosely) and there is no sense of time. The best example of this is reads like this: “He studied his watch. 11:55 a.m.…. she would meet him at noon….. Within minutes, a cab stopped.” The couple takes a cab ride that presumably will be a short trip to another part of town. There are a couple short paragraphs about the cab ride and when they arrive, “The sun had almost set….” Really? I even read the passage several times thinking I missed something, but there is no explanation for where the afternoon went.

Utopia Texas isn’t my type of book. First, I don’t want to struggle to follow a plot that jumps here, there and everywhere with no lead or preparation. If the scene for the next chapter is a Christmas party, I prefer some indication that it is approaching December 25 or at least that it is winter.

Second, I have no appreciation for lewd language or storylines. We’ve all been around people that cuss just to cuss or because they think it makes them sound tough or macho. In reality those people lack respect and they aren’t pleasant to be around. The same is true in writing. Just as I don’t want to be around people who are vulgar and crude, I don’t want to read about characters like that either.

If you think I’ve judged the book unfairly since I didn’t read all 300 hundred pages, I would be happy to send you the book so you can read it for yourself. I truly dislike writing a negative review, as I’ve stated previously on my blog. Reading is supposed to be enjoyable and I am frustrated and disappointed when it’s not.

I received a complimentary copy of Utopia Texas in exchange for a review.