Non-Fiction Review: Never Go Back

Never Go Back by Henry Cloud
Never Go Back 
by

Henry Cloud (Goodreads Author)
4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This book demonstrates ten life lessons that will teach you never to go back to your old patterns or make the same mistake twice. They include things like…
Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not.
Don’t trust the wrong people.
Don’t forget why you’re here.
Don’t take your eyes off the big picture.
Don’t try to please everyone.

I enjoyed reading this because it has a lot of commons sense approaches to problems that are universal, and gives real solutions to difficult situations. One of the good things about this book is that it focuses on the only thing we can control… ourselves. It gives real hope that our life can change, because we can change ourselves, our habits and patterns, our thinking, and our reactions and choices. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: Jane Austen

Jane Austen by Claire Tomalin
Jane Austen: A Life 
by Claire Tomalin

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This biography of Jane Austen does a very thorough job of seizing on every letter, every mention, every tiny detail that can be gleaned about the famous author; unfortunately, that isn’t much. Jane’s sister, Cassandra, destroyed many of her letters after Jane’s death. Jane’s brothers and nephews and nieces didn’t preserve her letters as faithfully as they should have. The result is that there are few original writings left from one of the best-loved authors of all time, and little is known of her day to day life.

However, the author does a wonderful job of piecing together letters from cousins, diary entries of nieces and neighbors, along with the few portraits and tin-type photographs of her family and friends.
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Non-Fiction Review: Journal Me Organized

Journal Me Organized by Rebecca Spooner
Journal Me Organized: The Complete Guide to Practical and Creative Planning 
by Rebecca Spooner

5 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I got so many wonderful and creative ideas for my planner from this book! I love how the information is organized, with chapters about different planning methods, notebooks, styles, and supplies, along with ideas for doodling, creating lists, using watercolors and acrylics, brush lettering, and even making your own notebooks from scratch.

The beauty of it is that you don’t need fancy paints, pens, or notebooks to use the ideas in this book. You could just as easily set up a planner or bullet journal in a simple lined composition notebook from the dollar store. And the author gives tips about how to set up in a plain composition notebook versus a dot grid notebook.

I love all the different styles of daily, monthly, and yearly spreads! Whether you want a minimalist style or an artistic style, there is something for everyone. Continue reading

Book Review: Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe

Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe by Larry Osborne
Ten Dumb Things Smart Christians Believe: Are Urban Legends & Sunday School Myths Ruining Your Faith? 
by Larry Osborne

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I loved how this book was organized. The writing style is clear and concise with a dry humor that kept each chapter interesting. I appreciated how the author carefully explained each concept with Biblical precepts and spiritual laws that are direct from Scripture.

I really enjoyed reading it, and now I want to read more from this author!

Non-Fiction Review: The Bullet Journal Method

The Bullet Journal Method by Ryder Carroll
The Bullet Journal Method: Track the Past, Order the Present, Design the Future 
by Ryder Carroll

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I guess I was expecting something… different from this.

This book spends very little time actually outlining HOW to set up a bullet journal. There are a few good ideas about lists, calendars, tasks, goals, and habit trackers, but not many.

The book is almost completely enveloped in a philosophical message about being your best self, and staying true to your real goals, with a ton of cutesy sayings and quotes from Ghandi and Benjamin Franklin.

I wanted a much more practical guide to using my BuJo, but instead this is a lengthy treatise on how to change your life and motivate yourself to reach your goals. I mean, that’s fine. But it’s written so condescendingly, that I was rolling my eyes through half the book. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Review: The Fellowship

The Fellowship by Philip Zaleski
The Fellowship: The Literary Lives of the Inklings: J.R.R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, Owen Barfield, Charles Williams 
by Philip Zaleski , Carol Zaleski 

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


I read this book by listening to the audiobook, and really enjoyed the voice of the narrator and the structure of the book. Following a chronological and sometimes topical format, this book covers the lives of four of the most famous members of the Inklings. Starting from their childhoods and following them through both World Wars, their academic careers, and their writing, this book also includes details of their family lives and personal friendships right up until their deaths.

I already know a lot about these men, because Tolkien and Lewis are my two favorite authors, and I’ve already read other biographies about the Inklings. But I was really impressed with the depth of information and careful research in this book. There are some really wonderful details and anecdotes that bring these historical figures close to the reader. Continue reading

Non-Fiction Book Review: The Rabbit Effect

The Rabbit Effect by Kelli Harding
The Rabbit Effect: Live Longer, Happier, and Healthier with the Groundbreaking Science of Kindness 
by Kelli Harding

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This book explains many of the hidden factors to health and disease that modern medicine doesn’t routinely cover: social environment, easy access to nutritious food, work satisfaction and safety, family bonds, and environmental trauma. Kindness really can heal disease and prevent infections.

I liked how the information in this book was organized. The chapters have some good examples of real-life cases and scientific studies that prove how each component in a person’s life strongly affects their health.

However, the author has a very leftist viewpoint, and holds up government-controlled health care as a desirable and efficient situation, even hinting that it apparently worked out so well for the British. And yet Britain is well-known for having a terrible health-care system.
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Non-Fiction Review: 20 Recipes Kids Should Know

20 Recipes Kids Should Know by Esme Washburn
20 Recipes Kids Should Know 
by Esme WashburnCalista Washburn (Photographs)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This colorful book of recipes for children has clear instructions for simple food made from scratch. Each recipe includes a little blurb from the authors about why they love the food and how their parents or grandparents taught them to cook.

The photographs are beautiful, with bright colors and mouth-watering food on every page.
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Graphic Novel Review: Amelia Earhart

Amelia Earhart by James Buckley Jr.
Amelia Earhart: Pioneer of the Sky! 
by James Buckley Jr.Kelly Tindall(Illustrations), John Roshell (Illustrations)

3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads

This graphic novel gives an overview of the life and disappearance of Amelia Earhart, focusing on her courage and daring as a pilot, but also honoring her generous spirit and kindness to the poor.

I liked the cartoony artwork, but it sort of looked hastily drawn. It could have been a little more polished. But I liked the bright colors and energetic panels!

This is a good synopsis of Amelia Earhart’s life, from her childhood when she constructed her own roller coaster in her backyard, then through her education and early adulthood, through her growing fame as a pilot and many accomplishments, and following her final record-breaking flight until her disappearance. It does a wonderful job of capturing the spirit and enthusiasm of Amelia, and inspiring the reader to do amazing things! Continue reading

Graphic Novel Review: Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln by Mark Shulman
Abraham Lincoln: Defender of the Union! 
by Mark Shulman ,Tom Martin (Illustrations)

4 out of 5 stars on GoodReads


This graphic novel tells the history of Abraham Lincoln, from his childhood to his death, how he became president, his tragic family grief, and how he guided the American nation through the Civil War, and was ultimately assassinated.

I loved this overview of Lincoln’s life! The cartoony artwork is colorful and bright, with lots of funny details in the background that bring the story to life.

I think the writers did a wonderful job of condensing such a rich life story into so few pages, but still highlighting the most important and memorable aspects of Lincoln’s presidency and personal life. There were many details that I found interesting and engaging, as well as some cute jokes and anecdotes that were entertaining to read. Continue reading