Monday, August 29, 2011

Playing Hurt by Brian Goins

Today, I'm doing something a little out of the ordinary here at Net's Book Notes. My husband and I are part of the Playing Hurt blog tour. And my husband wrote today's review. Read on!

Let's begin with the summary of this book:

A marriage book that husbands will actually want to read!

Everyone admires people who play hurt, from the superstar athlete to the journeyman player who finishes the game even when hurt, sick, or falling apart. Everyone looks up to these athletes and wants to mimic their “never give up” attitude. Except when it comes to marriage. Most husbands are willing to take a bullet for their wives in a life-and-death situation; but when his bride fires the bullet--hurls an insult, disrespects him in public, ignores his foreplay in private--he’d rather throw in the towel than play through the pain.

Playing Hurt is a biblical playbook for marriage that speaks in the language most men understand—the language of sports. Using a sports analogy to explain the motivation, means, and methods of playing hurt, author Brian Goins shows men how to overcome the temptation to stay on the bench. Playing Hurt is more about inspiration than instruction. It’s about finding the motivation to stay in the game, despite the pain. It’s about becoming like the One who knew more about nails and thorns than any superstar athlete. Using Ephesians 5 as a biblical basis, this book will call husbands to be the heroes they long to be--men who play hurt in order to win at marriage.

And now, Paul's review:

Playing Hurt: A Guy's Strategy for a Winning Marriage is a book for husbands written for the man who doesn’t like to read books on husbands. It is down-to-earth, real and completely understandable for the average guy yet is full of valuable tools and unusual wisdom from a seasoned veteran who knows what he’s talking about. The sports metaphor of continuing to play ball and “staying in the game” even when it’s hard is a great way to look at the difficult, sometimes confusing, but always crucial role that we husbands play in our marriages.

As a men’s pastor at my church, I would strongly recommend the book to any of the guys I work with. While I have read my share of marriage books, I believe this one offers something truly unique, relevant and even life changing for those who are willing to take a chance and embark on this journey.

The genius of the book is that it will not only remind men of the high calling of being a good, biblical husband, but it will motivate them to go after it in a fresh way rather than beat them down with legalism or obligation. You will find encouragement here rather than guilt. This is achieved by tapping into the good things and potential waiting in a man’s heart to be released. Brian Goins is able to make the goal of being a good husband seem really big, glorious and uncommon—a grand prize worth reaching for with everything you’ve got rather than just doing the minimum to get by. All of the greatest teaching on marriage will do a man no good unless he can put it into action and stay with it. When a husband can effectively motivate himself to follow wise and effective guidance, nothing will be able to stop him from building a great marriage. We need more books like this for the guys. Playing Hurt can help you save your marriage, but whether that marriage is broken or strong, every husband can benefit from it. ~ Paul Irby

About the author: 
Brian Goins is the author or editor of numerous study guides, workbooks, and Bible studies that he has developed for Insight for Living (Chuck Swindoll) and Walk Through the Bible. When he’s not traveling across the country as a Family Life Weekend to Remember speaker, he and his family reside in North Carolina.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Blue Skies Tomorrow by Sarah Sundin

Another great read by talented author, Sarah Sundin!

Let's begin with the summary:

Lt. Raymond Novak prefers the pulpit to the cockpit, but at least his stateside job training B-17 pilots allows him the luxury of a personal life. As he courts Helen Carlisle, a young war widow and mother who conceals her pain under a frenzy of volunteer work, the sparks of their romance set a fire that flings them both into peril. After Ray leaves to fly a combat mission at the peak of the air war over Europe, Helen takes a job in a dangerous munitions yard and confronts an even graver menace in her own home. Will they find the courage to face their challenges? And can their young love survive until blue skies return?

And now, my review:

I’ve enjoyed all of the books in Sarah Sundin’s “Wings of Glory” series. I’m not usually one for WWII novels, but her work wins me over, every single time. She has such an amazing attention to detail as if she were there during the war, serving as a pilot, facing down the fears, the enemy, the horrors. Her extensive research leads to some intensive mid-air battle scenes. I’m not one for enjoying picturing the horrors of war, but Sarah stories and the inclusion of battles aren’t gory. She is tactful, but accurate.

The hardships her hero and her heroine had to face in Blue Skies Tomorrow were in many ways relatable. Their lives coaxed out their heroic sides. Helen had to overcome lies and both characters had to overcome cowardice. It’s amazing what you can find inside yourself when pushed to the limit. I was cheering for Helen as she faced the bullies in her life.

And Ray… Every one of the Novak brothers has come alive on the page. All of them noble and strong. Ray’s inner battle chased him into the real battles of war where he had to prove himself just to stay alive. The story produced some powerful scenes and my only regret was I was reading on an airplane where I could release a few chuckles, but I didn’t have any tissues handy.

And speaking of transcending fiction to suddenly become applicable to everyday life—Helen’s struggle to shove off the lies of the past that told her she was weak and clumsy and incapable suddenly helped me analyze the lies I’m bombarded with. It’s when we stop and examine the lies that we can begin to overcome them with the light of the truth. I have a feeling that application will remain with me long after I’ve shelved this fantastic book. (Just like with the author’s message of shoving off shame from another book in this series.)

This novel will immerse you in WWII history, both on the home front and on the front lines. A phenomenal close on this enjoyable series.

Highly recommended. I’m very much looking forward to Sarah’s next series, “Wings of the Nightingale,” which will launch in September 2012. Can’t wait!

Also, click over to her website ( for a chance to "tour" a B-17 bomber. She has other fascinating info on her site as well, including a diagram of the plane her characters fly.
Available August 2011 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pirate of My Heart by Jamie Carie

Pirate of My Heart: A Novel
Pirate of My Heart by Jamie Carie
Let's begin with the summary for this latest book by Jamie Carie:

When her doting father dies, Lady Kendra Townsend is given a choice: marry the horrid man of her cold, money-grubbing uncle's choosing or leave England to risk a new life in America with unknown relatives. Armed with the faith that God has a plan for her, Kendra boards a cargo ship and meets American sea captain Dorian Colburn. But the captain has been wounded by a woman before and guards his independent life. A swashbuckling man doesn't need an English heiress to make him slow down, feel again, or be challenged with questions about his faith-or so he thinks. It is not until Dorian must save Kendra from the dark forces surrounding her that he decides she may be worth the risk.

From the first book I read by Jamie Carie (Snow Angel) to now, I love her writing voice. Her books are impactful and interesting, and her romance is always engaging and well-written. The scenes were so well-worded I could easily picture them playing out.

One of her themes was trust—a good focus for Christian fiction. Another was having a persistent heart. When her heroine mentioned holding God to His promise, I was immediately reminded of God’s promises for me. I had to stop and breathe a moment, consider what I’m waiting on God to do. Hold Him to His promises in my life. I love when fiction transcends make believe and breathes newness into my life. That’s the value of Christian fiction, the virtue. (Or at least one of the virtues.)

The author also broke the formula, but I loved the twist. Read it to find out what I mean.

I read a lot of fiction, and some books are easy to put down. Not this one. I'm already looking forward to her next novel.

This book will release September 1, 2011.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Mommy Whispers by Jenny Lee Sulpizio

Mommy Whispers 

Moms, do you remember the days of reading picture books to your kiddos? Treasured times. I've just read one you'll love, especially if you have a daughter.

Let's begin with the summary:

Mommy Whispers is a keepsake children's book that depicts the special relationship between a mother and her daughter through each stage of their lives and ultimately, the power of prayer and faith in God through it all. 

And now, my review:

The author of Mommy Whispers put her heart on the page. As a mother of daughters, my heart melted as I read through the stages of a girl's life and how her mother raises her to let her go. From lap snuggles and prom to graduation and the big wedding day, this author takes you through the milestones a mother shares with her daughter. She ends the story on a very special moment, which I'll save for you to find when you read it.

This book goes beyond the usual tale to gently tug on heartstrings and display the relatable love between mother and daughter. You'll probably cry. I did.

Whether you're a new mom, a grandmother, or a woman of any age, you'll delight in this book. Enjoy!