Sunday, June 22, 2014

Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Married

Title: Things I Wish I'd Known Before We Married
Author: Gary Chapman
Labels: Relationships | Marriage
Publisher: Northfield Publishing
Publication Date: September 1, 2010
Recommended To: Singles, couples, men, women
Contains: Adult subjects

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: Gary Chapman writes, "Most people spend far more time in preparation for their vocation than they do in preparation for marriage." No wonder the divorce rate hovers around fifty percent. Bestselling author and marriage counselor Gary Chapman hopes to change that with his newest book. Gary, with more than 35 years of experience counseling couples, believes that divorce is the lack of preparation for marriage and the failure to learn the skills of working together as intimate teammates.
          So he put together this practical little book, packed with wisdom and tips that will help many develop the loving, supportive and mutually beneficial marriage men and women long for. It's the type of information Gary himself wished he had before he got married. The material lends itself to heart-felt discussions by dating or engaged couples. To jump-start the exchanges, each short chapter includes insightful "Talking it Over" questions and suggestions. And, the book includes information on interactive websites as well as books that will enhance the couples experience.
This is a book that was assigned to a college class that I wanted to take, but unfortunately was not able to due to conflicting schedules. The class was about marriage and family matters, and I had a lot of friends who were able to take the class. They all agreed that it was the best book assigned to the class, and recommended it. I bought it, but only got the chance to read it now.

Chapman pointed out twelve different areas that most couples don't take the time to discuss prior to marriage, and as a result, they end up in arguments over these areas. His premise is for couples to think and talk through these areas prior to their wedding, or if they are already married, to work through these areas together sooner rather than later. Each point had examples and was well explained. The chapters ended with discussion questions that could be answered alone or with the other person in a relationship.

I would definitely recommend this book to singles, for things to keep in mind for the future; for dating couples, to talk over and discuss before making the decision to marry; for engaged couples, to prepare for their impending marriage; and for married couples, to help eliminate stress and problem points in their marriage. I bought this book, and therefore was not asked nor required to write a review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Friday, June 13, 2014

The Hunger Games (Hunger Games, #1)

Title: The Hunger Games
Author: Suzanne Collins
Labels: Fiction | Fantasy
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: July 3, 2010
Recommended To: Adult
Contains: Minor references and a good bit of violence

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, the shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV.
          Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister's place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before--and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
I was very curious to read this book, since I finally watched the entirety of the movie. I'm well aware that when book are turned into movies, the movie always loses something in the transaction. While the movie wasn't a huge deal for me, I was interested to see how far the movie strayed from the book and what the book had to offer that the movie lacked. As it turns out, I think the book is better than the movie, although the movie does do a pretty good job of portraying the main story.

Probably what I loved most about the book was Katniss' point of view and thinking process. Since it was exclusively from her point, the reader could only know facts which Katniss herself knew. While it at times it was possible to understand other characters' ulterior motives and plans, it was interesting to see how Katniss put the pieces together herself. I liked the reality that while the "romance" between her and Peeta is what ultimately saves both of them, she had a hard time separating what was her own true feelings and setting them aside from the act. Her confusion over her own thoughts and feelings were easy to relate to and made her a stronger character in the long run.

I know there are some pretty strong viewpoints on this book--some people things its over the top great, while others are crazy against it due to the violence. I think Collins did a good job of using the scenario in order to portray her real point--we, as humans, are quickly becoming desensitized the the violence in the world, and to some degree and turning to a point where it's used for enjoyment (ex., violence based movies). The point of the book was to bring awareness to this fact through an extremely exaggerated scenario--and I think it worked. I would recommend this book to an audience who will understand the agenda of the book and keep it in mind. I bought this book, and therefore was not asked nor required to write a review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.

Eragon (Inheritance Cycle, #1)

Title: Eragon
Author: Christopher Paolini
Labels: Fiction | Fantasy
Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: April 26, 2005
Recommended To: Ages 12--Adult
Contains: N/A

Buy It: Amazon | Book Depository | Kindle
Blurb From Goodreads: One boy . . .One dragon . . .A world of adventure. When Eragon finds a polished blue stone in the forest, he thinks it is the lucky discovery of a poor farm boy; perhaps it will buy his family meat for the winter. But when the stone brings a dragon hatchling, Eragon soon realizes he has stumbled upon a legacy nearly as old as the Empire itself.
          Overnight his simple life is shattered, and he is thrust into a perilous new world of destiny, magic, and power. With only an ancient sword and the advice of an old storyteller for guidance, Eragon and the fledgling dragon must navigate the dangerous terrain and dark enemies of an Empire ruled by a king whose evil knows no bounds. Can Eragon take up the mantle of the legendary Dragon Riders? The fate of the Empire may rest in his hands.
This is one of my close friend's favorite book, which is why I decided to pick it up when I saw it on the shelf at a consignment shop. I had heard of it previously because of an article written about the author by HSLDA, and therefore was aware of the story of its writing and publication--both were good reasons for me to give it a try. At first I wasn't thrilled over it; the start was a little slow for my liking, and not a whole lot of action was going on. However, my opinion of it quickly changed to a more favorable one as the story quickly picked up pace.

I ended up really enjoying this book, to the point that I started hurrying to be ready for work early so that I would have a few extra minutes to read before I left for the day. The plot line was very unique, especially for a fantasy. Paolini seemed to know just where to go outside the lines but not so far that the reader could get lost. I liked Eragon and enjoyed watching the connection he had with his dragon, Saphira. I thought it was cool that both of them grew and learned together, although Saphira clearly had a leg up on the wisdom end of things. The humor traded between the two was amusing and kept me waiting for more.

Overall I really enjoyed reading Eragon, and definitely would recommend it. I bought this book, and therefore was not asked nor required to write a review. These opinions are my own; I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated for this review.