Self Help

Couponing for the Rest of Us

CouponingKasey Knight Trenum

Subtitle: The Not-So-Extreme Guide to Saving More

Publisher: Revell

Pages: 192

Price: $12.99

ISBN: 978-0800722067

Kasey Knight Trenum runs a couponing site called Time 2 Save Time 2 Give. This book covers the ways those who don’t want to fill their basements can live better through couponing. Don’t confuse her methods with a ho-hum way to grab some coupons at the last minute and run to the store. It takes work and planning. 

Unlike the extreme couponers who clog checkout lines with $500 of merchandise, proudly whipping out $5 at the end, Kasey advises shopping to cover three months. She says sales return about that often.

The information is excellent and Kasey’s friendly personality shines through. The one problem is too much information in the first 67 pages. She used too many pages to sell couponing. 

Kasey approaches couponing from a clear Christian slant. Much of her couponing goes to giving.  

Worth the price. Those pinched by the economy will find it a useful handbook.

I received this book through NetGalley. I do not receive pay for any book I review and I do not know the author. This review is my honest opinion.



Book Review: The 5 Languages of Apology

5 languages of apologyGary D. Chapman and Jennifer M. Thomas

Subtitle: How to Experience Healing in all Your Relationships

Publisher: Northfield Publishing

Pages: 288

List Price: $14.99

ISBN: 978-1881273790

Have you ever had a disagreement with spouse, friend, or coworker and the apology given didn’t mend your hurt feelings? Or maybe you tried to apologize only to have your apology rejected. Possibly your apology didn’t match the style of the receiver. 

Gary Chapman and Jennifer Thomas discuss the various apology styles in The Five Languages of Apology. Apologies can range from a simple “I’m sorry” to restitution. One man, successful in his lifetime dream of a sports career, had an affair. To make amends, he gave up his dream and quit sports, thus taking himself out of temptation’s way. His wife didn’t ask him to do that, but it saved his marriage. 

Sometimes the receiver responds well to a gift. Another recipient might feel offended.  

Chapman writes like an educated man. He doesn’t use jargon or three-syllable words, but The 5 Languages of Apology is not a conversation over the table at Starbucks. The book reads well but the style is a little dry.

I received this book from Moody Press. 

Book Review: Stolen but not Lost

Stolen but not lost FOR TYPEPAD

Janet Tombow

Publisher:  Carpenter's Son Publishing 

Pages: 224 

List price: $14.95 

ISBN:  978-0984977116 

Ms. Tombow journeys from a difficult childhood to finding and becoming a part of her birth mother’s life. She tells of the harsh treatment she received from her stepmother and her distance from her father. Then she delineates the steps in her search for her birth mother—valuable information for anyone looking for a birth parent—and the life and trials they shared after she found her. Both mother and daughter must grieve the lost years and learn forgiveness. 

I found the first chapter depressing and almost didn’t continue reading as it gives an unemotional description of her stepmother’s abuse. The writing is adequate but the writer writes in lists. She tells of the first step and then tells of the next step as though writing a travelogue. But anyone who wants to search for a birth parent will find concrete answers and organization names to help. The book warns of pitfalls that may accompany the reunion.

I received this book from NetGalley. It is an honest review.

Book Review: Engaging Today's Prodigal, Clear Thinking, New Approaches, and Reasons for Hope

Engaging Today's Prodigal for TYPEPAD

Carol Barnier

SubTitle:  Clear Thinking, New Approaches, and Reasons for Hope 

Pub Date:  April 01, 2012 (Available for Pre-Order)

Publisher:  Moody Publishers 

List Price: $12.99 

Pages: 176 

ISBN:  9780802405579 

Carol Barnier left her Christian church and later became an atheist. She joined the American Atheists, organization of the infamous Madalyn Murray O’Hair. Later, she talks about her difficult son. She defines a prodigal as one who leaves the faith, as much as one who lives a riotous life. Though the original prodigal mirrored the addict of today, the author merely questioned herself out of the church. She blames misunderstood promises. Some churches claim some things as promises through misinterpretation. When we accept them as promises, it shakes our faith when the Lord doesn’t respond to our prayers as we believe He “promised”. 

Part One talks about parental guilt and how that affects behavior toward the prodigal. Part Two describes how we, and the church, should respond to the prodigal. Part Three tells the author’s story. Among other facts, she points out that she came from a Christian home with loving, well-intentioned parents. 

Parents will find encouragement in these pages. The load may become a bit less heavy. The author uses herself as a case study throughout. She writes intelligently and with humor. Anyone seeking hope in this trying situation will find a compassionate advocate in Carol Barnier.

I received this book through NetGalley. It is an honest review.



Book Review: How to be a Best Friend Forever

How to be a best friend forever bDr. John Townsend 

Publisher:  Worthy Publishing 

Sub Title:  Making and Keeping Lifetime Relationships 

Pages: 192 

List Price: 19.99 

Pub Date:  01/13/2012 

ISBN:  9781936034437


How to be a Best Friend Forever delves into becoming more than surface friends from the perspective of a Christian psychologist. The tone is easy to understand rather than professional, although occasionally, he describes ways of talking to your friends in doctor-ese. However, readers who want to deepen their dearest friendships will find useful information here. 

Dr. Townsend discusses the importance of a best friend in crisis. You won’t find information on getting these friends. He says that it takes time. Jumping into a close friendship with someone you don’t know well probably won’t work. It’s through social groups or working together that people find their best friends. He spoke of a neighbor who became a friend when they decided to walk together for exercise. 

He goes into detail about confrontation and other situations that can come up when people know one another well and gives concrete ideas for fostering these important bonds. 

A Discussion Guide at the end makes this a useful tool as a teaching aid in a class about friendship, or possibly as a guideline for counselors. It offers good advice to anyone who wants to make deeper friendships. 

Book Review: Up, Down, or Sideways

Up down or sideways for typepad

Mark Sanborn

SubTitle:  How to Succeed When Times Are Good, Bad, or In Between 

Publisher:  Tyndale House Publishers 

Pages: 150 

List Price: $15.99 

ISBN:  9781414362212 


More philosophic than how-to,Up, Down, or Sideways refers to our personal economics. We will always be Up Down or Sideways and those conditions will change. If we are wealthy and well, plan for those conditions to change. Thankfully, joblessness and illness can change as well. So how can we live successfully amid life’s uneven flow? 

The author allows us to define our success—not always financial but often including the financial. He says success means different things to every reader. He contends that most of what happens to us is not in our control, but we can control our responses. He discusses optimism without denial and goes into the power of thinking positively without kidding ourselves.  

I got into this book slowly, wondering where he was going with it, but that soon changed. I get most of my review books from Net Galley so I won’t have to sort and discard later. Otherwise, books build into a paper mountain or lie sideways in the bookcase because they won’t fit any longer. But I plan to buy this book and read a chapter each day until I “get” it. The “Ingredients of Love” section especially moved me and convicted me to look at my definition of caring and spotlighted the holes in it. 

He touches on gratitude as a mindset and persistence in getting where we want to go. 

The author talks about faith, but he doesn’t go into detail about his beliefs. The reader won’t see CHRISTIAN in capital letters, but his words echo the lessons in the Bible. This book applies to anyone who wants a well-lived life. A potentially life-changing read.  

Book Review: Thor Ramsey's Total Money Meltdown, a Proven Plan for Financial Disaster

Thor Ramsey for typepad Thor Ramsey 

SubTitle:  A Proven Plan for Financial Disaster 

Publisher:  Moody Publishers

Pub Date:  07/01/2011 (Available for pre-order)

List Price: $12.99 

Pages: 160 

ISBN:  9780802400758 

This book gives an often-funny look at money management: and how not to do it. Thor talks about his bad spending habits and the un-Christian attitudes that led him and his wife into a huge financial hole. He had adopted the attitudes of Americans in general—often the opposite of what the Bible teaches. 

Many Christians believe that money and religion are separate, but Thor points out that the Bible speaks more about money than it does about Heaven and Hell. God does care about how we spend His money. Thor points to Dave Ramsey if you want a day-by-day plan. However, for him and those who are list-phobic, he advocates a just-spend-less program and tells the ways he and his wife approached their debt—not always without pain. 

Many people know Thor as a Christian stand-up comedian who approaches all of life with humor. He admits he can’t cut back everything. Starbucks would fail without him. If money problems sour the reader’s day, this book will bring a laugh while bringing hope: and those who keep perfect accounts will enjoy it as well. 

I’m reviewing this book a little too soon, but it is available for pre-order on Amazon and Thor said, “Buy this book. I need the money.” (Oh that the un-funny could be that honest).  

Book Review: 86400, Making Every Second of Every Day Count

86400 Lavaille Lavette 

SubTitle:  Making Every Second of Every Day Count 

Publisher:  Hachette Book Group 

List price: $21.99 (Hardcover)—Amazon offers it for less 

Pages: 240 

ISBN:  9780446571470  

In this book, 86400 refer to the number of seconds in a day. Lavaille believes we need to think about how we use every second and live our lives “on purpose.” She starts the book writing about forgiveness. She says carrying burdens of unforgiveness stalls us in living to the fullest. She then goes through ten characteristics that make for a fulfilled life in God, including wisdom and dedication. The book is nondenominational, through Catholic to Charismatic, with a stop at United Methodist. 

She invited guest writers, including some celebrities, to add their wisdom for each of the ten points. At the end of the book, she invites us to join her organization. The 86400 movement encourages volunteerism and social action. 

This book is readable and occasionally humorous. You feel Lavaille’s passion for making every moment count. 

When you have this many people giving their opinions, the quality of the writing varies. One or two of the writers--though not Lavaille—came off a little preachy: most did not. A few of her heroes are not mine, though I admire most of them. I didn’t consider those differences when judging the advice given. I found nothing to disagree with there. Worth reading.

Book Review: A Place Called Blessing, A Little Boy Believes He is Unredeemable

A Place Called Blessing for typepad Dr. John Trent and Annette Smith

SubTitle:  Where Hurt Ends and Love Begins 

Publisher:  Thomas Nelson

Pages: 192 

List Price: $15.99 

Pub Date:  05/03/2011 

ISBN:  9780849946189 

Josh loved a stuffed rabbit given to him when the police took him and his two brothers out of the home where his parents left them unattended. He had no other toys. 

An accident and several foster homes later, separated from his two brothers, he finally went to a foster home in the country with them. Happy in his country home, another accident made angry foster parents kick him out. Then, the county made assumptions that led to possible adopters refusing to take him into their homes. He felt unredeemable. 

When he met Anna and Mike, he rejected their kindness because he couldn’t accept their respect and attention. Would they be able to reach him? 

Dr. Trent ends the book with a group of questions meant to help us bless the hurting. He lists five ways to do that and then asks us to fill in answers to questions on how the story demonstrated his conclusions. 

Dr. Trent leads Strong as president and in partnership with Focus on the Family, so his mission is to use this story to prevent another little Josh. The questions lead us to better raising our children and encouraging others. 

I couldn’t leave this story. I admit crying throughout. Dishes and bed making had to wait. 

Dr. Trent lists this book under the category of nonfiction, but at the end, he says he lived parts of it. I don’t know how much of it was fictionalized. This disappointed me. I grieved for a living little boy. And as fiction, the coincidences became harder to accept. We know such coincidences happen in life, but in fiction, they can seem contrived. 

With those two caveats, I give this touching book an A-double-plus.