Thursday, May 26, 2016

Unashamed by Christine Caine


Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny by Christine Caine is a clarion call to women to live completely in the freedom that Christ has given them. Using her own story of living in and being set free from shame, Caine explains both how to break free from shame and why it is so important.

While the principles in this book are helpful to men as well, Unashamed is written specifically for women and addresses the unique shames that are inherent to women. Women have often been viewed as "less than" in many arenas. Caine herself faced these pressures as a young girl growing up who would rather excel at school and lead than learn to cook and clean house.

Caine shares her struggles and strategies in her lifelong struggle with shame. She consistently goes back to the freedom of Christ. Caine makes it clear that conquering shame is a process that has many levels and never ends. The freedom we are ready for now, is not as great as the freedom we'll be ready for a year from now. Because Satan comes to steal, kill, and destroy, he's constantly trying to steal our freedom and reassert shame's presence in our lives. That is why we must constantly set our minds on Christ and His word.

I recommend Unashamed for any woman, whether or not she thinks she struggles with shame. All of us deal with shame to some degree, and we often don't recognize it for what it is. Caine's honesty helps the reader feel less alone in her struggle. Her strategies are practical and easy to put to use. This will make a great gift for many!

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink

Five Days at Memorial by Sheri Fink covers the five days (and the ensuing fallout) that elapsed between Hurricane Katrina's landfall and when the last living person was evacuated from Memorial Medical Center in New Orleans in 2005. Sheri Fink is a journalist who also holds an M.D. which gives her the background to intelligently cover complicated medical matters. She does this phenomenally in Five Days at Memorial.

The first part of the book briefly mentions Memorial Medical Center's history, short biographies of the main players, and the preparations for and actual landfall of Hurricane Katrina. The rest of the section recounts what happened day by day as the staff struggled both to take care of patients in continuously deteriorating conditions as well as get everyone to safety. Using interviews, transcripts of official documents, and many other first person sources, Fink tells the story through a variety of people's perspectives. Both events and mindsets are discussed. Though one can never truly know what it was like to be there without having lived through it, Fink successfully conveys the sense of desperation that enveloped not just the hospital, but the city of New Orleans during this time.

The rest of the book details the investigation that took place into the deaths of about twenty of the forty-five patients that died during the covered five days. Fink details not just the events, but again the mindset and motivations of the major players, including the investigators, coroner, lawyers, and those three professionals who were eventually arrested. Fink does a masterful job of helping the reader understand the struggle each of these people went through regarding their role in this process. For many of them, it was life consuming.

Five Days at Memorial doesn't offer any tidy conclusions or opinions. Fink presents the available information, providing appropriate context, and lets the reader decide. I changed my mind at least half a dozen times as various perspectives and facts were presented. Five Days at Memorial does exactly what a great non-fiction book should do: it allows the reader to be in the situation as much as possible, and then lets him draw his own conclusions. I would thoroughly recommend Five Days at Memorial to anyone interested in medical ethics, disasters, Hurricane Katrina, or just a well written current event story.

Blogging for Books provided this book to me for free in exchange for an honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

This Is Awkward by Sammy Rhodes


This Is Awkward: How Life's Uncomfortable Moments Open the Door to Intimacy and Connection by Sammy Rhodes is a memoir of sorts. The author tackles subjects that are inherently awkward and affect many people's lives. He does this through the lens of his personal experience with each topic. Rhodes is brutally honest about past and present failings in his life, and how those awkward moments can build community and strengthen relationships.

Topics discussed include divorce, pornography addiction, and depression. Rhodes shares his personal experience with these and other "awkward" topics. The emphasis of the entire book is how important grace is, and how we can best receive it in our awkward and failed moments, if we're willing to be honest with others about them. Sprinkled throughout the book are excerpts of random paragraphs that Rhodes wrote while procrastinating while writing this book. They are often lighthearted and serve not only to add levity to serious topics, but also as a somewhat unfiltered look into the author's brain. It's another way of being vulnerable that serves to connect and help the reader relate to the author.

Overall, This is Awkward is a good book. It makes some solid points and is honest about a topic everyone can relate to. Introverts may find this especially relatable as the author clearly is one and some of his awkward moments are born out of that. There are two appendices at the end. One is "An Introvert's Guide to Surviving a Party" and the other is "A Social Media Manifesto."

I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookLook book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255