Friday, November 30, 2012

Debt-Proof Your Christmas by Mary Hunt

Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Revell; Updated edition
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0800721435
Price: $12.99
Purchase: Amazon | CBD | BN


Christmas may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it's also one of the most stressful--and most expensive. Expectations run high and it's tempting to whip out the credit cards to create the perfect Christmas for your family, with lavish meals, new decorations, and the latest, greatest gadgets and fashions for everyone on your Christmas gift list.

But you don't have to overspend or go into debt to have a fabulous holiday.

Financial expert Mary Hunt shows readers how. She helps readers assess their financial situation, commit to no new debt, and think creatively about their gift list. With Mary's guidance, readers will identify what has caused them to overspend in the past and approach this Christmas with a plan and a new attitude toward holiday spending. This just might be the best gift you can give yourself and your family.


Many years ago, I read The Financially Confident Woman by Mary Hunt. I was blown away. I can't tell you how much I learned from this book. It completely changed my life and helped me get out of credit card debt.

Credit card debt is like walking around with a huge sack on your back. I remember those years like if it were yesterday. I am grateful I am no longer in the same situation.

When I heard about Debt-Proof Your Christmas, I had to read it. Mary Hunt's books are so helpful, full of savvy ways to learn how to budget, spend, save and much more. You won't go wrong reading any of her books.

I don't know about you, but Christmas is a stressful time. I struggle with wanting to be generous and buy nice gifts for those I love. However, my budget doesn't allow for it.

I have been guilty of putting everything on a charge card and incurring debt. It then would take me months to get rid of the holiday debt with all of my regular monthly expenses compounding. Debt-Proof Your Christmas served as a great reminder to me on where my priorities should be and it's not on gifts.

Unfortunately, Christmas has become a materialistic holiday. We seem to get caught up in the fervor of spending and lose focus on the true meaning of Christmas.

With all the hustle and bustle, running here and running there, we hardly have time for what truly matters. It isn't about spending a ton of money on expensive gifts and incurring debt which only adds more stress and ultimately makes you miserable.

Debt-Proof Your Christmas put everything in perspective. I love all the tips, recipes, creative and practical ideas this book offers. I am glad I was able to read this book before Christmas. I learned so much and will definitely implement what I learned this Christmas season.

If you struggle with spending too much around the holidays and need practical advice and ideas on how not to, then this book is for you. I highly recommend Debt-Proof Your Christmas.

In conclusion, I want to thank Revell Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Click here to watch Mary Hunt’s interview on the Today Show (with Kathie Lee & Hoda) talking about Debt-Proof Your Christmas.
Mary Hunt is an award-winning and bestselling author, syndicated columnist, and sought-after motivational speaker. She is founder and publisher of the interactive website Debt-Proof Living, which features financial tools, resources, and information for her online members. Her books have sold more than a million copies, and her daily newspaper column is nationally syndicated through Creators Syndicate and is enjoyed by hundreds of thousands of Everyday Cheapskate readers. Hunt speaks widely on personal finance and has appeared on shows such as Good Morning America, Oprah, Dr. Phil, and Focus on the Family. She and her husband live in California.

The Good Life by Trip Lee

Paperback: 176 pages
Publisher: Moody Publishers
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0802408587
Price: 10.99
Purchase: Amazon | CBD


Nicer car, bigger house, whatever your heart desires. Everybody wants to live The Good Life. But what happens when dreams become nightmares and the promise of freedom leads to a life of imprisonment? What happens when you discover that all that's gold loses its glitter? Maybe the rich and famous aren't living The Good Life. Maybe our dreams are rooted in lies. And maybe, just maybe those who have less really have more. What is The Good Life...really?

In this book, titled after his acclaimed fourth album, The Good Life, Christian rap artist and author, Trip Lee, unveils what the world, the flesh and the devil promote as the ultimate and most satisfying life. He then explains what The Good Life really is: a life within our reach and yet beyond anything this world has to offer. Imagine: The Good Life.


The Good Life is only 176 pages, but potent. I confess, I thought I would breeze through the pages in no time. But I was wrong.

The Good Life is deep and meaty. It's not a glass of milk, but a thick piece of filet mignon. I found myself chewing long and hard through this small, but powerful book.

As you know, I read and review many books. I sometimes come across books which I believe are not doctrinally sound. However, I didn't find this to be the case with The Good Life. Trip Lee presents the gospel in such a sound and balanced way.

I've known Trip Lee by his music. He is a gifted rapper. I happen like good Christian rap music and follow him and others.

I have to say, I was impressed to see his level of spiritual maturity and insight expressed in his book. I could see him transitioning and becoming a full time pastor.

The following excerpts in the book stood out for me:
  • My good life begins at the end of me. (Page 61)
  • Many of us have used our imaginations and created our own personal gods. Almost like a Build-A-Bear or a little girls doll. We grab the parts we think are necessary, we clothe him with our own ideas, and we make him into a god that we like. Maybe our imaginary god doesn't judge anyone, or maybe he would never allow evil to happen. (Page 69)
  • Our culture teaches us that we can do whatever we want if we just put our minds to it. They say if you work hard enough, you will achieve it. But that's not biblically true. Listen to what the psalmist says, "Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain" (Psalm 127:1). Some of us will work harder than everyone else and never reach those "dreams." Unless God blesses our efforts, our work will not succeed. (Page 119-120)
  •  Some preachers will tell you that if you obey God, He will bring all your wildest dreams to pass. They say to plan big, follow God, and watch Him give you everything you ever dreamed of. That's simply not true. Proverbs 16:1 says, The plans of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord." Not every dream is from God, and He doesn't owe it to us to many any of them happen. We should dream big for His glory, and plead with Him to bring those dreams to pass. (Page 120)
Overall, I think this is a great book. I believe The Good Life should get into the hands of everyone, whether saved or unsaved, but mostly, our youth. I believe this book will resonate with the youth in a profound way.

I commend Trip Lee for writing such a biblically sound and relatable book. May the Lord bless him as he continues to follow, live and glorify Jesus here and across the earth.

Thank you Moody Publishers and Pure Publicity for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review.

The following is a song called I'm Good from Trip Lee's The Good Life cd.

William Lee Barefield III, better known as Trip Lee, is a Christian hip-hop artist under the Reach Records label. Trip Lee's music has topped Billboard charts, the iTunes chart, and has received Dove nominations and a Stellar Award. His Christ-centered and God-exalting music has reached thousands with the Good News of Jesus Christ.Trip Lee now resides in Washington, DC with his wife and is finishing his Biblical and Theological Studies degree with Boyce College. Trip's unending desire is to proclaim the grace and beauty of Jesus Christ to anyone that will listen. Ultimately, he hopes this journey will someday lead to pastoring a church.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Drunk Dialing The Divine by Amber Koneval

Publisher: eLectio Publishing (November 11, 2012)
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Language: English
Price: $2.49
Purchase: Amazon


How would you respond when a friend drunk-dials you to make a prayer request? What do you say when you are furious with God, but aren't willing to part with Him? How do you vent your frustrations to your Creator? When is it okay to be angry with God?

Drunk Dialing the Divine is an attempt to capture a glimmer of the darker side of the emotional struggle of the deeply faithful. Though each poem begins in a negative space, they resist both the angry and the naively optimistic ending--instead finding a ray of hope in the maxim "Things are because God is."

Read short excerpt here.


I don't usually read or review poetry. But I couldn't resist reading and reviewing these poems written by the young and talented Amber Koneval.

I admit, I was pleasantly surprised. I totally resonated and identified with her poems. What a gem to come across such a gifted poet.

I found her poetry to be raw, truthful and relevant. She crafts her words with such depth, precision and artistry.

I related to her poems as I have struggled in my faith with God. So I appreciated the authenticity and power of her poetry.

If you love poems or even if you don't, you are in for a treat reading Drunk Dialing The Divine.

In conclusion, I want to thank eLectio Publishing for sending me a complimentary copy of this ebook to review.

Amber Koneval is a college student in Denver, Colorado, double-majoring in English and Religious Studies. She is slated to graduate in December of 2013. Her poetry has appeared in such print journals as Time of Singing, The Wayfarer, The Storyteller, Bop Dead City and devozine (forthcoming). Her work has also appeared online formats at Crack the Spine and Exterminating Angel.

Her first collection of poetry 'Drunk Dialing the Divine' is now available from eLectio publishing.

Follow her at:

Friday, November 23, 2012

The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Zondervan
Language: English
ISBN-10: 031032906X
ISBN-13: 978-0310329060
Price: $26.99
Purchase: Amazon | CBD | BN


Ten years ago, Rick Warren wrote The Purpose Driven Life, which became the bestselling hardback non-fiction book in history, and is the second most-translated book in the world, after the Bible. PDL has inspired and changed tens of millions of lives ... more than any modern book. NOW, Rick has updated and expanded the book with new chapters on the greatest barriers to living your purpose, plus 42 video introductions to each chapter theme, and 42 additional audio messages that go deeper into each chapter. He has also created a new small group curriculum and new sermon series for pastors, and new follow-up events to conserve the evangelistic and discipleship results you will experience. In the original 40 Days of Purpose campaign, churches averaged 28% growth in attendance, and over 100% growth in small group Bible study! People WANT to know their purpose in life! The Purpose Driven Life will enable a new generation in your church to discover God's purposes for their lives and empower your church with a fresh new wind of hope, joy, and vitality!

Wow! I can't believe it's been ten years already. I first heard about The Purpose Driven Life in March 2005. It was when this woman was held hostage. Her name then was Ashley Smith. She's married now and goes by Ashley Smith Robinson.

Her story is amazing because as a result of reading excerpts of The Purpose Driven Life to her captor, he let her go and turned himself in.

When I read this story in the news, I went out and bought the book right away. I was fascinated to know what The Purpose Driven Life was all about.

I read it back then and started telling everyone in my circle about it. I even bought copies and gave them out to people.

I love everything Pastor Rick Warren preaches and writes about. He has a brilliant way of breaking things down and making difficult concepts easy to understand. He keeps your interest and he is never boring.

The anniversary edition of The Purpose Driven Life is even better. There are two new chapters added: "The Envy Trap - I must be like you to be happy" and "The People-Pleaser Trap - I must be liked by you to be happy".

Also, what I totally think is fabulous, is there are QR codes and web links incorporated providing a video intro and 30-minute audio message by Pastor Rick Warren for each chapter.

If you are not familiar with Pastor Rick Warren, The Purpose Driven Life is a great introduction. This is one of my favorite books ever. I highly recommend it to everyone.

In conclusion, I want to thank both Zondervan and Thomas Nelson for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review.

As founding pastor of Saddleback Church, Dr. Rick Warren leads a 30,000 member congregation in California with campuses in major cities around the world. As a theologian, he has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, University of Judaism, and dozens of universities and seminaries. As a global strategist he advises world leaders and has spoken to the United Nations, US Congress, Davos Economic Forum, TED, Aspen Institute, and numerous parliaments. Rick has also founded the global P.E.A.C.E. plan, which Plants churches of reconciliation, Equips leaders, Assists the poor, Cares for the sick, and Educates the next generation in 196 countries.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Night With A Perfect Stranger by David Gregory

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 144
Vendor: Worthy Publishing
Publication Date: 2012
ISBN: 1936034867
ISBN-13: 9781936034864
Retail Price: $14.99
Purchase: Amazon | BN | CBD


Nick Cominisky's spiritual life is running on empty. With his passion diluted by religious routine and the sapping circumstances of everyday life, he longs to reconnect with God, but following the standard spiritual prescriptions just isn't working. Since when did loving God become such an overwhelming, tedious task?

After meeting Jesus in person under amazing circumstances six years ago, Nick figured life would be smooth sailing, not coasting downhill. Why didn't Jesus tell him how to make the Christian life work?

Just when Nick is stopped dead in his tracks--stranded on the side of the highway with an empty gas tank and miles to go--he finds himself in rich compoany once more. Jesus has returned to give Nick the refueling he desparately needs. And like their first meeting, it's not at all what he expects.


Over a  year ago, I read and reviewed Dinner With A Perfect Stranger by David Gregory.  I really enjoyed the book, so I was excited to be able to read Night With A Perfect Stranger.

I read this short book in one night. I couldn't put it down. I have to be honest, I love reading David Gregory's books. His books are fun, not preachy and loaded with theological truth.

I had this book sitting on a shelf for awhile and was prompted to read it this weekend. I understand why now. Night With A Perfect Stranger addressed a lot of my questions and concerns.

For instance, why religion and a set of rules doesn't work. Recently, I have been provoked to look at my Christian walk more closely. Perhaps going through Hurricane Sandy made me look deeper into myself and my walk with Christ.

There is nothing like going through storms to see where you are at in your Christian walk. Night With A Perfect Stranger was a healing balm for my anxious heart and questioning soul.
"Without personally knowing how deeply you're loved, without living in our love, you can't function. Not as you were designed to. Being filled with God's love means being filled with God himself. And someone who overflows with God will bear all the fruit God ever intended--love, joy, peace, patience, kindness." (Page 100)
This paragraph really spoke to me in a personal way. I believe what is missing in Christians is love. There is a lot of religion, but not love. The only way Christians can love others the way Christ does is when they know how much God loves them.

I can't recommend this book enough. I believe this book is a great ministering and evangelistic tool.

In conclusion, I want to thank Worthy Publishers for sending me a complimentary copy to review.

David Gregory is the author of the New York Times Extended Bestseller Dinner with a Perfect Stranger, as well as A Day with a Perfect Stranger, The Next Level, The Last Christian, and coauthor of the nonfiction The Rest of the Gospel. After a ten-year business career, David earned masters degrees from Dallas Theological Seminary and the University of North Texas. He now writes full-time and lives in the Pacific Northwest.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Let There Be Light by Dr. Demetrius S. Carolina Sr.

Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Fortis Publishing (August 30, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1937592200
ISBN-13: 978-1937592202
Price: $8.95
Purchase: Amazon


For the rest of your life to "work well"... and for you to be able to help others... you have to focus on yourself first. But, in order to do that, we all need help and guidance along the way.

And that is the purpose of this book... to offer practical guidance on how to get from where you are to where you want to be in your spiritual life-and we all know that what is in our heads and hearts can be manifested in the real world.

What you will take away from this book is how the things you control are the key in creating a life worth living and having a relationship with yourself and others that is fulfilling and sustainable... one that can last... forever.

I have served others as a counselor, pastor, teacher, leader and friend for many years. In that time I have seen good people, who were well intentioned, go through life-just getting by-existing rather than truly living it to the fullest. There are many reasons for this situation; the most prominent being that human beings are creatures of habit. We are most comfortable with what we are most familiar.

Left on our own, it's often very hard to make changes to improve our lot in life. In fact, for many it's hard to even pinpoint what's really wrong without some sort of outside stimulus-some prod-that goads us to evaluate or assess ourselves. And while everybody is responsible for their own lives; it certainly helps to have something or someone that becomes a catalyst to break through your life routine and be the "kick in the pants" needed to take action.

Life is short and too often many have a voice inside that says, "I wish I had...," or "If I only...," or worse it's whispering to you, "You're just not good enough... not smart enough...." The voice in and of itself is not a terrible thing. I believe all humans have heard it inside their head at some point. The tragedy is when that voice becomes a constant-never ending-drumbeat in your head that becomes a question you can't answer or a statement that you can't refute. It becomes something you believe about yourself that is only true if you let it become true.

I just shared with you something that is worth an incalculable amount of money if you take it to heart. Things, bad and good, become true only if you let them or make them come true.

In this book we'll talk about letting light come into your life and creating a life worth living.


I received this book from a co-worker friend of mine. I have known this young man for many years and have a great deal of respect for him. When he asked me to review his pastor's book, I didn't hesitate to say yes.
I finished Let There Be Light in a couple of days. I was unable to review it sooner because I was away at a conference.

This book offers common sense mixed with biblical wisdom. Dr. Demetrius S. Carolina, Sr. generously shares his life experience and education.

Let There Be Light offers encouragement as well as gives practical advice and pointers to create a life worth living.

If you are going through a difficult time in your life and need a book full of anecdotes, positive thinking and inspiration, then this book is for you.

I would be remiss not to mention the creative illustrations done by Ian Coate. I think his illustrations are a nice addition to this book.

In conclusion, I want to thank Dr. Demetrius S. Carolina, Sr., Fortis and my friend Daryl Moore for giving me a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Reverend Dr. Demetrius S. Carolina Sr. is widely recognized as a spiritual leader and advocate for justice and human rights. He maintains a respected reputation as a man of conviction, one who consistently demonstrates hands-on leadership and a commitment to his congregation and issues affecting all humanity. Having a deep concern for issues that relate to spiritual empowerment, economic equity, educational development and human rights, his work has taken him to several continents on behalf of these issues. He holds an Associate’s Degree in Communications, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Science, History and Education, a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration Leadership from Temple University and a Doctoral in Educational Leadership and Management from the University of Phoenix. He also accomplished post graduate work at New York University, CUTS Theological Seminary, Westminster Seminary Graduate Studies Program and Philadelphia College of the Bible. He is married to Bernice Resto-Carolina and they have three wonderful children: Dior Isaiah, DeLisa Monet and Demetrius Solomon Carolina, II.