Category Archives: books

The best pregnancy books for first time moms

I’ve plowed through dozens of books about pregnancy and childbirth.  Most were informative, many were interesting, some were opinionated, some were decidedly NOT opinionated.  When push comes to shove, though, you’ve got to have your go-to books, those you value above all the rest and turn to whenever you have a question.  These are mine.

Great Expectations: Your All-in-One Resource for Pregnancy & Childbirth by Sandy Jones and Marcie Jones.

This is the best of the best, for this reason: it breaks down your pregnancy week by week.  Each of these sections includes the following topics:

  • the baby’s size
  • the baby’s development
  • what’s happening to you physically
  • your emotions
  • what you can do this week

I get an e-mail every week from BabyCenter with week by week info, but sometimes it’s nice to have it on the nightstand or in the car with me.  This book is factual and has opinions “where it counts” (i.e. breastfeeding and exercise), but doesn’t go over the top telling you what to do our what not to do.  It explains risks and benefits instead.

What to Expect When You’re Expecting – 4th Edition by Heidi Murkof and Sharon Mazel

I’ve used both the third and fourth editions of What to Expect, and I would highly recommend the fourth edition.  While it doesn’t have quite the same weekly detail as Great Expectations, this edition does give a weekly breakdown of your baby’s development.  In my opinion, the best part about this book is the monthly (and extremely timely) question and answers.  The index is also fantastic, so if you do have a question that the book hasn’t addressed in your current month, you can easily look it up.

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My Latest Reads…

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The series is definitely veering toward the complex! I’ve gone ahead and read the next book before I reviewed this one, though, so now my thoughts of the two are muddled together. Still loving the series!

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I listened to this in audiobook form, and had a hard time taking out the earbuds! While it wasn’t quite as intriguing as the first book, The Hunger Games, I was very impressed. I enjoyed that the series started in a tight knit circle around Katniss, and by the end of Mockingjay all of Panem was in the mix. And, without giving away any spoilers, I was VERY happy with Katniss’s romantic decision at the end of the series!

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Harry Potter, #6)Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book left me hanging, which I detest. I was not particularly happy with the end – though I realize it’s part of a series, there was no closure. That being said… I can’t wait to dive into the next one! I’ve read the series before, yet somehow managed to forget nearly every detail of every book. Very handy, as I’ve been enjoying my re-reads in thorough suspense.

The Silent GovernessThe Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was NOT what I expected (in a good way!). I enjoy Christian fiction, but often find it overbearing or pushy. The Silent Governess, on the other hand, had spirituality/religion as an underlying tone with brief references. I was very impressed that it was able to convey it’s message without using pages and pages to talk about God’s Word.

That being said… the story was also very well done. I’m a sucker for historical romances, so this was right up my alley.

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Young Adult Book Reviews – Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, The Hunger Games, and Catching Fire

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My husband and I read this aloud to each other – a chapter a night to begin with. As the pace picked up, it was hard to stop reading, so we often bumped it up to two chapters. It was a page-turner, but at the same time a book to savor. My next reads will definitely be Catching Fire and Mockingjay.

Catching Fire (The Hunger Games, #2)Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Like the Harry Potter series, this series has been intensifying as it continues. The first book, The Hunger Games, focused on Katniss, her immediate circle of family and friends, and her personal problems. The second book expands – no longer is the worry soley for Katniss – it’s now for Panem as a whole. I’m look forward to the third and final book – and a revolution, perhaps?

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was the first in the series that turned quite a bit darker. No longer are we talking a vague sense of evil, or Voldemort vs. Harry Potter – it’s getting more complicated. I was a huge fan of the book and can’t wait to re-read the final three.

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His Needs Her Needs Review

His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof MarriageHis Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage by Willard F. Harley Jr.

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book was very hands-on and interactive, which I appreciated. It includes quite a few worksheets, quizzes, and personal questions. The only problem I had with this book was the “blame the victim” philosophy, though I understand how it’s helpful in preventing affairs.

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Redeeming Love – Book Review

Redeeming LoveRedeeming Love by Francine Rivers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This story was one of my “guilty pleasure” books. I feel like Christian historical fiction isn’t as literary or high-brow as many other books I could choose; however I am always left with such a positive feeling after finishing a book that I’ll let myself get lost in it every so often!

This particular book was beautifully written. Michael’s character was unrealistic – too good to be true – but on a whole I felt that the plot, characters, and writing were inspiring.

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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – book review

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, #1)The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

If you can get past the really slow start, the book picks up steam. I nearly abandoned it altogether, but I decided to give it 50 pages before I’d let it go. Somewhere between pages 30 and 40, I got hooked.

It didn’t take me very long to finish – I couldn’t put it down. Its intricate plot was fascinating. That being said, I can’t say that I loved the book, or that I’d be eager to read any other books in the series. While the characters were likable, they had major, major flaws – enough to detract from the book as a whole.

Overall, I’m glad I read it, if only to see what the buzz has been about.

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Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage – Book Review

Ten Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America's Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your RelationshipTen Lessons to Transform Your Marriage: America’s Love Lab Experts Share Their Strategies for Strengthening Your Relationship by John Gottman

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When I first looked at the chapter titles, I was turned off.  With chapters like “We don’t feel close anymore,” “You never talk to me” and “You don’t care about my dreams,” I was skeptical – we have a happy and loving relationship, and those problems just don’t apply to us. I had heard so much hype about the book, though, that I gave it a chance anyway – and I am so glad I did. It’s easily the best marriage book I’ve read since Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus. The chapters are pertinent to many situations, not just the title problems. My favorite part? The activities to do (alone or with your spouse) that get at the heart of couple issues. One of the main threads I saw in the book was that couples should try to discuss feelings underlying problems as opposed to simply finding an immediate solution, and the activities seemed to facilitate that.

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