Sunday, January 8, 2012

Book Review: The 60 Minute Money Workout

The 60 Minute Money Workout by Ellie Kay is what it says it is: an easy, step-by-step guide to getting your finances into shape. Within the book's pages, Kay treats money fitness like physical fitness. You can’t achieve all of your goals in one day, but if you work out regularly, eventually you’ll be fit.

Kay encourages her readers to do one 60 minute workout per week, yet she provides several to choose from—some to be done often, others only once a quarter or even once a year. She warns readers that they may be tempted to work longer than an hour, but tells them to resist temptation, so they won’t burn out. Workouts include: determining your money personality (or spending habits), spending plan, retirement and savings plan, debt reduction, paying less, travel and fun, allowances, kid entrepreneur, college savings, home-based business, launching a home-based business, couple’s, and giving. Each of these includes a warm up, strength training, cardio burn, heart rate, and a cool down in keeping with the fitness theme. Kay also sprinkles several tests and evaluations throughout the book to help the reader understand his or her own habits and inclinations, so the reader can use these to reach goals instead of having them be the thing that hinders progress.

It’s a very useful book with great advice and many practical ideas. Readers can think of Ellie Kay as their personal finance trainer. However, just as one has to be self-disciplined to reach physical fitness goals, readers will have to be self-disciplined and follow Kay's workouts in order to reach their financial goals.

I thank Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers for sending a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Book Review: First Date

First Date is a sweet story that I would recommend for junior high or early high school age girls. Though you can see elements of the book of Esther with references to Daniel in the Lion’s Den, the story is not a retelling of either. It is its own story.

Addy’s private Christian school has been chosen to send a representative to compete on a reality show. To stay open, they need the money and publicity that come with participation. The principal chooses Addy to be the school’s representative. Addy is very opposed to this. She longs to live a quiet life, get good grades, and get into an Ivy League school. She doesn’t want the attention or distraction that comes with being on a reality show.

But Addy must go.

She finds herself competing with 99 other girls for a date with the president’s son. Not interested, she tries to get herself eliminated in the first round. Yet everything she does backfires to her and to the show’s producer’s dismay. The media just loves this reluctant contestant. The president’s son is captivated, too.

Over the course of the story, Addy learns to make peace with her past, to obey God in her present, and to trust Him with her future. She also makes some really good friends who influence her in positive ways as she learns to live in a way that influences them for Christ.

It took a few chapters to draw me into this story, but as things progressed, I wanted to know what would become of Addy, how her story would end. I thank Thomas Nelson Publishers for sending a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.