My Reviews Archives - Tianna Holley | Tianna Holley

The Cause Within You Review – Christian Nonfiction

Posted by on May 18, 2017 in Book Reviews | 0 comments

The Cause Within You, written by Matthew Barnett, is one of the few nonfiction books I was able to finish within a month. I’m bad to read multiple nonfiction books at a time, just grabbing whichever is closest for a bath or before bed. However, this one kept me interested, and I looked forward to reading it when I had a moment to spare.

It doesn’t read like a self help book, as it basically describes Matthew’s journey in turning an empty church in a drug infested neighborhood into a massive outreach church. Fresh out of high school, his father sent him to transform a dying church in California into a thriving church, and against all odds, he did it!

I often struggle with lack of faith in people. I’ve witnessed multiple generations in the same families ruined by alcohol and drug abuse, and when I see someone in that situation, I often think they won’t change or don’t want to change. I know it’s a flaw on my part–especially after reading this book. I would have given up within a few months, yet Matthew persisted. One night he looked around at the pimps, prostitutes, homeless people, and druggies on the streets outside the church, and he knew he was called to minister to them. He became a servant in the community, and it’s amazing how things began to change.

I highly recommend this book. It’s definitely one of my favorites, and I’ve even started watching some of Matthew’s videos on YouTube. His ministry is extremely uplifting and powerful, and I’m glad this book introduced me to it. He clearly has a love for people and a servant’s heart.

I just handed it over to my husband, and this is one of the few books we would both enjoy. With opposite tastes in reading, we don’t share many books. However, this one is for everyone–even teenagers. Highly, highly recommend!

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Ragged Hope: Surviving the Fallout of Other People’s Choices Book Review

Posted by on Jan 10, 2017 in Book Reviews | 0 comments

Written by Cynthia Ruchti, this book is a collection of true stories she gathered from others. Each chapter tells a person’s painful life experience, where they were greatly hurt by someone they loved. I’m not talking about small hurts either. Most of these stories deal with pains I had never really thought about, and they all kept me interested.

I liked how each chapter stood alone and completed a story. Lately, I haven’t had much time for reading fiction, as those books are often hard for me to put down, and life has been a bit hectic. This book made it easy for me to read one chapter before bed each night, usually while soaking in a hot bath.

It is a Christian read that tells how each person chose to deal with other people’s choices that destroyed their lives. Like I said, these aren’t small hurts, and their lives will never be the same again because of someone they loved. It’s a book about forgiveness to the extreme. Everyone has a choice to make on how to deal with their harsh realities, and these people chose to forgive instead of getting bitter.

I truly can’t think of a negative thing about this book, and I give it five stars. Very interesting, uplifting, and it’s an easy read. It would make a great gift for someone going through extreme pain because of the wrong choices of someone else. It’s also a great read in general. You don’t have to be struggling with forgiveness to get something out of this book. It’s really that good!

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Generational IQ Book Review

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in Book Reviews | 0 comments

 I wasn’t feeling very well Sunday, so I spent most of the day reading in bed. It’s been a while since I read an entire nonfiction book in one sitting, as I have many of them scattered around the house, and I often pick one up and read a chapter or two before setting it back down. However, Generational IQ, written by Haydn Shaw, kept my attention, and I enjoyed the information. I learned quite a bit.

This book is about the four living generations: the Traditionalists, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. For the first time in recorded history, we have five generations living together (fifth is too young to name and have much information on). Each generation was raised with different influences, and they’re completely different in their own way.

It’s clear Haydn has done a lot of research and knows his stuff, and his writing held my attention. Void of opinions and repetition, this book contained a lot of statistical data and historical information. It’s not a self-help book (which I often lose interest in quickly due to basic information I already know).

If you enjoy learning new things or reading books about personalities and temperaments (why people act the way they do), you’ll love this one. I highly enjoyed learning about the Baby Boomers and Millennials, and I often found myself nodding and whispering, “Oh, that is so true.” Last night, while listening to my niece (a Millennial) talk about her plans for the future, I couldn’t help but laugh at how accurately the book described her generation. She hates being put in a box and labeled, yet Haydn completely described her and her peers. However, he also went into detail as to why they, and the other generations, act the way they do.

The author does a lot of consulting for businesses about this topic, to help them understand the vast differences that often causes problems in the workplace. (There are major differences in Traditionalists and Millennials, along with a lack of understanding of each other.) His other book, Sticking Points, was written for companies, and after reading the first chapter, I highly recommend it if you’re in the workplace.

He decided to write Generational IQ to help churches in the same way he has helped the corporate world, so this book doesn’t go into detail about the different generations in an office setting. Instead, it holds a lot of statistical and historical data on Christianity in America and the changing beliefs. He not only does consulting for corporations, he also does consulting for churches, and this book has a lot of great information for church staff, as well as curious people like me. I found it helpful and extremely valuable in helping me understand my daughter’s generation, along with my niece. They are very different from the other generations, and this book would greatly benefit parents of Millennials. I give it five stars and highly recommend!


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Blood Debt Book Review

Posted by on May 31, 2016 in Book Reviews | 0 comments

Blood Debt, written by Nancy Straight, is about a young woman named Camille who learns her father’s name upon her mother’s death, and we follow her journey as she learns her true identity as a mythical creature. Although she’s in her early twenties, this book reads like a young adult novel. Due to their heritage, the creatures follow strict dating guidelines and live with their parents until late in life.

I’ll start with the pros: I’ve never read a book about Centaurs, and I enjoyed how the author created a society of them living secretly among us. That part of the story kept my attention, and I wanted to learn more. There was a lot of mystery, and I wanted to keep reading to get the answers. Although the point of view occasionally shifted from the main character, I did not find it distracting, and I believe it helped the story.

Now for the cons: I really only found one, but it was a big one for me. The main character didn’t seem like the type to need a guy and thought she was independent when it came to her love life, but then she went into lust/love at first sight. It was strong, too. She saw a guy and really didn’t talk to him. He was completely off limits, yet the next day when they’re alone for the first time, they can’t keep their hands off each other and go into a make out fest that would destroy both of their lives. They didn’t even know each other! The author even used the word lust in her description of the scene. I totally lost all respect for the main character, and although she felt lots of guilt, I found her weak minded after that–no matter how much the author wanted me to believe she was strong and independent when it came to men. I continued reading, hoping for a magical explanation for their uncontrollable lust at first sight, but that wasn’t the case. It truly was lust at first sight that soon turned into love–yet they barely knew each other.

With that said, I continued until the end and even started the next book in the series, but I consider the romance portion a backstory that highly annoys me. I’m into the Centaurs, but the shallow romance is bothersome.

Since I go by Goodreads when it comes to ratings, I give this book three stars. It was okay, but I doubt I’ll finish the series. This book is marketed for all ages, and although there’s only mild cursing and no sex scenes, I can’t recommend it to teens. The romance is completely controlled by lust, and I don’t see any depth to the relationship. Also, there’s a scene where the guy (in his twenties, never been on a date, and strongly believes in sex after marriage) bought a skimpy gown for her to wear when they innocently slept together. One minute the two of them can’t stop kissing, while the next minute, they’re half naked in a bed together, yet they can easily stop kissing to go to sleep. If the guy didn’t believe in sex until after marriage and he’d never even been on a date with a woman, how did he get so comfortable buying her a skimpy gown? He also planned to refrain from sex while they slept together, so why put her in the skimpy gown? And I don’t care if you’re a married man or a righteous preacher, if you’re in bed with a half naked woman you completely lust after, it’s going to be difficult to stop making out to go to sleep. That’s not just something you can flip a switch on, and I always tell my girls not to put themselves into troublesome situations. The author put two people in a troublesome situation and made it look like it’s easy to stop and go to sleep. She went from can’t keep their hands off each other in a highly lustful make out scene to them innocently falling asleep half naked in each other’s arms. She didn’t even touch on the physical struggles that would cause.

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Memory’s Wake Book Review – YA Fantasy

Posted by on Mar 17, 2016 in Book Reviews | 0 comments

 Memory’s Wake, written by Selina Fenech, is the first book in the Memory’s Wake Trilogy. It starts out fast, diving straight into the story, with Memory waking with amnesia. She immediately meets another girl just before they run away from a group of dangerous men with a dragon.

Although the story is told from four different views, two females and two males, it’s not hard to follow. Each character has a different personality and reason for doing what they do. We get into each of their heads and easily understand them.

This was a fun story full of adventure and great characters. Not much for intrigue and suspense, so it didn’t tempt me into going on an all night book binge. Loved the illustrations.

As for my clean rating for a young adult, there’s a hint of a future romance that may go deeper in the next book. The kissing scene was PG rated, and the action wasn’t gory. The two girls also got drunk at one point.

The only problem I really had with this book–and it’s a big one due to my personal belief–was the one curse word this author chose to use more than once. It’s the most offensive one, which include’s God’s name. Coming from someone who spent her teen years in Florida–extremely wild and rebellious–that word was offensive back then by many teens using drugs and drinking. Today, my high school daughter tells me it’s still the same. If someone uses that word at school, usually another teen will tell them it’s just not cool. Maybe this is because I’m from the South (Bible Belt), but I just don’t believe it belongs in young adult books (or any book I want to read).

Since I go by the Goodreads rating system, I’m giving this book two stars. It was okay. It didn’t end on a cliffhanger but left me somewhat curious enough to read the next book in the series. However, I don’t think I will.


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Serafina and the Black Cloak Book Review – MG

Posted by on Dec 8, 2015 in Book Reviews | 0 comments

Today’s book review is for Serafina and the Black Cloak, written by Robert Beatty. I don’t usually read middle grade books, but with all the attention this has gotten on social media, I thought it might be up there with the Harry Potter Series. I was wrong, though.

PROS: I loved the setting. I’ve been to the Biltmore Estate, and it’s an amazing place. I love how the author used a historical setting in a fantasy novel. The main characters were enjoyable and true to themselves, and they spent most of their time focusing on the mystery of the man in the black cloak. The fantasy element–which I love–is strong in this read. It also centers on mystery.

CONS: Although the author made many attempts to lead his readers in different directions, I guessed who the man in the black cloak was early in the book. There was also a side story that I didn’t see coming, but it wasn’t a big wow moment for me.

In the end, I recommend this to middle grade readers, but I don’t think older teens or adults will like it as much. I do see there is a second book in the series, but I won’t be checking it out. Maybe my middle daughter will want it, though. I give this four stars, but I’ve read stronger middle grade books–Harry Potter and Fablehaven.

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