Hidden Secrets (review)

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Hidden Secrets (A Green Dory Inn Mystery, #2)Hidden Secrets by Janet Sketchley

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

With batches of fragrant muffins and mugs of herbal tea, served up in an idyllic seaside setting, Janet Sketchley lures us into discovering the deadly secrets of the Green Dory Inn. Hidden Secrets is Book 2 in the Green Dory Inn Mystery series.

Thoroughly modern, with cell phones and drones, there are also elements of old sea tales with rogue ships and rum-runners in this cozy mystery. The Christian faith of the two main characters, Landon and Anna, adds value and heft to this hard-to-put-down read.

The believably imperfect characters (many of whom we met in Unknown Enemy, Book One of the series) remind me of the characters in Jan Karon’s Father Tim books. But the main player here is a 24-year-old college student, Landon, whose secretive personal past adds complications to the fast-moving plot. Sketchley has included a character list at the beginning of the book to help us keep straight the cast of characters and their relationships to each other. Though it works nicely as a standalone, reading Book One of the series would help you feel like you’re reconnecting with these folks.

Sketchley’s descriptive, yet tight writing and savvy plot combined to make me wish the book was longer. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am happy to hear that Sketchley is beginning work on Book 3.

I received Hidden Secrets as a gift from the author for the purpose of writing a review.

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The Good Fight by Drs. Les and Leslie Parrot (review)

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The Good Fight: How Conflict Can Lead to Greater Intimacy in MarriageThe Good Fight: How Conflict Can Lead to Greater Intimacy in Marriage by Les Parrott III

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“Fighting is as intrinsic to marriage as sex. The goal for both is to do them well. That’s why we’ve dedicated this book to helping you fight a good fight” write Drs. Les and Leslie Parrot, husband-and-wife-team authors of The Good Fight: How Conflict Can Lead to Greater Intimacy in Marriage.

A quick overview of the table of contents gives an idea of the scope of the book. The nine chapters include How can a fight be good?; What a good fight will do for you; Rules of the Fight Club; Uncovering your personal fight style; and Fighting through the Big Five.

The Parrots name four elements that keep a fight healthy: Cooperation, Ownership, Respect, and Empathy (CORE). They show how differing perceptions of a situation can cause friction, give insight on how you can tell whether an issue is likely to turn into a fight, and how to habitually consider points of view other than your own to head off a fight at the pass.

They suggest rules for fighting fair based on the CORE elements, describe different kinds of fight types, provide tests to help you and your spouse determine what fight type you both are, and predict how fights between the different fight types will turn out.

Of course, all this is done using lots of story illustrations from the authors’ lives and practice as well as how-to instruction. Don’t let the easy read fool you though. There’s a lot of information and wisdom packed in this practical volume.

An especially useful chapter is Fighting through the Big Five which gives couples a heads-up on hot-button topics (money, sex, work, parenting and housework) that are the most likely to cause dissension.

A major component of the book is the interactive app for smart phones and tablets, downloadable for free with the purchase of each book. It would seem to be both helpful and fun. I say ‘seem to be’ because I didn’t get  it through my review copy. However, the activities (which the book describes) range from self-tests and quizzes to setting an alarm to alert the reader to perform a daily activity suggested in the book. I can see how the app would take the book’s application off its pages and onto platforms (smart phones and tablets) where people do a lot of living these days.

Even without the app, I highly recommend this book. Much of its wisdom about the physiology of anger, the elements of a healthy fight, and fighting fair could be applied not only to couples but to a variety of people who find themselves in disagreement: parents and kids, extended family members, friends, and colleagues.

A wealth of quotes included in each chapter along with an illuminating back-of-the-book essay on anger and its management round out the offering.

The Good Fight would be an especially helpful book to give newlyweds. But married couples of any age will find much that is useful and practical in its pages.

I received The Good Fight as a free e-book for the purpose of writing a review.

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