Grab Bag Blog Tour Book Reviews:: MORE THAN A MATCH & 99 TO FIGHT WORRY AND STRESS

This week Backseat Writer is taking part in the “Grab Bag” Blog Tour sponsored by WaterBrook Multnomah.  The first book, More than a Match by Michael and Amy Smalley is from WaterBrook’s Value Non-Fiction, which offers insightful books on love, marriage, relationships and personal growth. At just $6.99, WaterBrook Press is offering readers on the most limited budgets, valuable resources to help them grow and succeed in their personal lives.

The second book, 99 Ways to Fight Worry and Stress by Elsa Kok Colopy, is part of the “99 Ways” series– practical and up-to-date ways to help families flourish despite present economic challenges, priced at just $5.99 per book. These books are not only timely, but also inexpensive enough to fit into everyone’s tightening budget.

MORE THAN A MATCH by Michael and Amy Smalley

Husband-and-wife team Michael and Amy Smalley, both certified marriage counselors, have come together to write More than a Match: The Five Keys to Compatibility for Life. This book is intended to be a multipurpose read. It is good for dating singles, dating couples, engaged and married couples. Whether you agree with all or none of it, there is a smattering of information for everyone. The book does tackle a few details in depth–online dating, dating, compatibility, communication, and sex.

The first major issue covered was online dating sites that match individuals by compatibility.  Using five of Dr. David Olsen’s twelve issues that couples need to understand and communicate the Smalley’s make the case that there is much more to a lasting marriage than mere compatibility. From their experiences they believe that spiritual beliefs, personality issues, financial management, children and parenting, and sexual expectations are among the most important issues facing couples in today’s society. The book also devotes whole chapters to individuals’ preferences, beginning and ending a relationship, conflict and sex.  The last chapter was written for celibate couples, who may not know what to expect on their first night together.

More than a Match is easy to read and filled with many, many personal stories. Both authors share openly about their personal contributions to positive and negative during their marriage. While all may not agree with the authors’ strong beliefs on marriage, relationships, dating, and sexual activities, they do offer some helpful advice to the importance of communication for couples who might have headed to the altar blinded.

Compatibility is not the only defining key to a relationship; it is also important to communicate about important relationship issues.  Once a partner has expressed his or her ideas and feelings on these issues, both partners need to decide if they can respect, work through and live with one another’s differences. Moreover, communication, respect, love, and most importantly, God, need to be included in a long-term relationship, so it can more than just a match.

Shari Transue writes for, Associated Content, and Miss Shari’s Story Time Blog . She’s a Keystone College graduate, holding Bachelors in Communication Arts & Humanities and Education certification. Formerly a preschool teacher, Shari loves collaborating with parents, teachers, and reading children’s literature. Contact Shari here.


By Donna Savaki, special to Backseat Writer I guess you really can’t judge a book by its cover. Or by its title.  I understand Elsa Kok Colopy’s new book, 99 Ways to Fight Worry and Stress (Waterbrook) is part of “The 99 Ways” book series, but this book stands on its own.  I wasn’t too excited when I was assigned to review this book (Not another how-to book!) so I put off reading it. But instead God handed me a special gift—one that was best to unwrap. After all, He knows what I need. I needed this book, and perhaps so may you.

The first sentence echoed the wishes of my heart, “I wish I could say I handle stress and worry with ease.”  After detailing some of the stressors in her life, Colopy continues, “I need more than oatmeal and exercise. I need tools. I need day-to-day coping-with-life tools so I don’t follow through on my temptation to move to the mountains with twenty pounds of chocolate, a few warm blankets, and an armload of romantic comedies.” I tried that and felt far away from civilization, gained 30 pounds, still was cold (it did get to -37 degrees Fahrenheit), but I did enjoy those romances! The stress increased dramatically and thirty years later, I still find it difficult to manage stress.

Colopy’s “99 Ways to Fight Worry and Stress” are suggestions are rooted in Scripture advising readers to savor friendships, rest, journal, dream, laughing, pursue interests, and find God’s truth.. Now this all sounds ordinary when I list them, but the 99 ideas are thoughtful, fanciful, practical and true and they’re easy to do—if we just slow down and actually do them! To start, just choose one of the 99 suggestions and do it. Let’s see, #15 is “Nap Often.”  Now, that I can do!  Number 50 suggest readers savor food—to slow down whole eating and relish each bite of food. Hmm, good idea.  Number 65 says beating stress is all about “Finding Humor in Movies” while #90 reminds us that “God is Bigger than Anything We Face”. So very true!

Each suggestion is followed by a paragraph or two illustrating the main concept. This book needs to be read and followed one chapter, one idea at a time. I am going to incorporate these ideas into my daily life as I seek to enjoy (rather than stress about) the life that I have chosen in following God. I loved this book and I am thankful for Elsa Kok Colopy for writing this book. Maybe this book is what you need to fight the worry and stress plaguing your life—and you can one idea at a time.

Donna Savaki is a retired teacher (over 30 years of teaching kindergarteners was enough).  She has one daughter, Amy, who is the head honcho of Backseat Writer.  She lives with her husband and two dogs, Katie and Clifford, in Pennsylvania.

(Both of these books were provided for review by WaterBrook Multnomah.)

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