Tuesday, April 14, 2015

REVIEW: Beyond Orange County - Lydia McLaughlin

**Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Any thoughts and opinions are my own.** 

Real Housewives of Orange County fan-favorite, McLaughlin inspires readers to a life of purpose—not fame.

I used to be a reality TV addict. Especially when it came to the Housewives franchise! I could tell you all of their names, all of their business, and all the beef between the women. I loved those shows. Orange County was my favorite because it was the first and has had so many crazy women on that show! When Lydia first came onto the scene during Season 8, I was a bit weary. One of the first things I saw from her on the show was talking about her faith, which I thought was great BUT I was still skeptical. One of the other housewives on the same show talked about her faith a lot when she first got on the show; she even filmed in her church. But other than talking about her faith, she didn't really do much to show that she really even believed in what she was saying. It was very confusing and disheartening. After watching Lydia on the show and seeing how different she acted from the rest of the women, I thought maybe she was genuine. My husband calls me Doubting Thomas, though, so of course I was still skeptical. Especially when the opportunity to review this book came up. 

This isn't an Orange County tell-all. If that's what you're expecting, then I feel sorry for you. This book is so much more than that. Lydia really inspired me while reading this book and following along with the discussion questions and scripture passages. I've let my relationship with God slip away and I'm trying to build that relationship back up. It was inspiring to see someone who seems to have everything she could ever want, struggle with something like I have. It was also very refreshing to see someone who proclaimed their faith from the very beginning of their fame and never falter or change their beliefs in order to make more money. Yes, Lydia admits that she really wanted to do Season 9 because of the money and the dresses and all the glitz and glamour. Who can blame her? The fact that she didn't because she knew God was telling her no, really spoke volumes to me. 

Lydia seems like a very down-to-earth type of woman and seems like someone that you would want as a best friend. From the things she says in this book, she genuinely loves God and loves people and wants to share those loves with anyone and everyone she can. She's a woman after God's own heart and I believe that she and her husband will continue to reach people and touch their lives in the years to come. Not only is she a successful business woman, but she seems to be a great mother as well. She learned quickly that all the fame and the parties was not as important or even as rewarding and special as being home and being a mother to her children. 

I've read some reviews about this book that talks about how the print is really large so it's a quick, easy read and that the reading level is on a 3rd or 4th grade level. I've also read some other really negative reviews and at the end of the majority of them it was all because she didn't spill secrets about the other wives. This book is easy to read which I think is important for a book like this where you are able to turn it into a study of the Bible and how to live a happy life. People do not want to read something that feels like they're being preached at or talked over. I also liked the print being big, too, but I'm half-blind so I may be biased. 

This is a great book for anyone who is a new baby Christian or is a Christian struggling with how to be in the world without being "of" the world. Lydia brings up a lot of good points and never fails to back up what she says with scripture. Her enthusiasm for God, her family, and living a happy life in general is very contagious and uplifting. Thank you, Lydia and Worthy Publishing for the opportunity to review this book! 

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