Everyday Watercolor

Featured

Rainey, Jenna. Everyday Watercolor: Learn To Paint Watercolor In 30 Days. New York, USA: Watson-Guptill Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As a watercolor painting guide structured to teach technique, perspective, shape, form. volume, depth and light with successful results in 30 days, Everyday Watercolor helps both beginner painters as well as those more accomplished. With each lesson plan set-up in 2-3 steps of sketching, choosing a color palette and painting on paper, a finished picture is the result each day. With clear instructions, lots of guidance and encouragement/ permission to create your own style, artist and author Jenna Rainey shares her love, design, education and enjoyment in her new book meant for all.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
By no means an artist of drawing, painting, or patience, this book actually took me by surprise and enabled me to paint beautiful pictures (at least, in my own eyes). Meant to be done in 30 consecutive days, the instruction works just fine on any consistent schedule. Done in a sequential manner building upon previously learned skills from the prior lessons, even I was impressed by what I was able to produce. With Jenna’s encouraging style and reminder to have fun while attempting something new, I liked her acknowledgement of her artistic gift from God which she has chosen to use and share.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Everyday Watercolor from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Advertisements

Fierce Hearted

Featured

Gerth, Holley. Fierce Hearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
In her newest and most personal book yet, author Holley Gerth shares her inner most thoughts, fears, emotions and personal stories. Almost like chatting with a best friend over coffee, Fierce Hearted is organized in smaller chapters perfect for reading and reflecting. Encouraging each woman to realize she is “not the only one” who feels, thinks, hopes, loves, fears, and experiences such struggles and victories in life, Holley wants to empower all women to live more fully and love more bravely, following God as well as giving Him all the glory everyday in all things.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Written in such a raw and honest manner, Holley Gerth truly understands and acknowledges the inner most workings of women. Daring while inspiring women to share the journey, Fierce Hearted is well written with a strong, necessary message. With the book set in shorter chapters, I found I couldn’t stop from reading several at once. Nodding my head, feeling her pain, understanding her joys and relishing the encounter, this is definitely one book I will recommend, share with friends and give as a gift. Perfect as a Bible study or ministry, I thoroughly connected with Fierce Hearted from cover to cover. What a wonderful example Holley is to all women!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Fierce Hearted from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Love Unfeigned

Featured

Keels, Nadine. Love Unfeigned: When It’s Time Series- Book 1. Amazon Digital Services, LLC. 2013.

SUMMARY:
Lorraine Tyson and Isaiah James were childhood buddies who loved and trusted each other as only true young friends can. As the two grew up (and grew apart), though they found themselves back together, it was not with the same abandon as when younger. Maturity, honesty, forgiveness, understanding and healing come to have a part in their more adult relationship. With a mix of faith, love, adolescence and sweetness, accomplished author Nadine Keels shares the heartache and delight of growing up…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As one of my most true and trusted authors, Nadine Keels yet again pens a cleanly and reliably written story. Fully developing the characters as well as the storyline, emotions, and scenes, Love Unfeigned is also complete with exquisite, interesting and skilled language adding to the overall success. As one of those stories that is hard to see end, luckily, a sequel has already been written, Hope Unashamed. Absolutely a book I would not hesitate to recommend, I can only applaud the author and encourage her to keep writing!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love Unfeigned from the author for my honest review*

Christmas at Carnton

Featured

Alexander, Tamera. Christmas at Carnton. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Set in the mid 1800’s during the time of the Civil War, Christmas at Carnton deals with the casualties, harshness, bareness and heartache of that period. With a small child in tow and another one ready to be born, Mrs. Warren Prescott (Aletta) needs a way to support her growing family without her husband. Jake Winston, a wounded Captain in the battle, must serve the Women’s Relief Society in their upcoming event while his wounds heal. When Aletta and Jake both find themselves employed at Carnton Plantation at Christmas time, perhaps flurries will be predicted for more than just the weather outside…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a longer novella for the new series surrounding Carnton Plantation set to release in fall of 2018, author Tamera Alexander does an outstanding job of setting the scenery and storyline for the next three books. Loving the period in history as well as her writing, I thoroughly enjoyed this shorter novel, sad when it had to end. Absolutely an author I adore, there is no question I will read the full series. I definitely recommend this novella (with such a gorgeous cover)!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Christmas at Carnton from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

The Keto Reset Diet

Featured

Sisson, Mark With Kearns, Brad. The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot Your Metabolism In 21 Days And Burn FAt Forever. New York, USA: Harmony Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Sweeping the eating culture in popularity recently, the Keto diet is based on metabolism and the many contributing/ surrounding factors. In his new book, the Keto Reset Diet, author, athlete and health coach Mark Sisson shares his most recent research into eating for a healthy lifestyle. Filled with lots of specific information about the Keto method of eating as well as a 21 day menu for getting your body ready, there are also over 100 recipes which support the Keto diet. Based on the theory of a high-fat, moderate-protein and low-carb pattern of eating, this cookbook sets the stage for success.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having heard of the Keto method of nutrients and lifestyle, I was intrigued enough to further research the diet. As an interesting and easy to understand book, The Keto Reset Diet definitely answered several of my questions as well as made a case for this manner of sustenance. Though not quite ready to commit, I will try some of the included recipes while I investigate and read further. With lots of information regarding nutrition, metabolism, health, and ingredients, even if the Keto diet is not strictly followed, there are absolutely some healthy ideas and suggestions to incorporate into a healthier lifestyle. A great book to read while deciding if this diet is right for you.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Keto Reset Diet from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Beyond The Castle

Featured

Dreyer, Jody Jean. With Windahl, Stacy. Beyond the Castle: A Guide to Discovering Your Happily Ever After. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
How does Walt Disney World create the magic known to so many people? Is it possible to continue the magic even after the vacation is over? Where do you find your “happily ever after”? These questions and so many more are explored and shared in author Jody Dreyer’s new book, Beyond The Castle- A Guide To Discovering Your Happily Ever After. Having worked for Disney for over 30 years in various positions, the author is quite capable of telling her story as it relates to Disney. Through life lessons learned as a result of her roles and Disney interactions, Jody helps guests write their own story based on her experiences at Walt Disney World. It truly is possible to find your “happily ever after” if you know where to look…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having recently enjoyed a vacation to Walt Disney World with another one booked, as well as being a huge fan of Disney, I was excited to read this book. Perhaps expecting just a few more personal stories from an insider to Disney, I did appreciate the perspective of lessons learned from Disney and the encouragement to be in control of my own story and happy ending. Liking the manner in which faith, life, happiness and Disney were intertwined, this is definitely a book any Disney fan will want to check out; I will absolutely tuck mine into my suitcase for my next Disney trip!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Beyond The Castle from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Fatal Trust

Featured

Johnson, Todd M. Fatal Trust. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As a new young lawyer hoping to keep his late father’s law practice current while taking care of his mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s, Ian Wells is willing to take just about any case that he is given. Amid his stress of life and bills, a thirty-five year old case resurfaces which Ian accepts. While investigating the case, Ian soon realizes this simple case may become a criminal investigation perhaps even involving his own family…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a new author to me, I was quite impressed. Suspense and mystery surround investigations, high stakes and criminal activity. Though maybe just a bit busy in the first few chapters, once the storyline evolved and the main character emerged, I found it hard to put the book down. With flashbacks to history interspersed with current time, this novel by Todd Johnson was well written and kept my attention easily. Definitely not the last book I will read by this author, Fatal Trust has ensured a new fan and future reader.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Fatal Trust from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

Queso!

Featured

Fain, Lisa. Queso! Regional Recipes for the World’s Favorite Chili-Cheese Dip. New York, USA: Ten Speed Press Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With over 55 recipes in this chili-cheese collection, Queso! is a spicy cookbook surrounding the deliciousness of cheese dips. Beginning with necessary information on the different chili peppers and cheeses, this convenient sized cookbook then progresses to numerous recipes celebrating queso. Complete with a brief introduction to each recipe, readily available ingredients, simple to follow directions and beautiful photography throughout, author and James Beard Award winner Lisa Fain has created a highly use-able and do-able specialty cookbook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a fan of chili con queso but stuck in a rut preparing it only one way, Queso! has definitely changed that predicament. With seriously mouth-watering recipes (San Antonio Chili con Queso, Brisket Queso, and Macaroni & Cheese with Green Chili Queso Blanco) grouped into 5 different themes, I found so many new queso ideas to try and share. Making the quesos to accompany a family dinner or bringing to a get-together of friends, Queso! is sure to make popular and tasty treats for all…just be sure to be ready to make more! Yum!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Queso! from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional

Featured

Fisk, Julie. Roehl, Kendra. Demery, Kristin. The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional: 365 Inspiring Ideas to Reveal, Give, and Find God’s Love. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum/ Tyndale House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With a whole year of inspirational devotions to read, share and act upon, The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional is complete with a scripture verse, personal story, and an act of kindness to randomly perform for each day. Organized into days with a one-page devotion, the three authors take turns supplying the devotion with an associated idea for action. Easy and enjoyable to read but containing a possible huge impact, this one year devotional is do-able, relatable and personable.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already looking for my next devotional for the new year, The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional will fill that need. Simple to begin any day during the year, I appreciate the organization and honesty with which it was written. Realizing the effect daily acts of kindness could have on myself as well as others, this book would work well in a group setting or for individual use. Having several other devotionals already from The One Year series, I know the reliability and timeliness of the included devotions as well as the scriptural references. Well thought out and organized, my search for a 2018 devotional is now complete.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

Sweet Potatoes

Featured

Heck, Mary-Frances. Sweet Potatoes: Roasted, Loaded, Fried, And Made Into Pie. New York, USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As one of the more nutritious items on the menu, there is no limit to the many ways sweet potatoes can be prepared. Organized into a nice sized cookbook, Sweet Potatoes is filled with delicious and creative ideas for sharing sweet potatoes. From the perfect sweet potato french fries to soups, side dishes, main courses, breads and even desserts, there are plenty of recipes sure to please any sweet potato connoisseur. Complete with a sweet potato primer (filled with lots of information about the basic sweet potato including types, sizes, complementary seasonings, and preparation), as well as a personal introduction to each recipe, easy to follow directions, and accompanying photographs of most recipes, Sweet Potatoes is a wonderful addition to any cookbook collection.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a huge sweet potato fan, I was thrilled to find a book which contained several new ways to prepare and serve a favorite dish. Sweet potato burgers, Cobb salad, Braised sausage with sweet potatoes and Twice-baked sweet potatoes are just a few of the many new recipes I found within this cookbook. Finding an easy and successful way to make crispy and tasty sweet potato fries was priceless!  Definitely a great gift for anyone who loves sweet potatoes, the new cookbook by food writer, recipe developer and chef, Mary-Frances Heck, will get lots of use in my kitchen.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Sweet Potatoes from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

With You Always

Featured

Hedlund, Jody. With You Always: Orphan Train Series- Book 1. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Having lived on the streets previously with her younger siblings, immigrant Elise Neumann must find a way to support them. Boarding a train from New York to Illinois in the hopes of finding a job, Elise makes an acquaintance with Thornton Quincy, a member of New York’s elite society trying to build a new town along the Illinois Central Railroad and in the process of hiring skilled workers. When an attraction sparks but threatens progress, Elise and Thornton must make choices which may affect more than just their own futures…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Reading anything author Jody Hedlund writes, of course I knew I would read her newest novel, With You Always. In her true style, she writes a heartfelt, moving, compassionate story which ends way too soon but thankfully, is only Book 1 in the new Orphan Train series. Appreciating the research into the time periods as well as the Author’s Note at the end of the story where she explains the history, I applaud her for telling the story from the different perspective of women during the time. A strong introduction to a new and interesting series!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

The Sugarsmart Cookbook

Featured

Varozza, Georgia. The Sugarsmart Cookbook. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Designing a cookbook around being sugar-smart as a way to eat healthy and lose weight, author Georgia Varozza shares her reduced sugar, simple yet delicious recipes in her new cookbook, The Sugarsmart Cookbook. With recipes for lunches, main dishes, soups, salads, breads and even desserts, this convenient spiral-bound cookbook containing almost 200 recipes includes common ingredients, easy to follow directions and a beneficial recipe index.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Always on the lookout for new healthy recipe ideas, I thought The Sugarsmart Cookbook would be a perfect addition to my cookbook collection. With inviting recipes using minimal sugar as an ingredient, though not necessarily new, the creative combination of ingredients will put a different twist on some of our already favorite menus. Only wishing for nutritional information and accompanying pictures to be included, these recipes are easily adaptable to personal preference or dietary concerns and will definitely have a place on my kitchen shelf.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies
*I received a complimentary copy of The Sugarsmart Cookbook from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Holiday Cookies

Featured

der Nederlanden, Elisabet. Scott, Erin (photographer). Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season. USA: Ten Speed Press. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Professional recipe developer and food stylist, Elisabet der Nederlanden, shares fifty new and updated recipes for holiday cookies. Complete with beautiful photographs of each recipe as well as decorating tips and packaging ideas, Holiday Cookies showcases such favorites as Triple-Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Gingerbread Cookies along with Cinnamon-Sugar Palmiers and Espresso Thins. With personal introductions, lists of needed ingredients, and easy to follow directions for every recipe, the decorating section only enhances this special seasonal cookbook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though marketed as a holiday cookie book, I believe this fun cookie cookbook could actually be used year-round to make delicious cookies. Finding recipes to use any time of the year, I did appreciate the section on recipes for cookie exchanges. Perfect as the baking season approaches, I always delight in new cookie recipes for Christmas get-togethers, while my family enjoys the new creations for dessert. Coupled with attractive photographs, this is definitely a book which I will use this coming season and beyond.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Holiday Cookies from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Abiding Mercy

Featured

Reid, Ruth. Abiding Mercy: An Amish Mercies Series- Book 1. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Growing up in the Amish community, Faith is content to work at her parent’s restaurant, The Amish Table. As a hard worker and part of an Amish family, though she struggles at times, nothing compares to the heartbreak and controversy she soon must address. With questions swirling, answers needed and possible forgiveness sought, Abiding Mercy follows two storylines of two very different backgrounds but perhaps a combined future. As the start of a new series, Amish Mercies, author Ruth Reid peaks interest with this first book.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With a bit of a more unique Amish storyline, I was intrigued with how this book would unfold and finish. Reading it in one evening (very rare for me), the pages just kept turning. With a few surprises, developed characters, and an interesting storyline, I thought this novel was well written. Though perhaps it was a little apparent, the journey of reaching the end was enjoyable. Definitely a series I will follow, I appreciate the sincerity and honesty with which the author writes of the Amish and their way of life.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Abiding Mercy from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Before You Hit Send

Featured

Eggerichs, PhD, Emerson. Before You Hit Send: Preventing Headache and Heartache. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Everyone has been there…sending the immediate message, only to regret it later. In his new book, Before You Hit Send, author Dr. Emerson Eggerichs hopes to help put the brakes on those messages sooner than later. Working through four important criteria for messages, both written and spoken, each message should pass through the “Is it True, Is it Kind, Is it Necessary, and Is it Clear” test. With explanations of each area as well as related scripture verses, thoughts, personal stories and self examinations, the book also includes ideas for actions if that message was sent too quickly.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well organized, easy to follow, interesting to read and right on target, this thought-provoking, encouraging and highly applicable book should be required reading. Taking his advice to heart, I hope to redirect my communication to qualify through the four criteria presented in Before You Hit Send so as not to have the regrets nor the consequences of miscommunication through haste. A very good book with great ideas and important actions, I will recommend this book to many of my family and friends.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Before You Hit Send from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

A Fierce Love

Featured

Shanks, Shanna. A Fierce Love: One Woman’s Courageous Journey to Save Her Marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With her marriage on an uncontrollable downward spiral, author Shanna Shanks decides to take 1 Corinthians 13 literally and follow it word, for painstakingly word. Faced with a request for a divorce after her husband admitted to an affair, in her new book, A Fierce Love, the author shares her tumultuous season full of mistakes, missteps, uncertainty, and doubt. Pure, raw, and vulnerable, the decision made to save her marriage may save more than just her marriage, it may also save countless other relationships.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A valuable read no matter the state of any marriage, A Fierce Love reiterates the truth found in God’s word in the Love scripture, 1 Corinthians 13. Written during one of the toughest seasons of her life, I so appreciated the honesty with which Shanna Shanks wrote. Able to take the lessons and strengthen not only marriages, the same principles could also be applied to endless relationships. Engaging, interesting, encouraging and inspirational, this book is not to be missed by anyone involved in a relationship.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Fierce Love from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Mix & Match Mama Simmers

Featured

Shull, Shay. Mix & Match Mama Simmers: Slow-Cooker Creations Your Family Will Love. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As a successful blogger and cookbook author, Shay Shull adds another book to her list. Full of delicious recipes for the slow-cooker and coupled with scrumptious-looking photographs of each, Mix & Match Mama Simmers is filled with family-friendly ideas made easy. Created to help during the busy time surrounding dinner, this delightful cookbook features chicken and pork recipes, as well as soup, dips and desserts- all designed for the slow-cooker.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though not necessarily fancy, the recipes in this beautiful little cookbook are definitely tasty and useful. With ingredients found in most pantries and pleasing to most family members, the idea of making these dinner favorites in a slow-cooker is even more enjoyable. I really appreciated the ease of substituting and/ or adding elements according to personal preference and dietary decisions. Easy to follow directions, quick to assemble ingredients and supper ready when everyone walks in the door…priceless!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Mix & Match Mama Simmers from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Many Sparrows

Featured

Benton, Lori. Many Sparrows. USA: Waterbrook Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With a newborn ready to be born any day, Clare Inglesby feels so alone in the western mountain area, in Native American territory. Traveling across country, Clare’s husband, Phillip, must return home leaving Clare alone with their four-year-old son. Discovering Jacob missing, Clare has no other choice than to trust frontiersman, Jeremiah, for help. Through fright, heartbreak, uncertainty, trust and faith, Clare must make choices which may affect her life as well as those of her children. Adventurous, gripping, and heart-stirring, Many Sparrows shares the tumultuous journey of people, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Literally waiting weeks for this book to become available, I have read every one of author Lori Benton’s books and have yet to be disappointed. Drawn into the novel as if I was truly there, I felt every emotion and experience encountered by the characters. Well-written with an embracing storyline, the messages, lessons and faith within lend to the depth. Definitely a book I would recommend and probably re-read (very rare for me), Many Sparrows was worth the wait. I look forward to, as well as anticipate, many more novels from this author.

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Many Sparrows from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

She’s Still There

Featured

Evans- Hurst, Chrystal. She’s Still There- Rescuing the Girl in You. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Losing yourself in the midst of life is easy to do but finding yourself again can be a daunting task. With compassion, encouragement, faith, trust and personal experience, author Chrystal Evans-Hurst shares her own story and insights on life. Lending a hand yet allowing you to stand on your own, She’s Still There explores the reasons and events in life that caused the loss. Looking deeply within, the girl that was once there is reassured, strengthened and restored to dream, believe and live again.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Like a personal coach and cheerleader, Chrystal Evans-Hurst is there and understands. Having been there herself, she shares her concern as a friend and confidant to help others find that girl within that is lost due to circumstances, situations, events…life. Offering wisdom, acceptance, and familiarity, this book is perfect for anyone who has experienced life (most of us). Perfect as a pick-me-up, a pat-on-the-back or perhaps even a kick-in-the-pants, She’s Still There found me nodding several times and chuckling in recognition as I read through it. Definitely a book I will keep on my shelf to revisit as needed, I also wouldn’t hesitate to share it or recommend it to most anyone.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of She’s Still There from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back?

Featured

Bolton, Martha. And Ditchfield, Christin. Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back: Facing Life With Courage Not Comforters. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Feeling down in the dumps at times can cause wanting to hide in bed and not get up. Under the premise of not getting out until Jesus comes back, authors Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield offer encouragement, humor, inspiration, chuckles and reasons to actually get up and get moving. Set up in 2-3 page bite-size chapters, each tackles a topic, includes a quote, a personal story, a reference to scripture, encouragement and a smile. Offered by Focus on the Family, this book comes complete with a cute cover and title.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Drawn by the title and cover, I expected a light-hearted, fun book to read in snippets. Bingo! That is just what I received. Able to read a brief section at a time, Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back would be a perfect pick-me-up gift for a friend or self, maybe the basis of a Bible study or ministry or great as an addition to a church library. Enjoying the lists, the stories and scripture references, I think this book clearly hits the mark for the intention of moving forward, no matter the desire to stay in bed and hide. Definitely a book to read and share.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

The Captain’s Daughter

Featured

Delamere, Jennifer. The Captain’s Daughter: London Beginnings- Book 1. Bloomington, MN: Bethany house Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Needing to urgently leave town due to circumstances beyond her control, Rosalyn Bernay finds herself in London, penniless, homeless, and jobless with few possibilities. Making her way through London, Rosalyn soon makes acquaintances- some helpful, others not. Landing herself a job backstage at a theatre, with the help of her new friends Jessie and Nate, her life takes a change in direction for the better albeit one that could also affect her heart…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a new author to me, I can honestly say I have found another favorite author in Jennifer Delamere. Grabbed from the first page and reading straight through to the end, this was one of the fastest books I have ever read. With a bit of turbulence, romance, and secrets mixed with my favorite genre of time and place, The Captain’s Daughter was a success for me. Glad to know this is only book one of the new series, London Beginnings, I absolutely will watch for the next installments. Welcome to my favorite author list, Jennifer Delamere!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Captain’s Daughter from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

The Turquoise Table

Featured

Schell, Kristin. The Turquoise Table: Finding Community And Connection In Your Own Front Yard. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With humor and grace, author Kristin Schell shares her crazy life and yearning for a connection with community. Inviting her neighbors and friends to join her at the turquoise table (a painted table on the front lawn), she establishes friendship, ministry, love, safety, connections and thus, community. Coupled with beautiful photographs and several delicious recipes, though a quick read, it is packed with encouragement, insight and inspiration. Using a simple concept to create huge impacts, The Turquoise Table strikes home.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well written in a personal manner, I thoroughly enjoyed this book both in style and content. Chuckling at parts, identifying with points, pondering some thoughts and inspired by certain ideas, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book for ministries, Bible studies, church libraries and sermon topics. Even the included recipes were scrumptious! Consider the impact and influence such a book with this concept could have on neighborhoods and communities throughout the world. So powerful!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Turquoise Table from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Simple Decorating

Featured

Michaels, Melissa. Simple Decorating: 50 Ways To Inspire Your Home. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Encouraging decorators to believe in their own signature style, blogger, author and decorator Melissa Michaels encourages, inspires and shares tips, techniques and designs for every room. In a compact yet filled-to-the-brim book of simple and welcoming fashion, Simple Decorating addresses moods, accessories, textures, spaces, styles and backdrops throughout the home. In short readable pieces complemented by beautiful photographs, this book has something for everyone to inspire style.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
In this clever, fashionable, design-spirited book, I found a variety of methods, patterns, trends and approaches to use in my own home. With ideas such as the use of different curtains, grouping items in threes, mixing linens, and dimensional displays, this book provided the quick pick-me-up my house needed. Gaining insights and ideas even from the photos, this little book set my decorative and creative vibes to work. Perfect to add to your own library or share as a housewarming gift, I truly enjoyed this book and hope to see more from this author.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Simple Decorating from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

English River

Featured

Nye, Thomas. English River: Amish Horses Series- Book III. USA: CrossLink Publishing. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Living with his Uncle Noey and Aunt Ruth since his father left the Amish years earlier, young Lenny reaches adulthood. Having followed his coming of age story through the previous two novels in the Amish Horses Series, Lenny finally comes to a crossroads and must decide between the Amish settlement and the English ways of life. Torn between emotions, community, family and his heart, Lenny realizes he must make choices which will impact his life both now and in the future.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As book 3 in the series, I enjoyed this book at least as much as I did the previous two. With a backdrop of a simpler way of life filled with horses, laughter, sadness and love, English River was probably my favorite book yet. As a calm storyteller, author Thomas Nye pays beautiful credit to the Amish manner of living. A simple, sweet, heart-warming novel with a deeper message, I cannot help but recommend this book to many others. Hopefully, this skilled and gentle writer will have another book on the near horizon.

RATING:
4.25 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of English River from BookCrash and the author for my honest review*

The New American Heart Association Cookbook

Featured

American Heart Association. 9th Edition. New York, USA: Harmony Books. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Would you like to be healthy? Eat correctly? Feel better? The American Heart Association makes it easier in their newest updated cookbook. Full of more than 800 recipes divided into categories such as snacks, soups, salads, seafood, meats, vegetables, breads, and desserts, the cookbook opens with heart healthy guidelines and tips. Complete with a list of ingredients and easy to follow, condensed directions, each recipe also includes nutritional values per serving. Packaged in a thick hardcover book, delicious and healthy menus are definitely possible.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Knowing and trusting the American Heart Association name, I was very interested in the newest edition of the cookbook. With simple yet delicious recipes, the only thing missing was pictures. Appreciating the nutritional sense included at the beginning of the book, this cookbook leaves no doubt as to the health of the recipes. Already watching my family’s diet, The New American Heart Association Cookbook only makes it easier and much more enjoyable. Absolutely a book to keep and share, this new edition updates tried-and-true past recipes mixed with new ones. With a focus on quick and easy methods and menus, there is something healthy for everyone. Sure to become a staple in American kitchens as healthy lifestyles emerge.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The American Heart Association Cookbook from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Freedom’s Price

Featured

Johnson, Christine. Freedom’s Price: Keys of Promise Series- Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Having lost her father, Englishwoman Catherine Haynes decides not to accept her cousin’s plan for her life but rather to seek out her mother’s American family in New Orleans, Louisiana. Upon the boat while making the passage, Catherine encounters Tom Worthington, a shipwreck salvager with a goal of his own. Once in Louisiana, secrets swirl, romance develops, scoundrels appear, and life changes unexpectedly. Full of mystery, misfortune, faith, chances and choices, Freedom’s Price is a historical novel set in the Key West…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As book 3 of the Keys of Promise series, I couldn’t wait to read it as I have read the previous stories and loved them. Getting a peek at the past characters again, though enjoyable, it is not necessary as this book works well as a stand-alone. Perhaps not my favorite of the series, I still enjoyed Freedom’s Price and plan to continue reading this author, Christine Johnson. As a side note, I find the ships portrayed in Christine’s novels very interesting as she is obviously very knowledgeable about the topic being married to a Great Lakes ship pilot. Beautiful cover (again).

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Freedom’s Price from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Weekly Prayer Project

Featured

Hiltibidal, Scarlet. The Weekly Prayer Project: A Challenge to Journal, Pray, Reflect, and Connect with God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Encouraging readers to be more intentional in their connections with God, author Scarlet Hiltibidal presents a personal journal filled with scripture, Bible verses, writing prompts and pages of lined paper for journaling thoughts, ideas, prayers, and dreams. Each two-page layout is broken into weekly topics under a broader subject. Encased in a hard cover book, this prayer project includes a presentation page, soft illustrations, reflection stories and a page marking ribbon.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Designed for the busy person who still yearns to spend time with God, The Weekly Prayer Project allows for the project to begin at any time, topics to be rearranged, and thoughtful, heartfelt writing to take place. Simple yet providing a deeper connection if desired, this book truly meets the reader where they are in faith. Based on prayers, each corresponding scripture verse and writing idea encourages personal consideration. Though not necessarily a devotional, this book touches more on prayers which could be easily incorporated into devotion time. Perfect as a gift, ministry or even a Bible study, this is a project I intend to complete.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Weekly Prayer Project from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

World of the Innocent

Featured

Keels, Nadine. World of the Innocent. CreateSpace Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Becoming a young woman and realizing her own inward growth, Jhoi (pronounced JOY) has never considered Marcus more than just a friend. As a poetic artist, Jhoi has always been just friends with the somewhat-strange yet admired Marcus but something seems to be changing. As she explores her conflicting thoughts and feelings in this well-developed novella, Jhoi slowly, deeply and carefully makes the transition from childhood to young adult. Built on trust, morals and respect, the developing relationship between Jhoi and Marcus is endearing, heartening, and innocent.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a favorite author of mine, I know author Nadine Keels will deliver a well-written, character-deep, word-conscious piece. Her newest release, World of the Innocent, is no exception. Feeling the pull from the first few pages already, I enjoyed the style and voice with which this story was written. Though perhaps more a contemporary young adult book, I enjoyed it none-the-less. With a respectful message, a morally strong relationship and a durable faith, I wouldn’t hesitate to share nor recommend this sweet novella.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of World of the Innocent from the author for my honest review*

Chasing Grace

Featured

Richards-Ross, Sanya. Saving Grace: What The Quarter Mile Has Taught Me About God And Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Sharing her successful yet difficult story of running and life, author and Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross writes of her triumphs and downfalls, happiness and heartache, achievements and collapses, all while realizing we cannot do it alone. Applying her 4-Ps approach (Push, Pace, Position and Pose) to her running career and extending it to her life, Sanya Richards-Ross acknowledges and shares how her trust in God allowed her to embrace and develop her given talents on the track as well as in life…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Opening the book and not closing it until it was finished, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Like having a conversation with Sanya herself, the book just flowed. Truly appreciating the closing of each chapter with one of the 4-Ps, not only did I listen to the encouraging words for life but also have incorporated some of the thoughts into my own running mantra. As a true Christian model, Sanya Richards-Ross is blessed yet humbly and enthusiastically tells her story. Definitely a book I will return to in snippets for self-reminders…excellent!

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Chasing Grace from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

The Physics of Everyday Things

Featured

Kakalios, James. The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day. USA: Crown Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Organizing the world into everyday useful, functional and interesting objects, psychics professor and author James Kakalios shares how these modern items work. Explaining the simple science behind such things as scanners, thermometers, microwave ovens, engines, batteries and others in an understandable manner, The Physics of Everyday Things doesn’t overlook the details. Coupled with a few relevant illustrations and examples of use, each section is split into everyday things used in certain actions (going to the airport, driving into the city, beginning your day, giving a business presentation).

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Honestly expecting a book filled with useful “useless knowledge”, I was pleasantly surprised to find more. Written by an authority on how everyday items work (a physics professor), though perhaps resembling a textbook, I thought it was broken down and explained in smaller, understandable pieces. Maybe not ever really wondering but now understanding how the scanners work at the airport, or how the Tyme machine knows my specific account, I find it very interesting as my mind considers even more elements. Able to read it in small snippets, this is a book I will share with friends and family as their inquiring minds may also want to know…

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Physics of Everyday Things from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

This Life I Live

Featured

Feek, Rory. This Life I Live: One Man’s Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Growing up in rural America with little money and less direction, country singer and award winner Rory Feek shares bits of his life culminating with his greatest love story. As an American country and bluegrass duo, nothing prepared him for the loss of the love of his life. Sharing his wife Joey’s courageous battle with cancer, Rory Feek managed to cope and in turn, bless others with his story. Well written, honest, heartbreaking and healing, This Life I Live may change your own life, or at least make you love better and live stronger…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not necessarily a fan of all memoirs nor a fan of country music, I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. Straight-forward in a realistic yet graceful manner, I found myself drawn into Rory and Joey’s story before I even realized it. Easy to read yet with a deeper message, This Life I Live celebrated life through mourning, happiness through sadness, and memories through meaning. So glad I took the chance on a book I would have normally passed on, I can only recommend this book to all.   (Tissue alert- have plenty on hand.)

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of This Life I Live from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

What Hope Remembers

Featured

Alexander, Johnnie. What Hope Remembers: Misty Willow Series- Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Returning home to her childhood community after a heartbreaking situation, Amy Somers isn’t exactly proud of the person she has recently become. Not having stayed especially close to her family, Amy can only wonder how she will be accepted back. When her high-school sweetheart, Gabe Kendall, rides into town, memories surround her even as she realizes Gabe may have some history due to personal choices as well. Romance, forgiveness, family and sweetness combine with a dash of country charm in the newest Misty Willow series novel by author Johnnie Alexander.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read one of the previous books in this series, I had hoped to revisit some of the characters yet again. Though this novel works as a stand-alone, it works even better when read with the series. A strong contemporary writer with just enough pizazz in her storyline to make it enjoyable, What Hopes Remembers is full of gentleness, understanding, love and surprises. Taking place on the ranch of Whisper Lane Stables is an added delight for horse lovers. Wonderful addition to a well-written series.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of What Hope Remembers from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Trusting Grace

Featured

Brendan, Maggie. Trusting Grace: Virtues and Vices of the Old West- Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As caregiver to her elderly father, young widow Grace Bidwell still hopes for children of her own someday and relief from her daily struggles. With Robert Frasier as her newly hired farm-hand, unbeknownst to her, he comes with a ready-made family of young ones. While managing the farm, Grace and Robert soon discover their hearts may need to be managed as well…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Fun, light, romantic and filled with a bit of sass, award-winning author Maggie Brendan successfully adds to her Virtues and Vices of the Old West series with her newest book, Trusting Grace. Finding this novel as the perfect vacation and/ or summer read, it reads quickly, humorously, and is full of charm. Though perhaps missing some of the related characters if not reading the series in order, this story is fine as a stand-alone, too. Hoping the series continues, this book appeared at just the right time in life to enjoy.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Trusting Grace from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

There’s a Fly in my Tea

Featured

Ratcliff, Crystal L. There’s a Fly in my Tea: The Importance of Maintaining a Christian Testimony. USA: Crosslink Publishing. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Based on the analogy of having a pesky fly in your delicious glass of iced tea, author Crystal Ratcliff explores the many unhealthy, unproductive things in our life that can impact our Christian testimony. With eleven chapters devoted to the “flies” and how to swat them, this shorter devotional exhibits and works around a scripture verse, includes personal stories and examples, incorporates more Bible verses and finishes with questions for self-reflection. Relevant, timely and engaging, There’s a Fly in my Tea will cause you to pause and consider…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well written and easy to read yet full of strong messages, encouragement and possible solutions, I thought the “fly in your tea” theme was creative, interesting and worked well for this women’s devotional. Relating some definitely important and thought-provoking ideas, There’s a Fly in my Tea delivers introspection, learning and truth. With devotions centered around everyday concepts (service, talents, worship, forgiveness), this book would be perfect for a Bible study, personal reflection, a ministry or sermon series.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of There’s a Fly in my Tea from Bookcrash for my honest review*

Vibrant India

Featured

Agrawal, Chitra. Vibrant Idnia: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn. New York, USA: Ten Speed Press Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Using seasonally fresh and healthy ingredients, chef Chitra Agrawal shares her South Indian family recipes for hearty yet light meals. With an introduction to Indian cooking, plenty of vegetarian ingredients and versatile options, this beautiful new cookbook also includes sample menus, grocery lists, Indian cooking techniques and tips, and explanations of the focused spices. Paired with appealing photography and pretty artwork, Vibrant India certainly does a complete task of celebrating the Indian culture and fare.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With a strong interest in trying Indian cooking, this newest cookbook arrived for the perfect opportunity. As a complete novice to this type of cooking, this book was thoroughly helpful while producing delicious results for me. Finding the information on spices intriguing and manageable, not only will I continue to incorporate the recipes into my menus, but also the methods into my everyday cooking. Lemon Peanut Rice, Summer Squash in Herby Coconut Yogurt, Chickpea Salad with Summer Vegetables and Avocado…I cannot wait to use the Farmer’s Market for these recipes. Healthy, bright, and interesting…the perfect combination!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Vibrant India from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

To The Farthest Shores

Featured

Camden, Elizabeth. To The Farthest Shores. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Working the night shift, nurse Jenny Bennett had accepted life even though most days she was exhausted. Surprised to see an old flame, Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher, Jenny needed to guard her heart as he had once broken it. Gone overseas on a daring government mission, Ryan is not proud of his personal actions while there yet celebrates the gift he received. Hoping not to return overseas, Ryan and Jenny must work together to save Ryan’s reputation, life and both hearts…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Drawn to the beautiful cover, the story found within was just as stirring with mystery, forgiveness, faith and romance. Easy to read yet deep in meaning, To The Farthest Shores is a well-written novel full of strong characters, an interesting storyline, and valuable insights. Finishing it in just a few evenings, it had a satisfying conclusion which left me feeling complete. With a relevant historical note included at the end, research librarian and award-winning author, Elizabeth Camden, has written another successful story.

RATING:
4.25 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of To The Farthest Shores from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

The Book of Greens

Featured

Louis, Jenn. With Squires, Kathleen. The Book of Greens: A Cook’s Compendium. New York, NY: Ten Speed Press Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With the purpose of bringing new greens into everyday meals, chef Jenn Louis takes the mystery and anxiety of new vegetables out of the forefront by explaining the nutrition, history, seasonality, and usage ease of many greens. Paired with 175 new recipes, an alphabetical index, scattered photographs, and tons of inspiration, The Book of Greens is a reference guide for the home cook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already receiving notice this book was about to debut, I couldn’t wait to use it during the beginning of Farmer’s Market season. Trying to break out of the usual vegetable and greens groove, this beautiful and useful cookbook will definitely help me reach that goal. Full of everyday items and ingredients, this encyclopedia-type book is as interesting and charismatic as it is beneficial and valuable. Absolutely a book I will refer to repeatedly, my family can look forward to new entrees, sides and desserts centered around delicious greens.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Book of Greens from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

99 Favorite Amish Breads, Rolls, & Muffins

Featured

Varozza, Georgia. 99 Favorite Amish Breads, Rolls, & Muffins: Plain and Simple Recipes to Warm Your Soul. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Filled with delicious recipes originating with the Amish, 99 Favorite Amish Bread, Rolls, & Muffins shares biscuits, scones, breads, muffins, rolls and bun ideas to be enjoyed by all. Though not difficult in preparation, the outcome is definitely appetizing. Paired with a dinner menu or sampled alone as a snack, these Amish favorites are sure to inspire as well as be devoured. Popovers, Soda Bread, Orange Cream Scones and Peach Muffins are just a few of the included aroma-filled, tummy-pleasing recipes in this useful, spiral-bound cookbook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already owning and using several cookbooks from this series, I was more than happy to add yet another to my collection. Easy to follow directions with pantry-ready ingredients, it is perfect for that needed side-dish, hoped-for breakfast item, or anticipated dessert. Though I missed the photographs which could have accompanied each recipe, I did appreciate the spiral-bound cookbook which can remain open while cooking. Easy to substitute ingredients if needed and/ or desired, this compact cookbook should be a staple in every kitchen.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of 99 Favorite Amish Breads, Rolls, & Muffins from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Devotions From The Kitchen Table

Featured

Edwards, Stacy. Devotions From The Kitchen Table. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Filled with 90 devotions surrounding the kitchen, Devotions from the Kitchen Table invites readers to rest a moment, pause with friends, gather at the table, and enjoy the many blessings bestowed in the comforts of home. Supper, pinwheels, crumbs, gardening and fingerprints are just a few of the many two-page devotionals included in this new book by the author, Stacy Edwards. Coupled with gorgeous photographs in each short yet full devotion, the pale pink ribbon only magnifies further this beautiful and inspirational devotional.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Charming, delightful and brilliant describe this warm and pleasurable devotional. With thicker, shinier pages full of colorful photographs, a short message themed around a Bible verse, scripture references and a prayer to keep close to your heart throughout the day, I would be happy to receive as well as proud to give this stunning book. Based on thoughts from the kitchen (dishes, desserts, coffee, laundry), when joined with scripture and personal stories, this devotional seeps relief, contentment and happiness. The only thing that could possibly have made this even more enjoyable would have been included recipes for the lovely pictures. Well done!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Devotions From The Kitchen Table from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Sandpiper Cove

Featured

Hannon, Irene. Sandpiper Cove: A Hope Harbor Novel. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Adam Stone is living a more solitary life and is content. As an ex-con, he prefers it that way…that is, until Police Chief Lexie Graham shows up at his door. Investigating a string of crimes, evidence points to a troubled youth, much like Adam Stone in his younger days. Hoping Adam may act as a mentor to the youth, Lexie finds herself more drawn to Adam than she would like to admit. After all, how could a police chief and ex-con ever connect…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a wonderful addition to the Hope Harbor series, Sandpiper Cove was filled with mystery, encouragement, romance and faith while centering around second chances. With an engaging storyline and memorable primary characters supported by interesting secondary characters, Irene Hannon has once again written a novel that is hard to put down. Enjoying this three-time Rita Award winning author already, her newest book only increased and ensured my readability of any future books, including Dangerous Illusions, the first book in her new series releasing in fall of 2017.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Sandpiper Cove from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Bible Explorer’s Guide

Featured

Zonderkidz. The Bible Explorer’s Guide: 1,000 Amazing Facts and Photos. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Is it possible that the olive trees at the traditional site of Gethsemane could be 900 years old?  Did you know the Philistines were one of Israel’s fiercest enemies because they knew the technology for making iron weapons? With 16,000 animals on board the ark, who knew that included 12 tons of animal waste every day? Filled with loads of Bible tidbits, references, and information, each two page spread is divided into themes, then sprinkled with material surrounding that theme including accompanying photographs. Easy to read yet packed full of information, The Bible Explorer’s Guide is perfect to share with all ages.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Visually pleasing with interesting portions of Bible trivia, though this book tends to be geared more towards elementary children, I enjoyed paging through it while sharpening my Bible skills and even learning a thing or two.  I was also impressed with the lead to the Bible scripture associated with the Bible facts shared in the different sections. Wonderful for a classroom, library or Sunday school lesson, it would also be perfect as a gift or for generational sharing. Drawn to the colorful photographs yet submersed into the fascinating information, it is definitely a book which could be used often and repeatedly. Well done!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Bible Explorer’s Guide from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

KJV Large Print, Thinline Bible

Featured

KJV Large Print, Thinline Bible. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With high quality leather-soft covers, gilded edges, readable larger type size, new Thomas Nelson KJV font style, double ribbon markers, words of Christ in red, and in the King James translation, the KJV Large Print, Thinline Bible is also portable and durable. Convenient for travel while being comfortable to read, this version also lays flat open, is pleasant for the eyes and fits nicely in hands. A beautiful Bible available in several cover-color choices and material options.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already owning several Bibles but interested in one to take to church, the Thomas Nelson KJV Bible is perfect for such an occasion. Especially liking the easily readable and eye-friendly type size and font, the other amenities only add to the value. The soft leather covers in a rich black color combined with the beautiful gilded edges are striking while the ribbons are very helpful for referencing Bible locations. Definitely a Bible that will be used but also one I would be proud to present as a gift.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Thomas Nelson KJV Large Print, Thinline Bible from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Married And Still Loving It

Featured

Chapman, Gary. Myra, Harold. Married And Still Loving It: The Joys and Challenges of the Second Half. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Could the second half of marriage be the beautiful season of marriage? New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman, and co-author and CEO of Christianity Today International, Myra Harold, explore the thought. Delving into different aspects of marriage-children, finances, retirement, grief, activities-from the perspective of the later years of life, Married And Still Loving It peers at the changes experienced over many years of marriage. Full of personal stories, advice, discoveries, encouragement and faith, and connected with interviews from long-married, well-known couples, the second half of marriage may just be the most beautiful season of all…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
What a wonderful book to share with parents, grandparents, Life Groups, church ministries and your own spouse. Organized into a flowing style in a reader friendly manner, I both flipped through it reading snippets then read the entire book from cover to cover. With side notes, interesting interviews and lots of revelations, I learned a few things, confirmed some items, and enjoyed my time reading. Definitely a book I will refer to in the future, and recommend to others, there are nuggets for all ages and stages. The beautiful season of marriage is truly real.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Married And Still Loving It from Moody Publishers for my honest review*

Vicious Cycle

Featured

Blackstock, Terri. Vicious Cycle: Intervention Series- Book 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2011.

SUMMARY:
Accusing of kidnapping the baby he found in the backseat of the car, teenager Lance Covington was only trying to help. As a friend of the baby’s mother, Lance has been trying to get her help for her meth addiction. Now in trouble, Lance turns to his mom, who in turn contacts Kent Harlan, a man who has a personal history with the family. With plenty of suspense, intrigue and action from New York Times bestselling author Terri Blackstock, the newest addition to the Intervention Series is full of choices that could change lives forever…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As one of my favorite suspense authors, though this book was published years earlier, I decided to read it while I wait for her newest book. Continuing with previous characters yet valid as a stand-alone as well, Vicious Cycle was well worth the time. Full of current topics albeit difficult ones, they were well handled and contributed to the storyline. With the pages turning quickly, needing to read just one page, I finished it in record time. As I wait, I will search for more of this author’s previous works, liking every one of them thus far.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

Love’s Winter Hope

Featured

Rawlings, Naomi. Love’s Winter Hope: An Eagle Harbor Novel- Book 5. Cedar Lake Press Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Set in Michigan’s Upper Keweenaw Peninsula, in the remote town of Eagle Harbor, Love’s Winter Hope continues the Eagle Harbor series with the story of Thomas and Jessalyn. Having left home 5 years prior to make a better life for his family, Thomas writes weekly and sends money for Jessalyn and his daughters to join him. Never receiving the letters, Jessalyn considers herself abandoned and needing to care for herself and young children. When Thomas finally arrives in Eagle Harbor to bring his family back to South Dakota, he discovers a different reception than planned. Still legally married yet experiencing troubles, Thomas vows to spend the winter in Eagle Harbor trying to change his wife’s mind…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Faithfully a fan of the Eagle Harbor series, I was excited to read the newest book in the series, Love’s Winter Hope. With a gorgeous cover and a brilliant story within, I loved it from start to finish. Enjoying revisiting characters from previous novels while focusing on Thomas and Jessalyn this time, I was captured by the storyline of the married couple taking place in the middle of winter (as spring is sprung). Very glad there will be more books coming within this series though I will need to find patience to wait until winter of next year for the release. One of my favorite authors and definitely one of my favorite series!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love’s Winter Hope from the author for my honest review*

The Stage Is Set

Featured

Wright, Bryant. The Stage Is Set: Israel, The End Times, And Christ’s Ultimate Victory. Grand Rapids, MI: Backer Books Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Pastor, founder and chairman of Right from the Heart Ministries, and author, Bryant Wright has led several Bible study trips to Israel and shares his love of the land in his new book, The Stage Is Set. Focusing on the ever-changing current world while recalling God’s promises of the past, present and future, graphs, scriptures, thought provoking ideas and personal stories join together in this book based on the Book of Revelation. Throughout the book, the question begs to be answered, are we ready for the end of times?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well-written and reader friendly, The Stage Is Set offers possible scenarios for which we must be ready. Outlining events in an easy to understand manner, author Bryant Wright challenges his readers. Though I found the book interesting albeit I was not in total agreement on all points, it definitely was worth the read. Making a wonderful Bible study or sermon series, it would also create meaningful faith-filled discussions. Well thought out and organized, this book just seemed to seamlessly flow through the chapters.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Stage Is Set from Baker Books for my honest review*

Waking Up Slowly

Featured

Burchett, Dave. Waking Up Slowly: Spiritual Lesson From My Dog, My Kids, Critters, And Other Unexpected Places. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum/ Tyndale House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Finding spiritual lessons in such unexpected places as the zoo, the beach, and a coffee shop while spending time with family, friends and grandchildren through prayer, thoughts and love, Waking Up Slowly reminds us to wake up slowly and enjoy life. Full of revelations, scripture verses, Bible references, personal stories and beautiful photographs, author Dave Burchett offers unique perspectives on moments usually missed. Based in a hard-covered book with an inviting cover, each short chapter finishes with a thought from God and a dose of grace…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Captivated by the adorable cover, loving the hard-covered book with beautifully smooth pages, admiring the fun pictures and appreciating the organized layout, I truly enjoyed Waking Up Slowly. Perfect for personal use, in a church library, as a Bible study, or a Life Group idea, I would also be proud to give this book as a gift to family and friends. Based on a dog theme while branching out to other areas, this is one book I will reread as well as keep on my bookshelf. Wondrous!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Waking Up Slowly from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

Made for a Purpose

Featured

Wilde, Kristie. Made for a Purpose: Joyful Creation Series. Sonora, CA: Wilde Art Press. 2016.

SUMMARY:
With every one of God’s creatures made for a specific purpose, author Kristie Wilde shares the special features given to each. With webbed feet and waterproof feathers- ducks can spend the day in the water, and with strong skull bones and long tongues-woodpeckers can find bugs for dinner…just a few of the included animal facts that are coupled with God’s purpose for us- to know Him and enjoy His creation! Beautifully illustrated, colorful pictures accompany each 2-page layout; part of the Joyful Creation series.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Written for preschoolers while appealing to the “why?” in every child, Made for a Purpose is a charming paperback book sure to delight. Like a little science book combined with related pictures while at the same time teaching about God, I found the beginning book of this new series to be wonderful. Aimed right at the preschool level with bold, highlighted terms and illustrated examples, this book would be perfect for a personal library, church library, Sunday school class or birthday gift. I look forward to more from this talented author and artist; truly a blessing.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Made for a Purpose from Bookcrash and the author for my honest review*

If I’m Found

Featured

Blackstock, Terri. If I’m Found: If I Run Series- Book 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Casey Cox is still on the run, hoping not to be found. With Dylan Roberts chasing right on her heels, he might just catch her, but not quite. As the tension continues from If I Run, book 1 of the If I Run series, Casey finds herself facing yet another injustice involving a small child. Though unwilling to be caught, she cannot bear to ignore the situation, resulting in even more dangerous circumstances. As the suspense mounts, the danger increases, the characters become desperate and the plot thickens, best-selling author Terri Blackstock doesn’t back down…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not being able to turn the pages fast enough nor keep the midnight oil burning long enough, I just had to finish this fast-paced, action-packed, suspense-filled novel. Riveting characters coupled with great writing make this quite the thriller. Touching on difficult issues between the hide-and-seek, some may find it hard to read. Having read If I Run and waiting for If I’m Found, I now must (impatiently) wait for the conclusion to the series, If I Live, due out in 2018. Captivating cover, too!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of If I’m Found from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Make It Yours

Featured

Schmidt, Christine. Yellow Owl Workshop’s Make It Yours: Patterns and Inspirations to Stamp, Stencil, and Customize Your Stuff. New York, USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Cookies, furniture, accessories, pillows, pictures…they can all be stenciled, stamped and customized to reflect your personal style. Whether for your own home or as a gift for someone special, Make It Yours not only helps you do it with ease but also provides the necessary information to succeed. With included stencil templates, loads of ideas, well organized directions, material information and oodles of creativity, artist and founder of Yellow Owl Workshop, Christine Schmidt, shares her knowledge and passion in an inventive and inspirational manner.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Encased in a sturdy paperback book with lots of photographs, I found this book to be of high quality. Though not my favorite genre of crafting, even I was inspired to try a few of the items as customized accessories for my home. Absolutely perfect for the person who is a novice as well as the more advanced, Make It Yours would be a wonderful gift. Using paint, clay, dye, ink and a variety of other mediums, items such as chairs, clutches, envelopes, tiles, shoes, and flower pots are decorated. This book makes it easy to get in touch with your creative side.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Make It Yours from Blogging For Books for my honest review*