You’re the Cat’s Meow

Johnson, Julie. You’re the Cat’s Meow. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2013.

SUMMARY:
catsmeowAlong with describing different cat personalities (friendly, sweet, elegant, companion), Julie Johnson adds charming pictures of cats in all shapes, sizes, colors and patterns. Partnered with classic quotes and thoughts, each page of verse and pictures lend to an absolutely adorable book. Perfect for cat lovers everywhere, this book is set up as a gift book including a presenter page.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A delightful book which celebrates cat friendships, I truly enjoyed it. Perhaps being a cat lover myself, I could relate to the verses, pictures and pure enjoyment filling the pages. Having recently reviewed Julie Johnson’s other book, A Friendship to Bark About, I was excited to see if this book was just as captivating…and it definitely is!! A wonderful reminder why cats rule, perfect as a memorial, ideal for a new cat-parent, or even as a tool for teaching animal kindness, You’re the Cat’s Meow will not disappoint.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of You’re the Cat’s Meow from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

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Prepared For A Purpose

Tuff, Antoinette. With Tresniowski, Alex. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House. 2014.

SUMMARY:
prepared“God, what are we going to do now?” Many times in her life, Antoinette Tuff has asked that very question…through rough moments in her childhood, troubling times in her marriage, difficulties with her children and in a scary situation with a shooter at her school. As the story unfolds, both her past and her present are recounted, telling how she believes God prepared her to be vessel for Him when needed. Hailed as a hero for saving hundreds of children during a possible school shooting, Antoinette credits God with giving her the words, patience and wisdom to detain the shooter from causing harm while at the same time letting him know someone cares and understands.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Antoinette’s story was very well written in a style which described how her past was affecting the present moment. The novel is full of Scripture verses which demonstrate how God uses each person in a specific manner for the good. Though not always easy, nor always in such a public manner, the book exhibits to the reader that past experiences prepares one for future moments. I found the story to be very interesting, very well written and very faith filled. Thankfully, the outcome of this situation was exemplary.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Prepared For A Purpose from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

A Match Made In Texas

Witemeyer, Karen. Connealy, Mary. Jennings, Regina. Cox, Carol. A Match Made In Texas. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
texasFour novellas, written by four different authors, yet all connected to Dry Gulch, Texas in the year 1893. Romance, humor, adventure, and faith all come together as a secret matchmaker works her magic on the back-country ranches of Texas. Included are A Cowboy Unmatched by K. Witmeyer, An Unforeseen Match by R. Jennings, No Match for Love by C. Cox and Meeting Her Match by M. Connealy…each a stand alone story yet linked to the others.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Each delightful novella is interconnected through location and circumstances which prove humorous but sincere. With two of my favorite authors coupled with two new authors (and now both my favorite as well), I truly enjoyed this graceful mix of stories. Overall well written and satisfying, I appreciated that all the short novels were contained in one book (with an adorable cover). Perfect just in time for Valentine’s Day, this collection of sweet, charming and genuine novellas is matchless.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Match Made In Texas from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review

From My Perspective

Bonsall, Joseph S. From My Perspective. Charlotte, TN: Journey Press. 2010.

SUMMARY:
bonsallAuthor Joseph Bonsall (aka Little Joey), is a member of the ever popular and successful Oak Ridge Boys. Through many short reflections and musings, Joseph shares special parts of his life. Who knew little Joey thought himself to be Elvis, or that he misses his Banjo, or that he is crazy about cats? Along with all the cute stories are recollections and thoughts on God, family, and living life.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With so many reviews and recommendations from people (George H. W. Bush, Jerry B. Jenkins and Michael W. Smith), I was intrigued to learn more about Joseph Bonsall. Though having many reasons to not be humble, Joseph actually shares his faith, family and stories in a very down-to-earth manner, thanking God for what he has been blessed with (talent, family, humor). As I read this memoir on his life, I chuckled, nodded and even learned a bit about history including past presidents. Definitely a book for fans of The Oak Ridge Boys but an amusing, interesting read for others as well.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of From My Perspective from Journey Press for my honest review*

Unstoppable

Unstoppable: The Incredible Power of Faith in Action. Vujici, Nick. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press. 2012.

SUMMARY:
unstoppableBorn without limbs, Nick Vujicic lives out his faith with action. He understands God has a plan for all of us…just the way we are. In his life, Nick has encountered many obstacles (bullying, suicide, depression, rejection) yet lives a ridicously good life (in his own words). In this book, Nick shares his personal stories as well as others while giving encouragement, inspiration, reassurance and confidence to everyone through God’s love for us.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having heard of Nick Vujicic as an inspirational speaker, I was interested in reading his current book. Through humor and heartache, Nick shares his own struggles and triumphs in the hopes of proclaiming and helping others see their own worth as well as impact on the world. He is literally “unstoppable” when acting on his faith, having done more, shared more and conquered more than most people without limits. I found Nick to be quite an example…taking away any excuse not to put faith into action, making anyone unstoppable in the process as well.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Unstoppable from WaterBrook Press for my honest review*

The Sheep Walker’s Daughter

Avey, Sydney. The Sheep Walker’s Daughter. USA: HopeSprings Books. 2013.

SUMMARY:
sheepSet in the 1950’s, Delores (Dee) Moraga-Carter is dealing with her mother’s recent death. As a widower for years, Dee has only her daughter, Valerie, left in her life. Through clues found while going through her deceased mother’s items, Dee discovers there is more to her life than she ever imagined. Secrets, puzzles, family relationships, and tough decisions may be just what Dee needs to find out the truth about herself, including her connection to a Basque Spaniard.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though not my usual genre, I found The Sheep Walker’s Daughter to be a different type of book than I expected. A bit hard to follow (due to the first-person writing style and frequent changing of characters), the wording was creatively done. Written and published as a religious book, as a caution, this book contains curse words and suggestive material. The storyline and materials were innovative; however, this was not a book which I relished.

RATING:
2.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Sheep Walker’s Daughter from BookCrash and HopeSprings Books for my honest review*

Eyes Wide Open

Dekker, Ted. Eyes Wide Open. Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
eyesChristy Snow, through unlikely but completely possible circumstances, has found herself locked as a patient in a mental health institution. The doctors have given her a new identity, one that she finds herself questioning – what is her real identity? As she seeks a way to escape the hospital, she travels on a journey through which she and the reader must find their real identities.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:

Ted Dekker provides the reader with a novel that is both intense and believable. The book gains it power through the use/ style of suspension of disbelief. Dekker allows the reader to take the journey with their “eyes wide open”, believing that the events unfolding are both true and possible. The story is intense and action filled – yet, the deeper meanings in the book, as it is a parable, will provide the reader with the opportunity to stop and reflect on their own three levels of identity – 1.) as it is true, 2.) as it is self-imposed and 3.) as it is imposed by others. However, while as the book required the reader to suspend disbelief, the last sections of the book jar the reader out of the possibility of reality (yet is still riveting). I remain excited to read the next book in the series, Water Walker.

MY RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Eyes Wide Open from Worthy Publishing in exchange for my honest review*

A Friendship to Bark About

Johnson, Julie. A Friendship to Bark About. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2013.

SUMMARY:
dogFull of colorful, adorable, lovable pictures of pooches paired with timeless quotes and inspirational passages, A Friendship to Bark About is sure to strike a dog lover’s fancy and heart. Listed with dog qualities (courageous, quirky, charming, affectionate), this playful book makes one fall in puppy-love with their four-legged companion even more. Designed as a gift, a dedication page is included.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Just when I thought I couldn’t appreciate and enjoy my dogs anymore, I read this short, sweet yet artistic book which made me fall in love all over again. I found the photographs to be stunning and a vivid reminder of the benefits and blessings dogs can bring into your life. A perfect gift to give to a new puppy-parent, a lifetime dog lover, “just because”, or even as a child’s book, A Friendship to Bark About will put a smile on your face and a wag to your dog’s tail as you enjoy it together.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Friendship to Bark About from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

A Simple Christmas Wish

Carlson, Melody. A Simple Christmas Wish. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell. 2013.

SUMMARY:
simplewishDue to an unforeseen event, Aunt Rachel Milligan and her niece, Holly, are about to spend their birthdays and Christmas in a very unexpected manner. Finding themselves in an Amish Ohio homestead, Rachel must deal with her own selfishness as well as the stirrings of her own heart. Through family secrets, regret, heart-break and jealousy, Rachel and Holly learn the true meaning of Christmas.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Another short Christmas story from Melody Carlson…true to the style and deeper meanings I have come to anticipate at Christmas time from her. Short and sweet yet moving at the same time, it has become almost a tradition for me to read a Christmas story from this author. I enjoyed the Amish customs, a family’s forgiveness and even a brief romance all in one read. I am already looking forward to next year’s new Christmas novel.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

The Headmistress of Rosemere

Ladd, Sarah E. The Headmistress of Rosemere. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2013.

SUMMARY:
rosemereAs headmistress of the Rosemere School for Young Ladies, Patience Creighton takes care of the Rosemere estate, the young girls at her boarding school as well as her mother who lives depressed after her husband’s death. With her hands so full, she hardly has time to take an interest in William Sterling, the dashing, albeit rebellious landlord of Eastmoor Hall and Rosemere. With lively action, eligible suitors and family matters which require immediate action, Patience Creighton must decide where her priorities and heart truly lie…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having recently finished the first book in the Whispers on the Moors, (please see my December post for The Heiress of Winterwood), I couldn’t wait to follow it with the next book. I loved the historical setting, the intrigue, the descriptions of the land and characters, the faith-based views and notions, along with the entire premise of the story. Sarah Ladd does an excellent job with her descriptive choices of words which add so much flavor to the novel. Though not necessary to read the books in order, it did put the characters a bit more in perspective having done so. As a newer author for me, Sarah Ladd will definitely be an author whose books I anticipate (the third book in the series will be released in fall of 2014). Very well done!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Headmistress of Rosemere from BookSneeze and Thomas Nelson for my honest review*