At Peace In The Storm

Gire, Ken. At Peace In The Storm. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
peaceNo matter what life throws at you, God can and will provide an inner peace so deep, it transcends all understanding. Through personal experiences, Bible stories, guidance, and supportive ideas, Ken Gire demonstrates how to achieve that peace, even in the wildest storm, when you need God most. Through gaining peace by many different channels (rest, music, friends, books, prayers), that inexplicable calm peace can be achieved while waiting for a miracle, forgiveness, or an answer to prayer.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Set up as finding peace while living through a tumultuous storm at sea, the author wraps the entire book together through this theme. I was inspired by the personal struggles shared as well as the references to the Bible through stories and verses. I found it interesting the many different areas in which Ken Gire could find that much-needed peace to calm the raging waters. Though not always easy to find, sometimes that inexplicable and even unfathomable peace that God provides carries us through the churning, uneven disturbances until we gain our footing yet again.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of At Peace In The Storm from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

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Storming The Black Ice

Brown, Don. Storming the Black Ice: Pacific Rim Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2014.

SUMMARY:
blackiceHaving discovered oil under the iced continent of Antarctica, Chile and Britain form a treaty to recover it; however, Argentina, through the use of an intelligence agent, wants claim to the oil also. A battle ensues. A submarine, questioning of priorities and values, professionalism of the modern warrior and spirituality all contribute to an energetic climax.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Surprisingly, I found this book excellent in many ways even though it was out of my normal genre of books. Full of intense drama, mystery, battles, tension and high emotions, this story kept me reading until I finished it. Don Brown revealed truthfully the human element of modern pressures associated with war. Though not knowledgeable of Navy information, the author did such a thorough job of setting the scene and explaining the necessary principles that I followed the story seamlessly. As the third installment in the Pacific Rim Series, this book read smoothly as a stand alone as I am not familiar with the other books in the series. Having read Storming the Black Ice, however, I will definitely return to the previous selections in the series to read.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Storming The Black Ice from BookLook Bloggers and Zondervan for my honest review*

The Quaker And The Rebel

Ellis, Mary. The Quaker And The Rebel: Civil War Heroines Series. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
Quaker Working as a governess in Virginia at the time of the Civil War, Emily Harrison decides to continue her parents’ work in the Underground Railroad. Her employer’s dashing nephew though has other ideas due to his loyalty to the Confederacy as well as his alias, the Gray Wraith. Will two totally different worlds ever find success and happiness in love, beliefs and life?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
I found this book to be very well written, especially within the time period of the Civil War. Mystery, suspense, romance, thievery, faith and cultural beliefs all are a part of this dramatic novel. Mary Ellis did a thorough job of colliding opposite realms in an intriguing style. Through a love of history and involvement in a local historical society and Civil War Roundtable, the author apparently is well educated in the Civil War which shines through in her story. Definitely a series I will continue to read, I look forward to The Lady And The Officer as the next selection.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5)

*I received a complimentary copy of The Quaker And The Rebel from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Serenity to Accept

Maddrey, Elizabeth. Serenity to Accept. USA: HopeSprings Books. 2013.

SUMMARY:
serenityDealing with a painful past, Karin Reid feels God hasn’t been there for her; as a result, she lives her life accordingly…until she meets Jason Garcia. Having his own past issues, Jason is now committed to dating only Christians but then meets Karin. While sorting through past situations, mistakes and feelings, Jason and Karin must decide how strong their convictions are and how much they are willing to change or accept.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Serenity to Accept involves some of the same characters (or relatives of characters) from Courage to Change. I liked the continuity among the books although each could be read separately. Elizabeth Maddrey deals with some very real, very difficult issues in an appropriate yet sensitive manner. She stays true to her beliefs in her writing even offering resources for those who may need it at the end of her book. Definitely an author who should continue to write contemporary Christian books. As always, I enjoyed the actual physical book…thicker cover, whiter pages, decorated chapters and easy to follow story breaks/ sections. (Book 3 in the Grant Us Grace series.)

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Serenity to Accept from BookCrash and HopeSprings Books for my honest review*

Echoes of Mercy

Sawyer, Kim Vogel. Echoes of Mercy. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press. 2014.

SUMMARY:
echoesofmercyWorking as an undercover investigator, Caroline Lang secures a position at the Dinsmore’s World Famous Chocolates Factory in Kansas. Much to her surprise, Oliver Dinsmore has the same idea-working as an undercover janitor to monitor the factory which he soon will inherit. Through many unexpected circumstances, orphan children, questioned morals, prayers, and a sheltered heart, Caroline must stay true to her priorities and values while overcoming her own past. “Sometimes a secret must be kept for the truth to be revealed“…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Excited to read Kim Vogel Sawyer’s newest novel, I was not disappointed. With grace and mercy, she weaves an intriguing story line with equally developed characters. Some hard issues were touched upon during the course of the novel but the main character, Caroline, stayed faithful to her values, heart and beliefs. I enjoyed all the twists and turns as well as the subtle humor and genuine hope interspersed. A very well written, well thought-out, and well developed story which I enjoyed to the very end.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Echoes of Mercy from WaterBrook Press Publishing for my honest review*

Prime of Life

Bekendam, P.D. Prime of Life. Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
primeoflifeBen works at Heritage Gardens even though he has been trained as a cardiothoracic surgeon. All he really wants is a simple life that is free of stress. He enjoys working with the residents and imposing order upon his janitorial cart – the simple things in life. But, his life is about to change when his secret is revealed: in his prime of life, he gave up a career as a surgeon to be a janitor…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Bekendam provides his reader with a novel that is both very humorous and extremely thought- provoking. The cast of characters that the reader meets in Heritage Gardens will provide the reader with moments of amusement. Ben’s obsession with order will create opportunity to chuckle, but perhaps most importantly, the reader will have several ponder points throughout the novel. Questions such as…what is truly important in life, how can I reduce my stress, am I too worried about other people’s opinions and many more will float through the reader’s mind. This book has the potential to serve as a great book club read, book discussion or devotion due to the many life questions that come up in the book.

MY RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Prime of Life from Worthy Publishing in exchange for my honest review*

Bounce Back

Clinton, Julie. Bounce Back: When Your Heart Is Empty And Your Dreams Are Lost. Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
bouncebackWritten specifically for women, Bounce Back shows effective ways to overcome loss and heartache due to loneliness, depression, divorce, issues with children, illness as well as many other situations which cause despair. Perfect as a small-group study or individual reading, Julie Clinton demonstrates return to living life through breathing, believing and bouncing back. Written in a direct style, this book gives personal examples along with Scriptural instances of women dealing with difficult issues yet turning back to the Lord, and in the process, back to a fulfilling life.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A book almost every woman can relate to, Bounce Back is well written and right to the heart. The author helps women realize they must own the problem, take some time to deal with the situation, and finally to grasp their own worth and importance in life. “Bouncing back emotionally and spiritually is all about purpose and progress” sets the approach to this book coupled with the knowledge that no one is ever truly alone in struggles. Biblically based and strong, Bounce Back could truly make a difference.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Bounce Back from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

A January Bride

Raney, Deborah. A January Bride: A Year of Weddings Novella. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2014.

SUMMARY:
janbrideMadeline Houser makes the move to be closer to her mother who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. However, much to her chagrin, she finds she is not able to meet her writing deadline due to the current construction associated with the house renovation. Arthur Taylor, a recent widower and owner of a Bed and Breakfast Inn, has just the perfect, quiet set-up for Maddie to use. Through many written correspondences as well as varied assumptions, Maddie and Art are in for a delightful surprise in their lives.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Yet again a new author for me; I found I liked Deborah Raney’s style. Though predictable, the clever obstacles (assumptions) which were made kept the story sweet and moving forward. Never having been a huge fan of short stories, I sometimes now prefer the novellas after the many excellent ones I have read in the past year (this one being included). Witty yet quite possible, A January Bride was a pleasing read during this (never-ending) winter season.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A January Bride from BookLook Bloggers and Zondervan for my honest review*

A February Bride

St. Amant, Betsy. A February Wedding: A Year of Weddings Novella. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2014.

SUMMARY:
FebbrideJilted at the last moment at the altar, Marcus Hall never saw it coming. His future bride, Allie Andrews, just couldn’t marry him and put him through the Andrew’s family curse so she ran (actually drove) fast away. Over the course of the next months, Allie and Marcus cross paths in some not-so-traditional yet hilarious ways. Will love prevail over the jinx experienced by all the Andrew family women? Will Valentine’s Day prove to full of intended consequences?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Cute, cute, cute! A perfect read for upcoming Valentine’s Day, A February Bride was my favorite novella included in the series so far. A new author for me, I am already looking forward to her upcoming novel, All’s Fair In Love And Cupcakes. I enjoyed the spunk, cleverness and light touch of romance with which this novella was written. I was able to read this book in just a brief sitting but finished it smiling! Definitely worth the time to enjoy!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A February Bride from BookLook Bloggers and Zondervan for my honest review*

Princess Ever After

Hauck, Rachel. Princess Ever After: Royal Wedding Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2014.

SUMMARY:
princessHaving just left her job with an accounting firm to open her own classic car restoration business, Reggie Beswick is stunned to find out she may truly be a princess…not just any princess but Princess Regina Alice Beswick Augustine-Saxon of Hessenberg. Regina soon finds that the ancient nation of Hessenberg relies on her believing who she was born to be while her heart must decide where her loyalties lie. With humor, grace, faith and her grandmother’s hand-painted book of fairytales, Regina finds her happily-ever-after in the most unusual ways.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read the first book in the Royal Wedding Series-Once Upon A Prince, I was anticipating the next book…much to my delight, I enjoyed this faith-filled fairytale just as equally. Rachel Hauck did a wonderful job of combining modern-life with ancient-life, contemporary problems with past politics, reality with imagination, non-beliefs with grace and prayers, and of course, just good-old-fashioned princess fluff. I only hope the author continues with this series!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Princess Ever After from Zondervan and BookSneeze for my honest review*