Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation

Schabacker, Jay. Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation. USA: 2013.

SUMMARY:
designA true “coffee table” book full of gorgeous pictures, scripture verses, and thoughtful explanations all centered around God’s amazing and astonishing six days of creation. From a scientific approach to creation, this book explains how everything is so well orchestrated to a purposeful design. An introduction and bibliography/ recommended reading list are included at the end of this stunning book.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Wow…what an absolutely beautiful book written on a glorious subject. I loved the pictures, scientific explanations (of tides, stars, instincts, cells, seasons, and more) related directly to creation, and appreciated the personal touch too. The book also suggests “What if?” questions pertaining to the information to make one ponder and realize the perfect balance God had in mind. This book would be wonderful as a homeschool reference, a Confirmation gift or even as a tool to witness to others of God’s great Plan. Definitely a book I will share on my coffee table as a reminder of God’s design and love for His people.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Purposeful Design: Understanding the Creation from the Jay Schabacker and BookCrash for my honest review*

Seasons of Tomorrow

Woodsmall, Cindy. Seasons of Tomorrow: Amish Vines and Orchards, Book 4. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press. 2014.

SUMMARY:
seasonsHaving recently gone through a break-up with Jacob, Rhoda Byler is content working and living in the Old Order Amish settlement in Orchard Bend, Maine. Much to her delight and yet dismay, Rhoda finds herself drawn to Jacob’s brother, Samuel. As her own relationship develops, Rhoda also finds herself intertwined with Leah King’s involvement with an Orchard worker, Englischer Landon Olson. Add in Phoebe’s dangerous situation and Rhoda finds she must rely on her faith to make it through…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though I did not know the character backgrounds having jumped into the series at Book 4, the author did provide a brief synopsis of each of the preceding books at the beginning of the book as well as a list of characters and their involvements at the back of the book. A well written, eventful, enjoyable story, I will most likely go back and read the previous books. A new author for me, I will pursue other novels by Cindy Woodsmall as well.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

With Love from a Country Kitchen

Strain, Deb. With Love from a Country Kitchen. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
countrykitchenAdorned with brilliantly colored kitchen paintings, With Love from a Country Kitchen also contains delicious family recipes arranged by season. Scattered in between the recipes and paintings are numerous quotes and Bible verses. A perfect addition to a cookbook collection or a beautiful gift, this book would also be appreciated on display in a kitchen. Though not long in length, it is the perfect giving size.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Gorgeous paintings are the highlight of this book. The simple, family-favorite recipes which accompany the paintings are just as palate pleasing. Some of the recipes were new to me while others added a new twist to a tried-and-true recipe of mine already. Perfect as a gift for newlyweds, new neighbors, or even yourself, this cookbook is sure to delight. The book also includes blank pages at the end for personal favorite recipes to be added while a presentation page opens it. My favorite painting was included on the last page of coffee and blueberry muffins…scrumptious!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of With Love from a Country Kitchen from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Twirl

Clairmont, Patsy. Twirl. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2013.

SUMMARY:
twirlWho doesn’t love a good twirl…falling down to the ground in a rush of giggles? Patsy Clairmont takes that feeling and weaves stories, thoughts, quotes, verses, questions and faith into remembering to spin and enjoy life. Each short chapter addresses thoughts to ponder (dance, fragrance, bubbles, bloom, wings) and inspirations to guide you to grins. She reminds us that we are never too old, too tired, too poor, too busy to appreciate what is really important.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
From the adorable cover to the chuckles contained within, I really enjoyed this book. Everyone gets stuck in a rut sometimes or sits on the pitty-pot, but well-known author and speaker, Patsy Clairmont, has a whimsical way of helping overcome those feelings. From the simple items and activities in life, she constructs positive thoughts all while twirling through life. Truly an inspiration, this book would be a wonderful gift to share with almost anyone or even as a Bible study. I loved the twirl concept, colorful cover and included pinwheel silhouettes at each chapter.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Twirl from Thomas Nelson and BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

The Secrets of the Montebellis

Colwell, Cheryl. The Secrets of the Montebellis. USA: Inspired Fiction Books. 2013.

SUMMARY:
montebellisLisa Richards is in a controlling relationship but is working on a plan to find a way out. Included in that idea is a plan to redevelop the town of her ancestors, investigate Fire Mountain whose mine used to contain fire opals, stay involved with her son yet out of her husband’s path, work secretly with the powerful Montebelli Corporation and try to figure out Steven Taylor…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
I am not sure what exactly I was expecting from this novel but it delivered. The storyline kept moving yet not in a straight line…the twists and turns kept coming…even the cover of the book had me guessing and wondering. Well written and very well mapped out, this book paid close attention to detail with hints and clues scattered throughout. On a side note, I really liked the bit larger size of the book, the sturdier pages and whiter paper. Cheryl Colwell is an author I would read again, especially should she continue to write suspense novels.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Secrets of the Montebellis from the author and BookCrash for my honest review*

Love Comes Calling

Mitchell, Siri. Love Comes Calling. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
lovecomescallingSet in the 1920s, Ellis Eton is not always the sharpest tool in the shed but manages to get along quite well. Viewing herself as a disappointment to many (family included), Ellis learns she may be asked to leave the esteemed Radcliffe College which seems the perfect opportune time to try her hand at acting in Hollywood. Although money may be an obstacle to her acting career, a two week chance to work as a telephone operator gives her the needed funds but turns out to be much harder than expected, especially when she learns of a threat against the most-handsome Griff…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Actually not my favorite time in history, I also had a bit of a problem relating to the characters as it was from a younger point-of-view. Though a light and entertaining read, I found it was a bit shallow in depth which may be why I prefer Siri Mitchell’s other writings. I did appreciate the author’s notes on the characters as well as the time period included at the end though. Definitely worth the read; personally, I just couldn’t connect.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love Comes Calling from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

Drucker & Me

Buford, Bob. Drucker & Me. Brentwood,TN: Worthy Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
druckerDrucker and Me is the story of Bob Buford being mentored by Peter Drucker (aka…Father of Management). Through wisdom, management principles, discipleship and compassion, the author describes his relationship with Peter, both in business and a lasting friendship. Full of ideas to change business, society and even quite possibly, the world.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
I found this book to have very interesting ideas for a business model yet it also could be applied to struggling churches. Along with Peter Drucker, Bob Buford also reached out and included church leaders such as Rick Warren, Bill Hybels and others, making it very relevant today. Well written, compelling and highly readable, Drucker & Me is absolutely though-provoking. Personally, it would be a great book to share with Pastors and others bringing people to God.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Drucker & Me from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

A Stillness of Chimes

Moseley, Meg. A Stillness of Chimes. Colorado Springs, CO: Multnomah Books. 2014.

SUMMARY:
chimesLaura Gantt returns home to Prospect, Georgia, to bury her mother; however, rumors are circulating around town that perhaps her dad is still alive rather than presumed drowned in an accident twelve years prior. Sean Halloran, a luthier with an abusive father, joins Laura in the search, though he remains skeptical. As pieces of the puzzle begin to all fit together, could a murder be solved…or is there much more involved?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
In this circle murder-mystery novel, Meg Moseley returns to a story that she put away for quite some time. With tidbits of suspense, end-of-the-chapter cliffhangers, realistic events and enthralling writing patterns, she created a book I couldn’t stop reading until finished. The twists and turns included kept me guessing while my emotions flip-flopped with the characters and events. Though confused at the beginning by the title and the book cover, it soon became apparent the reasons for those choices. With Christian elements scattered throughout, I could truly recommend this book.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Stillness of Chimes from Multnomah Publishers for my honest review*

Out From The Shadows

Thorson, Pam. Out From The Shadows. Raleigh, NC: Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas. 2014.

SUMMARY:
shadowsDirected at caregivers, Out From The Shadows shares stories of disability, devastation, heartache, tiredness and loneliness yet offers hope, grace, strength, prayers and vitality to those so greatly needing those attributes. Written through multiple experiences, Pam Thorson shares a glimpse into her own life while encouraging others. With a Scripture verse to open each short chapter, a personal story and biblical reference to follow, a relevant prayer and a brief worksheet of questions concludes the section.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
I was astounded at the strong spiritual nature of this author considering all she has been through in her life. Yet, extremely humble, she inspires people, especially caregivers, to enjoy the present and rejoice in the future. She reminds readers that God works to the good of all people even though that may be hard to understand in difficult circumstances. A favorite chapter of mine was Incomparable and I found myself still contemplating it days later. Meant as a devotional to be read in pieces, once I started the book, I finished it in a day; however, it is definitely a book I will return to in the future and refer to again and again. Out From The Shadows would be a wonderful gift for caregivers but will touch anyone’s heart.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Out From The Shadows from the author (as part of her blog tour) for my honest review*

Just 18 Summers

Gutteridge, Rene. Cox, Michelle. Just 18 Summers. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
18summersFour different yet connected families, all in different stages of life, come to terms with just how short and fast life can actually seem. With only 18 summers in which to make lifelong memories, create lasting impressions, teach necessary skills and truly make a difference, each family must complete these tasks with everyday-life getting in the way. From becoming first-time parents to watching their daughter get married, each couple must make the most of time before it slips away…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Usually a screenplay is derived from a book, but in this case, the novelization is done in reverse. Through humor, emotions and faith, the authors did a wonderful of making one realize just how short 18 summers can be when children are involved. Too often, everyday busyness can get in the way of living to the fullest…we tend to put things aside, work too much and take people for granted rather than play with our children, teach them the basics and take care of ourselves in the process. Just 18 Summers is definitely a story that will make you pause and ponder your life and quite possibly, make some needed changes…before those 18 summers are over.

(After reading this book, I am having a hard time not joining my teenage son in the Tough Mudder Race he suggested…yikes!)

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Just 18 Summers from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*