Escape from Bondage

Harris, Mahon F. Escape from Bondage. TEACH Services, Inc. Publishing. 2013.

SUMMARY:
escapeStuck in a nursing rehab facility, Harry Tucker is aware of his surroundings yet unable to communicate verbally due to a stroke. Though still young in age, Harry realizes he must not give up hope nor his faith in order to continue to live. From devastation to acceptance and even contentedness, Harry travels the road of long recovery from his debilitating stroke.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Written from years of experience with stroke victims, this fictional piece of literature demonstrates the author’s vast knowledge associated with strokes. Though fiction, this book almost appears as a memoir as the reader is included in the victim’s thoughts, feelings and faith. Though sad, encouragement and learning can also be found within the pages which may just affect the way readers react in such environments. Impairment, desolation, sorrow, compassion, kindness, devotion and appreciation were all demonstrated in this novel. Having never read this type of book, I found myself immersed in the pages…cheering for the victim, encouraging the caregiver, disappointed in the others and yet, examining and considering my own actions should I ever be in that situation.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

The Amish Groom

Clark, Mindy Starns. Meissner, Susan. The Amish Groom. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
amishgroomTyler Anderson has grown up Amish yet feels a pull on his heart that causes him to feel unsettled. Explaining his concerns to his intended, Rachel, as well as his grandparents who raised him, Tyler prays for a sign which may show him where he belongs…either in the Amish life or the Englisch world. The Amish Groom is the first book in The Men of Lancaster County series.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Both new authors for me, I am wondering how I missed them. As a reader of Amish fiction, I was intrigued to find an Amish novel written from a different point of view- that of a man’s. Though not sure what to expect, this story just flowed naturally through different struggles, faith, family bonds, confusion, indecision and following the heart. Along with the storyline, the writing was so well done, I often had a hard time finding a spot in which to stop reading. (I happened to be reading a book on Amish faith concurrently with this novel and found The Amish Groom to be closely on track with the Amish beliefs/ ways of life…something I appreciated.) I definitely plan on reading the next book in this series!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Amish Groom from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Kitchen Confidence

Nixon, Kelsey. Kitchen Confidence. NY, USA: Clarkson Potter/ Random House. 2014.

SUMMARY:
cookbookStuffed-full of absolutely mouth-watering pictures and their accompanying tasty recipes, Kitchen Confidence makes cooking a breeze as well as enjoyable! Basic yet essential, this book shares everyday recipes, tidbits and directions to help feed even the pickiest eaters. Recipes explained, kitchen utensils discussed and personal experiences and instructions included for each recipe make this a truly complete book. Years of culinary training followed by a stretch on Food Network Star and now Cooking Channel’s Kelsey’s Essentials only add credibility and familiarity to the book.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Wow…another really good cookbook! Having watched Food Network Star previously and now Kelsey’s Essentials (while on the elliptical at the Fitness Club…yes, really), I was excited to actually try her recipes for my family. With everyday ingredients found in most pantries (or easily accessible at the grocery stores), this book shares really delicious and variable recipes I am sure my family will appreciate. Wonderful for my own kitchen yet presentable as a gift, Kitchen Confidence is a new favorite, highly usable cookbook of mine.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

The Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook

Vienneau, Nancy. The Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books. 2014.

SUMMARY:
cookbookA flavorful cookbook derived from shared community potluck recipes, The Third Thursday Community Potluck Cookbook combines recipes with scrumptious pictures, preparation tips, author thoughts as well as ideas for starting your own community potluck. Based on farmer’s market items, favorite shared recipes and even a few eclectic ideas of food pairings, this book focuses on seasonal fare available locally within a community. The third Thursday potlucks evolved over time as a way to meet new friends, try new foods and encourage community ties…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
“Not your Grandmother’s potluck” sums up this book appropriately as the recipes sound enticing albeit a bit time-consuming (which may be fine when making food to share). I did actually learn a few new cooking/ food terms (Jicama, trussing) which I appreciated. The concept of a community potluck is warm and inviting if one lives in such a locale. I was able to find some very interesting new casual recipes to try from my local farmer’s market, especially new seasonal ones which I had never considered. Quite a novel cookbook, one even your Grandma would approve of!!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Third Thursday from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

The Loving Kitchen

Rice, LeAnn. The Loving Kitchen: Downright Delicious Southern Recipes To Share With Family, Friends, and Neighbors. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson/ HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc. 2014.

SUMMARY:
kitchenWith the kitchen as the basis for love, LeAnn Rice shares recipes, thoughts, Bible verses and humor to bring family and friends together around the table. Nothing overly fancy but really good, delicious, “do-able” recipes including breakfast items, breads, salads and soups, sandwiches, entrees, sides and of course…desserts!! With beautiful pictures and ideas for gathering people together, The Loving Kitchen is absolutely delectable!!

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
No need to ask “what’s for dinner” anymore…I have found the perfect cookbook for family dinners, potlucks and weekend get-togethers. I appreciated the humor and wit throughout the book as well as the personal introduction to each recipe, tips for cooking, thoughts and verses scattered in the pages and the cautions with some (especially about not keeping the really, really delicious ones all for yourself). Read as an eBook, I am sure this book is gorgeous as a print copy and would make the perfect gift. Southern cooking at its best, y’all!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Loving Kitchen from BookLook Bloggers and Nelson Books for my honest review*

Full Steam Ahead

steamWitemeyer, Karen. Full Steam Ahead. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
Having been called home to Galveston, Texas, due to her father’s illness, Nicole Renard discovers more than she bargained for…bandit rivals after the family’s revered Lafitte Dagger. Determined to keep the dagger safe, Nicole leaves home with it, accepts a job as a secretary to support herself, and surprises herself by developing feelings for the secluded and troubled, Darius Thornton. However, things soon go awry and Nicole must choose between those items and people who matter most to her…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Decidely a Karen Witemeyer fan, I enjoyed Full Steam Ahead just as much as her other novels. Full of spunk, sass, sauciness, faith, hooligans, a dapper bachelor, a determined heroine and good-old-fashioned historical romance, the author also threw in a storyline surrounding the shipping industry set in the mid-1800’s. Definitely a good, clean read with a bit of mischief, mystery and adventure included. Worth the read, worth the time and worth a spot on the bookshelf…Full Steam Ahead was a fun novel with a bit of knowledge intertwined. I look forward to this author’s next book already!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Full Steam Ahead from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

Hacker

Dekker, Ted. Hacker (Outlaw Chronicles). Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
hackerNyah Parks needs money…big money…and quickly. Using her skills as a genius hacker, Nyah hacks into a company’s security system in the hopes of receiving a job; however, she stumbles into trouble beyond her wildest imagination. Teaming up with her friend, Austin, Nyah enters a world she never knew existed. Coupled with futuristic aspects, faith, “Deditio” (meaning surrender in Latin), reality and consequences, Ted Dekker once again provides a thrilling read…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
How does he do it? Ted Dekker writes yet another novel which partners real-life circumstances along with a parable causing the pages to turn quickly late into the night. While telling the story, the author actually encouraged me to consider my own life as a vessel for God’s mission here on earth. Such an adventurous and thrilling read yet packed with subtle messages of faith, hope, trust, selfishness and contentment. Part of the Outlaw Chronicles, Hacker was another excellent addition to that series. Simply amazing. (I truly hope he continues this series while I read his other works in the meantime.)

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Hacker (Outlaw Chronicles) from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

A May Bride

maybrideMoseley, Meg. A May Bride. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
Caught pulling weeds in a church garden during a “guerrilla” wedding, Ellie finds herself face-to-face with Gray, a handsome cowboy attending his friend’s wedding. Through a quick romance, Ellie finds herself falling in love with Gray while planning her sister’s wedding and trying to convince her mom of his worth, which proves to be harder than it seems. A May Bride is part of A Year of Wedding Novellas.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Short, quick, sweet, funny…this novella was wonderful for a busy time in life. Though predictable, considering the brevity of the story, it was well written and enjoyable. I loved the humor with which Ellie thought to herself. The generation differences between mother and her daughters were also quite amusing albeit viable. Meg Moseley is a favorite author of mine (A Stillness of Chimes) and this novella was a nice installment to add to my wedding novella collection.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

An April Bride

april brideWorth, Lenora. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
Planning a wedding can be difficult but even more so when the fiance is deployed to the Middle East for the past year. Stella Carson and Marshall Henderson find themselves in just such a predicament; however, with an injury sustained during his tour, Stella and Marshall have much more to deal with and live through. Will the wedding take place? Should they still get married? Will the marriage even survive?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Reading and reviewing the novellas in A Year of Weddings, this story was a perfect addition to my collection. Rather relevant in the world today, this novel was sweet but may actually be considered difficult by many struggling with these situations. Through memory loss caused by a brain injury, the retainment of faith was still evident which was appreciated. Though a bit scattered at points, overall, the story was well written with developed characters. A new author for me, I would definitely consider reading other novels written by her now.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of An April Bride from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

A Table by the Window

tableLodge, Hillary Manton. A Table by the Window. Colorado Springs, CO: WaterBrook Press Publishing. 2014.

SUMMARY:
A journalist by trade, Juliette D’Alisa is no stranger to the food world. As a food writer, daughter to a French-Italian restaurant owner and a member of a family immersed in the food industry, Juliette is tempted to join her brother in opening a new restaurant when he asks. Part taking risks and part finding her own self, Juliette must consider the consequences involved in such a move. Add to that dilemma secrets uncovered about her late grandmother along with a long distance relationship and quite a recipe for a good culinary novel emerges…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Yet another new author for me, A Table by the Window was a delectable read with delicious fun and a side of mystery thrown in the mix. As a fan of The Food Channel and cooking, this novel proved to be a good extension of my interests. With appetizing recipes included (though a bit involved), this was truly a delight for taste buds. I look forward to reading the next book of the Family Secrets and Heirloom Recipes series as well as the author’s previous Amish novels. Bon Appetit!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Table by the Window from WaterBrook Press for my honest review*