The Trouble With Patience

Brendan, Maggie. the trouble With Patience. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
patienceHaving lost her beau to a criminal hanging, Patience Cavanaugh feels her hopes and dreams of marriage are gone too. Restoring her recently inherited boardinghouse has kept her busy yet dependent on someone to help her with the repairs…and that man just happens to be the local marshal, Jedediah Jones, who has a past reputation of his own. Will Patience and Jed be consumed by their prior experiences and actions? Or is there hope for a future…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Sweet and full of romance, this was an enjoyable novel as a start to the Virtues and Vices of the Old West series. Though a bit expected in parts, the few surprises as well as puns kept the light-hearted story moving. Patience, along with her mother, Charity, had an interesting relationship which I adored. As a new author for me, I eagerly await the next book in this series and plan to search out others by her. Well written with historical scenes, romantic tension and triangles, memories of the Old West and a bit of faith stirred in and an attractive book cover too!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Trouble With Patience from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

30 Events That Shaped The Church

Gansky, Alton. 30 Events That Shaped The Church: Learning from Scandal, Intrigue, War and Revival. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2015.

SUMMARY:
30eventsReveling in the knowledge that history shapes the present as well as the fact that no man is an island, Alton Gansky explores and explains how 30 events helped determine the church and Christianity as it is today while ultimately changing the world. With events lasting between just hours and as long as years, 30 Events That Shaped The Church examines the past, present and future effects.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Set up in an easy to reference and study manner, Alton Gansky chose the 30 events he felt were important at that moment to include (he admits he had a hard time choosing). I appreciated and found very interesting the events…Pentecost, The Protestant Reformation, The Dead Sea Scrolls. Though familiar with many, I still “brushed-up” on the history of them and actually learned a few tidbits of new knowledge. Designed to be a companion book to 60 People Who Shaped The Church, this book would be a good reference for Confirmands, Bible Studies, Church Leaders or even history buffs. Well thought through, planned, designed and written.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of 30 Events That Shaped The Church from Baker Books for my honest review*

Lighten up, y’all

Willis, Virginia. Lighten up, y’all: Classic Southern Recipes make Healthy and Wholesome. Ten Speed Press. 2015.

SUMMARY:
SouthernHaving grown up in a kitchen cooking with her grandma, Virginia Willis was inspired to purse a career in cooking. Attending culinary school while also incorporating what she learned from her own family, she cooks and eats for pure enjoyment and happiness. Struggling with her weight, she realized that cooking (especially Southern cooking) needed to return to healthy while keeping the traditional flavors. Not a diet but rather a way of life, Lighten up, y’all takes favorite Southern recipes and makes them lighter, healthier, yet tasty for all.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Loving Southern cooking, I was delighted to find a book which combined taste and health in a gorgeous cookbook. Full of corresponding pictures, nutritional values, personal thoughts and ideas, and useful tidbits and skills (when cutting a large squash-roll the squash back and forth into the knife rather than the knife into the squash-who knew?),  Lighten up, y’all  is a wonderful addition to my growing cookbook collection. Easy, practical and delicious, the recipes include salads, seafood, vegetables (lots), soups and other Southern fare, all “lightened up” in ingredients and methods (baking vs. deep frying). Though based on my own preferences for food, I appreciated (and truly enjoyed) the Sinless Seven-Layer Dip with Squash Chips, the Summer Squash Casserole (made with winter squash now), and the Salmon Patties with Lemon-Caper Sauce. Definitely family-friendly and health-conscious, Lighten up, y’all will become a well-used (and recommended) book in my kitchen.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Lighten up, y’all from Blogging for Books for my honest review*

A Beautiful Reflection

Maddox, Sarah O. A Beautiful Reflection. Winchester, KY: Olivia Kimbrell Press. 2014.

SUMMARY:
reflectionHaving recently turned down a marriage proposal from her current boyfriend, Susan Strasbourg finds herself attracted to Jim Hitchenson, an attractive, successful businessman. With very different pasts, conflicted morals, clashing beliefs and strong convictions, Jim and Susan must discover if their differences can be harmonized or will divide them…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With a morally strong potential for a story, I appreciated the message conveyed but was a bit disappointed in the actual style in which it was presented. With a more shallow storyline, the characters and activity were more limited (though it is considered a novella). Containing several errors within the book, I found my focus and attention would drift, although, the solid and healthy messages of waiting for marriage and not yoking with a non-believer were evident and steady. The quote with which the book opens,  “As the water reflects the face, so the heart reflects the person” (Proverbs 27:19), is right on target both in the book and for living life.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Beautiful Reflection from BookCrash and the author for my honest review*

The Crimson Cord

Smith, Jill Eileen. The Crimson Cord: Rahab’s Story-Daughters of the Promised Land. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
rahabLiving a hard, abusive life, Rahab, wife of Gamal, finds herself sold into prostitution to repay her husband’s gambling debt while also sparing her family. Depressed without hope, Rahab takes a leap of faith with God, whom she does not yet know, and finally escapes outside of Jericho’s guarded walls. Will her faith in God allow her to regain her self-respect, find love and live contently?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though biblical, Rahab’s story of redemption was creatively told with fictional fillings. Split into two parts, her entrapment and escape were told. While the beginning section was fluid, the second half seemed jumbled and perhaps a bit flat. Enough detail was included to conger strong emotional feelings for Rahab yet not in a graphic manner throughout the book. With several styles of this story told, it was interesting to read Jill Eileen Smith’s version.  The cover art did justice to the beauty of Rahab.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Crimson Cord from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Midwest Sweet Baking History

Lewis, Jenny. Midwest Sweet Baking History: Delectable Classics around Lake Michigan. Charleston, SC: The History Press. 2011.

SUMMARY:
bakinghistoryTravel back in time with author Jenny Lewis and discover how different ingredients, styles and traditions of many immigrants, entrepreneurs and chefs helped create the baking history of the Midwest. Full of pictures, delicious recipes and interesting history, Midwest Sweet Baking History helps demonstrate and explain how baking today emerged.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though not always a  fan of studying history, I do like the interesting tidbits on history, especially such relevant history as baking. I found the information included on the businesses very intriguing (the Kellogg Company, Hostess Brands, Karo Syrup), the simple yet delicious recipes enjoyable (Elephant Ears, Biscotti,Crullers), and the specific history of items to be compelling (Civil War Tastes, Flavorings, Fruits). Coupled with older pictures, I appreciated the timeline of the book showing the inventions, changes and generations of baking in the Midwest. Interviews with business owners from the past are also very engaging. Put together quite nicely with lots of fascinating information on a subject I fancy (baking).

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Midwest Sweet Baking History from The History Press for my honest review*

Twisted Innocence

Blackstock, Terri. Twisted Innocence: Moonlighters series. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2015.

SUMMARY:
twistedWhile keeping the identity of her baby’s father a secret, Holly soon discovers she may be in deep trouble. When the police need her help in finding Creed Kershaw, her child’s father, Holly uses her investigating skills to assist them. As she makes connections, realizes mistakes, and questions her trust, Holly finds herself held at gunpoint by none other than Creed. Danger, suspense, faith, action and risk all come together in this thrilling novel…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Wow. Terri Blackstock did it again in Twisted Innocence. She wrote anther suspense-filled novel which kept the pages turning quickly. Now one of my favored authors, I trust I will not be disappointed. With just the right amount of suspense and uncertainty mixed with a bit of romance and faith, I finished this story in record time! As a New York Times best-selling author, she leaves no doubt as to the reason. Twisted Innocence is part of the Moonlighters series of which I have read the previous two novels and now anxiously await the next one.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Twisted Innocence from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Clean Slate

Editors of Martha Stewart Living. Clean Slate: A Cookbook and Guide-Reset Your Health, Detox Your Body, and Feel Your Best. New York: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2014.

SUMMARY:
cleanslateAn extremely healthy cookbook to help replenish, reboot, recharge, re-energize, restore and relax (think sweet!) yourself while discovering new meal ideas. Not just a cookbook but a guide to healthy eating/ living also. Full of beautiful pictures accompanying each recipe, nutritional values, well planned steps, and different categories for the day, Clean Slate definitely changes the way you eat for the better…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though not necessarily new ingredients in this cookbook, there were many new creative and appetizing combinations I discovered. Most items were ones I was familiar with as well as easy to find. I also appreciated the ingredients were easy to swap if there was something included I didn’t like. From simple ideas for snacks (frozen grapes and kiwi) to a bit more involved (sauteed mushrooms with toasted flatbread and baked eggs), I am thrilled with the health benefits. Perhaps not a book for everyone, for those looking to change to a healthier, more energizing eating lifestyle, this cookbook may be the one.  It will certainly be a well-used book upon my shelf!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Clean Slate from Blogging for Books for my honest review*

Heartfelt

Kirby, Joneal. Heartfelt: A Woman’s Guide to Crating Meaningful Friendships. Brentwood, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
heartfeltEvery woman needs close friends to share conversation, gain wisdom and grow in her faith. Based on the scripture of Titus 2, Joneal Kirby encourages women to begin their own Titus 2 ministry which couples multi-generational women through teaching, training, guiding and befriending. Included in Heartfelt is personal stories of women involved in such a ministry as well as guidelines, schedules, preparation and ideas for starting your own Titus 2 small group ministry.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though a well-written book, I was just not able to connect with this specific book. I was expecting a more general guide to developing meaningful relationships with friends rather than using the author’s specific Titus 2 model. Though a good idea and quite possibly a useable book for such a group, perhaps a bit more direction on the building deeper, closer and more meaningful friendships would help those not in a position to start/ host a Titus 2 ministry (due to location, involvement in church, interest, etc).  The author is the founding director of Heart-to-Home Ministry which is a women’s mentoring program is based on Titus 2.

RATING:
3 (out of 5) pennies

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

Where Rivers Part

Gilbert, Kellie Coates. Where Rivers Part: A Texas Gold Novel. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
riversDr. Juliet Ryan, providing safe drinking water for millions in her corporate America job, soon finds herself caught up in a scandal. Being desperate enough to need her estranged father to help figure out the ensuing conspiracy, Juliet must confront her past wounds, deepest regrets, and darkest fears. Will she be able to abate the collision before any further damage is done?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Another new author for me, Kellie Coates Gilbert had an impact on me. With a strong command of the written language, she definitely kept me turning pages in this contemporary novel. Perhaps just a bit slower to start the story, once all the pieces were set and characters ready, the novel merely flowed. Though Book 2 in the Texas Gold collection, I did not feel as if I was missing any needed information on characters, although, I will now read the first in the series, A Woman of Fortune. I only hope there is another book in the series already in the works!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Where Rivers Part from Revell Publishing for my honest review*