7 Simple Skills For Every Woman

Farrel, Pam. 7 Simple Skills For Every Woman: Success In Keeping Everything Together. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2015.

SUMMARY:
7skillsDifficulty in keeping it all on track? What woman doesn’t have trouble with all the tasks they juggle in life while keeping everyone sane (except maybe themselves)! In her newest book, Pam Farrel helps to simplify things, make sense of the chaos, and ease the stress, all while keeping a strong focus on faith and God. Written from a candid perspective, 7 Simple Skills For Every Woman strikes right at the heart-of-the-matter through personal reflection, scripture and an easy style…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Obviously the author has been there to struggle with the same issues of many women. Almost a life-coach approach, I found myself nodding my head in agreement several times. With chapters on decisiveness, reliability, wisdom and relationships, Pam Farrel shares just what is needed to make life a bit easier, stay more organized, keep motivated and become energized.  Definitely a book I will return to for reminders, share with friends and family and recommend to others.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of 7 Skills For Every Woman from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

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Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles For Boys

Elliott, Rob. Hawkins, Jonny (Illustrator). Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles For Boys. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
laughboysJovial jokes, ridiculous riddles, and delightful doodles (waiting to be finished by the reader), all contribute to the comical appeal and humorous spirit contained in this adorably fun little book. With encouragement to keep the jokes clean, laugh every day, share your jokes with others, don’t laugh at other people’s expense and include lots of body noise/body fluid jokes (appropriately), this book specifically suited for boys will cause lots of happy squeals and time to pass quickly…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Seriously (actually, uproariously) cute, this little book is sure to keep little bodies entertained and busy for hours. Full of silly riddles to share (What is a whale’s favorite candy? Blubber-gum!), pencil doodles to finish and permission to laugh loudly, this book would be perfect for those lazy afternoons at the beach, long car rides on vacation or five minutes of peace (of course, you will still have to laugh at the jokes repeated countless times). An adorable companion to Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles For Girls. Excellent!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Laugh-Out-Loud Pocket Doodles For Boys from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Lost Passenger Steamships of Lake Michigan

St. Mane, Ted. Lost Passenger Steamships of Michigan. Charleston, SC: The History Press. 2010.

SUMMARY:
steamshipsAll but non-existent today, steamships were once a flourishing industry moving cargo and passengers across the Great Lakes. Full of steamship and vessel history, renditions of passenger experiences, the role of war on the Lakes, the effect of westward expansion, and the life of working on the Lakes (at the height of passenger steamer service in 1890, captains made the wage of $109 per month!), Lost Passenger Steamships of Lake Michigan is complete with pictures to be a compact history lesson.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though not specific to Lake Michigan passenger steamships as the title suggests, it was still a very interesting book chock full of historical information. I appreciated and enjoyed the included pictures as well as the personal stories and accounts interwoven throughout the information. Easy to read and follow, this book was wonderful to fulfill a personal interest but would also work well as a reference book for school reports, history buffs and shipping fans. An excellent resource.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies.

*I received a complimentary copy of Lost Passenger Steamships of Lake Michigan from The History Press for my honest review*

Dead Dog Like Me

Davis, Max. Dad Dog Like Me. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
deaddogLiterally feeling like a dead dog, Pastor Nick Gregory’s life is falling apart at the seams. Family problems with his children, a pending divorce from his wife, a horrific car crash and the dog…Waking from the crash to find himself in the body of Mephibosheth, grandson of King Saul, Nick begins to connect the parallelisms between his experiences, realizing faith, grace, forgiveness and blessings may indeed be real…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Reading this book in a few short days, I must admit I was intrigued by the title, loved the cover picture, and sped through the story. Well-written and easy to read, the style along with the storyline proved to be the perfect combination. Based on a version of 2 Samuel 9:8, (What is your servant, that you should notice a dead dog like me), was an interesting yet profound idea for this novel, including forgiveness, mercy, love, faith and of course, the dog. I think perhaps this book would be perfect for a movie as a great way to share the intended message.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Dead Dog Like Me from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Desperate Measures

Orchard, Sandra. Desperate Measures: Port Astor Secrets Bk 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
orchardAs the third installment of the Port Astor Secrets series, Desperate Measures follows closely upon the end of book 2, Blind Trust. Science researcher, Kate Adams, is searching for the medicinal plant which she must keep a secret. Along with a father who has been missing for over twenty years, an unsolved mystery, a murder waiting to happen and an interested suitor, Sandra Orchard delivers suspense, romance and intrigue in a successful manner…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As the conclusion to the Port Astor Secrets series, I enjoyed this mystery novel. Having read this series in succession, I would definitely recommend reading the books in order. I appreciated the consistency of the characters throughout the series but also the connection I felt to the main characters, having followed them for a time. With an interesting storyline revolving plants, a one-sided romance, broken family dynamics and a good spine-chilling, this book was definitely worth the time. I look forward to the next series, hopefully soon.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Desperate Measures from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Hiding Place

Ten Boom, Corrie. With Sherrill, Elizabeth and John. Abridged by DuPont, Lonnie Hull. Illustrated by Foley, Tim. The Hiding Place: Young Reader’s Edition.   Bloomington, MN: Chosen Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
tenBoomBeginning in WWII and continuing on in hearts until current day, Corrie Ten Boom and her family are still considered real-life heroes. With Jews being hunted, captured and tormented, Corrie and her family take the chance of hiding Jews in a nearby building. Once betrayed, Corrie and her family must endure the Nazi concentration camps while keeping their faith in God and humanity…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Such a bittersweet, heartbreaking story yet one filled with hope, peace, courage and love. Though a well-known story, this Young Readers’ Edition makes this story accessible for even younger children/ readers. With easier to understand language, relevant pictures and sketches, interesting dialog and an engaging writing style, The Hiding Place is definitely a book to be read and shared by both young and old. Of particular interest, the authors (Elizabeth and John Sherrill) knew Corrie Ten Boom personally, making for a more intimate story.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Hiding Place from Chosen Publishing for my honest review*

Happiness According To Jesus

Schuller, Bobby. Happiness According To Jesus: What It Means To Be Blessed. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
happinessPresenting Chapters 5-7 of Matthew, the Sermon on the Mount, in a new, understandable, personal manner, Bobby Schuller shares stories, personal accounts, thoughts and prayers on happiness. Not just any-old happiness, but the truly genuine happiness found through and with Jesus. Peace, love, understanding, acceptance and quiet all factor into a blessed joy found in Jesus.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Such an intriguing method of presenting a well-known yet perhaps not well-understood part of the Bible. Giving up living, surviving and trying to find happiness on our own, though not easy, when paired with Jesus can result in less turmoil, chaos and turbulence while opening us up to inner peace, contentment and true beauty of life. With the ultimate goal of eternal life, Happiness According To Jesus fixates on the message found in the Sermon on the Mount in a meaningful, maybe more modern context while keeping it pure. Perfect as a sermon topic, Bible study, ministry, or even a Sunday School lesson for older children…such a wonderful reminder that we cannot do it alone.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Happiness According To Jesus from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

How To Tie A Tie

Jin, Ryan Tristan. How To Tie A Tie: A Gentleman’s Guide To Getting Dressed. USA: Potter Style Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
tiePackaged in a smaller, sturdier, material-clothed cover, How To Tie A Tie details tie essentials (styles, material and color), knot basics (from classic to bold), and wardrobe /finishing touches (shirts, cuff links, and pocket squares). Full of simple directions accompanied by easy-to-follow pictures, Ryan Jin does an excellent job of helping gentlemen dress for success…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Fantastic! As a skill that does not seem as necessary nor utilized as often these days, How To Tie A Tie makes it effortless and straightforward for men to look their best. Be it for a special occasion, a job interview, vital in a career, or just basic knowledge, learning to tie a decent knot is now easily achievable. Perfect as a gift for Father’s Day, high school/ college graduation, a new job or even the person hard to buy for, this stylish little book will  definitely be appreciated! I plan on having several on-hand for just such celebrations.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of How To Tie A Tie from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

As Love Blooms

Seilstad, Lorna. As Love Blooms: The Gregory Sisters Series, Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
aslovebloomsAs the youngest of the three Gregory sisters, Tessa may have a bit of a wild-side yet she is determined to enter a man’s career as a horticulturist/ landscape designer. Set in the early 1900’s, smack in the middle of women’s suffrage, Tessa will stop at nothing to obtain her dream until a rival, the handsome gardener-Reese King, enters the picture and captures her heart…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a huge fan of Lorna Seilstad, especially her Lake Manawa Summers series, I looked forward to reading her newest novel, As Love Blooms. Part of the Gregory Sisters series, of which I have not read any yet, I enjoyed this story full of wit, sass, perseverance and strength. Mixed with a dose of romance, I may have missed key elements to certain characters/ events; however, I was able to enjoy it none-the-less. Perfect as a summer read, this novel captured my attention with the beautiful cover. Though Making Waves remains my favorite from Lorna Seilstad, this book was certainly pleasurable and amusing.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of As Love Blooms from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Murder Freshly Baked

Chapman, Vannetta. Murder Freshly Baked: The Amish Village Mystery Series, Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2015.

SUMMARY:
murderTaking place in the Amish Artisan Village of Middlebury, Indiana, Murder Freshly Baked provides poetic clues in the freshly-baked pies and an alarming murder at the finish-line. With both English and Amish neighbors working together to strengthen the community, the mysteries must be solved before another friend is lost. With suspense, faith, romance, and blended societies, Vannetta Chapman shares the best of the Amish in this cozy mystery…

PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read and enjoyed the first book in the series, Murder Simply Brewed, I knew I had to read this newest addition. I found though a stand-alone, this story follows and incorporates several of the same characters I came to know in the first book. Not sure if I missed anything of relevance in the second book, Murder Tightly Knit, but I do plan on reading that one as well. Full of Amish customs fused with English customs makes for an interesting and entertaining read. Humor, romance, mystery and faith all combine for a worth-while novel.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Murder Freshly Baked from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*