Treat

Banyas, Stephanie. Treat: 50 Recipes For No-Bake Marshmallow Treats. USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2015.

SUMMARY:
treatFirst created in 1928 by a team of Home-Ec teachers, Marshmallow Krispie Treats have been a staple at birthday parties, picnics, celebrations and classrooms. In her new book, Treat, author Stephanie Banyas takes those classic treats to an updated level. Along with making the marshmallows, adding creative ingredients, loading the tops, and cutting into designer shapes, Treat also shares tips on ensuring a successful outcome. Yum!

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not a huge fan myself of the classic marshmallow treats, my family absolutely loves them! As a result, this tasty little book was perfect for us! Full of delectable recipes accompanied by scrumptious pictures, Treat is definitely a book that will have the pages sticky with use. Perfect as a gift or passed along between friends, I will probably purchase several copies to share with each batch of the yummy treats. Such an easy treat made even more interesting yet still simple. Strawberry Lemonade Treats, Peanut Butter Cup Treats, Chocolate Espresso Treats…I think this non-fan may even be tempted! (I wonder if Maraschino Cherry Treats would work?) So clever!!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Treat from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Advertisements

Not by Sight

Breslin, Kate. Not by Sight. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2015.

SUMMARY:
notbysightJack Benningham, heir to the Earl of Stonebrook by the death of his older brother, finds himself scarred and blinded after an explosion while following a path of spies. Haunted by the emerald dress and auburn curls of the woman delivering the white feathers, he must come to terms with his difficult situation. Made to join the Women’s Forage Corps to bale hay, sew sacks and drive the wagons to support the troops, Grace Mabry literally stumbles upon Jack, the Tin Man. Will he recognize her? Does he remember the white feather of cowardliness? Does he blame her for his blindness?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a new author to me, I was thrilled with Kate Breslin’s novel, Not by Sight. Reminiscent of Leroux’s Phantom of the Opera but also Beauty and the Beast, it was perfect for me. Full of descriptive passages, a history lesson (on the Women’s Forage Corps), striking romances, an unsettled suspense and a memorable story-line, this novel was outstanding.  I thought the main characters were well portrayed as well as the secondary ones, all combined with a story-line I adored.   Cover-to-cover and everything in-between, I enjoyed it. My only regret? It ended.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies.

*I received a complimentary copy of Not by Sight from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

Through Waters Deep

Sundin, Sarah. Through Waters Deep: Waves of Freedom: Bk 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
watersdeepEscorting British ships across the North Atlantic at the edge of World War II, Ensign Jim Avery is surprised to discover a high-school classmate working in the Boston Naval Yard. When a new ship, the USS Atwood, is possibly being obstructed, many people come under suspicion, including Mary Stirling, the shipyard secretary. Jim and Mary must work together to solve the mystery while maintaining their positions and guarding their hearts…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Absolutely loving the cover of the book as well as a favorite author of mine, of course, I was going to read this novel! Not set in my favorite time-frame, I still enjoyed the historical aspects surrounding this story along with the story-line. It was actually a bit of a history lesson aligned with a mystery, romance and adventure on water. Probably my favorite novel of Sarah Sundin’s yet, I look forward to her next novel in the Waves of Freedom series. Though subtle, the Christian aspect fit perfectly into the writing, almost naturally. (Along with the cover, I appreciated all the possible meanings associated with the title too.)

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Through Waters Deep from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Trial Run

Locke, Thomas. Trail Run: Fault Lines-Bk 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
trialrunCould it be? Would it ever be possible to view, participate, predict, challenge, or manipulate an event in the future or in another realm? If so, would you engage? Just such the case is causing two different teams to explore that possibility; however, each have different motives…one team wishes to help people while the other hopes to control. Through tension, technology, thrills and even some romance, Trial Run leaves nothing behind…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Wow…definitely not my pick of genre at all yet there was something pulling me to finish. Though full of lots of technical jargon and ideas, once laid out, the story unraveled quickly. As a fan of Thomas Locke/ Davis Bunn, I knew I would read this book but soon realized it was more science-fiction and mystery than suspense-thriller. Again, it caught me off guard but managed to keep me on track to the finish-line. Oddly enough, I already know I will search for the next book in the Fault Lines series, surprising myself…isn’t that what an author and book should do though?

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Trial Run from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

God Speaks

Evans PhD, Craig A. God Speaks: What He Says, What He Means. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
GodSpeaksWritten with the purpose of inviting people to read the Bible as well as presenting it as a timeless, generational and life-changing book, author Craig Evans shares his wealth of knowledge surrounding the Bible. Beginning with the meaning of the Bible, followed by what the Bible is all about, and ending with common questions about the Bible, God Speaks may stand the test of time along with the Bible…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Obviously a well-researched, knowledgeable and articulate author, Craig Evans organized, explained and justified the words contained within the Bible. Most importantly, I found a positive attitude continued throughout the book relating to the Bible which is not always found. Though written with advanced information, parts of the book would be also be perfect for the beginning believer, strayed reader, stuck Christian and those theologically trained. I also appreciated the importance of understanding the Bible while reading it throughout life; learning never ends.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of God Speaks: What He Says, What He Means from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

The Looney Experiment

Reynolds, Luke. The Looney Experiment. Grand Rapids, MI: Blink/ Zondervan Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
LooneyJust trying to get through middle-school unnoticed, Atticus Hobart cannot seem to make it happen. With an overactive imagination, a crush on a cute girl in class, the brunt of many jokes and a weird name, Atticus needs some help. Enter substitute English teacher Mr. Looney who happens to have an unconventional manner of teaching but may be just what Atticus requires to find his courage…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a YA novel geared towards 11-14 year-olds, I thought The Looney Experiment was well written with a good message. With references to the book,How To Kill a Mockingbird, it is also very relevant and timely to that particular age group. Creative, humorous and entertaining, once accustomed to the style, this story just moved along with shorter chapters. As a seventh grade English teacher and writer of several other books, author Luke Reynolds is more than qualified to pen such an appealing YA novel.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Looney Experiment from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Luther and Katharina

Hedlund, Jody, Luther and Katharina. Colorado Springs, CO: Waterbrook Press. 2015.

SUMMARY:
lutherandkatharinaMartin Luther, well known for his reformation of the Catholic church, denounces isolation and promotes the goodness of marriage. Cloistered since age 5, noblewoman Katharina Von Bora defies the expected and finds her deepest desires for love and family through and with Martin Luther. Class conflict, religious tensions and status norms cause both to reconsider their beliefs and succumb to the heart…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Being familiar with the story of Martin Luther but less with Katharina Von Bora, not only did I enjoy the story but also the history. Though different than the usual genre of Jody Hedlund I have read, as a favorite author, I would read just about anything she writes. Full of tension, stubbornness, strong wills, and unlikely romance, Luther and Katharina was definitely an excellent novel. I fell in love with the cover and then the story within. Though not due out until October 2015, I am already hoping for another book of the same type from this author…please?

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Luther and Katharina from Blogging For Books for my honest review *

The Irresistible Community

Donahue, Bill. The Irresistible Community: An Invitation To Life Together. grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2015.

SUMMARY:
irresistiblecommunitySet around the topics of table, towel and truth, The Irresistible Community explains and encourages the need to be a part of a group. Acceptance, inclusion and ownership coincide in fellowship with Jesus. Modeling the relationship of Jesus with his disciples, Bill Donahue stresses the importance of belonging to a community for all…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
I found the organization of this book to be very effective and creative. Introducing each disciple at the beginning of each chapter was a unique approach which set the stage for community involvement. Coordinated into three sections, (table=manners, any community setting, picking your seat…towel=serving, not giving up, arrangement at table…truth=honesty, knowing the difference, being kind), I was able to connect as the theme continued entirely throughout the book. Belonging can be such a powerful tool in bringing people to faith, along with the influence of being a member of a local neighborhood, both ideas which are developed in attainable manners. Perfect as a Bible study or ministry, The Irresistible Community was well done.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Irresistible Community from Baker Publishing Group for my honest review*

Fits of Tranquility

Lampros, Robert. Fits of Tranquility. Saint Louis, MO: JBS-Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
fitsoftranquilityFilled with poetry and prose surrounding faith, hope, peace and love, author Robert Lampros shares his inner reflections in intriguing, thought provoking words. Split into two parts, ideas of hope, healing, joy and faith mirrored in poems of family, lightening, life and wilderness, the second part is comprised of prose about falling in love…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Interestingly, poems are often full of unique meaning to the author as well as the reader. Though I am unsure of the author’s exact meaning behind each poem, several invited my own thoughts, feelings and connotations upon reading them. Though more unsure of the included prose of falling in love, I am certain it holds a special bond for the author, Robert Lampros. Most certainly a book for avid poetry readers, I am glad to have been given the opportunity to read and enjoy this author’s work.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Fits of Tranquility from the author for my honest review*

Wild in the Hollow

Haines, Amber C. Wild in the Hollow: On Chasing Desire and Finding the Broken Way Home. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
hollowIn a brutally honest, poignant recollection of her life, author Amber Haines writes of her ongoing battle with Jesus. Growing up in the church yet then turning from it, she discovers God is there all the time, especially in the broken places of life. In a beautiful manner, she shares her personal story of receiving grace and forgiveness while finding God once again…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
In an almost poetic verse, Wild in the Hollow was a unique journey to follow with the author…somehow though, it worked. In a very black-and-white way with a bit of grey mixed in at times, the author’s story of finding God in the difficult places when she needed Him most, was quite rewarding. I am certain many women could identify with Amber Haines in some form while growing up, making this a personally relevant story.  Definitely a triumphant story of God’s perseverance, Amber Haines now has been entrusted with raising four wild sons.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Wild in the Hollow from Revell Publishing for my honest review*