The Chase

Kupecky, Kyle and Kelsey. The Chase: Trusting God With Your Happily Ever After. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
chaseSharing their story separately and then together, Kyle and Kelsey Kupecky tell of their teenage dreams, heartbreak, a chance meeting, their relationship and a firm trust and faith in God. Putting God first in their lives, each explains the importance from a gender-difference point-of-view, then combine the items for togetherness thoughts. Respect, waiting, heartbreak, dreams, hopes, encouragement and confidence all fuse with a strong faith in regards to a relationship, all of which are addressed in this book.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
An enjoyable, thoughtful read, I found The Chase to highlight some good points, ideas and actions; however, it appears to be written and directed at a younger audience. This book might be good for a high-school youth group, parents with teenagers entering the dating scene, or even a high school Bible study. Definitely some strong advice, The Chase is well written and sure to hold the attention of the intended target. Perhaps the best guidance given is not to compromise, negotiate and settle for anything not pleasing to God…exactly!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies.

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

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Things I’ve Said To My Children

Ripperger, Nathan. Things I’ve Said To My Children. USA: Ten Speed Press. 2015.

SUMMARY:
thingsivesaidtomychildrenEvery parent at some point in their parenting years has said something outlandish to their pride-and-joys. Touting the oddness, irrationality, and ridiculousness of children, author and illustrator Nathan Ripperger shares his absurd and unbelievable (but true) responses as a parent. Compiling, commemorating and celebrating these whimsical, preposterous, wacky and laughable phrases, Things I’ve Said To My Children will have parents smiling, nodding their heads and realizing they are not alone in their aberrant expressions…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
I admit…I have been there, said that, meant it yet couldn’t believe I did. The author chronicles his outbursts in a cute manner in his book with adorable illustrations. Though I haven’t used all the included phrases listed, it did get me thinking of things I’ve said and appreciate the extra pages at the end to record my own utterances. Perfect for new parents, grandparents, grown children…Things I’ve Said To My Children would make the perfect gift. My favorites? “Don’t lick my arm- that’s what weird kids do.” “I am not talking to you…until you are wearing underwear!” “Please stop poking my bottom with your light-saber!” Funny, maybe not so funny (if you have said it), but clever, heartwarming and so relate-able!!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Things I’ve Said To my Children from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

All Is Bright

Coble, Colleen. All Is Bright: A Hope Beach Christmas Novella. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
allisbrightRun off the road and thrown into the ocean, Delilah Carter almost suffers the same fate her parents did years ago. In the midst of planning a wedding for her friends at Tidewater Inn, Delilah experiences another scare when she starts to receive threatening phone calls and is attacked again. Helped by the local sheriff, Tom Bourne, Delilah is faced with a difficult decision…does she continue with the wedding or save herself?  Mystery, previous Hope Beach characters, and romance all mingle together around the Christmas tree…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read previous works by Colleen Coble, though not any in the Hope Beach series, I was unable to connect characters from this novella yet enjoyed it perfectly as a stand-alone. Just in time for the season of Christmas-themed novels (a favorite of mine), I was happy to start the time with All Is Bright. A quick read which caused me to definitely consider this author’s other series, I will continue to seek works by her. Absolutely a novella to read this time of year!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of All Is Bright from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

The Columbus Code

Evans, Mike. The Columbus Code. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
columbuscodeWith past and present colliding, author Mike Evans shares an epic puzzle surrounding famous adventures of Christopher Columbus on the high-seas. When John Winters, an American Secret Service agent, decides to research his roots back to Christopher Columbus, he discovers much more than he bargained for…much more. With fast-paced action, high drama, dangerous turmoil, bits of history and riveting ideas, The Columbus Code voyages through non-stop waters…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A new author for me but obviously a well-known New York Times best-selling author, I found Mike Evans’ newest book to be quite the entertaining read. Though the book was not necessarily overly embroiled with Christopher Columbus directly, I found the concept compelling for a novel. Similarly compared to The DaVinci Code (which I have not personally read), The Guardian or even the movie National Treasure, The Columbus Code was a nice mix of history and present-day which made the book very readable. As an award-winning journalist and Middle East analyst as well as a best-selling author, Mike Evans is well-written in this intriguing, gripping novel.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Columbus Code from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Taming The To-Do List

Whitwer, Glynnis. Taming The To-Do List: How to Chose Your Best Work Every Day. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
to-dolistIs your to-do list growing by leaps and bounds without anything getting done? If so, join Glynnis Whitwer as she explains, sympathizes (a bit), encourages and demonstrates how to not only tackle that list, but make each and every day count. Busy? Unfocused? Procrastinator? Taming The To-Do List addresses all these issues through small changes, clarity, understanding fears, breaking habits and attainable goals. Relax and feel accomplishment at the end of the day…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not sure how she knew what I needed, but Glynnis Whitwer hit some things right on the head which needed to be tackled for me. Breaking the to-do list into larger projects and smaller pieces with emphasis on importance, definitely has made a difference. Understanding why I procrastinate on certain items, combined with a different way of thinking, and thus, a new plan of attack, that to-do list has actually been declining successfully. 🙂

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Taming The To-Do List from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Get Yourself Organized For Christmas

Lipp, Kathi. Get Yourself Organized For Christmas: Simple Steps To Enjoying The Season. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers.

SUMMARY:
organizedforChristmasReady or not, Christmas is going to happen! Stressful, busy, demanding, dread…all these emotions and thoughts can surround Christmas but do they really have to be a part of it? In her new book, author Kathi Lipp offers suggestions, encouragement and projects for shaping Christmas how it should be…full of faith, family and friends. With ideas for a clutter-free Christmas, quick tips to save time, early planning on gifts and decorations as well as thoughtful projects for special people, Get Yourself Organized For Christmas takes the agony out of Christmas, allowing everyone to focus on the important aspects and enjoy the time…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Decorations are already displayed in the stores, Christmas music is set to begin shortly, and the malls are ready for Santa…no wonder Christmas has become a time of pressure, expectations and anxiety. Already a fan of this author, Kathi Lipp, I knew I was in for good advice when I requested her newest book. Simple, relaxed, thoughtful and focused  on faith, family, and friends was a priceless piece of guidance for Christmas. Absolutely a book I plan to pack away with my Christmas items each year and return to often for gentle yet necessary reminders.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Get Yourself Organized For Christmas from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

The New Pilgrims

Castleberry Ed.D., Joseph. The New Pilgrims: How Immigrants Are Renewing America’s Faith And Values. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
pilgrimsFrom the original Pilgrims to the current immigrants, Christianity has played a dominant role in American religion. Though in different forms, the Christian faith has shaped, formed and supported America’s creed and the nation. Social sciences, journalism, history, ethics, political science, and theological perspective are all implemented in this study of immigrants renewing America’s faith.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With the current downward trend of people identifying as Christians in America, author Joseph Castleberry demonstrates his belief of immigrants strengthening faith and the nation. Interesting and well-written albeit not a light read, this book may be perfect for a Bible Study, or a relevant history class. Written in a pro-American and pro-religious manner, this book will prove to be well-suited for those engrossed with politics, theology and history. May also be currently compatible with the political season of elections, offering a divergent view.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The New Pilgrims from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

5 in 5 For Every Season

Symon, Michael. With Trattner, Douglas. May, Jennifer (Photography). Michael Symon’s 5 in 5 For Every Season: 165 Quick Dinners, Sides, Holiday Dishes, and More. NY: USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2015.

SUMMARY:
5in55 fresh ingredients + 5 minutes of heat= 165 recipes…that just about sums up the new cookbook by co-host of The Chew, author and chef, Michael Symon. Through trips to the farmer’s market, a little bit of time, cost-saving strategies and fresh recipes, 5 in 5 For Every Season makes home-cooked meals from scratch, a cinch. Using ingredients in season and a touch of creativeness, this cookbook will help most anyone succeed in mastering delicious, healthy, attainable meals.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Always looking for quick, interesting, and tasty meals for my family, I was excited to try Michael Symon’s new book. Already a fan of his show as well as a frequent patron of farmer’s markets, this book brought those together for me and proved to be a success. Upon first perusal, the pictures grabbed my attention, closely followed by the easy yet satisfying recipes. An added bonus- the easy ability to exchange ingredients should one not be a favorite, with the result just as appetizing. Included is a section on holiday cooking, perfect for the upcoming holiday meals. For my family, 5 in 5 For Every Season definitely was an inspiring find to cook often and enjoy further!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of 5 in 5 For Every Season from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Last Chance Hero

Armstrong, Cathleen. Last Chance Hero: A Place To Call Home Series. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
lastchanceheroOpening her office in Last Chance, New Mexico, Dr. Jessica MacLeod is pleased, yet hesitant, to make this quaint city her new home. Legendary football player turned coach, Andy Ryan is used to being in charge and in the spotlight. Though Dr. Jessica doesn’t know the first thing about football, she soon realizes this football-crazed town may change that fact. When the Doctor and Andy don’t agree on the diagnosis and future of an injured player, things may just heat up more than on only the football field…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having jumped into this series with book 3, I was pleased to see several of the same characters revisited and updated. Though a stand-alone novel, the back stories definitely lend to the understanding and depth of this story. Not a huge football myself, I found Dr. Jessica very relate-able in a football fan territory (Go Packers!). Well written with an ounce of romance, faith and sweetness, I hope for yet another book in the A Place To Call Home series.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Last Chance Hero from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

For the Love

Hatmaker, Jen. For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books. 2015.

SUMMARY:
fortheloveBlogger, HGTV star and author, Jen Hatmaker is also a Pastor’s wife and mother of five children. Realizing that everyone needs grace, starting with self and working outwards, she realistically extends that branch through humor, stories, a bit of subtle faith and then more humor. Through laughter, honesty, directness and the busyness of life, For the Love reminds of the necessity of grace and love in relationships…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having seen Jen Hatmaker’s new book in stores, online and websites, I was intrigued and knew I wanted to read it. Not being familiar with her before reading her book though, I was unsure what I would find. I have to admit, it was full of wit and banter that had me nodding my head in agreement (fashion farces, turning forty, kids) yet under the lightheartedness, there was a message of extending compassion, kindness and love to those who may need it most. An easy, fast read which leaves thoughts floating around, I may just have to check out the HGTV episodes of her house restoration next.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of For the Love from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*