The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade

Smith, Virginia. The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade: Tales From The Goose Creek B&B. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2015.

SUMMARY:
GooseCreekParadeReady to relax and retire quietly into his golden years, Al Richardson is content in his longtime comfortable home in Goose Creek, Kentucky. On the other hand, Al’s wife, Millie Richardson, is set to launch a new business which entails opening a B&B in an old run-down Victorian house. Meanwhile the new veterinarian in town is boycotted  and the water tower needs painting, both adding to the town’s turmoil.  Full of quirky banter, adorable characters, and interesting relationships, the town of Goose Creek may be anything but boring…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though it took me a bit to become caught up in the small town of Goose Creek, once there, I found it quite inviting. Between the neighbors in the community, the pleasant interactions, the bit of romance, the cuteness of the animals and the lightness of the read, it combined for a perfect mix. As a wonderful vacation book, ideal for a busy schedule, or in-between heavier stories, The Most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade is darling, especially as it will be part of a series. Even the title is fun!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The most Famous Illegal Goose Creek Parade from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Keeping Christmas

Walsh, Dan. Keeping Christmas. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
keepingchristmasSpending their first Christmas as empty-nesters alone, Stan and Judy Winters are struggling to make it through the holidays. Depressed and unable to imagine decorating or celebrating without her children at home, Judy mourns in loneliness while remembering tradition through the handmade ornaments of years past. Making the biggest sacrifice, Stan hopes to deliver happiness to his wife at a time she needs it the most.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A quick read full of seasonal emotions, Keeping Christmas emphasizes the importance of family, traditions and selflessness. With a deeper Christmas message, author Dan Walsh writes another spirit-filled novel just in time for Christmas. Though not as strongly developed as many of his other books, the quickness and thematic plot work well this time of year. As a fan of Christmas-based stories during this season, I am glad I read Keeping Christmas, especially from an author I admire. I look forward to spending next Christmas season reading yet another Christmas novel written by him. (Love the cover of this book-perfect!)

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Keeping Christmas from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Longevity Kitchen

Katz, Rebecca. With Edelson, Mat. The Longevity Kitchen: Satisfying, Big-Flavor Recipes Featuring The Top 16 Age-Busting Power Foods.  2013.

SUMMARY:
thelongevitykitchenFull of delicious healthy recipes laced with tons of information surrounding cooking, healthy options, food preparation, ingredient details and health knowledge, The Longevity Kitchen encourages longevity of cooking, health and life. Acting as almost a cooking-coach, author Rebecca Katz starts with the basics, progresses through culinary knowledge, shares health information along the way, and provides success with tasty meals, all while holding a hand and offering encouragement through the process. Main dishes, sides, nibbles and sweet treats all combine with powerful information and power foods to make a lifestyle and quality of life difference.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Explaining how the body uses and processes food followed by the 16 most powerful foods readily available, this book has the power to change the quality of your life. Not only did I learn about the super foods but also many other valuable foods and their importance to good health. Part cookbook, part textbook, part life-coach and part pictures, not only did I learn a lot but I also changed my way of thinking concerning food, as well as obtained some really yummy, nutritious new recipes.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Longevity Kitchen from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

New Southern Table

Millwe, Whitney. Whitney Miller’s New Southern Table: My Favorite Family Recipes With A Modern Twist. Nashville, TN: Nelson Books. 2015.

SUMMARY:
newsoutherntableTime-tested, family-favorite recipes are the staple of New Southern Table. Growing up in the South, author and chef Whitney Miller learned at home to cook, extend hospitality and always make sure lots of food was on hand for the many guests. Taking traditional, classic recipes and adding new twists, lightening them up, and using new techniques and cooking methods, the winner of Masterchef shares her newest creations in this more modern cookbook. Complete with beautiful meal pictures, family photographs and personal accounts, New Southern Table is sure to whet some appetites.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Liking her premise of family dinners, I thought Whitney Miller’s newest cookbook was full of delicious, simple recipes based on several I already know and make. With some novel recipes mixed with twists on others, I only wish some of the recipes had been lighter-fare but a few changes to the ingredients can fix that easily. The best part? Learning of the many non-profits the author is involved with, donating her speaking and cooking services- I applaud her for that as well as her new book.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Whitney Miller’s New Southern Table from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Love’s Sure Dawn

Rawlings, Naomi. Love’s Sure Dawn: An Eagle Harbor Novel. Cedar Lake Press.  2015.

SUMMARY:
lovessuredawnWith the price of fish dropping, Rebekah Cummings knows she must find work to help support her family. Leaving her home in Eagle Harbor, Michigan, she accepts a position upon a ship owned by Gilbert Sinclair, son of a wealthy shipping family. Knowing Gilbert since she was young, Rebekah is surprised at the feelings within her heart for Gilbert, especially as he searches for an heiress to wed due to his crane sinking to the bottom of the lake. Growing romance, strong faith, unexpected surprises, and the lure of the rugged Lake Superior coast all combine in the newest installment of the Eagle Harbor series…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Yet again, Naomi Rawlings amazes me, stirs my emotions and convinces why she is such an accomplished author. Left pondering how I can enjoy this novel even more than the previous one which I thoroughly loved, I am also deciding how I will wait for the fourth book in the series. Very familiar with Eagle Harbor, Michigan, I am astounded at the exactness with which Love’s Sure Dawn exemplifies the landscape, characters and town. Piquing my interest with her novels, I visited and researched the lifesaving station across from the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse and really learned quite a bit. As one of my favorite authors, this particular novel may be my most treasured one this year.

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love’s Sure Dawn from the author for my honest review*

Proverbs Prayers

Mason, John. Proverbs Prayers: Praying the Wisdom of Proverbs for Your Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
ProverbsprayersAiming to help others pray the Proverbs scriptures, John Mason writes from his own experiences and life changes having prayed the Proverbs himself. With guidance to read each Proverb and then pray the corresponding prayer, Proverbs Prayers provides the tools necessary to experience God’s presence, wisdom and strength in life as never before. Set-up as a friendly devotional in thirty concise sections filled with magnitude, blessing and grace, the Proverbs principles are chronicled and noted at the end for a quick reference.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Such punch encapsulated in a smaller devotional book! Taking the approach of studying the scriptures in a smaller-scale method, I thought this book on the Proverbs was perfect. Reading the scripture and praying each included prayer kept everything in one handy place giving me the necessary time to concentrate on the devotion. My favorite part was the conclusion listing of the Proverb principles with the coordinating scripture and brief thought. A perfect gift, devotional, Bible study or personal tool, Proverbs Prayers even comes complete with a beautiful peaceful cover.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Proverbs Prayers from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The New Pastor’s Handbook

Helopoulos, Jason. The New Pastor’s Handbook: Help And Encouragement For The First Years Of Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2015.

SUMMARY:
NewPastorshandbookWritten by a seasoned Pastor for the newest of Pastors, author Jason Helpoulos offers sage advice. With chapters devoted to starting the ministry strong, encouragements pertaining to leadership, listening, time, and caring, as well as pitfalls and joys of ministry, many important topics are covered. Each section begins with a scripture, gives guidance, and lends reassurance. In an easy to read, relate-able manner, The New Pastor’s Handbook shares those things usually not learned through textbooks and schooling, but rather through experience.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though not a Pastor, I thought this book was well-written, informative and interesting. The style in which it was written could be useful in any book relating to a new career, activity, or phase of life. The manner was user-friendly, efficiently organized, easily consumed, and welcoming. The wisdom shared would be priceless to someone just starting the path of ministry, in the hopes that it would continue to be passed along. Personally, I found it interesting to read from a church member’s point of view, emphasizing that even Pastors struggle. Definitely the perfect gift for a recent seminarian graduate beginning to shepherd his own flock.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The New Pastor’s Handbook from Baker Books for my honest review*

Happy Cooking

De Laurentiis, Giada. Happy Cooking: Make Every Meal Count…Without Stressing Out. USA: Pam Kraus Books/ Crown Publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
happycookingEmbarking on a new season in her life while writing her eighth cookbook, author and chef Giada De Laurentiis chronicles her many healthy, happy and creative recipes in her newest book, Happy Cooking. With snacks, pastas, vegetables and treats as well as clean eating and weeknight favorites, time-saving tips, healthy eating strategies, and special occasion ideas all compliment each other in an attractive cookbook. Gorgeous pictures fulfill the pages with easy to follow recipes, directions and unique ingredients paired with more everyday foods. Star of Food Network Giada at Home, she recently opened her own restaurant in Las Vegas, guest appears on The Today Show, and shares even more recipes and tips in her digital magazine.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Usually watching her Food Network show while putting in miles on the elliptical, I was thrilled to have the recipes in a cookbook (rather than trying to remember the ingredients while pedaling). Clean eating accompanied by beautiful pictures, tasty recipes and healthy-living ideas create an ideal book for my kitchen. Though some ingredients will be new to my meals, they are not necessarily hard to find. Always looking for new creations, especially from a trusted chef, this book will be opened often and additional copies most likely gifted.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

Murder at the Courthouse

Gabhart, A.H. Murder at the Courthouse: A Hidden Springs Mystery. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell publishing. 2015.

SUMMARY:
murderatthecourthouseWith a population of 732, Hidden Springs is a sleepy, quaint, quiet little town snuggled in Kentucky. As the new deputy sheriff in this cozy town, Sheriff Micheal Keane is ready to relax and enjoy life…that is until the population drops to 731 after a man, apparently murdered, is found on the front steps of the courthouse. As the community members of Hidden Springs share their unique, sometimes absurd, speculations on the murder, Micheal is now wondering just what prompted him to take this job…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Sometimes in the midst of all the more serious, deeper, emotional books I read, I need a lighter, cozier, more fun book to read…and I found it. Murder at the Courthouse is well written and skims along in an easy manner yet still provides twists and turns in a “who-dun-it” novel. As the first story in the Hidden Springs Mystery series, I look forward to continuing with the main character while getting to know others too. Fitting the intended genre for me, this book turned out to be a delight.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Murder at the Courthouse from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Hidden History of Milwaukee

Tanzilo, Robert. Hidden History of Milwaukee. Charleston, SC: The History Press. 2014.

SUMMARY:
hiddenhistoryofmilwaukeeTouring behind the scenes of many famous landmarks in Milwaukee, author Robert Tanzilo (of OnMilwaukee.com) shares many secrets of this old German-heritage city. An old Milwaukee brewery, a basement indoor running track at Juneau High School, the famous Wisconsin Gas flame, the Soldiers’ Home near Miller Park (home of the Brewers baseball team), the Dome of the Basilica of St. Josaphat and the Pabst Theatre are just a few of the many monuments visited in the book, Hidden History of Milwaukee. Full of interesting information, older black-and-white pictures and personal accounts of the author’s excursions, it makes a visit to the city even more informative and enjoyable.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Reading books on the history of a city can be so engrossing and educational, especially when it includes behind-the-scenes pictures and information not always available to the general public. A wonderful way to “visit” a place, sometimes the information leads to further investigation and even more knowledge gained. This book would make a great tour-guide to the city of Milwaukee, especially if read before the trip. One of the several books in the Hidden History series, I plan on reading the others now as well.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Hidden History of Milwaukee from The History Press for my honest review*