Country Cooking From A Redneck Kitchen

Bryson, Francine. With Volkwein, Ann. Country Cooking From A Redneck Kitchen. New York: USA. Clarkson Potter /Publisher. 2016.

countrycookingfromaredneckkitchen

SUMMARY:
Cookbook author, local and national baking champion, TV star and book award finalist, baker Francine Bryson now shares her love of Southern cooking in her newest book, Country Cooking From A Redneck Kitchen. With recipes fit for a party, gathering, picnic, potluck or family meal, hearty and happy attendees are guaranteed. Burgers, BBQ, sides, bread and desserts are all included. With colorful photographs and personal anecdotes, the recipes are as fun as they are tasty…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though most of the recipes appealed to me, the section on Breads and Rolls was my favorite. Blackberry Pecan Bread, Sweet Potato Biscuits, Peanut Butter Muffins, and Lemonade Rolls make the perfect accompaniment to main dish meals. Though some of the ingredients were not our usual fare, they were easily switchable. The one thing I missed was a few more photographs as the ones included were well done (and I absolutely love pictures in a cookbook). A perfect cookbook for the summer months as well as the winter months, it is definitely crowd-pleasing. For dessert tonight…Sweet Potato Spice Cake…yum!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Country Cooking From A Redneck Kitchen from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

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The Red Door Inn

Johnson, Liz. The Red Door Inn: Prince Edward Island Dreams Series- Book 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
Each struggling with their own hurt, heartache, pain and loss, Marie Carrington, Jack Sloane and his nephew Seth Sloane, find themselves working together towards the same goal, even if it is not quite clear in the beginning. Through mistrust, hard work, healing and ultimately shared dreams, each contributes to the Bed and Breakfast known as The Red Door Inn in unique ways. While completing the Inn, many heart-warming moments occur while some deeper issues are resolved with the common themes of fatherly love and trust woven throughout…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Loving the idea behind this book, I found the story and themes very absorbing, with the characters pleasing to meet. Staying true to the local characteristics of Prince Edward Island, author Liz Johnson writes a successful novel different from her usual genre of romantic suspense. Though not a fast paced nor complex storyline, it hummed along and was quite enjoyable. As book 1 in the Prince Edward Island Dreams series, the peek at the characters sure to be involved in the next book was enough to pique my interest already in book 2, Where Two Hearts Meet, set to release in fall of this year.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Red Door Inn from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Roots & Sky

Purifoy, Christie. Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

roots&sky

SUMMARY:
Making the trek from Florida to Pennsylvania, author Christie Purifoy shares her hopes, dreams, joys, sorrows and life as she transitions through a year of her life from fall until the following summer. Longing for home, meaning so much more than just a physical building, she introduces us to the simple pleasures of neighbors, gardening, motherhood, faith, and love. With deeply rooted good things growing towards the heavenly sky, Roots & Sky ties together life now and in the future while loving what is directly in front of us…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a book to wander through, taking time to smell the flowers and enjoy the breezes along the way, I found that cozy, warm, safe feeling of home nestled within the pages of Roots & Sky.  Almost a memoir, definitely well-written and flowing, I was drawn to the writing style of Christie Purifoy as I contemplated my own busy lifestyle. Absolutely soothing and inspiring, this book would bless a Bible study or Mothers’ ministry. Wonderful!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Roots & Sky from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Land of Silence

Afshar, Tessa. Land of Silence. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. 2016.

landofsilence

SUMMARY:
With a name meaning “My God has favored me” given to her by her father, Elianna lives a life consumed with guilt over the death of her younger brother. As trial after trial burdens her life, Elianna continues to live with shame, guilt and the heaviness of her circumstances. Making decisions which are both devastating yet heart-felt, she learns of the man whose garment can heal through touch; thus, sharing the story of the woman was lived unclean for 12 years yet found healing in so many ways…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a Christy award-winning author, author of several Biblical-fictional works, and a highly recommended author, it is hard to believe this is the first book by author Tessa Afshar that I have read. With a previous book of hers on my to-be-read stack, I am now sorry it slipped towards the bottom of the pile. As a fictional account of a woman from the Bible, I believe it was done with respect, emotion, knowledge and substance. With Bible verses beginning each chapter with a hint of what was to follow, I became emotionally involved with the lead character, Elianna, and felt each crushing event along with her. Definitely a well-written novel from an author I will now search out, moving her previous book upward in my TBR collection.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Land of Silence from Tyndale House Publishing for my honest review*

The Elements of Pizza

Forkish, Ken. The Elements of Pizza: Unlocking the Secrets to World-Class Pies at Home. USA: Ten Speed Press Publishing. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
James Beard Award-winning author, Ken Forkish, proves that the best pizza can be made at home. Starting with the crust, mixing the batter, shaping the dough, piling on the correct toppings, baking with care and finally enjoying the tastiest pizza in the comfort of your own home, The Elements of Pizza makes it understandable, enjoyable and achievable. With several different types of pizza crusts from which to choose, favorite flavorful sauces and delicious coverings, most anyone can be successful (and proud) of their pizza accomplishments.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a family who likes to experiment with pizza, the Elements of Pizza was a scrumptious treat for us. With different dough ideas, sauce strategies, garnish suggestions and pizza history, this book will remain on our shelf yet will probably become full of flour, paste, and tomatoes as we use it again and again. Owner of three restaurants in Portland, Oregon, and an award-winning author, Ken Forkish definitely know his pizza. A beautiful book complete with directions, personal commentary, instructional pictures, recipes, photographs and lots of options, it is absolutely a must-gift for the pizza lover in life.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

One Dress. One Year.

Winz, Bethany. With Aughtmon, Susanna Foth. One Dress. One Year. One Girl’s Stand against Human Trafficking. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
One Girl. One Dress. One Year. For Freedom. So begins the idea behind author Bethany Winz’s project to raise awareness in fighting human trafficking. Deciding she needed to do “something” to help stop modern day slavery, known as human trafficking, sixteen- year old Bethany sets out to wear the same black dress every day for an entire year. Though she can accessorize it, change it and wash it, every morning she puts it on as she focuses attention on the world of trafficking. Raising money for the cause along the way, meeting many people on her journey, but most importantly, learning and growing herself, Bethany understands and shares that God loves you dearly and deeply, no matter the circumstances…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
An amazing undertaking by a sixteen-year high-school student, I was inspired and encouraged by the author’s commitment to persevere through her endeavor, even when it became hard to do so. Watching her grow in her relationships, her beliefs and her abilities was exceptional especially during the difficult times. Written from Bethany’s personal perspective, it was easy to read while cheering on her efforts. Definitely a book to share with young adults, youth groups and ministries, the entire theme of the black dress makes a mark. Well done, Bethany!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of One Dress. One Year. from Baker Books for my honest review*

Hunting Hope

Maples, Nika. Hunting Hope: Dig Through the Darkness to Find the Light. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2016.

huntinghope

SUMMARY:
Having been through tough times herself, speaker, educator and author Nike Maples shares the importance of hope in her own life while paralleling it to the Bible. Comparing the rough seasons of life to the cold, dreary, lifeless season of winter, she reminds us even then we are not alone and that our God truly cares and accompanies us during those times. Illustrating the many hope hunters in the Bible- Paul, Moses, Joseph- personal stories, encouragement and hope are given throughout.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
So relate-able, so well-written and so personally encouraging, Hunting Hope inspires, reminds, strengthens and embraces while waiting for the sun to appear again. Using those dark times as a means to draw us closer to Him, believing and growing stronger in faith help remind us God is always in control (as hard as that can be to understand at times). Read in snippets or straight through, it is easy to follow and become immersed in, especially given her humor at points (like trying to find a rhyme for her name). Perfect as a Bible study, sermon series or a gift for someone in the midst of a winter season, this book will remain on my own bookshelf to be reread during my own chilly frosts.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

99 Favorite Amish Home Remedies

Varozza, Georgia. 99 Favorite Amish Home Remedies: Healing Cures from Foods & Herbs, Soothing Salves & Creams, Natural Solutions for Your Home. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

99amishremedies

SUMMARY:
Lavender for stress headaches, black tea for cleaning wood floors, beeswax and honey for chapped lips, and baking soda for mosquito bites…all natural and simple remedies yet highly effective. From gardening to cleaning house, skin irritations to pregnancy, 99 Favorite Amish Home Remedies provides plenty of natural, home solutions for house and yard, illnesses, personal care, and stress issues. Acutely organized, spiral-bound for ease of use, manageable ingredients, precise directions and spaces for notes, author Georgia Varozza makes natural home remedies uncomplicated…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
So easy to understand, follow and use, as well as natural and clean, 99 Favorite Amish Home Remedies is the perfect book to have in your personal library. Without pesticides or processed additives, minor injuries and illnesses can often be treated safely with items usually found at home. Not necessarily replacing antibiotics and/ or medications for serious afflictions, the included items are reliable remedies to try in the interim. From flea deterrent for pets, to natural deodorant and lip balm, to natural mood enhancers for depression (exercise, sunlight and diet)…many opportunities are included for simple, plain remedies. (*It is important to note, however, in no way does this book take the place of, nor suggest, professional care should not be sought in medical emergencies and serious illnesses and injuries. This book pertains more to everyday occurrences and more inconsequential items.)  Part of a series of Favorite Amish books by this same author.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of 99 Favorite Amish Remedies from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

A Fool & His Monet

Orchard, Sandra. A Fool & His Monet: A Serena Jones Mystery. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

afoolandhismonet

SUMMARY:
As a member of the FBI Art Crime Team, Agent Serena Jones has a personal interest in this particular crime- who exactly stole the Monet from the local museum? Hoping that identifying the art thief may lead to clues of her grandfather’s death, Serena Jones is unable to work alone on the case. Stuck in a bit of a romantic mess of her own, Serena must decide where her heart leads, how to placate her mom’s ideas of a wedding and grandchildren, and what to do about her well-meaning but screw-loose Aunt. With humor, coziness and fun, author Sandra Orchard begins her newest series…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With her usual sense of suspense, author Sandra Orchard shares a witty story in her new Serena Jones Mystery series. Though a bit quirky and perhaps unrealistic at times, overall it was a good read. With strong characters and endless possibilities to continue, A Fool & His Monet kept my interest as I quickly finished it. Though maybe a bit confusing due to the many characters involved, the mystery was entertaining, lively and amusing. Especially liking some of the play on words, the title and cover were perfect!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Fool & His Monet from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Good + Simple (Hemsley + Hemsley)

Hemsley, Jasmine. Hemsley, Melissa. Hemsley + Hemsley: Good + Simple. USA: Clarkson Potter. 2016.

hemselyhemsleygoodsimple

SUMMARY:
As a follow-up to their first book, The Art of Eating Well, authors Jasmine Hemsley and Melissa Hemsley continue with their lifestyle of wellness eating with Good + Simple. With a diet consistent with eliminating gluten, grains and refined sugars, this cookbook focuses on maximizing nutrition in an easy, delicious manner. More than just a cookbook, sisters Jasmine and Melissa also consider lifestyle- fashion, busyness, energy and mindful eating. Full of 140 recipes celebrating health, meal plans, a guide to the basic diet plan and beautiful pictures, this cookbook belongs in your kitchen.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As my first introduction to Hemsley + Hemsley, I have to admit I am intrigued. With a thriving family business in health, beauty and wellness, it appears the sisters are experts within the field. With a growing trend toward eating and living healthy, this cookbook is a good start. Though not necessarily following every recipe to the exact ingredients, I found the recipes were easily adaptable to my own taste while still staying healthy. Taking some of the important suggestions and tweaking them to fit my own style, this cookbook will become readily used. Hopefully, the sisters have yet another book on the near horizon.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Good + Simple from Blogging For Books for my honest review*