Worth Living

DeMuth, Mary. Worth Living: How God’s Wild Love For You Makes You Worthy. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2016.

worthliving

SUMMARY:
Unworthiness is just one of many lies author Mary DeMuth used to tell herself. Then, working on feelings and thoughts of God’s wild love for her, she came to the realization that God loves her and she is truly worthy. Sharing those feelings, thoughts, ideas and strengths, in her new book, Worth Living, she outlines ten lies people often believe about themselves, and she encourages, emboldens and solidifies that life is worth living through and with God. With reflections and a worthy prayer finishing each chapter, no doubt remains as to the worthiness of all…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not necessarily connecting with this book yet still realizing the magnitude it could have on some, the purpose and goal of this book is strong. Full of encouraging words, personal stories, Bible references, discussion questions and prayers, Worth Living would be an excellent book for a women’s ministry group, Bible study, personal devotion or a gift for someone struggling. Well written and sure to provide comfort for those needing it most, the emphasis on God’s love is flawless.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Worth Living from Baker Books for my honest review*

Life is Better at the Beach

Vinson, Christina. Life is Better at the Beach: Inspiration for Living Each Day Like You’re at the Beach. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2016.

lifeisbetteratthebeach

SUMMARY:
With short thoughts, inspirational ideas, gentle encouragement and beautiful pictures, Life is Better at the Beach is the perfect book for enjoying on the beach next to the moving waves. Broken into 15 rules of the beach (take long walks, read a good book, build sandcastles), each intention is then expanded on with a short motivational thought, a relevant scripture verse and an accompanying image. Hard covered and sized just right for the beach bag, the day at the beach will continue…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Ideal for taking along on vacation, nestling up with in the lawn chair, or absorbing on the beach blanket, this book is wonderful. Loving the water as much as my family does as well as our countless time spent at the beach, it will be a permanent fixture in the beach bag. Beautiful as a gift, sharing with friends or personal use, Life is Better at the Beach will make that time even more enjoyable. Between the gorgeous pictures, the sturdiness of the covers and the inspirations found within the chapters, that beach-day feeling will last even longer now, perhaps even through the snowy winter?

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Life is Better at the Beach from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Punderdome

Firestone, Jo and Fred. Punderdome: A Card Game for Pun Lovers. New York, USA: Clarkson Potter. 2016.

punderdome

SUMMARY:
Based on a crazy monthly pun competition in Brooklyn, New York, and hosted by comedian Jo Firestone and her dad, Fred Firestone, this wacky, fun, word-loving, pun-groaning game can now be played at home with family and friends. With at least three players competing individually or as small teams, each player alternates being the prompter with being the pun-er. Sorting through cards with pun prompts, each cleverly thought-out pun is voted on and a winner crowned. With a chance to win the special item in the mystery envelope, Punderdome is sure to delight and create hysteria as well as deep moans.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Never having heard of the game before yet being a self-proclaimed word-nerd, I knew I had to try it. Roping family members into playing with me, as the game went along, things just got goofier and more ridiculous. Definitely a game I will take on vacation, to a picnic, or any social get-together, Punderdome has possibilities for fun times. Tweaking the game was easy to fit our style and the mystery envelope prizes can be just as creative. Unique and challenging.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

The Beautiful Pretender

Dickerson, Melanie. The Beautiful Pretender: A Medieval Fairy Tale. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2016.

thebeautifulpretneder

SUMMARY:
As the maidservant to Lady Dorthea, daughter of the Earl of Plimmwald, Avelina has only two requirements when taking Lady Dorthea’s place at Thornbeck Castle…no one must know her true identity as a maidservant and she must make sure the Margrave of Thornbeck does not chose her as his bride. With huge uncertainty on acting as a Lady, Avelina stumbles her way through the two weeks spent at the castle, socializing with the other prospects, becoming acquainted with the Margrave, protecting herself from danger and trying to hold onto her heart. When the events prove too difficult to master, Avelina must seek another plan…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Every once in a while, a book comes along that I do not want to end; The Beautiful Pretender was one of those savored books. With romance, suspense, and danger combined perfectly with full characters, a medieval setting, a gripping storyline, and excellent writing, author Melanie Dickerson had me from the cover. With a slight salute to Beauty and the Beast, I cannot wait for the next novel in the Medieval Fairy Tale series.

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Beautiful Pretender from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Food With Friends

Cyd, Leela. Food With Friends: The Art of Simple Gatherings. New York: USA. Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2016.

*foodwithfriends

SUMMARY:
In a simple yet special compilation of sweets and treats for gatherings with family and friends, author, cook and photographer Leela Cyd shares her collected recipes from childhood and many travels. With an emphasis on food that looks and tastes good, healthy food is also a component of several of the recipes. With beautiful photographic artistry and tasty ingredients, Foods With Friends is the perfect accompaniment to those memorable get-togethers, both simple and elegant…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though many of the full recipes were a bit beyond my time limits due to busyness, I did find several tidbits to try and/ or add to recipes. A few of the included recipes are ones I will definitely add to my weekend menus (Spice-Roasted Chickpeas, Blood Orange and Feta Stacks, Purple Cauliflower Hummus, Chard Empanadas with Pistachio Crema). Perfect as a gift, a planner for a bridal/ baby shower, or a casual gathering of friends, this inventive, creative cookbook is one to impress yet enjoy.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies.

*I received a complimentary copy of Food With Friends from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

The Alliance

Petersheim, Jolina. The Alliance. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2016.

thealliance

SUMMARY:
A plane crash in the Old Order Mennonite community sets the scene for the events about to follow. When Leona Ebersole, a member of the Mennonite community, learns what may have caused the crash from Moses Hughes, the plane’s pilot, she realizes life must change in order to exist. As believers of pacifism, the belief that violence is not necessary no matter the threat, those very beliefs and the will to live will bring about decisions, choices and actions never foreseen. As food becomes scarce, thieves attack and hearts hurt, Leona must come to terms with the new normal of life…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not waiting patiently for author Jolina Petersheim’s newest book, I must say not only was I surprised but impressed. With an obvious command of the English language, Jolina is able to bring to life those feelings, thoughts, fears and heartbreaks that surround such a non-traditional Amish dystopia novel. Though fiction, this novel also included some knowledge of the subject, but perhaps the most meaningful was the personal connection Jolina has. Realizing control is not enough, she encourages readers through her newest novel, The Alliance, to lean on God for peace, strength and understand rather than ourselves.  Never picking a dystopia novel due to the genre itself, I knew I had to read this one from the author as she is truly blessed with words. Already, I look forward to the continuation of the story and many more of her novels to follow (hopefully).

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Alliance from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

Anchor In The Storm

Sundin, Sarah. Anchor In The Storm: Waves of Freedom Series- Book 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

*anchorinthestorm

SUMMARY:
Set in the darkest days of World War II, Lilian Avery is determined to withstand the pressures, both physical and mental, to gain her independence and succeed as a pharmacist in Boston. With a developing friendship with her brother’s best friend, Ensign Archer Vendenberg, Lilian soon realizes there is more to her role as a pharmacist than previously believed and the same may be true of her friendship with Arch. Can Lilian and Arch work together to solve the mystery surrounding the crew’s strange behavior or will their entangling hearts prevent a successful conclusion?

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read the first book in the Waves of Freedom series, I was ready to catch-up with the characters and watch the relationship grow. Full of history and romance, the two blended perfectly for an engaging read. I am already looking forward to Book 3 in the series, due out in spring 2017. Even more than the actual story, I really liked the correlation between the author’s book dedication and real life. Priceless.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Anchor In The Storm from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Valley of the Dry Bones

Jenkins, Jerry B. The Valley of the Dry Bones. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2016.

valleyofthedrybones

SUMMARY:
Set in the future, California is uninhabitable due to a seventeen year drought resulting in massive wildfires. When a group of Christians known as “The Holdouts” decides to stay and serve as missionaries to the remaining, they face turmoil, chaos, resistance and trials against others as well as amongst themselves. With tragic times coupled with personal struggles, this end-of-times dystopia novel relies on Christian messaging to make it through to the end. Suspense, action, full characters and uncertainty lead to a satisfying conclusion, albeit begging for a sequel…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not necessarily a fan of this genre nor of “The Left Behind” series, I was a bit hesitant to read this story. As a popular author, Jerry Jenkins is known to write engaging books. With an interesting premise and a plethora of characters, The Valley of the Dry Bones was well written though not my personal favorite. Sure to appeal to readers of the dystopian-type genre, though it was not necessarily my type of book, it served an interesting plot and gripping possible “what-if” basis. Worth the try.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Valley of the Dry Bones from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Broth & Stock

McGruther, Jennifer. Broth & Stock from the Nourished Kitchen. USA: Ten Speed Press. 2016.

brothandstock

SUMMARY:
In her newest book, Broth and Stock, food educator and author Jennifer McGruther shares her messages of simplicity, patience, thrift and nourishment associated with broths and stocks. As the basis for soups, stews, and sauces, the importance of broths and stocks serves not only nutritional value but also frugality in not wasting any portions. Explaining the history, process and variety of the different liquids, varying recipes are also included utilizing the various broths and stocks. Though the focus is mainly on soups and stews, the uses for the homemade brews could easily be expanded. With beautiful accompanying photography, the Broth and Stock cookbook will prove to be a vital part in the kitchen.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Following the newest trend of bone broths and stocks, I quickly realized this trend is very retro…my mom used to make homemade broths and stocks as did many people years ago. For many assorted reasons for using these juices, this cookbook also includes many healthy options for vegetables, soups, stews, sauces and chowders. Using everyday pantry items with homemade broths only serves to increase the adaptability of the recipes as well as providing a hearty meal. Equally important, I appreciated the messaging on sustainability of the fish from Alaska, something everyone needs to heed for the necessary conservation of the oceans.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Broth & Stock from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Girl Defined

Clark, Kristen. Baird, Bethany. Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity, and Identity. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2016.

*girldefined

SUMMARY:
Girl Defined is about redefining womanhood according to God’s creation, not the world’s concept. Based on Biblical truths concerning the woman gender, authors Kristen Clark and Bethany Baird remind women of the importance of their roles according to God’s unique plan. Through personal stories, Biblical references, study guides and reminder points, several important and encouraging messages are shared, myths are debunked and standards are set straight. As the founders of GirlDefined Ministries, these sisters turned authors tout the significance of being women created in God’s image…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
It is about time!  This book should be shared with women of all ages, beginning with the High School age yet the messages could be shared even younger. Not so much a cheerleading book but a more gentle encouragement for women to appreciate, accept and guard their gender while following God, I especially liked the reminder verses found in the margins. “Be the woman who inspires change in others through your obedience to God.” Looking to God for clarification on gender rather than the world for gender expectations can be powerful in the success, health and happiness of women. As speakers, bloggers, mentors and authors, these sisters are right on target. Perfect for a Women’s Ministry, Bible Study, High School Youth Group or perhaps even a sermon topic, Girl Defined is long overdue!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Girl Defined from Baker Books for my honest review*