Words To Live By

Gilden, Linda J. Parker, Darlene V. Words to Live By: One Word A Week- 52 Ordinary Words That Lead To An Extraordinary Life. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2016.

wordstoliveby

SUMMARY:
Words are powerful. Whether used to inspire, encourage and uplift or to hurt, degrade and humiliate, words can change lives. Suggesting ordinary words can have huge impacts on people, authors Darlene Parker and Linda Gilden share 52 everyday words which may lead to positive results if used to strengthen, embolden and hearten. Words such as honor, clean, barter, worship, rejoice, listen and accept are broken into sections containing 5 devotions each. With related scriptures, personal stories, and creative actions, there are enough ordinary words for a year but possible positive effects for years to come.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
While many choose a word to live by for a year, Words To Live By- One Word A Week takes that challenge a bit further. Set up in devotion form, the reader is inspired and then encouraged to share the word with others through words, thoughts and deeds. Easy to use, full of inspiration, and packaged with a beautiful cover, this devotional would be perfect for a ministry, Bible study, sermon series or personal use. Words definitely have the power to change lives depending on how they are used.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Words To Live By from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

The Promise of Jesse Woods

Fabry, Chris. The Promise of Jesse Woods. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. 2016.

thepromiseofjessewoods

SUMMARY:
Spanning from 1972 to 1984 while moving alternatively between the years, The Promise of Jesse Woods tells the tale of three preteens growing into adults. With secrets, traumas and actions shared between them, the now adults must come to terms with promises, stories and consequences, some of them known, others unknown at the time. Matt, Dickie and Jesse live separate lives yet are bonded by events shaping their lives many years ago…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
In this deeply emotional and moving “coming-of-age” story, author and Christy Award Winner, Chris Fabry, shares characters so real, you may just personally recognize them. Always an author of truly passionate and stirring novels, The Promise of Jesse Woods is no exception. Bouncing between the time periods, from past to present, I found myself drawn into story, always reading just “one more page” which ultimately turned into chapter after chapter. With childhood, choices, consequences, forgiveness, faith and life combined into structuring preteens into adults, this is a storyline that may remind you of your own growing up. Well done.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

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

Modern Potluck

Donnelly, Kristin. Modern Potluck: Beautiful Food To Share. New York, USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2016.

modernpotluck

SUMMARY:
Certainly not your typical church-potluck cookbook, Modern Potluck brings the potluck supper current. With a modern trend toward sustainability, more vegetable and plant-based items in meals, and an open inclusion of food from around the world, food writer and recipe developer, Kristin Donnelly, shares her contemporary reinvention of the potluck supper. Included with the recipe instructions, there are also hints and tips, accompanying photographs, and personal briefings on each recipe. From snacks, dips and drinks, to salads, main dishes and sides, the recipes and ingredients span slow-cooked meals, casseroles, sauces, and of course, sweets.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As the modern manner of eating changes, so too, must the cookbooks. As a result, author Krisitn Donnelly takes the stereotypic potluck suppers into the present stage of cooking. With added vegetables, less processed foods, creative ingredients, additional seasonings as well as family friendly options with ease, Modern Potluck looks and cooks differently. Allowing for special-diet options (gluten-free, vegan, low sodium), these recipes are easily adaptable to any lifestyle, needs and preferences. Favorites recipes? Green Things and Potato Salad (potatoes, asparagus, and sugar-snap peas in lemon sauce) and Sweet-Spicy-Salty Snack Mix (popcorn, rice cakes, pumpkins seeds and sunflower seeds in a delicious sauce). Absolutely a book I will use often and recommend.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

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

Annabel Lee

Nappa, Mike. Annabel Lee: A Coffey & Hill Novel. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

annabellee

SUMMARY:
Tucked away and living with her Uncle in rural Alabama, Annabel doesn’t realize the trouble until her Uncle locks her in a bunker with a German Shepard dog to guard her. Trudi Coffey, a private investigator and English Literature major, teams up with her ex-husband, Samuel Lee, to unravel the clues and messages left by Annabel’s Uncle to find her. The Mute, a former veteran sniper, enters as a guard for Annabel against the person tracking her. With suspense, romance, faith and even a bit of humor, author Mike Nappa winds all the elements and characters together for a fast-paced thrilling read…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Okay, totally not my genre at all, I must admit I was a bit concerned by the cover if I would even be able to read it. Once into the novel, though I found the characters somewhat unmatched when combined together, in a creative kind of way it worked, especially as all the references to Edgar Allan Poe intertwined and connected pieces. Not quite sure how or where the story was headed, I did find the writing strong and the different perspectives unique yet very worthy. With a follow-up novel in the series slated for fall of 2016, The Raven, I will probably dare to read it.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Annabel Lee from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Murder Comes by Mail

Gabhart, A. H. Murder Comes by Mail: A Hidden Springs Mystery. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

murdercomesbymail

SUMMARY:
In the usually quaint, quiet, rural town of Hidden Springs, a mystery disturbs the serenity. Having been dubbed a hero by his actions associated with a suicidal man, Sheriff Michael Keane  rues the unfortunate day he became involved. With extra attention now paid to him, pictures of deceased people arriving in his mailbox and a further mystery needing to be solved, the Deputy might just be in over his head in author A. H. Gabhart’s newest novel in the Hidden Springs series, Murder Comes by Mail

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not this author’s usual genre but a good read non-the-less, Murder by Mail continues the cozy mystery genre in the Hidden Springs series, following Murder at the Courthouse. With many of the same characters reappearing, though okay to read as a stand-alone, it might perhaps work better as a continuation following book one in order. With a bit of humor, a little romance and a sense of mild suspense, I enjoyed this novel as a quick summer read. Likely to read the next story in this series (should there be one), I admit I prefer her other genres better.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Murder Comes by Mail from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Hello, Bicycle

Brones, Anna. Hello, Bicycle: An Inspired Guide To The Two-Wheeled Life. New York, USA: Ten Speed Press. 2016.

hellobicycle

SUMMARY:
As the bicycle craze catches on, bicyclist, author and foodie, Anna Brones, shares her knowledge, love and enthusiasm of bike riding with readers. Whether biking seriously, cycling for recreation, commuting to places or leisurely pedaling, Hello, Bicycle offers lots of information on the subject of bicycling. With the history of bicycles, recipes for the road, accessories for the bike, maintenance of the vehicle, safety for the street and resources/ hacks for cyclists, this sturdy little book packed with useful ideas and cute illustrations will get you on two-wheels fast…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As an avid recreational biker for most of my life, I loved this book. Full of required information but lots of creative ideas too, Hello, Bicycle is perfect for the experienced or new biker. The included recipes gave me some new options for our protein-packed jar meals on those longer rides, and the nostalgia of inserting playing cards in the spokes for that added clicking noise was so fun! (I am sure my kids will love it when I put some in my wheels for the next ride, LOL). Great as a gift or wonderful for your own use, this book is certainly a necessity in the world of biking.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Hello, Bicycle from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Sit, Stay, Love

Mentink, Dana. Sit, Stay, Love. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

sitstaylove

SUMMARY:
Thirteen-year-old Tippy, an elderly dog needing a good home after his owner passed, now lives with his past owner’s son, Cal. As a rising baseball star, Cal has no interest what-so-ever in dogs, especially an older, misbehaving dog like Tippy. Needing a pet-sitter, Cal hires Gina to take care of Tippy yet ends up with so much more than just a dog-sitter. Humor, romance, second-chances, forgiveness and an adorable dog all complement Sit, Stay, Love

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Light-hearted with a good message, Sit, Stay, Love is a delightfully charming novel with a cute and lovable mutt as the hero. Chuckling (and even nodding) at certain moments, I thoroughly enjoyed this story -due not only to the writing style but my own love of neurotic dogs. Fun, easy, amusing and entertaining, author Dana Mentink certainly hit a funny-bone with this endearing tale (tail, too).

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Sit, Stay, Love from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

The Power of Together

Putman, Jim. The Power of Together: Discover the Christian Life You’ve Been Missing. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2016.

thepoweroftogether

SUMMARY:
Having been made by God to partake in relationships with others as well as to be a part of a community, senior pastor and author Jim Putman strives to show the importance of being deeply and meaningfully connected to other Christians and Jesus. Through Biblical scripture, personal stories, strategic teachings and strong encouragement, The Power of Together demonstrates the necessity of Christian bonds.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though often difficult and sometimes resulting in avoidance, relationships within a Christian community are important. Providing a helping hand, offering encouragement and caring, growing in Jesus, and attaining spiritual maturity are only a few of the opportunities resulting from taking the chance, time and effort to cultivate relationships. Perfect as a Bible study, a sermon series or personal devotion time, The Power of Together is not only absorbing and engaging, but definitely fuel for thought and action. I especially thought the cover of the book was ideal to the message found within.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Power of Together from Baker Books for my honest review*

All Summer Long

Carlson, Melody. All Summer Long: Follow Your Heart- Book 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing, 2016.

allsummerlong

SUMMARY:
Tia D’Amico is ready to leave her small town life in Washington for San Francisco. With the goal of helping her aunt start a new restaurant business aboard the moving yacht, Tia has the surprise of her life when she realizes the captain is non-other than her long-last flame from years ago, Leo Parker. With a romance rekindled, a floating food business, a heart lost in San Francisco and possibilities galore, Tia and Leo must decide if they should reconnect or go their separate ways…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Loving author Melody Carlson’s Christmas series best, I do also like her new Follow Your Heart series. Easy to read and well written, what a perfect novel to pack in the suitcase for a summer trip. Perhaps written with young adults in mind, All Summer Long shares popular current culture with the restaurant business (Food Network) and San Francisco (Travel Channel). Though maybe a bit predictable, it does not take away from the sweetness and fun associated with this story. Though a stand-alone, pack both books in the series for pleasurable reading on that longer trip.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of All Summer Long from Revell Publishing for my honest review*