Extraordinary Ordinary Moments

Hurley, Jorey. Extraordinary Ordinary Moments: A Journal. USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2016.

extraordinaryordinarymoments

SUMMARY:
A journal for appreciating the beautiful, the quirky, the surprising, and the overlooked, Extraordinary Ordinary Moments is full of brief writing prompts for noticing just such moments. With delicately and lightly colored drawings quietly enhancing the pages, each sheet of this thick book causes thinking, looking, considering, deciding and sharing things, situations, occurrences and events often taken for granted, neglected or considered mundane. Prompts (such as comfort food, art you love, something that cost too much but was so worth it, a victory and something that hurts in a good way -hint: picture of a jalapeño pepper included), occupy each page yet leave plenty of room to write, doodle, draw and remember…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
In this often overly busy world, too often the little things are often overlooked, forgotten or ignored. Taking the time to focus on those items can bring focus, blessings and peace while reminiscing and enjoying. Able to skip around, work through in order, or put away and revisit, author, graphic designer and illustrator, Jorey Hurley, does an excellent job with this journal. Even the raised orange peel on the cover is inviting! Definitely a book I will use as well as purchase and gift to others.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Extraordinary Ordinary Moments from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

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Honor Redeemed

Johnson, Christine. Honor Redeemed: Keys of Promise- Book 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

honorredeemed

SUMMARY:
After losing her beloved mother, Prosperity Jones decides to take the chance and travel to Key West to find her fiancé, Lt. David Latham. Upon arriving, Prosperity realizes she must have missed the latest correspondence from David pertaining to the change in circumstance. Penniless, heartbroken, wary and stunned, she must make plans for her future, while deciding whether to follow her heart or her head. With lots to consider, Prosperity strains to find forgiveness, honesty, faithfulness and hope in her current situation.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With book 1 in the Keys of Promise series, Love’s Rescue, being my favorite book of 2015, it was hard to wait for the next book, Honor Redeemed.  Set against such high standards as book 1, this was again a novel I thoroughly enjoyed. Putting it aside until I had the time to read it non-stop, I did just that. With writing that drew me in, characters involved in intertwining manners, and interesting word choices, the author’s familiarity of the location within the story only led to further enjoyment. (Christine Johnson, please hurry with the next book in the series, I am already waiting!)

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Honor Redeemed from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Fetching Sweetness

Mentink, Dana. Fetching Sweetness: Love Unleashed- Book 2. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

Fetchingsweetness

SUMMARY:
When Stephanie Pink plans to quickly deliver her manuscript to a literary agent, Agnes Wharton, she soon discovers it may be more involved than she planned. Tracking down Agnes, who is trying to track down Sweetness, leads to Rhett Hastings, who may lead to heart-throbbing trouble. With a gallop through a campground, a hurtful past, a bit of new faith, funny moments, and lots of dog-nonsense, Fetching Sweetness is an adorable, amusing, tender, and faith-filled novel with the sweetest Sweetness as the main attraction.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
I loved the picture of Sweetness on the cover of Dana Mentink’s newest book with the spirited expression, tip of the head and floppy ears!!  Pancakes, spatulas, wet kisses and trouble all define Sweetness, a hundred pound slobbery mess of a dog, who steals hearts. Combine Sweetness with Rhett, some fun romance and some giggling situations, and a light-hearted read with lots of character emerges. I love this series, especially since the books are written close enough together (sometimes it is SO hard to wait for the next book)- thank-you, Dana! Look for the next book, Paws for Love, in February of 2017.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Fetching Sweetness from Harvest House Publishing for my honest review*

The Caregiving Season

Daly, Jane. The Caregiving Season: Finding Grace to Honor Your Aging Parents. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. 2016.

thecaregivingseason

SUMMARY:
Ready or not, we all eventually grow old. As we age, more help is needed with even the simplest of acts. As a result, sometimes that help is characterized by resentment, bitterness or impatience. With people living longer these days than ever before, as well as the Baby Boomer generation reaching profound active ages, author Jane Daly shares her trials, triumphs, advice and encouragement in her new book, The Caregiving Season. Resolving to honor her parents (until they get on her last nerve), Jane Daly extends grace when perhaps it is needed most.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Realizing being cared for can be as difficult as caregiving, in rather direct terms and in sometimes uncomfortable situations, this author shares what needs to be shared. Emphasizing grace for all, The Caregiving Season makes it easier to honor our parents through a difficult and changing time. With roles affected, authority questioned, delicate issues discussed and mourning perhaps close, this necessary reference uses personal stories, notable quotes, Bible scriptures and topic boxes to help with the caregiving transition. Guilt, sadness, laughter, challenges and love all combine into a purpose of honoring aging parents with grace. Excellent!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

How to Graduate Debt-Free

Ellis, Kristina. How to Graduate Debt Free: The Best Strategies to Pay for College. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2016.

graduatedebtfree

SUMMARY:
In her timely new book, author Kristina Ellis shares her ideas, strategies, knowledge, and expertise on paying for college while staying out of debt. With nearly 70% of students graduating with close to $30,000 in debt, going to college, much less paying for college, may seem insurmountable. Yet in the book, How to Graduate Debt Free, students not only garner hope but some necessary wisdom on money principles, scholarships, financial aid, budgeting, and saving as well as making the most of your college years and studies.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a very necessary topic albeit an ever-changing market for colleges and money, this informative book addresses and explains several payment options. Listing both advantages and disadvantages, paying for college is obviously not a one-size-fits-all option. In this book, however, Kristina Ellis examines many different methods in straight- forward style. As an up-to-date reference, there are definitely money saving strategies for choosing a college, saving before starting, working while attending, and ultimately, graduating debt free. Perfect for both students and parents alike, an absolute must read for anyone contemplating college.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of How to Graduate Debt Free from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

I Wish He Had Come With Instructions

Bechtle, Mike. I Wish He Had Come With Instructions: The Woman’s Guide to a Man’s Brain. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

iwishhehadcomewithinstructions

SUMMARY:
Through explanation, compassion, thoughtfulness and lots of humor, author and event speaker Mike Bechtle, tries to explain the uniqueness of a man’s brain in terms a woman can understand. While exploring the role of the male brain in relationships, I Wish He Had Come With Instructions gently guides towards an understanding of the male communication process, including actions, listening (or lack of it), feelings, conflict, missions, and silence. With witty examples, personal stories, straight-forward explanations and tons of encouragement, this author’s book is sure to answer some very evasive questions for women…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Is it truly even possible to understand how men think? However, it must be easier than even trying to understand women!  Loving his last book, You Can’t Text a Tough Conversation, I knew I had to read this one and once again, found myself nodding in agreement quite often. Obviously wired very differently from women, author Mike Bechtle not only examines the differences but celebrates the uniqueness between the brains of men and women. I enjoyed the humor throughout along with the serious undertones supporting the necessity of strong communication. Perfect for relationships of all levels and stages, it would be great for a sermon topic, Bible study, marriage encounter or pre-marriage counseling. I will definitely continue to search for his newest books as well as reference this one as needed. Adorable cover and title, too!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of I Wish He Had Come With Instructions from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Sweet Tomorrows

Macomber, Debbie. Sweet Tomorrows: Rose Harbor Inn Series- Book 5. New York, USA: Ballantine Books. 2016.

Sweet Tomorrows

SUMMARY:
Jo Marie Rose, owner of Rose Harbor Inn, still believes in the relationship magic of her beloved Inn, even is she is struggling with her own heart. While Rose Harbor Inn handyman, Mark Taylor, deals with his own past haunts, Jo Marie enters into another relationship while grieving her most recent lose. With her longer-term tenant, Emily Gaffney, hesitant to unlock her twice-broken heart, Jo Marie befriends and hopes the Inn will change Emily’s thoughts and ideas on love. With visiting characters and references to past healed relationships, the many guests at Rose Harbor Inn are revisited and cherished one last time…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
So sad…this is the final chapter in the Rose Harbor Inn series by a favorite author, Debbie Macomber. Most likely with a new series already in the works, I enjoyed this final book and relished the visit with the characters one last time. As always with this series, Sweet Tomorrows is full of forgiveness, compassion, joyfulness and life as well as a gorgeous cover. Just as I had expected and hoped, this latest novel was true to form from this author, delivering a dynamic storyline with it’s final salute to a beautiful series.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

Sweet Tomorrows

99 Favorite Amish Soups & Stews

Varozza, Georgia. 99 Favorite Amish Soups & Stews: Hearty, Flavorful Recipes to Fill Your Soul. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

*99amishsoupsandstews

SUMMARY:
Bringing simple, healthy and hearty meals to print, author Georgia Varozza shares 99 delicious Amish recipes for soups and stews. As comfort food for those chilly winter evenings, the included recipes use everyday ingredients combined in a pot to fill bellies and souls. As simple pleasures, the soups (Meatball Soup, Chili Bean Soup, Potato Soup with Celery) and stews (Beef and Sweet Potato Stew, Chicken Goulash, I-Can’t-Cook-Stew) are sure to please.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Satisfying, hearty and easy, this spiral-bound book contains 99 appetizing staples of a nourishing meal. Though not necessarily new recipes but more of a gentle reminder of soups and stews lost during busier times, I thought this cookbook was the perfect sequel to the 99 Favorite Amish Recipes cookbooks already in the series. Definitely a book I will keep on my cookbook shelf (which is actually quite full), I look forward to using it when the seasons change. Easy to adjust, simple to adapt, or already adequate, paired with utensils and/ or ingredients in a basket, this would complete an ideal wedding gift, new baby present, cooking-party favor or just enjoyed for personal family use. Yum!!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast

Siegel, Noah, Schwarz, Christian. Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast: A Comprehensive Guide to the Fungi of Coastal Northern California. New York, USA: Ten Speed Press. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
With hundreds of different types of mushrooms identified, including detailed information about each piece, color, size and texture of the mushroom, Mushrooms of the Red Wood Coast is a textbook of fungi. With additional material on ecology, edibility, toxicity and commonness, each studied mushroom also contains a stunning photograph depicting exquisite detail. Through extensive fieldwork and knowledge, authors Noah Siegel and Christian Schwarz take the guess-work out of finding, identifying and enjoying over 750 species found near the coastal Monterey County to the Oregon border.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With the current interest in mushroom collecting, this large, beautiful, organized book is perfect for beginners and experienced mushroom collectors alike. The added comments, glossy pages and general fungi facts complement the other data of each species. Though not yet a mushroom collector myself, this book would serve as a wonderful addition to the library of mushroom hunters.  The elements and design of the book obviously brim with a wealth of knowledge, time, interest, detail and pictures. Very well done.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Pure Delicious

Christo, Heather. Pure Delicious: More than 150 Delectable Allergen-Free Recipes. New York, NY: Pam Krauss Books. 2016.

puredelicious

SUMMARY:
Living with allergies affecting members of her family, Heather Christo, chef, caterer and creator of Heathermade, a line of allergen-free baked goods, shares her expertise and knowledge in her newest book, Pure Delicious. Paying close attention to ingredients yet not neglecting taste in the least, this perfectly organized, user-friendly, photograph-filled cookbook makes eating healthy, allergen-free, and tasty enjoyable and easy. With soups and salads, various sides, pizza and burgers, main dishes and delectable desserts, this book is sure to please most any palate, even those with dietary restrictions.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though my family does not have any food allergies, this cookbook was adorned with healthy recipes for everyone, beautiful pictures of most creations, cooking tips, and personal messages from the author. Easy to adapt to my family’s preferences, the ingredients are mostly well known and easily found in the market and/ or grocery store. With clear directions and tempting photos, perhaps the only thing missing is the nutritional value of each recipe. Pasta Verde, Sweet Potato Granola, Applesauce Cinnamon-Sugar Doughnuts and Veggie Summer Rolls with Spicy Sunflower Butter Dipping Sauce were my favorites.  Dinner is served!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

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