Mattie’s Pledge

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Drexler, Jan. Mattie’s Pledge: Journey To Pleasant Prairie- Book 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

mattiespledge

SUMMARY:
Moving from her current community to yet another, Mattie Schrock knows how to nestle into a new place. Though leaving some friends and family behind, Mattie has a yearning for new adventures, especially when associated with travel. Not an easy journey, Mattie and her family set out for an Amish community in Indiana. Connecting with past friends again including Jacob Yoder, someone who always had a special place in her heart, Mattie discovers she must decide between a new adventure in the West or the comfort of her own community based on a certain pledge.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Liking to read Amish fiction scattered throughout the many other books I read, I enjoyed the newest novel by author Jan Drexler. With ancestors dating back to the Amish immigrants in the 1700s, Jan Drexler has a special interest in this type of genre and it definitely shines. As a continuation of the Journey To Pleasant Prairie series, it was interesting to follow another related character’s story. Heart tugging at times yet full of traveling experiences, I am glad I took the time to read it. Well written and true to the Amish culture, I look forward to the next book in this same series.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Mattie’s Pledge from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Mystery

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Sturm, Lacey. The Mystery: Finding True Love In A World Of Broken Lovers. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2016.

themystery

SUMMARY:
Without a decent male role model in her life, singer and author Lacey Sturm shares her experiences of pain through the process of finding true love. Struggling through mental and physical abuse, accepting unkind treatment, and suffering a broken heart many times, The Mystery shows, shares and encourages what real love looks like. Not just the love of another person, but self-love, confidence and respect. Realizing she, along with everyone, needs direction, love, forgiveness, and faith, Lacey Sturm confides in an honest, personal and healing manner.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Being the right book for the right audience, this book carries an openly needed message. As a former atheist looking for love in all the wrong places, Lacey Sturm boldly and honestly shares her faith-finding journey and her value to God. Along that journey she discovers certain messages which she now hopes to teach. Using her own brokenness, The Mystery follows her first book, The Reason, in which she tells her story of finding purpose behind the pain.  Engaging, well-written and brutally honest.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

Successful Women Speak Differently

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Burton, Valerie. Successful Women Speak Differently: 9 Habits That Build Confidence, Courage, & Influence. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

successfulwomenspeakdifferently

SUMMARY:
With a strong message to stop underestimating yourself and start believing you are capable of far more than you know, author Valerie Burton emphasizes the importance of communication and the power of words to strengthen successes and minimize failures. Full of research, personal stories and reliance on Scripture, Successful Women Speak Differently is organized into chapters focusing on the 9 habits that build confidence, courage and influence. With each chapter introducing the key factors, scripts for success, points every woman should know, self-coaching strategies, and a vital aspect to remember, this book is a powerful tool.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read several of her previous books, I know Valerie Burton uses a no-nonsense direction to obtaining success. As a life coach who encourages, guides, and ultimately delivers, her books are well written, interesting, organized and to the point. Heralding and defining the importance of communication, Successful Women Speak Differently is full of necessary and dynamic directives for strength, confidence and success. Perfect for most everyone to read as it deals with networking, interviewing, and communicating both in personal relationships and work environments. Definitely a book I will refer to again and again; a lot of knowledge is packed into this mighty book.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Successful Women Speak Differently from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

The French Chef In America

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Prud’homme, Alex. The French Chef In America: Julia Child’s Second Act. USA: Penguin Random House. Audiobook. 2016.

juliachildfrenchchefinamerica

SUMMARY:
As a freelance writer for the New York Times and author of several books as well as Julia Child’s grandnephew, Alex Prud’homme follows up his bestselling memoir of Julia Child, My Life In France, with his newest book, The French Chef In America, chronicling the second half of Julia’s life from personal cook to celebrity chef. As a major influence in cooking, Julia was also a mentor, friend, wife and TV personality. Rubbing elbows with the elite at the White House while still making time at home for the love of her life, Paul, the continuation and impact of Julia is read by the author himself, in this eleven-hour, nine CD audiobook of the available same hardcopy book.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Remembering the significance of Julia Child on cooking throughout the years, I was interested in this memoir of her life. Not having read the first book, this stand alone version worked just fine. As an audiobook, it was easy to listen to the story while in the car, on the treadmill, or at home. With a serene voice, author Alex Prud’homme narrates the story. As an icon to the popular and current cooking craze, The French Chef In America was a nice addition to my many, many books. I definitely learned quite a bit while listening as well as developing a respect for a well-known name in America.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary audio-copy of The French Chef In America from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Grace For The Moment

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Lucado, Max. Grace For The Moment: Inspirational Thoughts For Each Day Of The Year- Large Deluxe Edition. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2016.

graceforthemoment

SUMMARY:
Packaged in a beautiful chocolate brown, leather-like covering, Grace For The Moment offers inspirational verses, scriptures, thoughts and encouragement for daily encounters with God. In a deluxe edition with a larger print size, the font is more easily readable. Organized into daily readings for each month, the accompanying ribbon marks the spot. Full of devotions offering grace while ensuring God’s love for all, this repackaged best-selling book by leading author Max Lucado, is abound with promise.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already a reader of several books by this author, this was one I hadn’t yet read. Upon first glance, it struck me as a beautifully packaged devotional book, complete with a place-marking ribbon. The covers made of imitation leather and the larger font were a welcome sight. As I started to read, the bite-sized daily inspirations were encouraging and held my heart through-out the day. Full of God’s love and grace, the brief readings had a longer and larger impact which would be welcomed by most anyone. Perfect as a gift, in a church library, or for personal use, while I may gift a copy to those I know, this copy will remain on my own shelf for the next year as my own daily devotional.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Grace For The Moment from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

God’s Gift

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Mancini, Lee Ann (author). Sharp, Dan (illustrator). God’s Gift: Adventures of the Sea Kids Series. Boca Raton, FL: GLM Publishing. 2016.

godsgift

SUMMARY:
As part of the award winning series, Adventures of the Sea Kids, the newest addition explores the true meaning of Christmas whether celebrating Hanukkah or a more traditional Christmas. In God’s Gift, Jacob (Starfish) and Christian (Turtle) argue over the amount of presents they each will receive but soon discover the real meaning of Christmas, God’s gift to all. With adorable, full color illustrations and a lively, simple yet meaningful text, author Lee Ann Manicini and illustrator Dan Sharp coordinate again to provide a quality book perfect for sharing.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Loving this Christian book series already, I was excited to read another one with a timely focus on Christmas. With an impressive message and delightful child-friendly illustrations, I love the extra treat of returning to find a symbol on each page when the book is complete. Sure to be a favorite, this would be wonderful as a gift for children, great in a church library or Sunday school class, or cherished as a personal story to share at home. Hopefully, this talented team will continue with this series as I look forward to more.

RATING:
5 ( out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of God’s Gift from the author and BookCrash for my honest review*

Courage To Soar

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Biles, Simone. with Burford, Michelle. Courage To Soar: A Body In Motion; A Life In Balance. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
Determined, dedicated, strong, kind, encouraging, positive and balanced are just a few of the words that describe Olympic gold-winner, Simone Biles.  The most decorated American female gymnast as a four-time Olympic gold medalist and three-time all-around World gymnastics champion, she stands out not only for her gymnastic ability but also the way she lives her life. With a bit of a rough spot in childhood, her natural ability in the sport was discovered early and sharpened over many years of hard work, perseverance, commitment and strong faith. Though she suffered disappointments along the way to winning, it was the manner in which she reacted that kept her body in motion and her life in balance…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Understanding the intensity of training at a high-level, I commend Simone Biles for her achievements. Through personal stories, shared strengths, motivation and inspiration, Courage To Soar not only offers confidence in sports but in all areas of life. “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade” is how Simone Biles lives her life (after a really good bawling). Picking herself up by the bootstraps after being knocked down, she is truly a role model for many. Engaging, well-written and absorbing, this book will be enjoyed by most. Congratulations and best wishes in the future, Simone!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Courage To Soar from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review.

Storm

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Calhoun, Bonnie S. Storm: Stone Braide Chronicles Series- Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

storm

SUMMARY:
Selah Rishon Chavez just celebrated her eighteenth birthday, and unbeknownst to her, begins a transformation that is linked to her heritage. The transformation requires leaving all things she knows and loves to join the group that is now hunted by her father and brothers. Needing to complete the Third Protocol while still sane, Selah and her alliances must rush across the country, push through enemy territory, and learn to trust while trusting no one. Full of fight scenes, continuous suspense and fantasy, this young adult dystopic novel, Storm, is sure to appeal…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though obviously author Bonnie Calhoun knows how to write, unfortunately, it is not my genre of reading. Neither connected to the characters nor the storyline, this book was not much to my liking; however, I feel it is purely a personal choice. Perhaps readers of fantasy, dystopia or mild violence may enjoy this book three in the Stone Braide Chronicles series, but I would advise reading the previous novels immediately before this one. Intriguing cover.

RATING:
3 (out of 5) pennies

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