Chosen With Esther

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Ramos, David. Chosen With Esther: 20 Devotionals to Awaken Your Calling, Guide Your Heart, and Empower You To Lead By God’s Design (Testament Heroes-Book 6). Amazon Digital Services. 2016.

chosenwithesther

SUMMARY:
With a strong message to share that even though we may not be chosen first for things (invites, teams), we are always intentionally chosen by God to fulfill His will. Though not always what we may have hoped for and expected, God chose us for a purpose just as He did Esther. As the queen chosen to free the Jews, while not easy, she eventually understood her purpose. Breaking the story and characters into understandable pieces, author David Ramos also includes personal correlations, provides a take-away thought, and concludes with a complementary prayer.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Written in a friendly, non-judgmental manner, this wonderfully written devotional by David Ramos shares the story of Esther in such a way that most can learn from. Relating the Bible story to the everyday makes it that much more effective; a writing talent this author employs well. With a lesson to ponder, thoughts to consider, and hope to be found, through compassion, honesty, and grace, Chosen With Esther not only shares the story of Esther but also reminds that each is chosen and has a purpose with God. “You were chosen for such a time as this.”

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Chosen With Esther from the author for my honest review*

A Moonbow Night

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Frantz, Laura. A Moonbow Night. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

amoonbownight

SUMMARY:
In 1777, Sion Morgan is leading his group through the wilderness into what will become Kentucky when he realizes he may need a guide to get his group there safely. Stopping at Moonbow Inn along the Shawnee River, Sion meets Temperance (Tempe) Tucker, a guide known for her survival skills. As Sion and Tempe push through the wilderness, a friendship develops though Tempe is quick to guard her heart against more. With danger, mystery, romance, faith and lots of history, A Moonbow Night tackles more than the wilderness of the land.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As one of my favorite authors, Laura Frantz knows how to write. Though perhaps a bit of a different genre than her previous novels, I still enjoyed it but not quite as much (due to a personal preference). Beautiful and full descriptions of the land, characters, and struggles lend themselves to a heart-tugging story which revolves around strong characters laced with emotions. Slow to set the stage yet complete once done, A Moonbow Night was definitely worth the wait and the read.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Moonbow Night from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Eat Beautiful

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Rowe, Wendy. Eat Beautiful: Food And Recipes To Nourish Your Skin From The Inside Out. USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2016.

eatbeautiful

SUMMARY:
Broken into the four seasons with explanations of certain foods helpful during each specific season, the ingredients are then incorporated into recipes. Interspersed with health and beauty tips for skin and body, Eat Beautiful offers care for the entire person, inside and out with a focus on skin. With years as an international make-up artist to models and celebrities, author Wendy Rowe is known for her holistic approach to skincare.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With lots of information on the effectiveness and necessity of eating healthy for your skin and health, Eat Beautiful starts with the inside which causes the outside to shine. Full of wonderfully healthy recipes with ingredients which nourish the skin (quinoa, salmon, almond milk, radish, garlic, pumpkin, pine nuts), each recipe also includes a brief personal note, calories per portion, skin benefits and well organized directions. With photographs scattered throughout, the only thing missing was pictures of “ordinary” people, too. The areas including the helpful ingredients were full of information relating to skin nutrients from which I learned quite a bit. Overall, a useful book to help you feel and look your best.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

Because You’re Mine

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Coble, Colleen. Because You’re Mine. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2017.

becauseyouremine

SUMMARY:
As the main fiddler in the popular band, Ceol, Alanna Connolly is enjoying the success associated with her Celtic band. With her husband as the drummer of the group, when tragedy strikes, Alanna finds she must protect herself and the one she loves. Forced to make decisions about her future in a hasty manner, Alanna soon discovers people and circumstances aren’t always what they appear on the surface. Needing to backpedal, Alanna must trust herself to make the right choice and perhaps undo her impulsive mistakes…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Willing to read just about anything author Colleen Coble writes, I knew I was in for a suspenseful read. With quite a few striking moments surrounding several scenarios, though I figured out the mystery early in the story, I still couldn’t put the book down and just had to finish reading it. Full of some danger, romance and a little bit of faith, it was definitely a good, quick, eventful novel. I look forward to reading more from Colleen Coble, perhaps even a sequel to her newest novel, Because You’re Mine.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Because You’re Mine from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Let Food Be Your Medicine

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Colbert, M.D., Don. Let Food Be Your Medicine: Dietary Changes Proven To Prevent Or Reverse Disease. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2016.

letfoodbeyourmedicine

SUMMARY:
Struggling with his own illness, Dr. Don Colbert thought outside the box to overcome it. Sharing his methods, and hopefully the same positive results, his updated version of his book, Let Food Be Your Medicine, is about making changes to live a healthy lifestyle which both treats and prevents diseases. With a section on information to help make the best choices regarding inflammation, weight loss, and proper nutrition, it also includes a section on specific illnesses such as cardiovascular disease, arthritis, autoimmune, diabetes, cancer, dementia and mental illness. Concluding with appendixes on a 21-day meal plan, shopping lists, material on pesticides and mercury, as well as supplements, the material is very well organized and easily useable.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As I’ve already made several of the healthy lifestyle changes suggested, this newly updated version now supplies a 21 day meal plan which follows the modified Mediterranean Diet as a suggested starting point. With clear evidence of the positive effects of the Dash Diet and Mediterranean Diet, this book enhances those diets with healthy choices for food, exercise, awareness and faith. Full of really helpful information with specific illnesses and challenges organized by chapters, it provides nutritious menus, foods to avoid, and personal stories that may change your life for the better. As a New York Times best-selling author specializing in anti-aging medicine, Dr. Don Colbert has impacted many through his research and walk with God.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Let Food Be Your Medicine from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill

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Klassen, Julie. The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill: Tales From Ivy Hill- Book 1. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2016.

theinnkeeperofivyhill

SUMMARY:
Due to her husband’s unexpected and sudden death, Jane Bell now finds herself thrust into the role of the Innkeeper of The Bell. With the former Innkeeper visiting, who just happens to also be her mother-in-law, Jane must not only learn the business but also manage her relationship with Thora. Struggling to make ends meet, Jane must decide who is safe to trust while also exploring new methods, safekeeping her business, and possibly her heart.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Due to the author, Julie Klassen ,I knew I wanted to read this new novel set in the English village of Ivy Hill. Filled with romance, mystery, relationships and hope, The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill may have started a bit slower than expected but picked up the pace half-way through it. As a longer novel, though it took a bit to develop the characters and intricately intertwined relationships, it was worth the investment to complete the book. Fully immersed in the lives of the members of this quaint community now, I look forward to reading the next in this series, The Ladies of Ivy Cottage, due out in December of 2017.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Innkeeper of Ivy Hill from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

Authentic Living

Exley, Richard. Authentic Living: 365 Devotions for Deliberate Faith. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2016.

*authenticliving

SUMMARY:
With the new year upon us, it seems to be the perfect time to begin a yearly devotional. As an accomplished author, pastor and speaker, Richard Exley shares 365 devotions intent on deliberate faith in his new book, Authentic Living. Organized into page-length devotions with a scripture verse and prayer included, each unit lasts for a few days so the concept can be experienced from several different angles. With topics such as relationships, grief, prayer, the Holy Spirit and faith, each is written with compassion, grace, strength and thought which allows for guidance and daily time with the Lord. Though shorter in words, the impact is deep.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Filled with in-depth messages in daily devotional form, Authentic Living is a wonderful devotional for yearly use. In a compact book easy to take along, this handy little book may be short in length but speaks directly to the heart. With scriptures from different Bible translations, stories from the author’s personal life experiences and deeper topics, this devotional choice is full of understanding yet to the mark. (The only thing missing is a ribbon for marking my spot but that is just a personal preference.) Definitely a devotional I plan to use this year!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Authentic Living from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

The Jesus Bible

Contributors- Giglio, Louie. Lucado, Max. Piper, John. Zacharias, Ravi. Alcorn, Randy. The Jesus Bible: NIV edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2016.

thejesusbible

SUMMARY:
Reading the most popular book just became even more enjoyable. With the full NIV text accompanied by essays, sidebar notes, book introductions, full-page articles and journaling room, The Jesus Bible invites readers to meet and greet Jesus and follow His story throughout the Bible. As a sturdy hard-cover book with a binding that opens flat, the featured extras by noteworthy authors are scattered within for an enhanced experience. Focusing on the 66 books, in one story, all about one name, Jesus is glorified.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A thick grey-linen covered book with a ribbon to keep your spot, The Jesus Bible was welcomed at first glance. Upon opening it and reading the scripture verses, I thought the sidebar explanations were helpful in explaining the verses a bit deeper in a relatable manner. The articles and essays coupled with the corresponding verses clarify the scriptures further, all while keeping Jesus as the main focus. With extra wide sidebars for journaling or note taking, this Bible is very usable. With inclusions from some favorite authors, I find myself browsing the Bible even more than usual now. Reader friendly, well organized and extremely useful, The Jesus Bible is sure to become a favorite.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Jesus Bible from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Wake Up to the Joy of You

Stassinopoulos, Agapi. Wake Up to the Joy of You: 52 Meditations and Practices for a Calmer, Happier Life. USA: Harmony Books. 2016.

wakeuptothejoyofyou

SUMMARY:
Filled with 52 meditations for a calmer, happier life, Wake Up to the Joy of You is filled with practices, thoughts, ideas, intentions, compassion, and encouragement to love yourself while being yourself. Each chapter begins with a corresponding quote, a personal story, guided meditation and/ or suggestions for the week. Filled with positive thoughts, gentle methods, helpful lessons, and self-compassion, author Agapi Stassinopoulos makes the journey easy to self-discovery and a life filled with joy.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With life so full of negativity, busyness, guilt and self-doubt, this book is a wonderful reminder that grace, joy, peace and spirit live within each of us…they may just need to be discovered and brought to the forefront. A beautiful hard-cover book which is broken into sections on self-care, roadblocks, and conflict, Wake Up to the Joy of You celebrates the real you that you were meant to be. I plan on using this book throughout the year to rediscover my true self underneath all the busyness, hurriedness, and craziness that is part of life. As my word for the year (as well as my middle name-Joy), this book will couple perfectly with my devotional book.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Wake Up to the Joy of You from Blogging For Books for my honest review*