If I’m Found

Featured

Blackstock, Terri. If I’m Found: If I Run Series- Book 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Casey Cox is still on the run, hoping not to be found. With Dylan Roberts chasing right on her heels, he might just catch her, but not quite. As the tension continues from If I Run, book 1 of the If I Run series, Casey finds herself facing yet another injustice involving a small child. Though unwilling to be caught, she cannot bear to ignore the situation, resulting in even more dangerous circumstances. As the suspense mounts, the danger increases, the characters become desperate and the plot thickens, best-selling author Terri Blackstock doesn’t back down…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not being able to turn the pages fast enough nor keep the midnight oil burning long enough, I just had to finish this fast-paced, action-packed, suspense-filled novel. Riveting characters coupled with great writing make this quite the thriller. Touching on difficult issues between the hide-and-seek, some may find it hard to read. Having read If I Run and waiting for If I’m Found, I now must (impatiently) wait for the conclusion to the series, If I Live, due out in 2018. Captivating cover, too!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of If I’m Found from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Make It Yours

Featured

Schmidt, Christine. Yellow Owl Workshop’s Make It Yours: Patterns and Inspirations to Stamp, Stencil, and Customize Your Stuff. New York, USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Cookies, furniture, accessories, pillows, pictures…they can all be stenciled, stamped and customized to reflect your personal style. Whether for your own home or as a gift for someone special, Make It Yours not only helps you do it with ease but also provides the necessary information to succeed. With included stencil templates, loads of ideas, well organized directions, material information and oodles of creativity, artist and founder of Yellow Owl Workshop, Christine Schmidt, shares her knowledge and passion in an inventive and inspirational manner.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Encased in a sturdy paperback book with lots of photographs, I found this book to be of high quality. Though not my favorite genre of crafting, even I was inspired to try a few of the items as customized accessories for my home. Absolutely perfect for the person who is a novice as well as the more advanced, Make It Yours would be a wonderful gift. Using paint, clay, dye, ink and a variety of other mediums, items such as chairs, clutches, envelopes, tiles, shoes, and flower pots are decorated. This book makes it easy to get in touch with your creative side.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Make It Yours from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

A Stolen Heart

Featured

Cabot, Amanda. A Stolen Heart: Cimarron Creek Trilogy- Book 1. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Traveling from the North to meet and marry her intended in the South, Lydia Crawford is surprised to find her fiancé gone…not just gone, but leaving a pregnant wife in his place. Between secrets and trials, faith and hurt, memories and love, Lydia finds the quaint town of Cimarron Creek in the Texas Hill Country may not be as unfriendly as she first suspected. Learning to forgive while finding happiness in unexpected places, A Stolen Heart is full of adventure, mystery, and love…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Drawn to the delightful cover by a favorite author of mine, Amanda Cabot begins her new Cimarron Creek Trilogy series in a sweet albeit fussy manner. Truly liking the storyline fused with enjoyable characters, this novel surely met my expectations. Easy yet complete, a perfect read for a spring vacation, to fill an Easter basket or share with a friend, A Stolen Heart sets the stage for the next book in the series due out later this year which I intend to read.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Stolen Heart from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

God’s Easter Miracles

Featured

Mancini, Lee Ann (author). Sharp, Dan (illustrator). God’s Easter Miracles- Adventures of the Sea Kids Series. Boca Raton, FL: GLM Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As the newest addition to the Adventures of the Sea Kids series, God’s Easter Miracles surrounds the Easter Story while teaching sharing, caring, praying and rejoicing. Learning to be like Jesus in their Sunday School class, the Sea Kids need to share with Paul and pray for Lenny. Joining together to rejoice when prayers were answered with Easter miracles, these adorable, colorful and appealing creatures are sure to delight. With an added bonus of a hidden item to find on each page, this Award-winning Christian Series will be shared and requested again and again…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Yet another stunning addition to a beloved children’s series, God’s Easter Miracles continues the success of the Adventures of the Sea Kids series. Author Lee Ann Mancini and illustrator Dan Sharp team up again to design a book worthy of sharing. Touching on Easter, autism, and Manatee rescue through prayers, empathy and miracles, the messages are presented in an age-appropriate manner and encircled with gorgeous, full-page, charming pictures which will be positively embraced. Well done (again)!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of God’s Easter Miracles from BookCrash for my honest review*

Love Your Work

Featured

Dickie III, Robert. Love Your Work: 4 Practical Ways You Can Pivot To Your Best Career. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With a changing economy resulting in a changing workforce, changes are inevitable. Perhaps a career swap, a new work opportunity, or a chance for advancement, in his new book, Love Your Work, author Robert Dickie III shares perspectives on all of these possible changes. Outlining the four quadrants of a career (Revector, Renew, Reinvent and Repurpose), and combining them with career skills while including character and integrity, the future of growth and opportunity is then observed. Equipped with an action plan, a career move can be examined or staying in place can be made better with the importance of loving your work.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With diagrams, highlighted notes, depths of experience and doses of humor, Love Your Work was easy to read, clear to understand, and undeniably relevant. Filled with personal examples, ideas for thought, and pivot-point challenges, I found this book well written, reliable, prominent and useable. Definitely a book I will refer to again as well as share with friends, it would also be successful as a group study, career training, or ministry workshop. Is your career all it could be? You may just be surprised…

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love Your Work from Moody Publishers for my honest review*

Dinner

Featured

Clark, Melissa. Dinner: Changing the Game. New York: USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With the premise that each included recipe is meant to be a complete dinner by itself, author Melissa Clark shares delicious recipes, easily obtained ingredients, well organized directions, and beautiful photography in her new book, Dinner. Organized into categories, each recipe includes a personal thought, smart cooking tidbits, and lots of menu variety. Effortlessly able to be made and served, dinner is solved…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Definitely a spectacular looking cookbook, the recipes are simple though not necessarily what I was anticipating. Full of more ethnic recipes than I expected, this book is sure to tempt our palates and widen our tastes. While I may need to substitute a few ingredients (due to personal preference and healthy diet restrictions), I actually cannot wait to try several of the meal ideas. Under the basis of each recipe being complete, I did find either a salad or loaf of bread would complement the dinners perfectly. With many of the recipes accompanied by stunning photographs, this cookbook would make a wonderful gift for busy families, newlyweds, empty-nesters and cookbook lovers.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

My Sister’s Prayer

Featured

Clark, Mindy Starns. And Gould, Leslie. My Sister’s Prayer: Cousins of the Dove- Book 2. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

SUMMARY:
As the second book in the Cousins of the Dove series, My Sister’s Prayer continues the Talbot family story, following the story of two sets of sisters-one contemporary and the other historical-separated by 300 years. Told in the first person point-of-view, alternating between present and past, the sisters’ lives run individually yet intertwine through a family heirloom. Romance, sisters, secrets, and hardships divide yet combine the centuries as sisters realize the importance of devotion.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Liking authors Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould, I was ready to read their combined novel. Though perhaps just a bit confusing in the beginning, it wasn’t long before I caught on and sped through the book. (Confession- I did not read book 1, My Brother’s Crown, which may have helped my initial confusion.) Skillfully making the first person POV work well within the story, the added design of parallel yet perpendicular stories only enhanced the creativity. With book 3 already on the horizon, I most likely will read the previous novel to be ready for the May 2017 release of My Daughter’s Legacy.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of My Sister’s Prayer from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Redeeming Grace

Featured

Smith, Jill Eileen. Redeeming Grace: Ruth’s Story- Daughters of the Promised Land series- Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Following the Old Testament story of Ruth, Boaz and Naomi, Redeeming Grace beautifully depicts the loss, grief, longing and hardship associated with Ruth’s story yet also the redemption, love and fulfillment ultimately experienced. Filling in fictionally the missing parts of the Biblical story, author Jill Eileen Smith, through apparent research, stays true to the story’s time in history. As the story unravels, redeeming grace identifies Ruth through her actions while she also receives it…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
So timely for me to read Redeeming Grace; I had recently heard a sermon regarding relationships with Ruth and Naomi as examples. Already knowing the story, it was interesting to have the pieces filled in even if only fictionally. Staying true to the time period of culture, customs and ways of life, this story seemed to flow smoothly. My favorite of the series thus far, I look forward to more in the series as well as by this author. Perfect for a women’s Bible study, group ministry or sermon series, I will return to this story again while sharing it with others, too.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

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

One Pan & Done

Featured

Gilbert, Molly. One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals From The Oven To Your Table. New York, USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2017.

onepandone

SUMMARY:
Food blogger, former private chef and cooking instructor, and author of Sheet Pan Suppers and now her new book, One Pan & Done, Molly Gilbert helps keep it efficient, uncomplicated and delicious. With the goal of assembling (most) dishes right in the pan or pot, many recipes come complete with easy to follow directions, photographs and a personal story. Using items commonly found in a home pantry and either a baking sheet, a cast iron skillet, a dutch oven, a baking dish or a muffin/ cake tin, the prep is easy and the outcome delectable.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Arriving just in time for dinner, I chose a recipe from the book and had dinner made in no time (Quick Chicken Pot Pie). Though I tweaked a few ingredients due to my family’s taste and health preference, not only was supper savory and satisfying but quick to put together and resulting in very few dishes (yeah). Perhaps not full of elegant fare but definitely hearty and fulfilling meals, I may just find myself hooked on this new trend of cooking. With a new baking sheet on order and a grocery list ready, this is one book that will be used often in my kitchen.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of One Pan & Done from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

The Illusionist’s Apprentice

Featured

Cambron, Kristy. The Illusionist’s Apprentice. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

theillusionistsapprentice

SUMMARY:
Wren Lockhart, an apprentice not a magician, is independent, confident and sad. Trying to cover her past, she is drawn into a crime investigation for the apparent re-death of a man. Set in the early 1900’s, all the jazz, vaudeville, secrets and culture of the era make appearances in this new novel by author Kristy Cambron. With strong characters, unforeseen surprises, and an intriguing storyline blended with the master of illusion, Harry Houdini, The Illusionist’s Apprentice is a captivating novel from start to finish.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As one of my all-time favorite authors, I couldn’t wait for this book to become available. Reading the entire book in just a few short nights, it was alluring and gripping. Not a huge fan of illusion, I did find it interesting to read though about such acts as well as the era. Well-written, fascinating and compelling, I still enjoy Kristy Cambron’s previous Hidden Masterpiece novels better, The Butterfly and the Violin and A Sparrow in Terezin (which I found hauntingly beautiful yet heartbreakingly sorrowful). Definitely worth the read; absolutely an author I will always read.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Illusionist’s Apprentice from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*