A Fierce Love

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Shanks, Shanna. A Fierce Love: One Woman’s Courageous Journey to Save Her Marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With her marriage on an uncontrollable downward spiral, author Shanna Shanks decides to take 1 Corinthians 13 literally and follow it word, for painstakingly word. Faced with a request for a divorce after her husband admitted to an affair, in her new book, A Fierce Love, the author shares her tumultuous season full of mistakes, missteps, uncertainty, and doubt. Pure, raw, and vulnerable, the decision made to save her marriage may save more than just her marriage, it may also save countless other relationships.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A valuable read no matter the state of any marriage, A Fierce Love reiterates the truth found in God’s word in the Love scripture, 1 Corinthians 13. Written during one of the toughest seasons of her life, I so appreciated the honesty with which Shanna Shanks wrote. Able to take the lessons and strengthen not only marriages, the same principles could also be applied to endless relationships. Engaging, interesting, encouraging and inspirational, this book is not to be missed by anyone involved in a relationship.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Fierce Love from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

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Mix & Match Mama Simmers

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Shull, Shay. Mix & Match Mama Simmers: Slow-Cooker Creations Your Family Will Love. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As a successful blogger and cookbook author, Shay Shull adds another book to her list. Full of delicious recipes for the slow-cooker and coupled with scrumptious-looking photographs of each, Mix & Match Mama Simmers is filled with family-friendly ideas made easy. Created to help during the busy time surrounding dinner, this delightful cookbook features chicken and pork recipes, as well as soup, dips and desserts- all designed for the slow-cooker.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though not necessarily fancy, the recipes in this beautiful little cookbook are definitely tasty and useful. With ingredients found in most pantries and pleasing to most family members, the idea of making these dinner favorites in a slow-cooker is even more enjoyable. I really appreciated the ease of substituting and/ or adding elements according to personal preference and dietary decisions. Easy to follow directions, quick to assemble ingredients and supper ready when everyone walks in the door…priceless!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Mix & Match Mama Simmers from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Many Sparrows

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Benton, Lori. Many Sparrows. USA: Waterbrook Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With a newborn ready to be born any day, Clare Inglesby feels so alone in the western mountain area, in Native American territory. Traveling across country, Clare’s husband, Phillip, must return home leaving Clare alone with their four-year-old son. Discovering Jacob missing, Clare has no other choice than to trust frontiersman, Jeremiah, for help. Through fright, heartbreak, uncertainty, trust and faith, Clare must make choices which may affect her life as well as those of her children. Adventurous, gripping, and heart-stirring, Many Sparrows shares the tumultuous journey of people, physically, emotionally and spiritually.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Literally waiting weeks for this book to become available, I have read every one of author Lori Benton’s books and have yet to be disappointed. Drawn into the novel as if I was truly there, I felt every emotion and experience encountered by the characters. Well-written with an embracing storyline, the messages, lessons and faith within lend to the depth. Definitely a book I would recommend and probably re-read (very rare for me), Many Sparrows was worth the wait. I look forward to, as well as anticipate, many more novels from this author.

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

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

She’s Still There

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Evans- Hurst, Chrystal. She’s Still There- Rescuing the Girl in You. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Losing yourself in the midst of life is easy to do but finding yourself again can be a daunting task. With compassion, encouragement, faith, trust and personal experience, author Chrystal Evans-Hurst shares her own story and insights on life. Lending a hand yet allowing you to stand on your own, She’s Still There explores the reasons and events in life that caused the loss. Looking deeply within, the girl that was once there is reassured, strengthened and restored to dream, believe and live again.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Like a personal coach and cheerleader, Chrystal Evans-Hurst is there and understands. Having been there herself, she shares her concern as a friend and confidant to help others find that girl within that is lost due to circumstances, situations, events…life. Offering wisdom, acceptance, and familiarity, this book is perfect for anyone who has experienced life (most of us). Perfect as a pick-me-up, a pat-on-the-back or perhaps even a kick-in-the-pants, She’s Still There found me nodding several times and chuckling in recognition as I read through it. Definitely a book I will keep on my shelf to revisit as needed, I also wouldn’t hesitate to share it or recommend it to most anyone.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of She’s Still There from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back?

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Bolton, Martha. And Ditchfield, Christin. Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back: Facing Life With Courage Not Comforters. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Feeling down in the dumps at times can cause wanting to hide in bed and not get up. Under the premise of not getting out until Jesus comes back, authors Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield offer encouragement, humor, inspiration, chuckles and reasons to actually get up and get moving. Set up in 2-3 page bite-size chapters, each tackles a topic, includes a quote, a personal story, a reference to scripture, encouragement and a smile. Offered by Focus on the Family, this book comes complete with a cute cover and title.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Drawn by the title and cover, I expected a light-hearted, fun book to read in snippets. Bingo! That is just what I received. Able to read a brief section at a time, Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back would be a perfect pick-me-up gift for a friend or self, maybe the basis of a Bible study or ministry or great as an addition to a church library. Enjoying the lists, the stories and scripture references, I think this book clearly hits the mark for the intention of moving forward, no matter the desire to stay in bed and hide. Definitely a book to read and share.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

The Captain’s Daughter

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Delamere, Jennifer. The Captain’s Daughter: London Beginnings- Book 1. Bloomington, MN: Bethany house Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Needing to urgently leave town due to circumstances beyond her control, Rosalyn Bernay finds herself in London, penniless, homeless, and jobless with few possibilities. Making her way through London, Rosalyn soon makes acquaintances- some helpful, others not. Landing herself a job backstage at a theatre, with the help of her new friends Jessie and Nate, her life takes a change in direction for the better albeit one that could also affect her heart…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a new author to me, I can honestly say I have found another favorite author in Jennifer Delamere. Grabbed from the first page and reading straight through to the end, this was one of the fastest books I have ever read. With a bit of turbulence, romance, and secrets mixed with my favorite genre of time and place, The Captain’s Daughter was a success for me. Glad to know this is only book one of the new series, London Beginnings, I absolutely will watch for the next installments. Welcome to my favorite author list, Jennifer Delamere!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Captain’s Daughter from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

The Turquoise Table

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Schell, Kristin. The Turquoise Table: Finding Community And Connection In Your Own Front Yard. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With humor and grace, author Kristin Schell shares her crazy life and yearning for a connection with community. Inviting her neighbors and friends to join her at the turquoise table (a painted table on the front lawn), she establishes friendship, ministry, love, safety, connections and thus, community. Coupled with beautiful photographs and several delicious recipes, though a quick read, it is packed with encouragement, insight and inspiration. Using a simple concept to create huge impacts, The Turquoise Table strikes home.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well written in a personal manner, I thoroughly enjoyed this book both in style and content. Chuckling at parts, identifying with points, pondering some thoughts and inspired by certain ideas, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book for ministries, Bible studies, church libraries and sermon topics. Even the included recipes were scrumptious! Consider the impact and influence such a book with this concept could have on neighborhoods and communities throughout the world. So powerful!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Turquoise Table from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Simple Decorating

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Michaels, Melissa. Simple Decorating: 50 Ways To Inspire Your Home. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Encouraging decorators to believe in their own signature style, blogger, author and decorator Melissa Michaels encourages, inspires and shares tips, techniques and designs for every room. In a compact yet filled-to-the-brim book of simple and welcoming fashion, Simple Decorating addresses moods, accessories, textures, spaces, styles and backdrops throughout the home. In short readable pieces complemented by beautiful photographs, this book has something for everyone to inspire style.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
In this clever, fashionable, design-spirited book, I found a variety of methods, patterns, trends and approaches to use in my own home. With ideas such as the use of different curtains, grouping items in threes, mixing linens, and dimensional displays, this book provided the quick pick-me-up my house needed. Gaining insights and ideas even from the photos, this little book set my decorative and creative vibes to work. Perfect to add to your own library or share as a housewarming gift, I truly enjoyed this book and hope to see more from this author.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Simple Decorating from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

English River

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Nye, Thomas. English River: Amish Horses Series- Book III. USA: CrossLink Publishing. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Living with his Uncle Noey and Aunt Ruth since his father left the Amish years earlier, young Lenny reaches adulthood. Having followed his coming of age story through the previous two novels in the Amish Horses Series, Lenny finally comes to a crossroads and must decide between the Amish settlement and the English ways of life. Torn between emotions, community, family and his heart, Lenny realizes he must make choices which will impact his life both now and in the future.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As book 3 in the series, I enjoyed this book at least as much as I did the previous two. With a backdrop of a simpler way of life filled with horses, laughter, sadness and love, English River was probably my favorite book yet. As a calm storyteller, author Thomas Nye pays beautiful credit to the Amish manner of living. A simple, sweet, heart-warming novel with a deeper message, I cannot help but recommend this book to many others. Hopefully, this skilled and gentle writer will have another book on the near horizon.

RATING:
4.25 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of English River from BookCrash and the author for my honest review*