Queso!

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Fain, Lisa. Queso! Regional Recipes for the World’s Favorite Chili-Cheese Dip. New York, USA: Ten Speed Press Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With over 55 recipes in this chili-cheese collection, Queso! is a spicy cookbook surrounding the deliciousness of cheese dips. Beginning with necessary information on the different chili peppers and cheeses, this convenient sized cookbook then progresses to numerous recipes celebrating queso. Complete with a brief introduction to each recipe, readily available ingredients, simple to follow directions and beautiful photography throughout, author and James Beard Award winner Lisa Fain has created a highly use-able and do-able specialty cookbook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a fan of chili con queso but stuck in a rut preparing it only one way, Queso! has definitely changed that predicament. With seriously mouth-watering recipes (San Antonio Chili con Queso, Brisket Queso, and Macaroni & Cheese with Green Chili Queso Blanco) grouped into 5 different themes, I found so many new queso ideas to try and share. Making the quesos to accompany a family dinner or bringing to a get-together of friends, Queso! is sure to make popular and tasty treats for all…just be sure to be ready to make more! Yum!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

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The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional

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Fisk, Julie. Roehl, Kendra. Demery, Kristin. The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional: 365 Inspiring Ideas to Reveal, Give, and Find God’s Love. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum/ Tyndale House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With a whole year of inspirational devotions to read, share and act upon, The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional is complete with a scripture verse, personal story, and an act of kindness to randomly perform for each day. Organized into days with a one-page devotion, the three authors take turns supplying the devotion with an associated idea for action. Easy and enjoyable to read but containing a possible huge impact, this one year devotional is do-able, relatable and personable.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already looking for my next devotional for the new year, The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional will fill that need. Simple to begin any day during the year, I appreciate the organization and honesty with which it was written. Realizing the effect daily acts of kindness could have on myself as well as others, this book would work well in a group setting or for individual use. Having several other devotionals already from The One Year series, I know the reliability and timeliness of the included devotions as well as the scriptural references. Well thought out and organized, my search for a 2018 devotional is now complete.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

Sweet Potatoes

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Heck, Mary-Frances. Sweet Potatoes: Roasted, Loaded, Fried, And Made Into Pie. New York, USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As one of the more nutritious items on the menu, there is no limit to the many ways sweet potatoes can be prepared. Organized into a nice sized cookbook, Sweet Potatoes is filled with delicious and creative ideas for sharing sweet potatoes. From the perfect sweet potato french fries to soups, side dishes, main courses, breads and even desserts, there are plenty of recipes sure to please any sweet potato connoisseur. Complete with a sweet potato primer (filled with lots of information about the basic sweet potato including types, sizes, complementary seasonings, and preparation), as well as a personal introduction to each recipe, easy to follow directions, and accompanying photographs of most recipes, Sweet Potatoes is a wonderful addition to any cookbook collection.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a huge sweet potato fan, I was thrilled to find a book which contained several new ways to prepare and serve a favorite dish. Sweet potato burgers, Cobb salad, Braised sausage with sweet potatoes and Twice-baked sweet potatoes are just a few of the many new recipes I found within this cookbook. Finding an easy and successful way to make crispy and tasty sweet potato fries was priceless!  Definitely a great gift for anyone who loves sweet potatoes, the new cookbook by food writer, recipe developer and chef, Mary-Frances Heck, will get lots of use in my kitchen.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

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

With You Always

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Hedlund, Jody. With You Always: Orphan Train Series- Book 1. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Having lived on the streets previously with her younger siblings, immigrant Elise Neumann must find a way to support them. Boarding a train from New York to Illinois in the hopes of finding a job, Elise makes an acquaintance with Thornton Quincy, a member of New York’s elite society trying to build a new town along the Illinois Central Railroad and in the process of hiring skilled workers. When an attraction sparks but threatens progress, Elise and Thornton must make choices which may affect more than just their own futures…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Reading anything author Jody Hedlund writes, of course I knew I would read her newest novel, With You Always. In her true style, she writes a heartfelt, moving, compassionate story which ends way too soon but thankfully, is only Book 1 in the new Orphan Train series. Appreciating the research into the time periods as well as the Author’s Note at the end of the story where she explains the history, I applaud her for telling the story from the different perspective of women during the time. A strong introduction to a new and interesting series!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

The Sugarsmart Cookbook

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Varozza, Georgia. The Sugarsmart Cookbook. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Designing a cookbook around being sugar-smart as a way to eat healthy and lose weight, author Georgia Varozza shares her reduced sugar, simple yet delicious recipes in her new cookbook, The Sugarsmart Cookbook. With recipes for lunches, main dishes, soups, salads, breads and even desserts, this convenient spiral-bound cookbook containing almost 200 recipes includes common ingredients, easy to follow directions and a beneficial recipe index.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Always on the lookout for new healthy recipe ideas, I thought The Sugarsmart Cookbook would be a perfect addition to my cookbook collection. With inviting recipes using minimal sugar as an ingredient, though not necessarily new, the creative combination of ingredients will put a different twist on some of our already favorite menus. Only wishing for nutritional information and accompanying pictures to be included, these recipes are easily adaptable to personal preference or dietary concerns and will definitely have a place on my kitchen shelf.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies
*I received a complimentary copy of The Sugarsmart Cookbook from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Holiday Cookies

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der Nederlanden, Elisabet. Scott, Erin (photographer). Holiday Cookies: Showstopping Recipes to Sweeten the Season. USA: Ten Speed Press. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Professional recipe developer and food stylist, Elisabet der Nederlanden, shares fifty new and updated recipes for holiday cookies. Complete with beautiful photographs of each recipe as well as decorating tips and packaging ideas, Holiday Cookies showcases such favorites as Triple-Chocolate Chunk Cookies and Gingerbread Cookies along with Cinnamon-Sugar Palmiers and Espresso Thins. With personal introductions, lists of needed ingredients, and easy to follow directions for every recipe, the decorating section only enhances this special seasonal cookbook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though marketed as a holiday cookie book, I believe this fun cookie cookbook could actually be used year-round to make delicious cookies. Finding recipes to use any time of the year, I did appreciate the section on recipes for cookie exchanges. Perfect as the baking season approaches, I always delight in new cookie recipes for Christmas get-togethers, while my family enjoys the new creations for dessert. Coupled with attractive photographs, this is definitely a book which I will use this coming season and beyond.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

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

Abiding Mercy

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Reid, Ruth. Abiding Mercy: An Amish Mercies Series- Book 1. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Growing up in the Amish community, Faith is content to work at her parent’s restaurant, The Amish Table. As a hard worker and part of an Amish family, though she struggles at times, nothing compares to the heartbreak and controversy she soon must address. With questions swirling, answers needed and possible forgiveness sought, Abiding Mercy follows two storylines of two very different backgrounds but perhaps a combined future. As the start of a new series, Amish Mercies, author Ruth Reid peaks interest with this first book.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With a bit of a more unique Amish storyline, I was intrigued with how this book would unfold and finish. Reading it in one evening (very rare for me), the pages just kept turning. With a few surprises, developed characters, and an interesting storyline, I thought this novel was well written. Though perhaps it was a little apparent, the journey of reaching the end was enjoyable. Definitely a series I will follow, I appreciate the sincerity and honesty with which the author writes of the Amish and their way of life.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Abiding Mercy from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Before You Hit Send

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Eggerichs, PhD, Emerson. Before You Hit Send: Preventing Headache and Heartache. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Everyone has been there…sending the immediate message, only to regret it later. In his new book, Before You Hit Send, author Dr. Emerson Eggerichs hopes to help put the brakes on those messages sooner than later. Working through four important criteria for messages, both written and spoken, each message should pass through the “Is it True, Is it Kind, Is it Necessary, and Is it Clear” test. With explanations of each area as well as related scripture verses, thoughts, personal stories and self examinations, the book also includes ideas for actions if that message was sent too quickly.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well organized, easy to follow, interesting to read and right on target, this thought-provoking, encouraging and highly applicable book should be required reading. Taking his advice to heart, I hope to redirect my communication to qualify through the four criteria presented in Before You Hit Send so as not to have the regrets nor the consequences of miscommunication through haste. A very good book with great ideas and important actions, I will recommend this book to many of my family and friends.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Before You Hit Send from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*