Nourished

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Huber, Lia. Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith & Enduring Love with Recipes. New York, USA: Convergent Books. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Part travel guide, part cookbook, and part personal exploration, Nourished is a memoir of a life surrounded by food. As a food writer. recipe developer, consultant, entrepreneur and blogger, author Lia Huber shares a recount of her journey to faith, food, and community. Written in an easy, more conversational manner, she chronicles portions of her life, ending each section with a related recipe. Finding her purpose through food and faith, Lia eventually made the connection though her adventures are far from over.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Expecting more of a cookbook than a memoir, I actually was not disappointed but found the book, Nourished, to be quite interesting. Liking her style of writing, I found myself immersed in pieces of the book though I only intended to scan it at first. Drawn into her life experiences, I enjoyed the travel aspects as well as the family, food, faith and community elements. Perhaps some of the included recipes are a bit out of my grasp but are appealing non-the-less. A perfect book for a reader compelled by travel and food; this is a book I am actually glad I read.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

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Hope Unashamed

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Keels, Nadine. Hope Unashamed: When It’s Time Series- Book 2. Smashwords. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As a good student with high morals, Arthur didn’t have time for girls. That is, until he met Lorraine which changed everything. Beginning as a high school romance and continuing the journey into adulthood, Hope Unashamed is filled with sweetness, innocence, perseverance, and hope. Written in a unique manner, author Nadine Keels travels back into the first book of the When It’s Time series where Arthur made his debut, his backstory is learned from his own point of view. Filling the gaps and then moving forward, the storyline only becomes fuller.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With not only a new and interesting story manner but also words that so eloquently and naturally flow, Hope Unashamed has the power to draw you into a story through a connection with the characters. Absolutely relating to the way in which she writes, I am a huge fan of author Nadine Keels. With a talent for developing a deep and entire story within a novella, I can only hope there are more books already being worked on in this series because if history repeats itself, they will only keep getting better. (Adorable cover, too!)

RATING:
4.75 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Hope Unashamed from the author for my honest review*

Merry and Bright

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Macomber, Debbie. Merry and Bright. New York, USA: Ballantine Books. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Merry took the temporary office position in hopes of it eventually becoming a permanent position. Known in the office as “Mary” (vs. the correct spelling of “Merry”), Merry accepts her family’s gift of a membership in an online dating service. Hooking up with Jayson online, much to her chagrin, Merry soon realizes she knows Jayson in another area of her life but with a different character than he appears to be online. Realizing she has done the same, Merry/ Mary must come clean but at a cost. With humor, heart, heartache and hearth, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Debbie Macomber, delights with another tradition, her newest annual Christmas book, Merry and Bright.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
So looking forward to this author’s Christmas story each year, I enjoyed the cleverness of this one as well as the sweetness, sadness, and sauciness. Clean, quick and light for this time of year, Debbie Macomber satisfies again. As a favorite author of mine, I enjoy both her Christmas books and certain series of her books. Perfect for a cozy evening of hot chocolate, a snuggly blanket, a sleepy puppy and this seasonal story, I am now more ready for the upcoming season. Let it snow!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

 

Maverick and Me

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Schwarzenegger, Katherine (author). Harris, Phyllis (illustrator). Maverick and Me. Nashville, TN: Worthy Kids/ Ideals Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Found cold, hungry and scared, a little puppy needs a second chance. Taken to a pet store by a kind lady, Maverick hopes to find a loving family the next weekend at the Adoption event. With his crooked ears and marbled color, he waits as many potential adopters stop but choose others. Finally, a little girl in pigtails visits him and falls in love. Promising to take the best care of him, Maverick’s new family hosts a welcome party for him where everyone is encouraged to rescue/adopt a homeless pet when next looking for a new furry family member.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a New York Times bestselling author, lifestyle blogger, philanthropist and animal activist, Katherine Schwarzenegger shares her life with the real Maverick while advocating for pet rescue. Collaborating with successful illustrated and passionate supporter of pet adoption, Phyllis Harris, the new book Maverick and Me is beautifully written with charming, colorful pictures and a powerful message of forever friends and homes for rescued pets. An excellent resource for children, this book would be perfect shared through a library, school or in a personal collection. I plan on sharing my copy with my local Humane Society, with the hope they will incorporate it into their youth classes. A great stepping stone not only for adoption but also respect, treatment and safety of animals.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Maverick and Me from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Everyday Watercolor

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Rainey, Jenna. Everyday Watercolor: Learn To Paint Watercolor In 30 Days. New York, USA: Watson-Guptill Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As a watercolor painting guide structured to teach technique, perspective, shape, form. volume, depth and light with successful results in 30 days, Everyday Watercolor helps both beginner painters as well as those more accomplished. With each lesson plan set-up in 2-3 steps of sketching, choosing a color palette and painting on paper, a finished picture is the result each day. With clear instructions, lots of guidance and encouragement/ permission to create your own style, artist and author Jenna Rainey shares her love, design, education and enjoyment in her new book meant for all.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
By no means an artist of drawing, painting, or patience, this book actually took me by surprise and enabled me to paint beautiful pictures (at least, in my own eyes). Meant to be done in 30 consecutive days, the instruction works just fine on any consistent schedule. Done in a sequential manner building upon previously learned skills from the prior lessons, even I was impressed by what I was able to produce. With Jenna’s encouraging style and reminder to have fun while attempting something new, I liked her acknowledgement of her artistic gift from God which she has chosen to use and share.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

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

Fierce Hearted

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Gerth, Holley. Fierce Hearted: Live Fully, Love Bravely. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
In her newest and most personal book yet, author Holley Gerth shares her inner most thoughts, fears, emotions and personal stories. Almost like chatting with a best friend over coffee, Fierce Hearted is organized in smaller chapters perfect for reading and reflecting. Encouraging each woman to realize she is “not the only one” who feels, thinks, hopes, loves, fears, and experiences such struggles and victories in life, Holley wants to empower all women to live more fully and love more bravely, following God as well as giving Him all the glory everyday in all things.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Written in such a raw and honest manner, Holley Gerth truly understands and acknowledges the inner most workings of women. Daring while inspiring women to share the journey, Fierce Hearted is well written with a strong, necessary message. With the book set in shorter chapters, I found I couldn’t stop from reading several at once. Nodding my head, feeling her pain, understanding her joys and relishing the encounter, this is definitely one book I will recommend, share with friends and give as a gift. Perfect as a Bible study or ministry, I thoroughly connected with Fierce Hearted from cover to cover. What a wonderful example Holley is to all women!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

Love Unfeigned

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Keels, Nadine. Love Unfeigned: When It’s Time Series- Book 1. Amazon Digital Services, LLC. 2013.

SUMMARY:
Lorraine Tyson and Isaiah James were childhood buddies who loved and trusted each other as only true young friends can. As the two grew up (and grew apart), though they found themselves back together, it was not with the same abandon as when younger. Maturity, honesty, forgiveness, understanding and healing come to have a part in their more adult relationship. With a mix of faith, love, adolescence and sweetness, accomplished author Nadine Keels shares the heartache and delight of growing up…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As one of my most true and trusted authors, Nadine Keels yet again pens a cleanly and reliably written story. Fully developing the characters as well as the storyline, emotions, and scenes, Love Unfeigned is also complete with exquisite, interesting and skilled language adding to the overall success. As one of those stories that is hard to see end, luckily, a sequel has already been written, Hope Unashamed. Absolutely a book I would not hesitate to recommend, I can only applaud the author and encourage her to keep writing!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love Unfeigned from the author for my honest review*

Christmas at Carnton

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Alexander, Tamera. Christmas at Carnton. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Set in the mid 1800’s during the time of the Civil War, Christmas at Carnton deals with the casualties, harshness, bareness and heartache of that period. With a small child in tow and another one ready to be born, Mrs. Warren Prescott (Aletta) needs a way to support her growing family without her husband. Jake Winston, a wounded Captain in the battle, must serve the Women’s Relief Society in their upcoming event while his wounds heal. When Aletta and Jake both find themselves employed at Carnton Plantation at Christmas time, perhaps flurries will be predicted for more than just the weather outside…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a longer novella for the new series surrounding Carnton Plantation set to release in fall of 2018, author Tamera Alexander does an outstanding job of setting the scenery and storyline for the next three books. Loving the period in history as well as her writing, I thoroughly enjoyed this shorter novel, sad when it had to end. Absolutely an author I adore, there is no question I will read the full series. I definitely recommend this novella (with such a gorgeous cover)!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Christmas at Carnton from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

The Keto Reset Diet

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Sisson, Mark With Kearns, Brad. The Keto Reset Diet: Reboot Your Metabolism In 21 Days And Burn FAt Forever. New York, USA: Harmony Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Sweeping the eating culture in popularity recently, the Keto diet is based on metabolism and the many contributing/ surrounding factors. In his new book, the Keto Reset Diet, author, athlete and health coach Mark Sisson shares his most recent research into eating for a healthy lifestyle. Filled with lots of specific information about the Keto method of eating as well as a 21 day menu for getting your body ready, there are also over 100 recipes which support the Keto diet. Based on the theory of a high-fat, moderate-protein and low-carb pattern of eating, this cookbook sets the stage for success.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having heard of the Keto method of nutrients and lifestyle, I was intrigued enough to further research the diet. As an interesting and easy to understand book, The Keto Reset Diet definitely answered several of my questions as well as made a case for this manner of sustenance. Though not quite ready to commit, I will try some of the included recipes while I investigate and read further. With lots of information regarding nutrition, metabolism, health, and ingredients, even if the Keto diet is not strictly followed, there are absolutely some healthy ideas and suggestions to incorporate into a healthier lifestyle. A great book to read while deciding if this diet is right for you.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Keto Reset Diet from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Beyond The Castle

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Dreyer, Jody Jean. With Windahl, Stacy. Beyond the Castle: A Guide to Discovering Your Happily Ever After. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
How does Walt Disney World create the magic known to so many people? Is it possible to continue the magic even after the vacation is over? Where do you find your “happily ever after”? These questions and so many more are explored and shared in author Jody Dreyer’s new book, Beyond The Castle- A Guide To Discovering Your Happily Ever After. Having worked for Disney for over 30 years in various positions, the author is quite capable of telling her story as it relates to Disney. Through life lessons learned as a result of her roles and Disney interactions, Jody helps guests write their own story based on her experiences at Walt Disney World. It truly is possible to find your “happily ever after” if you know where to look…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having recently enjoyed a vacation to Walt Disney World with another one booked, as well as being a huge fan of Disney, I was excited to read this book. Perhaps expecting just a few more personal stories from an insider to Disney, I did appreciate the perspective of lessons learned from Disney and the encouragement to be in control of my own story and happy ending. Liking the manner in which faith, life, happiness and Disney were intertwined, this is definitely a book any Disney fan will want to check out; I will absolutely tuck mine into my suitcase for my next Disney trip!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Beyond The Castle from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*