That Grand Easter Day!

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Lord, Jill Roma (author). Trunflo, Alessia (Illustrator). That Grand Easter Day!  Nashville, TN: WorthyKids/ Ideals Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Read to the tune of “This is the House that Jack Built”, That Grand Easter Day! follows the format in both rhythm and rhyme. Along the way of the story, main characters are introduced with the initial verse of “That Grand Easter Day!” repeated throughout. Easy to read with gloriously stunning illustrations, this book contributes joyously to the Easter celebration!

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Beautifully illustrated with a straight-forward, simple yet eloquent verse, That Grand Easter Day! praises the Easter jubilation in a perfect way. I loved the easy to read and rhyme stanzas with the repetition of certain phrases; wonderful to read to little ones while also being remarkable enough for new readers. Liking the bunny that appears in the story, I admire the way tradition meets contemporary with room for both. (After all, didn’t God create bunnies?) I hope to find more same-style books from Jill Roma Lord and Alessia Trunflo observing other important holidays in a like-manner. (Perhaps a series of them?)  Well done!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of That Grand Easter Day! from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

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Whiter than Snow

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Deppa, Joan. Whiter than Snow: Seasons of Love- Book 1. Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Recently moving to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Bonnie Turner is only just beginning to realize the vastness, beauty and opportunity of the area. As a UP native, Brad Jorgenson takes it upon himself to turn Bonnie into a true “Yooper”, a person who lives in the UP of Michigan and follows certain cultural norms. (Using “yah” instead of “yes”, enjoying the possible 300+ inches of snow each season.) While exploring the UP, Bonnie recognizes that anger and bitterness are holding Brad back from truly appreciating the beauty and receiving forgiveness, things she hopes to change.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Very familiar with the area of the UP of Michigan, I could surely relate to this book. Written in a calming manner, with a focus on faith and the charm of the region, this novella packed a lot of miles into a shortened story. Sweet, graceful and engaging, I found Whiter than Snow, by author Joan Deppa, to be an inspirational read with a gorgeous book cover.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Whiter than Snow from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Hope For Each Day Devotional

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Graham, Billy. Hope For Each Day- Words of Wisdom and Faith- Large Deluxe Edition. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017

SUMMARY:
Filled with 365 daily devotionals, Hope For Each Day gifts pages of scripture, thoughts, stories, and words of wisdom from preacher, evangelist and author, Billy Graham. Updated from an earlier edition to include an imitation leather cover, a larger, softer size, a more deluxe interior design, a ribbon marker and of course, lots of grace, peace and faith from a devotional leader. Sturdy, readable and genuine, this devotional will leave a legacy.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Respected and honored, Billy Graham has ministered to many all over the world. Complied into a beautiful devotional with an updated and more elegant style, I so admired this devotional. Definitely a book I will use this year and many years to follow, I would be proud to give this one as a gift, present it to a church, or recommend it to a friend. Though not too deep, each devotional contains enough of a message surrounding hope and inspiration that I can delve deeper on my own or keep the smile within my heart for the day. Beautiful!

RATING:
5 ( out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Hope For Each Day from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Mister B

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Byk, A. Lynn. Mister B: Living With a 98 Year-Old Rocket Scientist. Littleton, CO: Capture Books. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Moving in with her elderly father-in-law, researcher, investigator and author, Lynn Byk, had only hoped to spare Joseph Byk from the nursing home but received so much more in return. Organized into dated journal- type entries, Mister B shares the almost century-year-old history lived by a man who is humorous, cantankerous, passionate and not always politically correct. Heartwarming and honest, this story causes one to ponder life and smile.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
What a delightfully charming book! Actually a book for many to read, this tackles one of life’s issues- aging parents. Full of wonderfully thought-provoking lessons, I learned and enjoyed several snippets of history from Mister B. With many stories waiting to be passed down, Lynn Byk knows just the questions to ask to keep her father-in-law talking. Well-written with wit, compassion and grace, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Priceless!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

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

VeggieTales-Very Veggie Bedtime Prayers

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Kennedy, Pamela. And Kennedy-Brady, Anne. VeggieTales- Very Veggie Bedtime Prayers. Nashville, TN: WorthyKids/ Ideals Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
In a soft, cushy board-book, authors Pamela Kennedy and Anne Kennedy-Brady fill the sturdy pages with nighttime prayers. Surrounding the prayers are familiar, colorful and playful VeggieTales characters. With a mix of shorter and a bit longer prayers, each contains rhyming verse which reads quite easily. A few Scripture verses mingle on the pages in conjunction with the prayers, all with smiling Veggie figures.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Sweet, amiable, cheerful and engaging, VeggieTales- Very Veggie Bedtime Prayers is perfect for the evening routine of bedtime prayers. I like the simple rhymes which can be very calming as well as quickly learned. Familiarity is so important at a young age which VeggieTales delivers. The packaging of the book is soft yet strong for those chubby little hands (and spills). Great for home use, a church library, or baby gift, this board-book is sure to please.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of VeggieTales- Very Veggie Bedtime Prayers for my honest review*

Missing Isaac

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Luesse, Valerie Fraser. Missing Isaac. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:’
In the deep South during the 1960s, different people came from very different worlds depending on social class and color. When Pete McLean experiences a tragedy in his life, farmhand Isaac steps in to fill the void. Friends despite the color difference, Pete is devastated when Isaac disappears one evening. Without much help from the community, Pete sets out to learn the truth about Isaac’s disappearance and by chance, meets a girl. Together they grow, changing the social dynamics of the South along the way.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a debut novel for an author, I was surely impressed. With strong characters, raw emotion, a powerful definition of friendship, and a style true to the South, Missing Isaac is a story of a young man growing to adulthood and developing his morals, integrity and character. Along with a mystery, a bit of faith, and heart-felt emotion, author Valerie Luesse writes an honest novel, perhaps one even appropriate as a movie storyline. Definitely an author I will watch for and read again.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Missing Isaac from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Lacemaker

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Frantz, Laura. The Lacemaker. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As the “bride” of historic Williamsburg, circa 1775, Lady Elizabeth “Liberty” Lawson, does most everything her father, the British Lieutenant governor of the Virginia colony, demands of her…including a prearranged, high-society marriage. Spending her time continuing the generational task of making lace, Liberty soon finds herself accused of being a spy, saved only by Noble Rynallt, the cousin of her ex-intended. Treason, betrayal, trust, honesty and suspense all entwine together to create a novel not soon forgotten.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With detail, language, customs and characters specific to the timeframe, author Laura Frantz obviously researched the time period carefully. Though it took a moment to become embedded in the language which slowed the start of the book down some, once familiar with the verse, my reading did quicken. Drawn to the gorgeous cover, held by the historical story within, and disappointed when it actually ended, I thoroughly enjoyed The Lacemaker. Already a fan of this author, I must admit, I am even more so now. Beautifully written with charming names of characters, I can only hope this might be a continuing series. (I appreciated the recipes at the end- quite interesting!)

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Lacemaker from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Faithful Finance

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Stroud MBA/ CFA, Emily G. Faithful Finance: 10 Secrets to Move from Fearful Insecurity to Confident Control. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2015, 2018.

SUMMARY:
Everyone struggles financially at some point in life and needs a bit of advice to get back on track. Financial advisor, business woman, entrepreneur and author, Emily Stroud, does just that in her newest book, Faithful Finance, in which she shares 10 smart recommendations to becoming financially fit. She addresses budgets, savings accounts, cash (vs credit), college, retirement and estate planning while also taking into account common feelings such as worry, insecurity, anxiety and despair. Filled with personal stories, budgeting tools, relevant scripture verses, loads of encouragement and total understanding, this book is written in an easy to read, conversational style manner for any income, at any age, in any stage of life.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Perfect for popular New Year’s resolution of becoming financially secure, Faithful Finance makes that goal just a bit easier to achieve. Neither daunting nor judgmental, author Emily Stroud is more a friendly partner willing to help with sound guidance and information. Having been in financial stress herself, she is straight forward with her suggestions while truly caring about the outcome. I appreciated the monthly budget sheets, the included resources, and 10 ideas for living life well. Owning her own investment firm, Emily Stroud also shares her contact information should a consultation be welcomed.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

* I received a complimentary copy of Faithful Finance from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children

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Berndt, Jodie. Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children: Trusting God with the Ones You Love. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Realizing that children need prayers even when they are grown, author Jodie Berndt shares both Bible and personal stories, Bible scriptures, and relevant prayers, along with lots of compassion, encouragement and understanding. Organized into prayers for different stages and periods of life…relationships, milestones, health, safety and temptations are a few of the included areas. Through forgiveness, trust, appreciation, and realization, Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children may have an impact on all involved.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a necessary action by all parents for all adult children, I found this book to be well written, easy to follow, enjoyable to read, and paramount in prayer life. Realizing parents are not alone in whatever situation they may find themselves, it is heartwarming and endearing to know that God loves and cares for our children as much as we do. Praying The Scriptures for Your Adult Children sets the stage for praying with prayer pages at the end of each chapter. My only wish would have been a few journaling pages along with the prayer pages to jot down thoughts, ideas, revelations and outcomes.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Praying the Scriptures for Your Adult Children from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Staying Stylish

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Cameron Bure, Candace. Staying Stylish: Cultivating A Confident Look, Style & Attitude. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Fashion, style, make-up, skin care, health, fitness and spirit all are addressed in author and actress Candace Cameron Bure’s newest book, Staying Stylish. Along with many ideas for keeping your wardrobe both stylish and appropriate, your make-up fresh and natural, your closet well organized, your fitness level healthy and your faith fulfilled and present, elegant photographs, tips and tricks, and favorite products are scattered throughout. A beautiful hard-covered book complete with a ribbon marker, perfect for all ages.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Packaged in a stunning book with glossy pages, excellent organization, and lots of style ideas, Staying Stylish is a charming book for most anyone, though especially young adults and perhaps those entering careers. Though it wasn’t necessarily a book directly for me, I may have picked up a few tidbits but plan to gift this book to someone who could use it more. Liking the emphasis on faith as well as appropriateness, it might work well as a basis for a teen ministry. Having read Candace Cameron Bure’s other books, I do trust and appreciate her writing, honesty and direction. I look forward to reading more.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Staying Stylish from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*