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*

Chasing Grace

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Richards-Ross, Sanya. Saving Grace: What The Quarter Mile Has Taught Me About God And Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Sharing her successful yet difficult story of running and life, author and Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross writes of her triumphs and downfalls, happiness and heartache, achievements and collapses, all while realizing we cannot do it alone. Applying her 4-Ps approach (Push, Pace, Position and Pose) to her running career and extending it to her life, Sanya Richards-Ross acknowledges and shares how her trust in God allowed her to embrace and develop her given talents on the track as well as in life…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Opening the book and not closing it until it was finished, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Like having a conversation with Sanya herself, the book just flowed. Truly appreciating the closing of each chapter with one of the 4-Ps, not only did I listen to the encouraging words for life but also have incorporated some of the thoughts into my own running mantra. As a true Christian model, Sanya Richards-Ross is blessed yet humbly and enthusiastically tells her story. Definitely a book I will return to in snippets for self-reminders…excellent!

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Chasing Grace from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

This Life I Live

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Feek, Rory. This Life I Live: One Man’s Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Growing up in rural America with little money and less direction, country singer and award winner Rory Feek shares bits of his life culminating with his greatest love story. As an American country and bluegrass duo, nothing prepared him for the loss of the love of his life. Sharing his wife Joey’s courageous battle with cancer, Rory Feek managed to cope and in turn, bless others with his story. Well written, honest, heartbreaking and healing, This Life I Live may change your own life, or at least make you love better and live stronger…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not necessarily a fan of all memoirs nor a fan of country music, I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. Straight-forward in a realistic yet graceful manner, I found myself drawn into Rory and Joey’s story before I even realized it. Easy to read yet with a deeper message, This Life I Live celebrated life through mourning, happiness through sadness, and memories through meaning. So glad I took the chance on a book I would have normally passed on, I can only recommend this book to all.   (Tissue alert- have plenty on hand.)

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of This Life I Live from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Trusting Grace

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Brendan, Maggie. Trusting Grace: Virtues and Vices of the Old West- Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As caregiver to her elderly father, young widow Grace Bidwell still hopes for children of her own someday and relief from her daily struggles. With Robert Frasier as her newly hired farm-hand, unbeknownst to her, he comes with a ready-made family of young ones. While managing the farm, Grace and Robert soon discover their hearts may need to be managed as well…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Fun, light, romantic and filled with a bit of sass, award-winning author Maggie Brendan successfully adds to her Virtues and Vices of the Old West series with her newest book, Trusting Grace. Finding this novel as the perfect vacation and/ or summer read, it reads quickly, humorously, and is full of charm. Though perhaps missing some of the related characters if not reading the series in order, this story is fine as a stand-alone, too. Hoping the series continues, this book appeared at just the right time in life to enjoy.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

Devotions From The Kitchen Table

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Edwards, Stacy. Devotions From The Kitchen Table. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Filled with 90 devotions surrounding the kitchen, Devotions from the Kitchen Table invites readers to rest a moment, pause with friends, gather at the table, and enjoy the many blessings bestowed in the comforts of home. Supper, pinwheels, crumbs, gardening and fingerprints are just a few of the many two-page devotionals included in this new book by the author, Stacy Edwards. Coupled with gorgeous photographs in each short yet full devotion, the pale pink ribbon only magnifies further this beautiful and inspirational devotional.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Charming, delightful and brilliant describe this warm and pleasurable devotional. With thicker, shinier pages full of colorful photographs, a short message themed around a Bible verse, scripture references and a prayer to keep close to your heart throughout the day, I would be happy to receive as well as proud to give this stunning book. Based on thoughts from the kitchen (dishes, desserts, coffee, laundry), when joined with scripture and personal stories, this devotional seeps relief, contentment and happiness. The only thing that could possibly have made this even more enjoyable would have been included recipes for the lovely pictures. Well done!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

Sandpiper Cove

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Hannon, Irene. Sandpiper Cove: A Hope Harbor Novel. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Adam Stone is living a more solitary life and is content. As an ex-con, he prefers it that way…that is, until Police Chief Lexie Graham shows up at his door. Investigating a string of crimes, evidence points to a troubled youth, much like Adam Stone in his younger days. Hoping Adam may act as a mentor to the youth, Lexie finds herself more drawn to Adam than she would like to admit. After all, how could a police chief and ex-con ever connect…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a wonderful addition to the Hope Harbor series, Sandpiper Cove was filled with mystery, encouragement, romance and faith while centering around second chances. With an engaging storyline and memorable primary characters supported by interesting secondary characters, Irene Hannon has once again written a novel that is hard to put down. Enjoying this three-time Rita Award winning author already, her newest book only increased and ensured my readability of any future books, including Dangerous Illusions, the first book in her new series releasing in fall of 2017.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Sandpiper Cove from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Married And Still Loving It

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Chapman, Gary. Myra, Harold. Married And Still Loving It: The Joys and Challenges of the Second Half. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Could the second half of marriage be the beautiful season of marriage? New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman, and co-author and CEO of Christianity Today International, Myra Harold, explore the thought. Delving into different aspects of marriage-children, finances, retirement, grief, activities-from the perspective of the later years of life, Married And Still Loving It peers at the changes experienced over many years of marriage. Full of personal stories, advice, discoveries, encouragement and faith, and connected with interviews from long-married, well-known couples, the second half of marriage may just be the most beautiful season of all…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
What a wonderful book to share with parents, grandparents, Life Groups, church ministries and your own spouse. Organized into a flowing style in a reader friendly manner, I both flipped through it reading snippets then read the entire book from cover to cover. With side notes, interesting interviews and lots of revelations, I learned a few things, confirmed some items, and enjoyed my time reading. Definitely a book I will refer to in the future, and recommend to others, there are nuggets for all ages and stages. The beautiful season of marriage is truly real.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Married And Still Loving It from Moody Publishers for my honest review*

Vicious Cycle

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Blackstock, Terri. Vicious Cycle: Intervention Series- Book 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2011.

SUMMARY:
Accusing of kidnapping the baby he found in the backseat of the car, teenager Lance Covington was only trying to help. As a friend of the baby’s mother, Lance has been trying to get her help for her meth addiction. Now in trouble, Lance turns to his mom, who in turn contacts Kent Harlan, a man who has a personal history with the family. With plenty of suspense, intrigue and action from New York Times bestselling author Terri Blackstock, the newest addition to the Intervention Series is full of choices that could change lives forever…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As one of my favorite suspense authors, though this book was published years earlier, I decided to read it while I wait for her newest book. Continuing with previous characters yet valid as a stand-alone as well, Vicious Cycle was well worth the time. Full of current topics albeit difficult ones, they were well handled and contributed to the storyline. With the pages turning quickly, needing to read just one page, I finished it in record time. As I wait, I will search for more of this author’s previous works, liking every one of them thus far.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

Love’s Winter Hope

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Rawlings, Naomi. Love’s Winter Hope: An Eagle Harbor Novel- Book 5. Cedar Lake Press Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Set in Michigan’s Upper Keweenaw Peninsula, in the remote town of Eagle Harbor, Love’s Winter Hope continues the Eagle Harbor series with the story of Thomas and Jessalyn. Having left home 5 years prior to make a better life for his family, Thomas writes weekly and sends money for Jessalyn and his daughters to join him. Never receiving the letters, Jessalyn considers herself abandoned and needing to care for herself and young children. When Thomas finally arrives in Eagle Harbor to bring his family back to South Dakota, he discovers a different reception than planned. Still legally married yet experiencing troubles, Thomas vows to spend the winter in Eagle Harbor trying to change his wife’s mind…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Faithfully a fan of the Eagle Harbor series, I was excited to read the newest book in the series, Love’s Winter Hope. With a gorgeous cover and a brilliant story within, I loved it from start to finish. Enjoying revisiting characters from previous novels while focusing on Thomas and Jessalyn this time, I was captured by the storyline of the married couple taking place in the middle of winter (as spring is sprung). Very glad there will be more books coming within this series though I will need to find patience to wait until winter of next year for the release. One of my favorite authors and definitely one of my favorite series!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love’s Winter Hope from the author for my honest review*