Perennials

Featured

Cantrell, Julie. Perennials. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Haunted by a fire that happened years ago, Lovey (Eva) leaves town, far away from her bitter sister, Bitsy (Elizabeth). Living her own life while dealing with guilt, disappointment, anger and loss over the shed fire, Lovey is called back home to help plan her parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. Chancing a visit home though it may mean facing the pain from the event all those years ago, Lovey must make decisions which could change her life forever.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With an absolutely beautiful cover and a very appropriately named title, New York Times bestselling author, Julie Cantrell, centers her newest novel around perennials. Even with an inspiring and creative topic, unfortunately, I had trouble really connecting with this novel which surprised me.¬† Truly liking her previous books, I am not sure if it was the story or me personally that just couldn’t merge with the story this time. Struggling to finish with a few reservations along the way, I will definitely read this author again while hoping for a different reaction.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

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

Advertisements

Church of the Small Things

Featured

Shankle, Melanie. Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
New York Times bestselling author and blogger at The Big Mama Blog, Melanie Shankle in her new book, Church of the Small Things, shares her personal little moments that add up to so much more. Wondering if those small things really matter, she tackles the tough questions while she journeys to a more content place in life. Taking the time to ponder and enjoy, in her witty and honest manner and style of writing, Melanie reveals her experiences growing up which shaped her while offering hope, encouragement and a deeper message.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
While expecting something a bit different from this book due to the title, I was not at all disappointed to find the message portrayed within. Nodding my head in agreement so many times while laughing out loud, there were also some heart-aching moments sprinkled throughout. With her usual humor, Melanie Shankle writes an easy to read, relatable and uplifting book that caused me to stop, smile and enjoy the small moments that contribute to my overall busy life. A truly down-to-earth, faith-filled book from a favorite author, I knew I would enjoy this book having read her previous books. Definitely a book I will recommend and reread as the depth intermingles beautifully with the funny.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Church of the Small Things from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Hope Unashamed

Featured

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*

Beyond The Castle

Featured

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*

A Fierce Love

Featured

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*

She’s Still There

Featured

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?

Featured

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 Turquoise Table

Featured

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*

World of the Innocent

Featured

Keels, Nadine. World of the Innocent. CreateSpace Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Becoming a young woman and realizing her own inward growth, Jhoi (pronounced JOY) has never considered Marcus more than just a friend. As a poetic artist, Jhoi has always been just friends with the somewhat-strange yet admired Marcus but something seems to be changing. As she explores her conflicting thoughts and feelings in this well-developed novella, Jhoi slowly, deeply and carefully makes the transition from childhood to young adult. Built on trust, morals and respect, the developing relationship between Jhoi and Marcus is endearing, heartening, and innocent.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a favorite author of mine, I know author Nadine Keels will deliver a well-written, character-deep, word-conscious piece. Her newest release, World of the Innocent, is no exception. Feeling the pull from the first few pages already, I enjoyed the style and voice with which this story was written. Though perhaps more a contemporary young adult book, I enjoyed it none-the-less. With a respectful message, a morally strong relationship and a durable faith, I wouldn’t hesitate to share nor recommend this sweet novella.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of World of the Innocent from the author for my honest review*

What Hope Remembers

Featured

Alexander, Johnnie. What Hope Remembers: Misty Willow Series- Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Returning home to her childhood community after a heartbreaking situation, Amy Somers isn’t exactly proud of the person she has recently become. Not having stayed especially close to her family, Amy can only wonder how she will be accepted back. When her high-school sweetheart, Gabe Kendall, rides into town, memories surround her even as she realizes Gabe may have some history due to personal choices as well. Romance, forgiveness, family and sweetness combine with a dash of country charm in the newest Misty Willow series novel by author Johnnie Alexander.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read one of the previous books in this series, I had hoped to revisit some of the characters yet again. Though this novel works as a stand-alone, it works even better when read with the series. A strong contemporary writer with just enough pizazz in her storyline to make it enjoyable, What Hopes Remembers is full of gentleness, understanding, love and surprises. Taking place on the ranch of Whisper Lane Stables is an added delight for horse lovers. Wonderful addition to a well-written series.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of What Hope Remembers from Revell Publishing for my honest review*