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*

The Physics of Everyday Things

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Kakalios, James. The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day. USA: Crown Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Organizing the world into everyday useful, functional and interesting objects, psychics professor and author James Kakalios shares how these modern items work. Explaining the simple science behind such things as scanners, thermometers, microwave ovens, engines, batteries and others in an understandable manner, The Physics of Everyday Things doesn’t overlook the details. Coupled with a few relevant illustrations and examples of use, each section is split into everyday things used in certain actions (going to the airport, driving into the city, beginning your day, giving a business presentation).

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Honestly expecting a book filled with useful “useless knowledge”, I was pleasantly surprised to find more. Written by an authority on how everyday items work (a physics professor), though perhaps resembling a textbook, I thought it was broken down and explained in smaller, understandable pieces. Maybe not ever really wondering but now understanding how the scanners work at the airport, or how the Tyme machine knows my specific account, I find it very interesting as my mind considers even more elements. Able to read it in small snippets, this is a book I will share with friends and family as their inquiring minds may also want to know…

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Physics of Everyday Things from Blogging For Books 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*

What Hope Remembers

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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*

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*

There’s a Fly in my Tea

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Ratcliff, Crystal L. There’s a Fly in my Tea: The Importance of Maintaining a Christian Testimony. USA: Crosslink Publishing. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Based on the analogy of having a pesky fly in your delicious glass of iced tea, author Crystal Ratcliff explores the many unhealthy, unproductive things in our life that can impact our Christian testimony. With eleven chapters devoted to the “flies” and how to swat them, this shorter devotional exhibits and works around a scripture verse, includes personal stories and examples, incorporates more Bible verses and finishes with questions for self-reflection. Relevant, timely and engaging, There’s a Fly in my Tea will cause you to pause and consider…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well written and easy to read yet full of strong messages, encouragement and possible solutions, I thought the “fly in your tea” theme was creative, interesting and worked well for this women’s devotional. Relating some definitely important and thought-provoking ideas, There’s a Fly in my Tea delivers introspection, learning and truth. With devotions centered around everyday concepts (service, talents, worship, forgiveness), this book would be perfect for a Bible study, personal reflection, a ministry or sermon series.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of There’s a Fly in my Tea from Bookcrash for my honest review*

Vibrant India

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Agrawal, Chitra. Vibrant Idnia: Fresh Vegetarian Recipes from Bangalore to Brooklyn. New York, USA: Ten Speed Press Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Using seasonally fresh and healthy ingredients, chef Chitra Agrawal shares her South Indian family recipes for hearty yet light meals. With an introduction to Indian cooking, plenty of vegetarian ingredients and versatile options, this beautiful new cookbook also includes sample menus, grocery lists, Indian cooking techniques and tips, and explanations of the focused spices. Paired with appealing photography and pretty artwork, Vibrant India certainly does a complete task of celebrating the Indian culture and fare.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With a strong interest in trying Indian cooking, this newest cookbook arrived for the perfect opportunity. As a complete novice to this type of cooking, this book was thoroughly helpful while producing delicious results for me. Finding the information on spices intriguing and manageable, not only will I continue to incorporate the recipes into my menus, but also the methods into my everyday cooking. Lemon Peanut Rice, Summer Squash in Herby Coconut Yogurt, Chickpea Salad with Summer Vegetables and Avocado…I cannot wait to use the Farmer’s Market for these recipes. Healthy, bright, and interesting…the perfect combination!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

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

To The Farthest Shores

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Camden, Elizabeth. To The Farthest Shores. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Working the night shift, nurse Jenny Bennett had accepted life even though most days she was exhausted. Surprised to see an old flame, Lieutenant Ryan Gallagher, Jenny needed to guard her heart as he had once broken it. Gone overseas on a daring government mission, Ryan is not proud of his personal actions while there yet celebrates the gift he received. Hoping not to return overseas, Ryan and Jenny must work together to save Ryan’s reputation, life and both hearts…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Drawn to the beautiful cover, the story found within was just as stirring with mystery, forgiveness, faith and romance. Easy to read yet deep in meaning, To The Farthest Shores is a well-written novel full of strong characters, an interesting storyline, and valuable insights. Finishing it in just a few evenings, it had a satisfying conclusion which left me feeling complete. With a relevant historical note included at the end, research librarian and award-winning author, Elizabeth Camden, has written another successful story.

RATING:
4.25 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of To The Farthest Shores from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

The Book of Greens

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Louis, Jenn. With Squires, Kathleen. The Book of Greens: A Cook’s Compendium. New York, NY: Ten Speed Press Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With the purpose of bringing new greens into everyday meals, chef Jenn Louis takes the mystery and anxiety of new vegetables out of the forefront by explaining the nutrition, history, seasonality, and usage ease of many greens. Paired with 175 new recipes, an alphabetical index, scattered photographs, and tons of inspiration, The Book of Greens is a reference guide for the home cook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already receiving notice this book was about to debut, I couldn’t wait to use it during the beginning of Farmer’s Market season. Trying to break out of the usual vegetable and greens groove, this beautiful and useful cookbook will definitely help me reach that goal. Full of everyday items and ingredients, this encyclopedia-type book is as interesting and charismatic as it is beneficial and valuable. Absolutely a book I will refer to repeatedly, my family can look forward to new entrees, sides and desserts centered around delicious greens.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Book of Greens from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

99 Favorite Amish Breads, Rolls, & Muffins

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Varozza, Georgia. 99 Favorite Amish Breads, Rolls, & Muffins: Plain and Simple Recipes to Warm Your Soul. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Filled with delicious recipes originating with the Amish, 99 Favorite Amish Bread, Rolls, & Muffins shares biscuits, scones, breads, muffins, rolls and bun ideas to be enjoyed by all. Though not difficult in preparation, the outcome is definitely appetizing. Paired with a dinner menu or sampled alone as a snack, these Amish favorites are sure to inspire as well as be devoured. Popovers, Soda Bread, Orange Cream Scones and Peach Muffins are just a few of the included aroma-filled, tummy-pleasing recipes in this useful, spiral-bound cookbook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already owning and using several cookbooks from this series, I was more than happy to add yet another to my collection. Easy to follow directions with pantry-ready ingredients, it is perfect for that needed side-dish, hoped-for breakfast item, or anticipated dessert. Though I missed the photographs which could have accompanied each recipe, I did appreciate the spiral-bound cookbook which can remain open while cooking. Easy to substitute ingredients if needed and/ or desired, this compact cookbook should be a staple in every kitchen.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of 99 Favorite Amish Breads, Rolls, & Muffins from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*