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*

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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*

Fatal Trust

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Johnson, Todd M. Fatal Trust. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As a new young lawyer hoping to keep his late father’s law practice current while taking care of his mother who suffers from Alzheimer’s, Ian Wells is willing to take just about any case that he is given. Amid his stress of life and bills, a thirty-five year old case resurfaces which Ian accepts. While investigating the case, Ian soon realizes this simple case may become a criminal investigation perhaps even involving his own family…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a new author to me, I was quite impressed. Suspense and mystery surround investigations, high stakes and criminal activity. Though maybe just a bit busy in the first few chapters, once the storyline evolved and the main character emerged, I found it hard to put the book down. With flashbacks to history interspersed with current time, this novel by Todd Johnson was well written and kept my attention easily. Definitely not the last book I will read by this author, Fatal Trust has ensured a new fan and future reader.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Fatal Trust from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

Queso!

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Fain, Lisa. Queso! Regional Recipes for the World’s Favorite Chili-Cheese Dip. New York, USA: Ten Speed Press Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With over 55 recipes in this chili-cheese collection, Queso! is a spicy cookbook surrounding the deliciousness of cheese dips. Beginning with necessary information on the different chili peppers and cheeses, this convenient sized cookbook then progresses to numerous recipes celebrating queso. Complete with a brief introduction to each recipe, readily available ingredients, simple to follow directions and beautiful photography throughout, author and James Beard Award winner Lisa Fain has created a highly use-able and do-able specialty cookbook.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a fan of chili con queso but stuck in a rut preparing it only one way, Queso! has definitely changed that predicament. With seriously mouth-watering recipes (San Antonio Chili con Queso, Brisket Queso, and Macaroni & Cheese with Green Chili Queso Blanco) grouped into 5 different themes, I found so many new queso ideas to try and share. Making the quesos to accompany a family dinner or bringing to a get-together of friends, Queso! is sure to make popular and tasty treats for all…just be sure to be ready to make more! Yum!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional

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Fisk, Julie. Roehl, Kendra. Demery, Kristin. The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional: 365 Inspiring Ideas to Reveal, Give, and Find God’s Love. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum/ Tyndale House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With a whole year of inspirational devotions to read, share and act upon, The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional is complete with a scripture verse, personal story, and an act of kindness to randomly perform for each day. Organized into days with a one-page devotion, the three authors take turns supplying the devotion with an associated idea for action. Easy and enjoyable to read but containing a possible huge impact, this one year devotional is do-able, relatable and personable.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already looking for my next devotional for the new year, The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional will fill that need. Simple to begin any day during the year, I appreciate the organization and honesty with which it was written. Realizing the effect daily acts of kindness could have on myself as well as others, this book would work well in a group setting or for individual use. Having several other devotionals already from The One Year series, I know the reliability and timeliness of the included devotions as well as the scriptural references. Well thought out and organized, my search for a 2018 devotional is now complete.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*