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*

The Captain’s Daughter

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Delamere, Jennifer. The Captain’s Daughter: London Beginnings- Book 1. Bloomington, MN: Bethany house Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Needing to urgently leave town due to circumstances beyond her control, Rosalyn Bernay finds herself in London, penniless, homeless, and jobless with few possibilities. Making her way through London, Rosalyn soon makes acquaintances- some helpful, others not. Landing herself a job backstage at a theatre, with the help of her new friends Jessie and Nate, her life takes a change in direction for the better albeit one that could also affect her heart…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a new author to me, I can honestly say I have found another favorite author in Jennifer Delamere. Grabbed from the first page and reading straight through to the end, this was one of the fastest books I have ever read. With a bit of turbulence, romance, and secrets mixed with my favorite genre of time and place, The Captain’s Daughter was a success for me. Glad to know this is only book one of the new series, London Beginnings, I absolutely will watch for the next installments. Welcome to my favorite author list, Jennifer Delamere!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Captain’s Daughter from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

The Turquoise Table

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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*

English River

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Nye, Thomas. English River: Amish Horses Series- Book III. USA: CrossLink Publishing. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Living with his Uncle Noey and Aunt Ruth since his father left the Amish years earlier, young Lenny reaches adulthood. Having followed his coming of age story through the previous two novels in the Amish Horses Series, Lenny finally comes to a crossroads and must decide between the Amish settlement and the English ways of life. Torn between emotions, community, family and his heart, Lenny realizes he must make choices which will impact his life both now and in the future.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As book 3 in the series, I enjoyed this book at least as much as I did the previous two. With a backdrop of a simpler way of life filled with horses, laughter, sadness and love, English River was probably my favorite book yet. As a calm storyteller, author Thomas Nye pays beautiful credit to the Amish manner of living. A simple, sweet, heart-warming novel with a deeper message, I cannot help but recommend this book to many others. Hopefully, this skilled and gentle writer will have another book on the near horizon.

RATING:
4.25 (out of 5) pennies

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

Freedom’s Price

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Johnson, Christine. Freedom’s Price: Keys of Promise Series- Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Having lost her father, Englishwoman Catherine Haynes decides not to accept her cousin’s plan for her life but rather to seek out her mother’s American family in New Orleans, Louisiana. Upon the boat while making the passage, Catherine encounters Tom Worthington, a shipwreck salvager with a goal of his own. Once in Louisiana, secrets swirl, romance develops, scoundrels appear, and life changes unexpectedly. Full of mystery, misfortune, faith, chances and choices, Freedom’s Price is a historical novel set in the Key West…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As book 3 of the Keys of Promise series, I couldn’t wait to read it as I have read the previous stories and loved them. Getting a peek at the past characters again, though enjoyable, it is not necessary as this book works well as a stand-alone. Perhaps not my favorite of the series, I still enjoyed Freedom’s Price and plan to continue reading this author, Christine Johnson. As a side note, I find the ships portrayed in Christine’s novels very interesting as she is obviously very knowledgeable about the topic being married to a Great Lakes ship pilot. Beautiful cover (again).

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Freedom’s Price from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Weekly Prayer Project

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Hiltibidal, Scarlet. The Weekly Prayer Project: A Challenge to Journal, Pray, Reflect, and Connect with God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Encouraging readers to be more intentional in their connections with God, author Scarlet Hiltibidal presents a personal journal filled with scripture, Bible verses, writing prompts and pages of lined paper for journaling thoughts, ideas, prayers, and dreams. Each two-page layout is broken into weekly topics under a broader subject. Encased in a hard cover book, this prayer project includes a presentation page, soft illustrations, reflection stories and a page marking ribbon.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Designed for the busy person who still yearns to spend time with God, The Weekly Prayer Project allows for the project to begin at any time, topics to be rearranged, and thoughtful, heartfelt writing to take place. Simple yet providing a deeper connection if desired, this book truly meets the reader where they are in faith. Based on prayers, each corresponding scripture verse and writing idea encourages personal consideration. Though not necessarily a devotional, this book touches more on prayers which could be easily incorporated into devotion time. Perfect as a gift, ministry or even a Bible study, this is a project I intend to complete.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Weekly Prayer Project from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

World of the Innocent

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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*

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*