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*

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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*

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*

With You Always

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Hedlund, Jody. With You Always: Orphan Train Series- Book 1. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Having lived on the streets previously with her younger siblings, immigrant Elise Neumann must find a way to support them. Boarding a train from New York to Illinois in the hopes of finding a job, Elise makes an acquaintance with Thornton Quincy, a member of New York’s elite society trying to build a new town along the Illinois Central Railroad and in the process of hiring skilled workers. When an attraction sparks but threatens progress, Elise and Thornton must make choices which may affect more than just their own futures…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Reading anything author Jody Hedlund writes, of course I knew I would read her newest novel, With You Always. In her true style, she writes a heartfelt, moving, compassionate story which ends way too soon but thankfully, is only Book 1 in the new Orphan Train series. Appreciating the research into the time periods as well as the Author’s Note at the end of the story where she explains the history, I applaud her for telling the story from the different perspective of women during the time. A strong introduction to a new and interesting series!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

The Sugarsmart Cookbook

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Varozza, Georgia. The Sugarsmart Cookbook. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Designing a cookbook around being sugar-smart as a way to eat healthy and lose weight, author Georgia Varozza shares her reduced sugar, simple yet delicious recipes in her new cookbook, The Sugarsmart Cookbook. With recipes for lunches, main dishes, soups, salads, breads and even desserts, this convenient spiral-bound cookbook containing almost 200 recipes includes common ingredients, easy to follow directions and a beneficial recipe index.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Always on the lookout for new healthy recipe ideas, I thought The Sugarsmart Cookbook would be a perfect addition to my cookbook collection. With inviting recipes using minimal sugar as an ingredient, though not necessarily new, the creative combination of ingredients will put a different twist on some of our already favorite menus. Only wishing for nutritional information and accompanying pictures to be included, these recipes are easily adaptable to personal preference or dietary concerns and will definitely have a place on my kitchen shelf.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies
*I received a complimentary copy of The Sugarsmart Cookbook from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Abiding Mercy

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Reid, Ruth. Abiding Mercy: An Amish Mercies Series- Book 1. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Growing up in the Amish community, Faith is content to work at her parent’s restaurant, The Amish Table. As a hard worker and part of an Amish family, though she struggles at times, nothing compares to the heartbreak and controversy she soon must address. With questions swirling, answers needed and possible forgiveness sought, Abiding Mercy follows two storylines of two very different backgrounds but perhaps a combined future. As the start of a new series, Amish Mercies, author Ruth Reid peaks interest with this first book.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With a bit of a more unique Amish storyline, I was intrigued with how this book would unfold and finish. Reading it in one evening (very rare for me), the pages just kept turning. With a few surprises, developed characters, and an interesting storyline, I thought this novel was well written. Though perhaps it was a little apparent, the journey of reaching the end was enjoyable. Definitely a series I will follow, I appreciate the sincerity and honesty with which the author writes of the Amish and their way of life.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

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

Before You Hit Send

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Eggerichs, PhD, Emerson. Before You Hit Send: Preventing Headache and Heartache. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Everyone has been there…sending the immediate message, only to regret it later. In his new book, Before You Hit Send, author Dr. Emerson Eggerichs hopes to help put the brakes on those messages sooner than later. Working through four important criteria for messages, both written and spoken, each message should pass through the “Is it True, Is it Kind, Is it Necessary, and Is it Clear” test. With explanations of each area as well as related scripture verses, thoughts, personal stories and self examinations, the book also includes ideas for actions if that message was sent too quickly.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well organized, easy to follow, interesting to read and right on target, this thought-provoking, encouraging and highly applicable book should be required reading. Taking his advice to heart, I hope to redirect my communication to qualify through the four criteria presented in Before You Hit Send so as not to have the regrets nor the consequences of miscommunication through haste. A very good book with great ideas and important actions, I will recommend this book to many of my family and friends.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Before You Hit Send from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*