The Great Escape

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Thomas, M.J. The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls: The Great Escape- Book 3. Nashville, TN: WorthyKids/ Ideals. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Traveling to Ancient Egypt to witness the Exodus, Peter, Mary and their faithful companion dog Hank, find themselves on a treasure hunt for scrolls. Having only 14 days to find the missing ancient scrolls or being stuck in Egypt forever, Peter, Mary and Hank must work together in the past time period to discover the secret. Journeying through a desert, befriending the Pharaoh’s daughter, understanding the plagues, and learning biblical history and truths in the process, The Great Escape provides a captivating, honest and exploratory experience in a beginning chapter book.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Book 3 in The Secret of the Hidden Scrolls series, this newest addition, The Great Escape, continued the adventures, imagination and success of the previous two books in the same series. Geared towards ages 6-9 year olds (grades 1-3), this starting chapter series is Biblically accurate, immersive in history, and has relatable characters and interesting events. Perfect for the intended audience, the series would also work well as a Bible lesson in Sunday school, a study section for elementary school, or personal time either reading aloud or beginning to read on own. I appreciated the suggested further reference to the Bible at the end of the book. Hopefully, more books in this series will follow shortly.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Great Escape from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

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Numbers in the Bible/ Colors in the Bible

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Museum of the Bible. Numbers in the Bible/ Colors in the Bible. Nashville, TN: Worthy Kids Ideals. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Two separate board books, Numbers in the Bible and Colors in the Bible connect basics to the Bible. 2 brothers (Jacob and Esau), 6 days to create, 10 commandments, red flames (on the burning bush), white dove, orange lion (Daniel)- all included on sturdy pages with bright colorful accompanying pictures. Simple words, scripture verses, and important messages all combine in these beautiful books for the youngest of tots.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Easy to read, simple to repeat and relating directly to the Bible, Numbers in the Bible and Colors in the Bible make sight words, colors, numbers, and a foundation of Bible stories a breeze to learn. Liking the child-friendly illustrations with cheerful colors, these durable books would be perfect for Sunday school, a library, or a personal library. Sure to become favorites, I wouldn’t hesitate to gift these often.  Wonderful!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Numbers in the Bible and Colors in the Bible from WorthyKids Ideals for my honest review*

The Lost Castle

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Cambron, Kristy. The Lost Castle. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY
Set in three time periods spanning a few hundred years, different characters find themselves linked together through a lost castle in France; however, they soon discover there is more than just the castle joining them. With life-stories taking place during the French Revolution, World War II and modern day, three women are intertwined in unique ways involving romance, history, illness, generations, faith and emotions, all embracing and connecting their determination, strength and hearts.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Of course, I just knew I was going to read this book by a favorite author of mine, Kristy Cambron. Not letting me down, The Lost Castle provided a creative and well-written time dimensional story resulting in a very satisfying read. As usual, this author developed her characters well and caused a tug at my heartstrings while I marveled at the overall complexity of the story which just flowed. Though easy to read and follow, I imagine this novel took quite a bit of organization while writing. Excellent!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Lost Castle from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Planet 316 Story Bible

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Planet 316 Story Bible with Augmented Reality. Nashville, TN: WorthyKids/ Ideals Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Alongside more than 100 Bible stories accompanied by colorful illustrations, the Planet 316 Story Bible adds another exciting element-Augmented Reality. Downloading the free app allows the readers to move their devices over the pictures causing them to spring up in 3D. Audio and movement add context, depth and interaction to the characters encouraging a more meaningful and lively experience. The stories are written in child-friendly language, include the related Bible verses, and make the Bible very approachable for young readers.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A team of talented writers, artists and developers, Planet 316 uses current technology to bring the Bible to life, engaging and immersing readers in Bible stories. With easy to use technology (even for adults-LOL), I was enthralled with the characters seeming to pop off the pages, complete with voices and noises. Meeting the current young generation at a place where they are obviously very comfortable, using that technology to learn is genius. Definitely a novel and captivating idea, I would absolutely recommend this Bible to readers ages 4-8; however, older readers reading on their own may also enjoy the awesome interaction opportunity. So cool!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Planet 316 Story Bible from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Live. Save. Spend. Repeat.

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Anderson, Kim. Live. Save. Spend. Repeat: The Life You Want With The Money You Have. Eugene, OH: Harvest House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Paying off $93,000 in debt in only two years, blog writer and author, Kim Anderson, shares her strategies, skills, tips and results with readers who would like to do the same. Filled with personal stories and testimonies, various scenarios and examples, work pages and a sample budget, Live. Save. Spend. Repeat.  provides the necessary information and knowledge to live according to your means while enjoying life.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Perfect as an inspiration to keep the financial New Year’s goal, Live. Save. Spend. Repeat. is full of motivation, coaching, ideas, and reminders surrounding a major goal of getting out-from-under with a workable budget, worksheets, options and personal motivators. Well-organized, well-written and well-tried, the approach makes sense and appears to be manageable while yielding possibly life changing results. A good guide for anyone hoping to meet goals, strengthen their financial health, or climb out of debt.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Live. Save. Spend. Repeat. from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Sunrise, Easter Surprise!

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Hall, Hannah. Sunrise, Easter Surprise! Nashville, TN: WorthyKids/ Ideals. 2018.

SUMMARY:
In charming rhyming verse with brightly colored illustrations, Sunrise, Easter Surprise! shares the beautiful Easter story with babies and toddlers. In a sturdy board book with soft edges and a firm binding, familiar characters delight in the risen Lord. Lambs, birds, bunnies and bumblebees join with people and Angels to proclaim the Good News. Perfect for the upcoming season and a wonderful start to faith-building, author Hannah Hall offers her newest book for children.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Simple rhyming words and child-friendly pictures make this little board book adorable and very appropriate for youngsters. Filled with the lovely Easter message, Sunrise, Easter Surprise! would be the right pick for an Easter basket, a church library, Sunday School or a personal bookshelf. Filled with animals that small ones can relate with easily, the rhyming lyrics are age-perfect for understanding and memorizing. Simple yet priceless on the path to a faith-filled routine.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Sunrise, Easter Surprise! from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

That Grand Easter Day!

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Lord, Jill Roma (author). Trunflo, Alessia (Illustrator). That Grand Easter Day!  Nashville, TN: WorthyKids/ Ideals Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Read to the tune of “This is the House that Jack Built”, That Grand Easter Day! follows the format in both rhythm and rhyme. Along the way of the story, main characters are introduced with the initial verse of “That Grand Easter Day!” repeated throughout. Easy to read with gloriously stunning illustrations, this book contributes joyously to the Easter celebration!

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Beautifully illustrated with a straight-forward, simple yet eloquent verse, That Grand Easter Day! praises the Easter jubilation in a perfect way. I loved the easy to read and rhyme stanzas with the repetition of certain phrases; wonderful to read to little ones while also being remarkable enough for new readers. Liking the bunny that appears in the story, I admire the way tradition meets contemporary with room for both. (After all, didn’t God create bunnies?) I hope to find more same-style books from Jill Roma Lord and Alessia Trunflo observing other important holidays in a like-manner. (Perhaps a series of them?)  Well done!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of That Grand Easter Day! from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Whiter than Snow

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Deppa, Joan. Whiter than Snow: Seasons of Love- Book 1. Bloomington, IN: WestBow Press. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Recently moving to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Bonnie Turner is only just beginning to realize the vastness, beauty and opportunity of the area. As a UP native, Brad Jorgenson takes it upon himself to turn Bonnie into a true “Yooper”, a person who lives in the UP of Michigan and follows certain cultural norms. (Using “yah” instead of “yes”, enjoying the possible 300+ inches of snow each season.) While exploring the UP, Bonnie recognizes that anger and bitterness are holding Brad back from truly appreciating the beauty and receiving forgiveness, things she hopes to change.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Very familiar with the area of the UP of Michigan, I could surely relate to this book. Written in a calming manner, with a focus on faith and the charm of the region, this novella packed a lot of miles into a shortened story. Sweet, graceful and engaging, I found Whiter than Snow, by author Joan Deppa, to be an inspirational read with a gorgeous book cover.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Whiter than Snow from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Hope For Each Day Devotional

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Graham, Billy. Hope For Each Day- Words of Wisdom and Faith- Large Deluxe Edition. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017

SUMMARY:
Filled with 365 daily devotionals, Hope For Each Day gifts pages of scripture, thoughts, stories, and words of wisdom from preacher, evangelist and author, Billy Graham. Updated from an earlier edition to include an imitation leather cover, a larger, softer size, a more deluxe interior design, a ribbon marker and of course, lots of grace, peace and faith from a devotional leader. Sturdy, readable and genuine, this devotional will leave a legacy.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Respected and honored, Billy Graham has ministered to many all over the world. Complied into a beautiful devotional with an updated and more elegant style, I so admired this devotional. Definitely a book I will use this year and many years to follow, I would be proud to give this one as a gift, present it to a church, or recommend it to a friend. Though not too deep, each devotional contains enough of a message surrounding hope and inspiration that I can delve deeper on my own or keep the smile within my heart for the day. Beautiful!

RATING:
5 ( out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Hope For Each Day from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Mister B

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Byk, A. Lynn. Mister B: Living With a 98 Year-Old Rocket Scientist. Littleton, CO: Capture Books. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Moving in with her elderly father-in-law, researcher, investigator and author, Lynn Byk, had only hoped to spare Joseph Byk from the nursing home but received so much more in return. Organized into dated journal- type entries, Mister B shares the almost century-year-old history lived by a man who is humorous, cantankerous, passionate and not always politically correct. Heartwarming and honest, this story causes one to ponder life and smile.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
What a delightfully charming book! Actually a book for many to read, this tackles one of life’s issues- aging parents. Full of wonderfully thought-provoking lessons, I learned and enjoyed several snippets of history from Mister B. With many stories waiting to be passed down, Lynn Byk knows just the questions to ask to keep her father-in-law talking. Well-written with wit, compassion and grace, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Priceless!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

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