Under a Cloudless Sky

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Fairy, Chris. Under a Cloudless Sky. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Moving smoothly and logically between 1933 and 2004, best-selling author, Chris Fabry, pens a fascinating novel surrounding a mining town in West Virginia. With a character involved in both time periods who is harboring a secret which could change everything, the believable plot takes twists and turns that spin until the end. With an embedded message about a relevant topic, this novel is full.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read several of Chris Fabry’s previous books, his newest one, Under a Cloudless Sky, was definitely on my list to read. As with all of this author’s books, the message is deep, the writing is solid, the story is interesting and the book is captivating. Not a “fluffy” read but one with a message concerning aging parents, the characters, plot, events and surprises all seem as if they could be real. Complete with discussion questions for group use, this would be wonderful for a book club, a library or perhaps even a ministry. Excellent author; excellent book!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies
*I received a complimentary copy of Under a Cloudless Sky from Tyndale House Publishers for an honest review*

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Simple Organizing

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Michaels, Melissa. Simple Organizing: 50 Ways to Clear the Clutter. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Pulishers. 2018.

SUMMARY:
With encouragement to reach the end goal in mind, author Melissa Michaels, of The Inspired Room Blog, shares her organizational skills in her newest book, Simple Organizing. While organizing, decluttering, focusing and purposing every room, the author shares ideas, thoughts, photographs and inspiration in reaching the goals. Pleasant to read, easy to follow, and beautiful to look at, this book provides simple yet highly effective ways to organize.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Such a charming and useful little book to attain the goal of a more organized home and in turn, life. Set-up in areas of the home, the book provides practical and convenient ideas accompanied by appealing photographs. Though perhaps not the most novel of organizational suggestions, the book is certainly inspirational. Perfect as a house warming gift, a wedding present, or even for personal use, Simple Organizing offers helpful and valuable tidbits and designs that are sure to make a difference.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Simple Organizing from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

This Is The Day

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Tebow, Tim. With Gregory, A.J. This Is The Day: Reclaim Your Dream. Ignite Your Passion. Live Your Purpose. New York, NY: Waterbrook Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Offering and sharing straight-forward advice on reaching for your dreams today instead of waiting, This Is The day explores the steps in achieving your goals and dreams, no matter what they may be. Becoming the person God has intended you to be, today, with purpose, challenge, strength and faith, Tim Tebow is a well-known athlete, Christian and speaker who delivers easily and knowledgeably to both the heart and mind.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having followed Tim Tebow’s story and read his previous books, I was excited to also read his newest book. Written from an encouraging, candid and genuine approach, I first skimmed the book reading snippets which led me to then read the entire book. Nodding my head in agreement quite often, pausing to examine my own life, and formulating a plan for myself, I thoroughly enjoyed this direct, supportive, invigorating book. Split into relevant chapters with questions and challenges to ponder, my favorite part was the reminders scattered throughout the pages set off in squares.  Perfect for a Bible study, group discussion, or sermon series, This Is The Day needs to be read, shared and lived.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of This Is The Day from  Waterbrook Publishing for my honest review*

VeggieTales Very Veggie 5-Minute Stories

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Various authors and illustrators. VeggieTales Very Veggie 5-Minute Stories. Nashville, TN: WorthyKids/Ideals Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Full of true VeggieTales zaniness, values, irresistibility, and cleverness, Very Veggie 5-Minute Stories teaches genuine moral lessons, combines pleasing colorful illustrations, and delights readers of all ages. In a full-size hardcover book organized into 5 minute short stories, Bob and Larry are sure to amuse little ones as they find themselves in some comical situations.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Perfect! An everlasting fun collection of beloved VeggieTales short stories complete with the usual VeggieTales quality and expectations. Taking mere minutes to read and finish each charming story, Bob, Larry, Laura and Junior become knights, vikings, cowboys, and detectives to share lessons on being patient, taking turns, accepting responsibility, saying sorry, and loving each other. Wonderful as gift, for a church library or Sunday school lesson, this VeggieTales collection would also be ideal for bedtime, generational sharing or self-readers. Simply an inviting, amiable, engaging and adorable book!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of VeggieTales Very Veggie 5-Minute Short Stories from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Decluttering At The Speed of Life

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White, Dana K. Decluttering At The Speed of Life: Winning Your Never-Ending Battle With Stuff. Nashville, TN: W Publishing/ Thomas Nelson. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Stuff. Everyone has it, everyone struggles with it. With homes filled to the brims with items and needing help with this crazy dilemma, author Dana White has stepped in to help with her new book, Decluttering At The Speed of Life. Not complicated, easy to follow, enjoyable to read, and full of simple decluttering ideas, this book takes the dread out of decluttering. Coming from personal experience and acting as a mentor and coach, the author tackles the emotional and physical challenges by going room-to-room with a positive mindset.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having picked up this book and browsed it at the library, I knew I had to have my own copy to read thoroughly. Understanding that life is busy and can get in the way of even the best intentions, Decluttering At The Speed of Life accounts for those distractions while also working through other decluttering difficulties. Making the process very easy and straight-forward, reading this book will encourage you to purge the unnecessary from your home while creating a more peaceful, healthy and productive lifestyle.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Decluttering At The Speed of Life From BookLook Bloggers 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*

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*

The Lacemaker

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Frantz, Laura. The Lacemaker. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As the “bride” of historic Williamsburg, circa 1775, Lady Elizabeth “Liberty” Lawson, does most everything her father, the British Lieutenant governor of the Virginia colony, demands of her…including a prearranged, high-society marriage. Spending her time continuing the generational task of making lace, Liberty soon finds herself accused of being a spy, saved only by Noble Rynallt, the cousin of her ex-intended. Treason, betrayal, trust, honesty and suspense all entwine together to create a novel not soon forgotten.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With detail, language, customs and characters specific to the timeframe, author Laura Frantz obviously researched the time period carefully. Though it took a moment to become embedded in the language which slowed the start of the book down some, once familiar with the verse, my reading did quicken. Drawn to the gorgeous cover, held by the historical story within, and disappointed when it actually ended, I thoroughly enjoyed The Lacemaker. Already a fan of this author, I must admit, I am even more so now. Beautifully written with charming names of characters, I can only hope this might be a continuing series. (I appreciated the recipes at the end- quite interesting!)

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Lacemaker from Revell Publishing for my honest review*