God’s Easter Miracles

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Mancini, Lee Ann (author). Sharp, Dan (illustrator). God’s Easter Miracles- Adventures of the Sea Kids Series. Boca Raton, FL: GLM Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As the newest addition to the Adventures of the Sea Kids series, God’s Easter Miracles surrounds the Easter Story while teaching sharing, caring, praying and rejoicing. Learning to be like Jesus in their Sunday School class, the Sea Kids need to share with Paul and pray for Lenny. Joining together to rejoice when prayers were answered with Easter miracles, these adorable, colorful and appealing creatures are sure to delight. With an added bonus of a hidden item to find on each page, this Award-winning Christian Series will be shared and requested again and again…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Yet another stunning addition to a beloved children’s series, God’s Easter Miracles continues the success of the Adventures of the Sea Kids series. Author Lee Ann Mancini and illustrator Dan Sharp team up again to design a book worthy of sharing. Touching on Easter, autism, and Manatee rescue through prayers, empathy and miracles, the messages are presented in an age-appropriate manner and encircled with gorgeous, full-page, charming pictures which will be positively embraced. Well done (again)!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of God’s Easter Miracles from BookCrash for my honest review*

Love Your Work

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Dickie III, Robert. Love Your Work: 4 Practical Ways You Can Pivot To Your Best Career. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With a changing economy resulting in a changing workforce, changes are inevitable. Perhaps a career swap, a new work opportunity, or a chance for advancement, in his new book, Love Your Work, author Robert Dickie III shares perspectives on all of these possible changes. Outlining the four quadrants of a career (Revector, Renew, Reinvent and Repurpose), and combining them with career skills while including character and integrity, the future of growth and opportunity is then observed. Equipped with an action plan, a career move can be examined or staying in place can be made better with the importance of loving your work.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With diagrams, highlighted notes, depths of experience and doses of humor, Love Your Work was easy to read, clear to understand, and undeniably relevant. Filled with personal examples, ideas for thought, and pivot-point challenges, I found this book well written, reliable, prominent and useable. Definitely a book I will refer to again as well as share with friends, it would also be successful as a group study, career training, or ministry workshop. Is your career all it could be? You may just be surprised…

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love Your Work from Moody Publishers for my honest review*

My Sister’s Prayer

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Clark, Mindy Starns. And Gould, Leslie. My Sister’s Prayer: Cousins of the Dove- Book 2. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

SUMMARY:
As the second book in the Cousins of the Dove series, My Sister’s Prayer continues the Talbot family story, following the story of two sets of sisters-one contemporary and the other historical-separated by 300 years. Told in the first person point-of-view, alternating between present and past, the sisters’ lives run individually yet intertwine through a family heirloom. Romance, sisters, secrets, and hardships divide yet combine the centuries as sisters realize the importance of devotion.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Liking authors Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould, I was ready to read their combined novel. Though perhaps just a bit confusing in the beginning, it wasn’t long before I caught on and sped through the book. (Confession- I did not read book 1, My Brother’s Crown, which may have helped my initial confusion.) Skillfully making the first person POV work well within the story, the added design of parallel yet perpendicular stories only enhanced the creativity. With book 3 already on the horizon, I most likely will read the previous novel to be ready for the May 2017 release of My Daughter’s Legacy.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of My Sister’s Prayer from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Zip It

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Ehman, Karen. Zip It: The Keep It Shut 40-Day Challenge. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

zipit

SUMMARY:
Everyone needs a reminder at some point to keep it shut rather than opening the mouth. Though not always easy, author Karen Ehman makes it a bit easier with her 40-day challenge devotional. Beginning with the many scriptures surrounding words, each short devotional progresses through a brief lesson, personal stories, relevant examples, the main ideas summarized, a lesson for the lips, and ends with a heart-felt prayer. Short and simple yet straight to the point, this useful devotional helps tackle an important skill.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though I haven’t read her book by the similar name, Keep It Shut, I was able to follow and use this devotional but perhaps not quite as absorbingly as if I had read her book previously. Apparently with a journal available to accompany this devotional, I am thinking the set of the books might work very well together. Perfect as a group ministry, a self-challenge or even a sermon series, Zip It has a good message to share and learn in a fun, engaging manner. Absolutely a book that will make you think before you talk!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Zip It from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Rescue Me

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Warren, Susan May. Rescue Me: Montana Rescue Series- Book 2. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

rescueme

SUMMARY:
In love with both her sister, Sierra, and her sister’s boyfriend, Sam, free-spirited Willow Rose also has a heart for God. Though she has been in love with Sam for years, Willow doesn’t want to hurt her sister so decides to keep her emotions to herself. Detailed-minded Sam knows Sierra appears to be the perfect match yet finds himself drawn to Willow for some unexplainable reason. While in the Glacier National Park with a group of teenagers from a youth ministry group, both Sam and Willow must save their own lives, the lives of several teenagers, and quite possibly their hearts…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Starting with the cover and continuing throughout the story, I liked every page of this novel. Intrigue, danger, suspense, action, faith and romance all played center stage while several other pieces surrounded them. As a stand-alone novel while also being a great addition to the Montana Rescue series, I am already waiting for book 3, A Matter Of Trust, due out in July. Like a good story, interesting characters, dangerous situations and the beautiful wilderness? Then look no further than this series by talented author Susan May Warren.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Rescue Me from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Justice Delayed

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Bradley, Patricia. Justice Delayed: A Memphis Cold Case Novel. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell publishing. 2017.

justicedelayed

SUMMARY:
As the start of a new series, author Patricia Bradley ups the stakes in her newest book, Justice Delayed. Will Kincaide, of the Memphis Cold Case Unit, wants nothing more than to solve a crime associated with a man on death row due to a letter of confession he recently received. With time slipping away, Will is more motivated to solve the case as his cousin is involved, as well as Andi Hollister, a TV crime reporter, who he may just have an interest in. As suspense mounts, details erupt and a death looms, justice must be quickly served rather than delayed…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a writer I regularly turn to for quality suspense stories, I was once again immersed in a good thriller. Though perhaps just a bit unrealistic in a predictable manner, I still found myself turning the pages to finish this romantic suspense-filled novel in record time. Liking the premise and most of the characters, author Patricia Bradley is one of my top action-packed, suspenseful writers. I look forward to many more novels in this Memphis Cold Case series (hopefully). Definitely an author to follow and a novel worth the read.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Justice Delayed from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Moving Target

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Eason, Lynette. Moving Target: Elite Guardians-Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

movingtarget

SUMMARY:
Dealing with their personal pasts while watching their current relationship change, Maddy McKay and Quinn Holcombe are already dealing with tension. When both are kidnapped causing them to miss Quinn’s birthday party, the strain only heightens. Finding themselves hiding while human targets, Maddy and Quinn discover there are other issues prevalent in their lives as well…faith, guilt, and forgiveness swirling around their hearts…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Gripping suspense from the beginning, Moving Target is non-stop action. With romance thrown into the suspenseful mix, Lynette Eason provides yet another excellent addition to her Elite Guardians series. Able to stand-alone, the characters are all intertwined which provides a familiarity within the series. Filled with a good storyline, internal struggles, romantic uncertainty and strong characters, this action-packed novel joins the others in a now favorite series.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Moving Target from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Embracing the Race

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Preuett, Lisa. Embracing the Race: 40 devotionals for the Runner’s Soul. USA: Crosslink Publishing. 2016.

embracingtherace

SUMMARY:
Organized into three page devotionals, Embracing the Race couples running with scripture and truths. With 40 unique devotions set up in a running race manner, a running concept is transitioned into a faith-filled element, followed by thought-provoking self questions, a scripture verse, and a prayer. With personal stories, encouragement, compassion and friendly writing, author Lisa Preuett shares the journey, both running and following Jesus.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Oh, how I needed this devotional right at this moment. Coming into running season with several events on the calendar, I so needed the encouragement. Finding myself agreeing (or commiserating) with most of what the author wrote, I appreciated the link to scripture and the Biblical point of view. With each devotional ending in Ready (questions), Set (scripture verse), Go (prayer), I loved the set-up mimicking a race. Relating to certain pieces, I really like some of the signs she mentioned along the race course as I have muttered a few myself (“Forward is a pace”, “It seemed like a good idea when we signed up”, and my favorite, “Can we walk now?”). But, the words of encouragement are priceless when filled with faith (“Be courageous, I’ve designed you for this purpose”, “Keep going, I promise you will get through this”, and “You cannot imagine what is waiting for you at the finish line”).  An excellent choice for the runners in your life; I know it was perfect for me. Thanks, Lisa!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

Cherish

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Thomas, Gary. Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything For Your Marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

cherish

SUMMARY:
More than love, “cherish” includes respect, gratitude, honor and adoration. When cherish is combined with love in a marriage, it has the power to change everything within that relationship. In his new book, Cherish, author Gary Thomas explores and shares the positive effect cherishing another person can have. With a faith-based backdrop, the word cherish is applied to many aspects within a marriage, abundantly coupled with personal stories, relevant analogies, beautiful words, ideas and actions, as well as lots of compassion and encouragement.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Reading through the book Cherish, I found it to be a very smooth, interesting read but also one I was constantly shaking my head in agreement with. Trying to read only a few chapters at time so I had time to digest the material; unfortunately, it did not work that way as I was consistently starting the next chapter, pausing only to share (and have my husband read) snippets of each section. Definitely a book for any stage of marriage, it would be perfect for a counseling session, pre-marriage workshop, a marriage ministry or even a sermon topic. I am convinced…to cherish is priceless!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

Yella’s Prayers

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Keels, Nadine C. Yella’s Prayers. (Second Edition) USA. 2010, 2017.

yellasprayers

SUMMARY:
Hearing the Voice and unable to ignore it, Bless Heggins knows she must listen. Though still a teenager, Bless starts to realize she needs to help T’meal (an athlete who is posed to give up an opportunity), and Lamall (an out of control young man heading toward destruction). Quiet, shy, and perhaps full of self-doubt, Bless hides her passion for music to deal with the other things in life even though it may mean a loss for her. Faith, doubt, friendship, and romance all combine together in this coming-of-age novel by Nadine Keels.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a book geared towards young adults, Yella’s Prayers tackles some age appropriate issues. Written in such a manner that makes you feel as though you are back in high-school/ college again, the dialog and actions are so authentic to the generation. Reading through this book in just a few short sittings due to the flowing direction, the book actually ended before I was ready. Obviously a writer with a good command of the written English language, I marveled at how the story kept my attention. Well-written with a strong message, Yella’s Prayers will hopefully have a sequel, as I came to truly know the characters and watch their growth. It was enjoyable to be transported back to more youthful days, albeit quite a bit ago.  (The Deleted Scenes accompaniment was a fun bonus upon finishing the book.)

RATING:
4.25 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Yella’s Prayers from the author for my honest review*