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*

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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*

The House on Foster Hill

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Wright, Jaime Jo. The House on Foster Hill. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
In a house on Foster Hill in Oakwood Wisconsin, almost a century ago, a young woman is found dead. Determined to find the assailant, Ivy Thorpe searches yet soon discovers herself in dangerous situations. Forced to revisit memories long shut away, she must shield her own heart while untangling the web of mysteries surrounding the house. Meanwhile, at the same house in present day, new owner Kaine Prescott experiences the same feelings as Ivy when she confronts issues encircling her own life and the same dark happenings within the Foster Hill House.  Struggling to understand the eerie, she must also guard her heart while dealing with the pain of the past.  Suspense, mystery, uncertainty and history besiege in The House on Foster Hill

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Definitely a thriller with time periods linked through deep connections to Foster Hill House, I found it very interesting how the story jumped back and forth between characters and time periods yet had that underlying relationship. Left wondering just exactly what that affiliation may be, I found this book hard to put down once I was immersed in it. As a new author to me, I most likely will look for more books from Jaime Jo Wright and hope she realizes her talent for writing such spine-tingling, dramatic, emotional novels as she did with this one, her debut novel.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The House on Foster Hill from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

Faithful Finance

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Stroud MBA/ CFA, Emily G. Faithful Finance: 10 Secrets to Move from Fearful Insecurity to Confident Control. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2015, 2018.

SUMMARY:
Everyone struggles financially at some point in life and needs a bit of advice to get back on track. Financial advisor, business woman, entrepreneur and author, Emily Stroud, does just that in her newest book, Faithful Finance, in which she shares 10 smart recommendations to becoming financially fit. She addresses budgets, savings accounts, cash (vs credit), college, retirement and estate planning while also taking into account common feelings such as worry, insecurity, anxiety and despair. Filled with personal stories, budgeting tools, relevant scripture verses, loads of encouragement and total understanding, this book is written in an easy to read, conversational style manner for any income, at any age, in any stage of life.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Perfect for popular New Year’s resolution of becoming financially secure, Faithful Finance makes that goal just a bit easier to achieve. Neither daunting nor judgmental, author Emily Stroud is more a friendly partner willing to help with sound guidance and information. Having been in financial stress herself, she is straight forward with her suggestions while truly caring about the outcome. I appreciated the monthly budget sheets, the included resources, and 10 ideas for living life well. Owning her own investment firm, Emily Stroud also shares her contact information should a consultation be welcomed.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

Capital Gaines

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Gaines, Chip. Capital Gaines: Smart Things I Learned Doing Stupid Stuff. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As a successful and popular businessman, Chip Gaines surely knows failure, mistakes, and the long journey to achievement. In his new book, Capital Gaines, he humbly and even happily shares his advice and wisdom on life. With personal stories of false and missed steps, hard work, and strong work ethics, this book is honest, genuine, thought-provoking, and heartening. Full of insight for the trek through life, Chip Gaines ultimately stays true to himself.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Being vaguely familiar with Chip and Joanna Gaines, it was more the relevant title that caught my eye than the actual author. More than just another business book, Capital Gaines is written in a narrative form that is easy to read, full of humor and encouragement, as well as faith and the necessity for perseverance even through fear. Part memoir, part journey, part business, it is wholly inspirational, interesting, amicable and beneficial. Planning on sharing this book with the rest of my family, I wouldn’t hesitate to give it as a gift to friends either. Definitely a worthwhile read, I am glad I read it and now plan to read The Magnolia Story, where it all began.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

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

Staying Stylish

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Cameron Bure, Candace. Staying Stylish: Cultivating A Confident Look, Style & Attitude. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Fashion, style, make-up, skin care, health, fitness and spirit all are addressed in author and actress Candace Cameron Bure’s newest book, Staying Stylish. Along with many ideas for keeping your wardrobe both stylish and appropriate, your make-up fresh and natural, your closet well organized, your fitness level healthy and your faith fulfilled and present, elegant photographs, tips and tricks, and favorite products are scattered throughout. A beautiful hard-covered book complete with a ribbon marker, perfect for all ages.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Packaged in a stunning book with glossy pages, excellent organization, and lots of style ideas, Staying Stylish is a charming book for most anyone, though especially young adults and perhaps those entering careers. Though it wasn’t necessarily a book directly for me, I may have picked up a few tidbits but plan to gift this book to someone who could use it more. Liking the emphasis on faith as well as appropriateness, it might work well as a basis for a teen ministry. Having read Candace Cameron Bure’s other books, I do trust and appreciate her writing, honesty and direction. I look forward to reading more.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

Jesus Always

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Young, Sarah. Jesus Always: Embracing Joy In His Presence- 365 Devotions. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Filled with 365 page-length devotions including completely written-out referenced scripture verses, Jesus Always is a larger beautiful edition encased in a soft imitation brown leather. Written from a first-person perspective, each devotion reads as if Jesus is speaking directly with you. Worthy of gift-giving, a silk pink ribbon accompanies this new release from popular author, Sarah Young.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Always having heard of this author and her very successful series of devotionals, I was eager to read one for myself. Available as a deluxe edition in an elegant cover jacket, the book opens flat with an easily read font and graceful borders. Enjoying the personal devotions and the included scripture verses, I would be proud to give this devotion as a gift (or keeping it for my own use). Looking for my new devotional for next year has now been checked off my to-do-list and I couldn’t be happier with my choice.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies
*I received a complimentary copy of Jesus Always from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

An Amish Christmas Love

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Wiseman, Beth. Clipston, Amy. Reid, Ruth. Irvin, Kelly. An Amish Christmas Love: Four Novellas. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Containing four Christmas novellas (Winter Kisses, The Christmas Cat, Snow Angels, and Home for Christmas), the new collection in An Amish Christmas Love is written by several successful Amish authors. Filled with stories surrounding Christmas, each well- developed short story is similar yet unique. Heart-warming, faith-filled and Christmas-themed, these Amish genre novellas are sure to help celebrate the Christmas season.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already enjoying the four authors’ writing in this new Christmas compilation, I knew it would be a perfect addition to my Christmas seasonal books. Liking to read these special stories around the Christmas time, I truly enjoyed this collection. Though all were good, I especially connected with The Christmas Cat due to the subject and author. Quick to read yet filled with the Christmas message, An Amish Christmas Love is meant to be shared. Perfect for a library or personal collection, you cannot help but be warmed.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of An Amish Christmas Love from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*