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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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*

Missing Isaac

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Luesse, Valerie Fraser. Missing Isaac. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:’
In the deep South during the 1960s, different people came from very different worlds depending on social class and color. When Pete McLean experiences a tragedy in his life, farmhand Isaac steps in to fill the void. Friends despite the color difference, Pete is devastated when Isaac disappears one evening. Without much help from the community, Pete sets out to learn the truth about Isaac’s disappearance and by chance, meets a girl. Together they grow, changing the social dynamics of the South along the way.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a debut novel for an author, I was surely impressed. With strong characters, raw emotion, a powerful definition of friendship, and a style true to the South, Missing Isaac is a story of a young man growing to adulthood and developing his morals, integrity and character. Along with a mystery, a bit of faith, and heart-felt emotion, author Valerie Luesse writes an honest novel, perhaps one even appropriate as a movie storyline. Definitely an author I will watch for and read again.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Missing Isaac from Revell Publishing 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 View from Rainshadow Bay

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Coble, Colleen. The View from Rainshadow Bay: A Lavender Tides Novel. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Shauna McDade, a widow with a young son, must rely on her own instincts as well as that of her husband’s best friend, Zach Bannister, the man she blames for his death. However, when other deaths occur which seem to connect and now possibly target Shauna, she needs to rethink who may be to blame. Full of suspense, mystery, forgiveness, romance and plenty of action, The View from Rainshadow Bay is the newest novel from acclaimed author, Colleen Coble.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Knowing I would read this book due to the author, I was a bit surprised I finished it completely in almost a (late) night. From the epilogue to the conclusion, there was non-stop suspense which kept my interest without end. As with all of her books, Colleen Coble delivers well-written material mixed with mystery, tension, anticipation and excitement. An excellent book; I look forward to the next book in the Lavender Tides series set to release in July, The House at Saltwater Point. (I love the covers and the names of the locations in this series, too.)

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The View from Rainshadow Bay 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*

Hope Unashamed

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Keels, Nadine. Hope Unashamed: When It’s Time Series- Book 2. Smashwords. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As a good student with high morals, Arthur didn’t have time for girls. That is, until he met Lorraine which changed everything. Beginning as a high school romance and continuing the journey into adulthood, Hope Unashamed is filled with sweetness, innocence, perseverance, and hope. Written in a unique manner, author Nadine Keels travels back into the first book of the When It’s Time series where Arthur made his debut, his backstory is learned from his own point of view. Filling the gaps and then moving forward, the storyline only becomes fuller.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With not only a new and interesting story manner but also words that so eloquently and naturally flow, Hope Unashamed has the power to draw you into a story through a connection with the characters. Absolutely relating to the way in which she writes, I am a huge fan of author Nadine Keels. With a talent for developing a deep and entire story within a novella, I can only hope there are more books already being worked on in this series because if history repeats itself, they will only keep getting better. (Adorable cover, too!)

RATING:
4.75 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Hope Unashamed from the author 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*