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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Eubeltic Descent

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Keels, Nadine C. Eubeltic Descent: Eubeltic Realm Series- Book 1. CreateSpace Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Proud of her ancestry though she has never seen the land, Abigaia’s hope is to one day visit. As a young girl who blossoms into a young woman, her inner strength becomes visible as she grows. As she continues to mature and follow her plan, catastrophe strikes which changes everything. Perhaps now needed by her people, Abigaia must make a hard decision. Part history, part fantasy, part inspiration, totally engaging…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As one of my favorite authors and as a continuation of the Movement of Crowns trilogy, there was no doubt I was going to read Nadine Keels’ newest book, Eubeltic Descent. I absolutely loved this one, especially watching Abigaia grow- I actually found myself cheering for her. While fantasy is not a preferred genre of mine, this author has changed my mind with her writings. Able to be read as a stand-alone book, the background from the previous stories would only enhance the experience even more. Well written and sharing her mastery of language, Nadine Keels hits the high mark yet again. Glad to see this is Book 1 of new series, I hope she takes my advice to continue writing as I so savor her skilled talent.  I am confident readers of all ages will enjoy this book as much as I did. (As always, a gorgeous cover, too!)

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Eubeltic Descent from the author for my honest review*

My First Book of Prayers

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Various Authors. Illustrated by Flint, Gillian. Nashville, TN: WorthyKids Ideals Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
In a sweet board book filled with timeless classic prayers, My First Book of Prayers contains prayers for bedtime, playtime, mealtime or anytime a special prayer is needed. With simple yet colorful illustrations accompanying each prayer, this little book is full of rhyming prose meant to shared.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Simple, sweet, classic, and timeless prayers perfect for sharing fill this adorable book. Remembering some of the prayers from my own childhood as well as several I shared with my own children, this book brought back memories shared between loved ones. Easy to read, simple to repeat, perfect to share and charming to give, this book would be wonderful in a church library, a Sunday school classroom, a personal bookshelf or as a baby shower gift. Simply delightful!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

I received a complimentary copy of My First Book of Prayers from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

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*

Memory Rescue

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Amen, MD., Daniel G. Memory Rescue: Supercharge Your Brain, Reverse Memory Loss, and Remeber What Matters Most. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2017.

SUMMARY:
Using the plan of sharpening your memory and preventing Alzheimer’s Disease by eliminating, preventing and treating all of the risk factors associated with memory loss, Dr. Daniel G. Amen, in his newest book, Memory Rescue, shares his program. Under the Amen Clinics program which supports the acronym/ mnemonic BRIGHT MINDS for risk factors, he explains the importance of memory, provides a formula for preventing memory decline, supplies tips to boost memory as well as lots of correlating information. Filled with examples, encouragement, lists, tips, pictures, and ideas, this important book may change the way you live.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
First flipping through the pages and randomly reading excerpts within the book, I quickly realized I needed to read it cover to cover. Simple, straight-forward and educational, I learned so much from this book and realized I needed to make some changes. Already living healthy, there are some factors which I cannot change (age, genetics) but lifestyle decisions I can make to compensate for them (diet, sleep). An excellent resource for all, the importance of this book should not be overlooked. Definitely a book I will return to often for reminders and encouragement to continue fighting memory decline…thank-you for sharing, Dr. Amen!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Memory Resuce from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

Shelter of the Most High

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Cossette, Connilyn.  Shelter of the Most High: Cities of Refuge, Book 2.  Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers.  2018.

SUMMARY:
Wanting to spend just a few more minutes in her favorite place- the ocean, Sofea and her cousin, Prezi, dive down one more time. However, upon surfacing, they find themselves captives to a group of marauders who torched their village. Forced to travel aboard a ship across the ocean to Canaan, Sofea meets Eitan, who must remain in the city of Kedesh due to a childhood secret he harbors. Faced with hauntings of the past, caught in a present betrayal and pondering their mutual attraction, Sofea and Eitan need to decide how to approach their challenges while protecting their safety.  Author Connilyn Cossette writes an intriguing, soul-searching, deeply moving story in her newest book, Shelter of the Most High.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With a stunningly gorgeous cover and a beautifully written story within, Shelter of the Most High was absolutely breathtaking. Not able to put the book down once I started, I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish, although, I did close it briefly every once in a while to gaze at the beautiful cover again and again. Written fictionally about an unfamiliar Biblical time in history, the author’s notes and conversational questions at the end of the book complete this inspiring story. Though book 2 in the Cities of Refuge series, I had no problem reading it without reading book 1, A Light on the Hill, but do look forward to learning more about the involved characters. A new author for me, I am thrilled she has written previous books which I definitely plan to read.

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Shelter of the Most High from Bethany House Publishers 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*

Planet 316 Story Bible for Toddlers

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Planet 316 Story Bible for Toddlers with Augmented Reality. Nashville, TN: WorthyKids Ideals. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Crafted in a sturdy, chunky board book perfect for little hands, Planet 316 Story Bible for Toddlers is filled with colorful pictures surrounding important basic Bible stories. Each 4 page Bible story depiction includes augmented reality; a simple process which causes the characters (and story) to come alive! Download the free app, use a phone or tablet to scan the picture, and enjoy the 3-D animation and audio as the interaction begins. Engaging, usable, captivating and educational, the technology stays current while teaching the Bible to youngsters.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already so impressed with the older version of the Planet 316 Story Bible for children ages 4-8, I was interested in the newest version for toddlers. Welcoming the shiny, thick, well-constructed pages of the Planet 316 Story Bible for Toddlers, this book could with-stand lots and lots of reading. With the easy-to-use augmented reality technology, toddlers are sure to be able to activate and enjoy the movement and sounds of characters as much as this adult. Definitely a book I would recommend for a church library, Sunday school curriculum or a gift. Absolutely awesome! (Any chance of making an adult version?)

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

From The Farm House Kitchen

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Stoltzfus, Dawn. And Falb, Carol. From The Farm House Kitchen. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2018.

SUMMARY:
With over 150 recipes featuring farm-to-table recipes, the included dishes are organized into seasonal fare (spring, summer, fall, winter) as well as categorized into different meal options (main dishes, sauces, sides, salads, snacks and desserts). Bonus “natural living” recipes are included along with helpful hints, room for notes, and simple, wholesome, natural messages scattered throughout. Presented in a spiral-bound, thicker-covered book format, this new cookbook, Farm House Kitchen, definitely serves the purpose in any home.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Cozy, comforting, and delicious meals are included in this farmhouse genre cookbook, originating from a Mennonite kitchen. With most recipes using many natural ingredients as well as pantry-ready items, though simple, the resulting menus are hearty and nutritious. Not using all of the recipes due to my eating lifestyle, I certainly did find enough to keep it amongst my cookbooks in my kitchen. Loving the ease with which this book can be used, it opens flat on my counter and is quite sturdy without being heavy. Overall, a very nice book!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of From The Farm House Kitchen from Harvest House Publishers 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*