Whose Waves These Are

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Dykes, Amanda. Whose Waves These Are. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2019.

SUMMARY:
With a storyline centered around twins Roy and Robert Bliss, Whose Waves These Are tells the tale of family, truth, hope, faith and forgiveness over years of time. Using rocks as a foundation to build something great, Robert Bliss needs to finish before it is too late. Years later, called home by her GrandBob (Robert), Annie Bliss finds herself back home in Ansel-by-the-Sea, discovering mysteries revolving around stones, a poem, and family. Working to uncover the history involved, Annie stumbles upon much more than she imagined…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Full of beautiful imagery and skillful writing, I so appreciated the manner in which this book was written. Through the word choices, the deep visualizations, the dual timeframe, and the eloquence of speech, author Amanda Dykes had me from the first few pages with her debut novel, Whose Waves These Are. Surrounding the theme of water and waves, the quote “Every wave…is a story” is carried throughout the book, resulting in a seamless circle-style story. Savoring this book while at the same time not being able to put it down, it was touching, heartwarming, sensitive and moving. Definitely a book I will recommend as well as an author I will read again.

RATING: 5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Whose Waves These Are from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

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40 Verses to Ignite Your Faith

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Short, Laurie Polich. 40 Verses to Ignite Your Faith. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Filled with 40 scripture verses from the Bible that may not be the most memorized, repeated, nor tagged, 40 Verses to Ignite Your Faith takes a deeper peek at these verses and provides context, thoughtful insights, and lots of encouragement. Just a few pages in length, each verse is included along with a few bullet points and reflections. As an author, speaker, and being active in ministry, Laurie Polich Short offers wisdom, hope, and understanding in the journey of deeper faith.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Taking verses that are not quite as well know nor used, 40 Verses to Ignite Your Faith is well organized, easy to read, and provides plenty of thought- provoking occasions, especially as struggles and challenges are faced. Perfect for a group or personal devotion, definitely appropriate for a church library, sure to be appreciated as a gift, and perhaps even fitting as a sermon topic, I only wish it had been a tad-bit longer to use as a weekly devotional for a year. Certainly a book I would recommend as well as one I plan to use.

RATING: 4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of 40 Verses to Ignite Your Faith from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

The Secrets of Paper and Ink

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Harrel, Lindsay. The Secrets of Paper and Ink. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Split between England in the 1850’s and here in the present day, The Secrets of Paper and Ink travels on a journey with three women who connect in the process of finding forgiveness, redemption and love. Sophia, dealing with the guilt of an abusive relationship, Ginny, trying to pick up the pieces after her husband left, and Emily, discovered by the other women through her diary written many years ago, all relate in a manner unforeseen. With a dual timeline story surrounding a journal found in a bookstore, author Lindsay Harrel shares the struggles, challenges, heartbreaks, and friendships of life.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Loving the idea of a story involving a bookstore with lots of books, a bookstore owner hoping to keep her store, a cute literature professor and a written journal found among the shelves, I knew I had to read The Secrets of Paper and Ink. Filled with a bit of mystery, 3 interesting women characters with real-life issues, a bookstore filled with books (can you tell I love to read?), and a storyline which bounces back and forth in time, I truly enjoyed this novel by Lindsay Harrel. Reading it in just two evenings, it flowed easily, kept my interest, and was relatable to everyday life. I hope for a sequel to this novel, allowing me to catch up with Sophia, Ginny and Emily.

RATING: 4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Secrets of Paper and Ink from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

The Memory House

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Hauck, Rachel. The Memory House. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Another dual timeline story by award-winning/ best-selling author, Rachel Hauck.  In her newest novel, The Memory House, two women share grief, sorrow, loss, hope, love and faith through a common strong connection. Everleigh Applegate and Beck Holliday, though separated by over 50 years, find solace, answers and a future through the “Memory House”.  Set in the 1960’s yet also the present day, as the timespan starts to shrink between them, the bond grows deeper between the women while they search for forgiveness, overcome guilt, learn to trust again, and listen to their hearts…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Yet again author Rachel Hauck conquers the difficulty of successfully writing between two timeframes. Leaping back and forth while connecting the women in a common thread, I wasn’t sure she could do it again (but she did)! As a favorite author of mine, I knew I would read The Memory House and am certainly glad I did. With real characters, a strong message, an interesting connection and subtle faith, the newest novel from this author may just be her best. Beautifully written in a readable style, I am already waiting for her next story.  Success…again!

RATING: 4.75 (out of ) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Memory House from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Taste and See

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Feinberg, Margaret. Taste and See: Discovering God Among Butchers, Bakers, & Fresh Food Makers. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Taking a naturally connected spiritual and culinary journey, author Margaret Feinberg and her husband, Leif, explore different cuisines and associate them with scriptures. With food being a pleasure, as well as sacred and symbolic, our tour guides provide food for nourishment both physically and spiritually. Complete with recipes and side notes, Taste and See fulfills completely in a friendly and relatable manner. Figs, bread, olives, and many more delectable dishes provide good food for thought…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Part devotional, part cookbook, part self-guidance and part story, Taste and See made connections for me I hadn’t previously envisioned. Fruits, veggies, meat and bread combined with the Bible to create a beautiful book. So easy to read and picture, at times, I felt like I was conversing with the author directly. Interesting and essential while also packed with savory recipes, I found this book to be more than I expected. A book I truly enjoyed and read cover-to-cover, I cannot wait to try some of the recipes. With my interest piqued just enough, I will now search out this author to see what else she has written, along with hoping she writes another book quite soon.

*RATING: 4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Taste and See from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Far Side of the Sea

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Breslin, Kate. Far Side of the Sea. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Set during WWI, Far Side of the Sea shares the story of Lt. Colin Mabry as he overcomes his war injuries, now decoding messages rather than in battle. Receiving a personal message meant for him, Colin is certainly surprised to find another person waiting for him in Paris other than the expected woman, Jewel. Johanna, Jewel’s half sister, requires Colin’s help in locating Jewel and their father; however, they soon find themselves caught in a web of espionage, not sure whom to trust nor where to turn. As uncertainty grows, feelings develop, emotions ignite, and danger ensues, the risks and mystery only continue to develop throughout the new novel by author Kate Breslin.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read other books by this author, I knew I just had to add this one to my list. Full of unexpected twists, a developing romance, historical references and subtle faith, Far Side of the Sea is actually the second book following Not by Sight, which I absolutely enjoyed (https://savurbks.com/2015/08/24/not-by-sight/). As an added interest to this novel, carrier pigeons are included as a role in the story, causing me to delve further into the subject of their use in WWI. With added notes on the period history as well as a few discussion questions, I know I made the right decision to read this book. I am already looking forward to Kate Breslin’s next book!

RATING:
4.75 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Far Side of the Sea from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*

Secrets at Cedar Cabin

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Coble, Colleen. Secrets at Cedar Cabin: Lavender Tides- Book 3. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Literally running for her life, Bailey Fleming flees Michigan to the safety of Cedar Cabin in Lavender Tides. Not quite sure how she truly fits in, nor even for sure her true identity, Bailey soon discovers even Cedar Cabin may not be safe. Meeting FBI agent Lance Phoenix, who believes she may be involved in illegal activity, Bailey must decide if she can help Lance find his missing sister, if she can protect herself from a murderer out to find her, and if she needs to keep track of her heart in the process…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As usual with author Colleen Coble, the action and suspense begins right from the start of the story and Secrets at Cedar Cabin is no exception. Full of identity mysteries, a murderer at large, a missing teenager, a human trafficking ring, suspicious activity and evolving emotions, Secrets at Cedar Cabin is an attention-grabber ensuring late reading into the night. As book 3 in the Lavender Tides series, I did not have a problem following the storyline though I haven’t read all of the previous novels. Definitely an author I read often, I will continue to look for new books from this author as well as continue with this series.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Secrets at Cedar Cabin from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Almost Home

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Luesse, Valerie Fraser. Almost Home. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2019.

SUMMARY:
Owning a boardinghouse in Blackberry Springs, Alabama, Dolly and Si Chandler welcome guests into their home as America enters into World War II. With a mixture of boarders from different locations, varying ages, diverse beliefs and various backgrounds, the dinner table tends to be full of numerous lively conversations. As friendships grow and healing takes place, a mystery is uncovered from the past. As a historical romance, Christian fiction and heart-warming novel, author Valerie Fraser Luesse writes a story which makes everyone feel Almost Home

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Instead of a fast-paced novel, Almost Home took time to reveal the characters, create emotions and provide that cuddly, homey feel. I enjoyed meeting the characters and learning their stories, watching where the mystery might lead, and sipping my hot chocolate while I lingered through the book. Though not necessarily my favorite time-period to read, I found the guests interesting and the home-owners delightfully charming. A slower read yet perfect for the coziness of winter, I read this book at just the right time of year. Definitely a warmhearted book, I may continue to watch for this author in the future. (I did also like her previous book, Missing Isaac.)

RATING:
3.75 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Almost Home from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

With This Pledge

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Alexander, Tamera. With This Pledge: The Carnton Series- Book 1. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2019.

SUMMARY:
As a governess to the MacGovock’s young children, Elizabeth (Lizzie) Clouston is very capable of handling difficult situations. Yet, when faced with the daunting, heart-rendering job of overseeing wounded soldiers who have overtaken the MacGovock’s home, Lizzie is tested to the limits of her inner strength and feels quite helpless. Set during the Civil War, With This Pledge also follows Captain Roland Jones’s journey as he attempts to save both his limbs while strongly sharing his beliefs. Author Tamera Alexander writes an emotionally intense, historically grounded, and undeniably romantic story in the first book of her new series…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Beautifully portrayed while heartbreakingly experienced, With This Pledge is perfectly told in true Tamera Alexander style.  With full characters, an interesting storyline, and an intended message, I had trouble putting this book down once I started it. Already a fan of this author, I wasn’t disappointed in her newest novel and am glad it is the beginning of a series. With the Civil War full of immense casualties, the backdrop for this story flowed through the characters as they found the necessary strength while exploring and standing behind individual beliefs, creating the heart-tugs this author is known for. Well-written and definitely enjoyed, I will continue to seek out this author in the future.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of With This Pledge from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Laughing at Life’s Most Embarrassing Moments

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Taylor, Dan. Laughing at life’s Most Embarrassing Moments- Stumbling Along with Hope and Humor. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Laughing at the hardest and most embarrassing moments in life which makes laughing at the rest of life easier is the premise of the book by author Dan Taylor. Filled with cute antidotes and stories taking place in everyday life, each 2-3 page chapter shares embarrassing moments, silly actions, cute behaviors and humorous thoughts. Reminiscing about life’s awkward situations that most anyone can relate to, Laughing at Life’s Most Embarrassing Moments reminds us that laughing is a healthy tonic for troubles.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Filled with some sweet (albeit some corny) stories regarding life’s difficult yet memorable moments, this book emphasizes and cultivates chuckling. With the ability to laugh and perhaps even enjoy some of life’s precarious happenings, the hope of this author is to find the funny and laugh together. Full of 65 easy to read blurbs, most at least made me smile; however, a few did fall flat. Perfect as a pick-me-up, a fill-in while waiting, or even sharing around the dinner table, Laughing at Life’s Most Embarrassing Moments was enjoyable and giggle-worthy.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Laughing at Life’s Most Embarrassing Moments from Harvest House Publishing for my honest review*