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*

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The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional

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Fisk, Julie. Roehl, Kendra. Demery, Kristin. The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional: 365 Inspiring Ideas to Reveal, Give, and Find God’s Love. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum/ Tyndale House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With a whole year of inspirational devotions to read, share and act upon, The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional is complete with a scripture verse, personal story, and an act of kindness to randomly perform for each day. Organized into days with a one-page devotion, the three authors take turns supplying the devotion with an associated idea for action. Easy and enjoyable to read but containing a possible huge impact, this one year devotional is do-able, relatable and personable.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Already looking for my next devotional for the new year, The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional will fill that need. Simple to begin any day during the year, I appreciate the organization and honesty with which it was written. Realizing the effect daily acts of kindness could have on myself as well as others, this book would work well in a group setting or for individual use. Having several other devotionals already from The One Year series, I know the reliability and timeliness of the included devotions as well as the scriptural references. Well thought out and organized, my search for a 2018 devotional is now complete.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The One Year Daily Acts of Kindness Devotional from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

Chasing Grace

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Richards-Ross, Sanya. Saving Grace: What The Quarter Mile Has Taught Me About God And Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Sharing her successful yet difficult story of running and life, author and Olympic champion Sanya Richards-Ross writes of her triumphs and downfalls, happiness and heartache, achievements and collapses, all while realizing we cannot do it alone. Applying her 4-Ps approach (Push, Pace, Position and Pose) to her running career and extending it to her life, Sanya Richards-Ross acknowledges and shares how her trust in God allowed her to embrace and develop her given talents on the track as well as in life…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Opening the book and not closing it until it was finished, I thoroughly enjoyed the journey. Like having a conversation with Sanya herself, the book just flowed. Truly appreciating the closing of each chapter with one of the 4-Ps, not only did I listen to the encouraging words for life but also have incorporated some of the thoughts into my own running mantra. As a true Christian model, Sanya Richards-Ross is blessed yet humbly and enthusiastically tells her story. Definitely a book I will return to in snippets for self-reminders…excellent!

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

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

This Life I Live

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Feek, Rory. This Life I Live: One Man’s Extraordinary, Ordinary Life and the Woman Who Changed It Forever. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Growing up in rural America with little money and less direction, country singer and award winner Rory Feek shares bits of his life culminating with his greatest love story. As an American country and bluegrass duo, nothing prepared him for the loss of the love of his life. Sharing his wife Joey’s courageous battle with cancer, Rory Feek managed to cope and in turn, bless others with his story. Well written, honest, heartbreaking and healing, This Life I Live may change your own life, or at least make you love better and live stronger…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not necessarily a fan of all memoirs nor a fan of country music, I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. Straight-forward in a realistic yet graceful manner, I found myself drawn into Rory and Joey’s story before I even realized it. Easy to read yet with a deeper message, This Life I Live celebrated life through mourning, happiness through sadness, and memories through meaning. So glad I took the chance on a book I would have normally passed on, I can only recommend this book to all.   (Tissue alert- have plenty on hand.)

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of This Life I Live from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

What Hope Remembers

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Alexander, Johnnie. What Hope Remembers: Misty Willow Series- Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Returning home to her childhood community after a heartbreaking situation, Amy Somers isn’t exactly proud of the person she has recently become. Not having stayed especially close to her family, Amy can only wonder how she will be accepted back. When her high-school sweetheart, Gabe Kendall, rides into town, memories surround her even as she realizes Gabe may have some history due to personal choices as well. Romance, forgiveness, family and sweetness combine with a dash of country charm in the newest Misty Willow series novel by author Johnnie Alexander.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read one of the previous books in this series, I had hoped to revisit some of the characters yet again. Though this novel works as a stand-alone, it works even better when read with the series. A strong contemporary writer with just enough pizazz in her storyline to make it enjoyable, What Hopes Remembers is full of gentleness, understanding, love and surprises. Taking place on the ranch of Whisper Lane Stables is an added delight for horse lovers. Wonderful addition to a well-written series.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of What Hope Remembers from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

Waking Up Slowly

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Burchett, Dave. Waking Up Slowly: Spiritual Lesson From My Dog, My Kids, Critters, And Other Unexpected Places. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale Momentum/ Tyndale House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Finding spiritual lessons in such unexpected places as the zoo, the beach, and a coffee shop while spending time with family, friends and grandchildren through prayer, thoughts and love, Waking Up Slowly reminds us to wake up slowly and enjoy life. Full of revelations, scripture verses, Bible references, personal stories and beautiful photographs, author Dave Burchett offers unique perspectives on moments usually missed. Based in a hard-covered book with an inviting cover, each short chapter finishes with a thought from God and a dose of grace…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Captivated by the adorable cover, loving the hard-covered book with beautifully smooth pages, admiring the fun pictures and appreciating the organized layout, I truly enjoyed Waking Up Slowly. Perfect for personal use, in a church library, as a Bible study, or a Life Group idea, I would also be proud to give this book as a gift to family and friends. Based on a dog theme while branching out to other areas, this is one book I will reread as well as keep on my bookshelf. Wondrous!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Waking Up Slowly from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

Yella’s Prayers

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*

Authentic Living

Exley, Richard. Authentic Living: 365 Devotions for Deliberate Faith. Franklin, TN: Worthy Publishing. 2016.

*authenticliving

SUMMARY:
With the new year upon us, it seems to be the perfect time to begin a yearly devotional. As an accomplished author, pastor and speaker, Richard Exley shares 365 devotions intent on deliberate faith in his new book, Authentic Living. Organized into page-length devotions with a scripture verse and prayer included, each unit lasts for a few days so the concept can be experienced from several different angles. With topics such as relationships, grief, prayer, the Holy Spirit and faith, each is written with compassion, grace, strength and thought which allows for guidance and daily time with the Lord. Though shorter in words, the impact is deep.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Filled with in-depth messages in daily devotional form, Authentic Living is a wonderful devotional for yearly use. In a compact book easy to take along, this handy little book may be short in length but speaks directly to the heart. With scriptures from different Bible translations, stories from the author’s personal life experiences and deeper topics, this devotional choice is full of understanding yet to the mark. (The only thing missing is a ribbon for marking my spot but that is just a personal preference.) Definitely a devotional I plan to use this year!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Authentic Living from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Love One Another

Berenstain, Mike. Love One Another: The Berenstain Bears. Eugene, OR: Worthy Kids Publishing. 2016.

*loveoneanother

SUMMARY:
In a thick chunky book perfect for little hands, the well known and beloved Berenstain Bears add yet another clever and adorable addition to the classic tradition. With a neighbor of the Bears just having had twin cubs, Mama Bear invites Sister and Brother Bear in joining her to make some blueberry muffins to share. Extending the Bible verse learned in Sunday school, to love one another, the sibling cubs take helping even further to rake leaves, set the table and watch the tiniest Bear.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having shared the Bearenstain Bears with my own children growing up, I am excited to see this series continue on with author Mike Berenstain. Filled with a wonderful lesson appreciated by all, Love One Another is perfect for Sunday school, church, a baby gift, or most any little hands. Debuting just before the Thanksgiving holiday, it may be just right to share with family over dinner while saying grace and giving thanks. Simple prose and darling illustrations only enhance the message, sure to be embraced by many.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love One Another from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

The Pug List

Hodgson, Alison. The Pug List: A Ridiculous little Dog, a Family Who Lost Everything, and How They All Found Their Way Home. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2016.

thepuglist

SUMMARY:
Having their house burned down by an arsonist, the Hodgson family experienced grief, loss, new reality and turmoil to make it through a difficult situation not only intact, but perhaps stronger with a better perspective at the other end. Through faith, sharing, family, friends, hope and perseverance, they struggled yet realize they could survive. In The Pug List, author and mother Alison Hodgson chronicles the major event in the life of her family that changed everything…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With an adorable Pug on the cover, I couldn’t help but assume this book would be about dogs. Shortly into it; however, I realized it was about a tragic situation in a family’s life with the Pug being only a small portion of it. Perhaps as a way to cope and finally heal, the author shares her thoughts, emotions, trials and journey as they all bounce back from devastation. Written with humor in a situation-appropriate manner, this was a well written book albeit not about Pugs directly.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Pug List from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*