Pupcakes

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Noblin, Annie England. Pupcakes: A Christmas Novel. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Brydie Benson needs to start over but life just seems to keep throwing her curveballs. Having recently lost her own bakery along with her marriage, Brydie now finds herself working in the bakery at the local ShopCo. Asked to dog-sit for an adorable Pug named Teddy Roosevelt while his owner moves to an assistant living complex, at least she has a place to live. When Brydie meets Dr. Nathan and his large Irish Wolfhound, Sasha, things begin to get interesting, if not a bit crazy…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Caught by the charming cover and title, I was in the mood for a fun, light, Christmas novel and that is exactly what I got. Full of lovable dog antics, a blooming romance and a personal mystery, Pupcakes even comes complete with delicious doggy recipes, including a recipe for Pupcakes. Though a few curse words were included and a very brief adult situation, it was overall an enjoyable read and would make a delightful Hallmark Channel movie. Finding a new author I am fond of, I have already ordered her previous book, Sit! Stay! Speak!, of course, full of more amusing pups.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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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*

Church of the Small Things

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Shankle, Melanie. Church of the Small Things: The Million Little Pieces That Make Up a Life. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
New York Times bestselling author and blogger at The Big Mama Blog, Melanie Shankle in her new book, Church of the Small Things, shares her personal little moments that add up to so much more. Wondering if those small things really matter, she tackles the tough questions while she journeys to a more content place in life. Taking the time to ponder and enjoy, in her witty and honest manner and style of writing, Melanie reveals her experiences growing up which shaped her while offering hope, encouragement and a deeper message.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
While expecting something a bit different from this book due to the title, I was not at all disappointed to find the message portrayed within. Nodding my head in agreement so many times while laughing out loud, there were also some heart-aching moments sprinkled throughout. With her usual humor, Melanie Shankle writes an easy to read, relatable and uplifting book that caused me to stop, smile and enjoy the small moments that contribute to my overall busy life. A truly down-to-earth, faith-filled book from a favorite author, I knew I would enjoy this book having read her previous books. Definitely a book I will recommend and reread as the depth intermingles beautifully with the funny.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Church of the Small Things from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Waking Up Slowly

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*

The Captain Takes A Wife

Durbin, Doris. The Captain Takes A Wife- The Captain Chronicles. USA: Crossbooks. 2013.

thecaptaintakesawife

SUMMARY:
On his way to Georgia via train, Captain Harry Richardson is most surprised when a young lady, Sarah Franklin, literally throws herself into his arms begging for his help. Harry soon realizes Sarah may need protection from more than the arranged marriage her Uncle prepared for her. With a new plan in mind, Harry and Sarah soon realize their plan may involve more than expected…outlaws, suspense, mystery, surprises and perhaps even a change of heart.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a new author, Doris Durbin certainly is familiar with writing since she retired from her career as a librarian recently and uses her husband as her consult, a history teacher for many years. Intrigued by the cover, title, and book summary, I took the chance to give an emerging author a try. Though it took me just a bit to become comfortable with her style, her writing did eventually flow for me, providing an interesting storyline, strong characters, and well researched items. As her debut novel, The Captain Takes A Wife, I look forward to more of her writing since a continuing series is certainly plausible and encouraged. An added bonus was definitely the discussion questions, recipes and pattern.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Captain Takes A Wife from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Fetching Sweetness

Mentink, Dana. Fetching Sweetness: Love Unleashed- Book 2. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

Fetchingsweetness

SUMMARY:
When Stephanie Pink plans to quickly deliver her manuscript to a literary agent, Agnes Wharton, she soon discovers it may be more involved than she planned. Tracking down Agnes, who is trying to track down Sweetness, leads to Rhett Hastings, who may lead to heart-throbbing trouble. With a gallop through a campground, a hurtful past, a bit of new faith, funny moments, and lots of dog-nonsense, Fetching Sweetness is an adorable, amusing, tender, and faith-filled novel with the sweetest Sweetness as the main attraction.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
I loved the picture of Sweetness on the cover of Dana Mentink’s newest book with the spirited expression, tip of the head and floppy ears!!  Pancakes, spatulas, wet kisses and trouble all define Sweetness, a hundred pound slobbery mess of a dog, who steals hearts. Combine Sweetness with Rhett, some fun romance and some giggling situations, and a light-hearted read with lots of character emerges. I love this series, especially since the books are written close enough together (sometimes it is SO hard to wait for the next book)- thank-you, Dana! Look for the next book, Paws for Love, in February of 2017.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Fetching Sweetness from Harvest House Publishing for my honest review*

Sit, Stay, Love

Mentink, Dana. Sit, Stay, Love. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

sitstaylove

SUMMARY:
Thirteen-year-old Tippy, an elderly dog needing a good home after his owner passed, now lives with his past owner’s son, Cal. As a rising baseball star, Cal has no interest what-so-ever in dogs, especially an older, misbehaving dog like Tippy. Needing a pet-sitter, Cal hires Gina to take care of Tippy yet ends up with so much more than just a dog-sitter. Humor, romance, second-chances, forgiveness and an adorable dog all complement Sit, Stay, Love

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Light-hearted with a good message, Sit, Stay, Love is a delightfully charming novel with a cute and lovable mutt as the hero. Chuckling (and even nodding) at certain moments, I thoroughly enjoyed this story -due not only to the writing style but my own love of neurotic dogs. Fun, easy, amusing and entertaining, author Dana Mentink certainly hit a funny-bone with this endearing tale (tail, too).

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Sit, Stay, Love from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Would a Worm Go on a Walk?

Hall, Hannah C.(author). Bolton, Bill (illustrator). Would a Worm Go on a Walk? Nashville, TN: Worthy Kids/ Ideals Publishing. 2016.

wouldawormgoonawalk

SUMMARY:
Celebrating God’s planned uniqueness for each individual and species in this adorable children’s book, author Hannah Hall and illustrator Bill Bolton team up to teach the Bible verse from Genesis 1:31 (God saw all that He had made, and it was very good). Through silly animal renditions, rhyming verses, brilliant colors and engaging pictures, Would a Worm Go on a Walk shares God’s intentional purpose for each. Worms don’t walk, possums don’t dance, penguins don’t fly and lions don’t like water…BUT normal or odd, the wise Creator planned each detail, loves them all, and finished with the best masterpiece of all…you!

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With a strong basis, sing-a-long rhyming lines, recognizable animals, charming pictures and page-to-page color, Would a Worm Go on a Walk is sure to be a favorite. Whether a Sunday school library, school library or personal library, what a wonderful reminder of God’s love and plan for everyone. Loving the silliness yet message behind each verse, uniqueness and purpose is celebrated loudly and boldly. Excellent!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Would a Worm Go on a Walk from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Breaking Busy

Worthington, Alli. Breaking Busy: How To Find Peace And Purpose In A World Of Crazy. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2016.

breakingbusy

SUMMARY:
Almost a badge of honor for women to wear, being crazy busy is the norm for many. Between scheduled activities, careers, children, home-life, volunteering and responsibilities, life just seems to become unmanageable and out of control. With humor, compassion, strength, humbleness and faith, author (and speaker, mom, wife, business woman and blogger) Alli Worthington shares her personal stories, weaknesses, triumphs, thoughts and ideas on breaking busy from life. Complete with self-reflection questions for adapting change as necessary, Breaking Busy addresses choices, worry, value, options, expectations and purpose in an empathetic and encouraging way…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Seriously, who is not crazy busy these days at any age, any stage of life and in any situation…often without the word “no” even in our vocabulary!  Loving the wit, honesty and style in which the book was written, I just knew I was going to be able to relate, enjoy and appreciate Breaking Busy. With sound Biblical advice, compassionate coaching and knee-slapping humor, several times (unfortunately) I found myself nodding in agreement. Honestly one of the best books I have read on the subject of busyness, this is one book I read entirely through and plan to reread as needed. Take the “me” moment and learn how to have more with less. Excellent!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Breaking Busy from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Undaunted Hope

Hedlund, Jody. Undaunted Hope: Beacons of Hope- Book 3. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House Publishers. 2016.

undauntedhope

SUMMARY:
Hoping to leave her past behind, Tessa Taylor travels to Eagle Harbor, Michigan, to accept a teaching position. As a mining town, Tessa learns the hardships lived by both adults and children alike. Expecting a male teacher, chief mine clerk and self-appointed town supervisor, Percival Updegraff, is hesitant yet interested in the new young teacher much to Tessa’s dismay. However, much to her unexpected surprise, brothers Alex and Michael Bjorklund, keepers of the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, begin a brotherly contest to win her affection. Lurking in the corner though may be danger she just might not be able to escape…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Having read and enjoyed the previous two books in the Beacons of Hope series, I knew Undaunted Hope would definitely be on my to-be-read list. An amazing author, a historically romantic novel, and an engaging storyline make for an excellent book. Being very familiar with the area in Eagle Harbor makes this novel even more perfect for me. Humor, suspense, romance, history and faith all mingle together in one of my now favorite books. Beautiful cover, too!

RATING:
5+ (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Undaunted Hope from Bethany House Publishers for my honest review*