God’s Easter Miracles

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Mancini, Lee Ann (author). Sharp, Dan (illustrator). God’s Easter Miracles- Adventures of the Sea Kids Series. Boca Raton, FL: GLM Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As the newest addition to the Adventures of the Sea Kids series, God’s Easter Miracles surrounds the Easter Story while teaching sharing, caring, praying and rejoicing. Learning to be like Jesus in their Sunday School class, the Sea Kids need to share with Paul and pray for Lenny. Joining together to rejoice when prayers were answered with Easter miracles, these adorable, colorful and appealing creatures are sure to delight. With an added bonus of a hidden item to find on each page, this Award-winning Christian Series will be shared and requested again and again…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Yet another stunning addition to a beloved children’s series, God’s Easter Miracles continues the success of the Adventures of the Sea Kids series. Author Lee Ann Mancini and illustrator Dan Sharp team up again to design a book worthy of sharing. Touching on Easter, autism, and Manatee rescue through prayers, empathy and miracles, the messages are presented in an age-appropriate manner and encircled with gorgeous, full-page, charming pictures which will be positively embraced. Well done (again)!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of God’s Easter Miracles from BookCrash for my honest review*

Love Your Work

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Dickie III, Robert. Love Your Work: 4 Practical Ways You Can Pivot To Your Best Career. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With a changing economy resulting in a changing workforce, changes are inevitable. Perhaps a career swap, a new work opportunity, or a chance for advancement, in his new book, Love Your Work, author Robert Dickie III shares perspectives on all of these possible changes. Outlining the four quadrants of a career (Revector, Renew, Reinvent and Repurpose), and combining them with career skills while including character and integrity, the future of growth and opportunity is then observed. Equipped with an action plan, a career move can be examined or staying in place can be made better with the importance of loving your work.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With diagrams, highlighted notes, depths of experience and doses of humor, Love Your Work was easy to read, clear to understand, and undeniably relevant. Filled with personal examples, ideas for thought, and pivot-point challenges, I found this book well written, reliable, prominent and useable. Definitely a book I will refer to again as well as share with friends, it would also be successful as a group study, career training, or ministry workshop. Is your career all it could be? You may just be surprised…

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love Your Work from Moody Publishers for my honest review*

Dinner

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Clark, Melissa. Dinner: Changing the Game. New York: USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With the premise that each included recipe is meant to be a complete dinner by itself, author Melissa Clark shares delicious recipes, easily obtained ingredients, well organized directions, and beautiful photography in her new book, Dinner. Organized into categories, each recipe includes a personal thought, smart cooking tidbits, and lots of menu variety. Effortlessly able to be made and served, dinner is solved…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Definitely a spectacular looking cookbook, the recipes are simple though not necessarily what I was anticipating. Full of more ethnic recipes than I expected, this book is sure to tempt our palates and widen our tastes. While I may need to substitute a few ingredients (due to personal preference and healthy diet restrictions), I actually cannot wait to try several of the meal ideas. Under the basis of each recipe being complete, I did find either a salad or loaf of bread would complement the dinners perfectly. With many of the recipes accompanied by stunning photographs, this cookbook would make a wonderful gift for busy families, newlyweds, empty-nesters and cookbook lovers.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Dinner from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

My Sister’s Prayer

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Clark, Mindy Starns. And Gould, Leslie. My Sister’s Prayer: Cousins of the Dove- Book 2. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

SUMMARY:
As the second book in the Cousins of the Dove series, My Sister’s Prayer continues the Talbot family story, following the story of two sets of sisters-one contemporary and the other historical-separated by 300 years. Told in the first person point-of-view, alternating between present and past, the sisters’ lives run individually yet intertwine through a family heirloom. Romance, sisters, secrets, and hardships divide yet combine the centuries as sisters realize the importance of devotion.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Liking authors Mindy Starns Clark and Leslie Gould, I was ready to read their combined novel. Though perhaps just a bit confusing in the beginning, it wasn’t long before I caught on and sped through the book. (Confession- I did not read book 1, My Brother’s Crown, which may have helped my initial confusion.) Skillfully making the first person POV work well within the story, the added design of parallel yet perpendicular stories only enhanced the creativity. With book 3 already on the horizon, I most likely will read the previous novel to be ready for the May 2017 release of My Daughter’s Legacy.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of My Sister’s Prayer from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Redeeming Grace

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Smith, Jill Eileen. Redeeming Grace: Ruth’s Story- Daughters of the Promised Land series- Book 3. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Following the Old Testament story of Ruth, Boaz and Naomi, Redeeming Grace beautifully depicts the loss, grief, longing and hardship associated with Ruth’s story yet also the redemption, love and fulfillment ultimately experienced. Filling in fictionally the missing parts of the Biblical story, author Jill Eileen Smith, through apparent research, stays true to the story’s time in history. As the story unravels, redeeming grace identifies Ruth through her actions while she also receives it…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
So timely for me to read Redeeming Grace; I had recently heard a sermon regarding relationships with Ruth and Naomi as examples. Already knowing the story, it was interesting to have the pieces filled in even if only fictionally. Staying true to the time period of culture, customs and ways of life, this story seemed to flow smoothly. My favorite of the series thus far, I look forward to more in the series as well as by this author. Perfect for a women’s Bible study, group ministry or sermon series, I will return to this story again while sharing it with others, too.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Redeeming Grace from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

One Pan & Done

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Gilbert, Molly. One Pan & Done: Hassle-Free Meals From The Oven To Your Table. New York, USA: Clarkson Potter/ Publishers. 2017.

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SUMMARY:
Food blogger, former private chef and cooking instructor, and author of Sheet Pan Suppers and now her new book, One Pan & Done, Molly Gilbert helps keep it efficient, uncomplicated and delicious. With the goal of assembling (most) dishes right in the pan or pot, many recipes come complete with easy to follow directions, photographs and a personal story. Using items commonly found in a home pantry and either a baking sheet, a cast iron skillet, a dutch oven, a baking dish or a muffin/ cake tin, the prep is easy and the outcome delectable.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Arriving just in time for dinner, I chose a recipe from the book and had dinner made in no time (Quick Chicken Pot Pie). Though I tweaked a few ingredients due to my family’s taste and health preference, not only was supper savory and satisfying but quick to put together and resulting in very few dishes (yeah). Perhaps not full of elegant fare but definitely hearty and fulfilling meals, I may just find myself hooked on this new trend of cooking. With a new baking sheet on order and a grocery list ready, this is one book that will be used often in my kitchen.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of One Pan & Done from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Zip It

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Ehman, Karen. Zip It: The Keep It Shut 40-Day Challenge. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

zipit

SUMMARY:
Everyone needs a reminder at some point to keep it shut rather than opening the mouth. Though not always easy, author Karen Ehman makes it a bit easier with her 40-day challenge devotional. Beginning with the many scriptures surrounding words, each short devotional progresses through a brief lesson, personal stories, relevant examples, the main ideas summarized, a lesson for the lips, and ends with a heart-felt prayer. Short and simple yet straight to the point, this useful devotional helps tackle an important skill.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Though I haven’t read her book by the similar name, Keep It Shut, I was able to follow and use this devotional but perhaps not quite as absorbingly as if I had read her book previously. Apparently with a journal available to accompany this devotional, I am thinking the set of the books might work very well together. Perfect as a group ministry, a self-challenge or even a sermon series, Zip It has a good message to share and learn in a fun, engaging manner. Absolutely a book that will make you think before you talk!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Zip It from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Embracing the Race

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Preuett, Lisa. Embracing the Race: 40 devotionals for the Runner’s Soul. USA: Crosslink Publishing. 2016.

embracingtherace

SUMMARY:
Organized into three page devotionals, Embracing the Race couples running with scripture and truths. With 40 unique devotions set up in a running race manner, a running concept is transitioned into a faith-filled element, followed by thought-provoking self questions, a scripture verse, and a prayer. With personal stories, encouragement, compassion and friendly writing, author Lisa Preuett shares the journey, both running and following Jesus.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Oh, how I needed this devotional right at this moment. Coming into running season with several events on the calendar, I so needed the encouragement. Finding myself agreeing (or commiserating) with most of what the author wrote, I appreciated the link to scripture and the Biblical point of view. With each devotional ending in Ready (questions), Set (scripture verse), Go (prayer), I loved the set-up mimicking a race. Relating to certain pieces, I really like some of the signs she mentioned along the race course as I have muttered a few myself (“Forward is a pace”, “It seemed like a good idea when we signed up”, and my favorite, “Can we walk now?”). But, the words of encouragement are priceless when filled with faith (“Be courageous, I’ve designed you for this purpose”, “Keep going, I promise you will get through this”, and “You cannot imagine what is waiting for you at the finish line”).  An excellent choice for the runners in your life; I know it was perfect for me. Thanks, Lisa!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Embracing the Race from BookCrash and the author for my honest review*

Cherish

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Thomas, Gary. Cherish: The One Word That Changes Everything For Your Marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

cherish

SUMMARY:
More than love, “cherish” includes respect, gratitude, honor and adoration. When cherish is combined with love in a marriage, it has the power to change everything within that relationship. In his new book, Cherish, author Gary Thomas explores and shares the positive effect cherishing another person can have. With a faith-based backdrop, the word cherish is applied to many aspects within a marriage, abundantly coupled with personal stories, relevant analogies, beautiful words, ideas and actions, as well as lots of compassion and encouragement.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Reading through the book Cherish, I found it to be a very smooth, interesting read but also one I was constantly shaking my head in agreement with. Trying to read only a few chapters at time so I had time to digest the material; unfortunately, it did not work that way as I was consistently starting the next chapter, pausing only to share (and have my husband read) snippets of each section. Definitely a book for any stage of marriage, it would be perfect for a counseling session, pre-marriage workshop, a marriage ministry or even a sermon topic. I am convinced…to cherish is priceless!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

The Sisters Of Sugarcreek

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Liggett, Cathy. The sisters Of Sugarcreek. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 2017.

sistersofsugarcreek

SUMMARY:
Lydia Gruber, a recent young Amish widow, feels alone in her community. When two women leave a gift for her along with an invitation, Lydia finds she cannot refuse though she may have tried. Learning to knit with the women of Rose’s Knit One, Quilt Too Cottage, Lydia and the other women continue the tradition of the Secret Stitches Society, sharing compassion, hope, love and friendship through their mission. With romance, goodness, and faith, The Sisters Of Sugarcreek, by author Cathy Liggett, shares sisterhood in a delightful way.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A sweet light read, I enjoyed this Amish genre book by a new author to me. Liking the writing style which was fun, snappy and fluid, I breezed through this novel quite quickly. Though not too deep, the storylines kept the book moving while the characters were endearing. Charming mixed with a bit of faith and compassion, The Sisters Of Sugarcreek definitely has the makings of a series which hopefully is being considered. Definitely an author I will read again, I plan on searching for her previous novel, Beaded Hope. (Would make a wonderful gift for a knitter in your life!)

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Sisters Of Sugarcreek from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*