She’s Still There

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Evans- Hurst, Chrystal. She’s Still There- Rescuing the Girl in You. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Losing yourself in the midst of life is easy to do but finding yourself again can be a daunting task. With compassion, encouragement, faith, trust and personal experience, author Chrystal Evans-Hurst shares her own story and insights on life. Lending a hand yet allowing you to stand on your own, She’s Still There explores the reasons and events in life that caused the loss. Looking deeply within, the girl that was once there is reassured, strengthened and restored to dream, believe and live again.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Like a personal coach and cheerleader, Chrystal Evans-Hurst is there and understands. Having been there herself, she shares her concern as a friend and confidant to help others find that girl within that is lost due to circumstances, situations, events…life. Offering wisdom, acceptance, and familiarity, this book is perfect for anyone who has experienced life (most of us). Perfect as a pick-me-up, a pat-on-the-back or perhaps even a kick-in-the-pants, She’s Still There found me nodding several times and chuckling in recognition as I read through it. Definitely a book I will keep on my shelf to revisit as needed, I also wouldn’t hesitate to share it or recommend it to most anyone.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of She’s Still There from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back?

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Bolton, Martha. And Ditchfield, Christin. Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back: Facing Life With Courage Not Comforters. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Feeling down in the dumps at times can cause wanting to hide in bed and not get up. Under the premise of not getting out until Jesus comes back, authors Martha Bolton and Christin Ditchfield offer encouragement, humor, inspiration, chuckles and reasons to actually get up and get moving. Set up in 2-3 page bite-size chapters, each tackles a topic, includes a quote, a personal story, a reference to scripture, encouragement and a smile. Offered by Focus on the Family, this book comes complete with a cute cover and title.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Drawn by the title and cover, I expected a light-hearted, fun book to read in snippets. Bingo! That is just what I received. Able to read a brief section at a time, Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back would be a perfect pick-me-up gift for a friend or self, maybe the basis of a Bible study or ministry or great as an addition to a church library. Enjoying the lists, the stories and scripture references, I think this book clearly hits the mark for the intention of moving forward, no matter the desire to stay in bed and hide. Definitely a book to read and share.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Can I Just Hide In Bed ‘Til Jesus Comes Back from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*

The Turquoise Table

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Schell, Kristin. The Turquoise Table: Finding Community And Connection In Your Own Front Yard. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With humor and grace, author Kristin Schell shares her crazy life and yearning for a connection with community. Inviting her neighbors and friends to join her at the turquoise table (a painted table on the front lawn), she establishes friendship, ministry, love, safety, connections and thus, community. Coupled with beautiful photographs and several delicious recipes, though a quick read, it is packed with encouragement, insight and inspiration. Using a simple concept to create huge impacts, The Turquoise Table strikes home.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well written in a personal manner, I thoroughly enjoyed this book both in style and content. Chuckling at parts, identifying with points, pondering some thoughts and inspired by certain ideas, I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend this book for ministries, Bible studies, church libraries and sermon topics. Even the included recipes were scrumptious! Consider the impact and influence such a book with this concept could have on neighborhoods and communities throughout the world. So powerful!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Turquoise Table from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Simple Decorating

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Michaels, Melissa. Simple Decorating: 50 Ways To Inspire Your Home. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Encouraging decorators to believe in their own signature style, blogger, author and decorator Melissa Michaels encourages, inspires and shares tips, techniques and designs for every room. In a compact yet filled-to-the-brim book of simple and welcoming fashion, Simple Decorating addresses moods, accessories, textures, spaces, styles and backdrops throughout the home. In short readable pieces complemented by beautiful photographs, this book has something for everyone to inspire style.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
In this clever, fashionable, design-spirited book, I found a variety of methods, patterns, trends and approaches to use in my own home. With ideas such as the use of different curtains, grouping items in threes, mixing linens, and dimensional displays, this book provided the quick pick-me-up my house needed. Gaining insights and ideas even from the photos, this little book set my decorative and creative vibes to work. Perfect to add to your own library or share as a housewarming gift, I truly enjoyed this book and hope to see more from this author.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Simple Decorating from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

English River

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Nye, Thomas. English River: Amish Horses Series- Book III. USA: CrossLink Publishing. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Living with his Uncle Noey and Aunt Ruth since his father left the Amish years earlier, young Lenny reaches adulthood. Having followed his coming of age story through the previous two novels in the Amish Horses Series, Lenny finally comes to a crossroads and must decide between the Amish settlement and the English ways of life. Torn between emotions, community, family and his heart, Lenny realizes he must make choices which will impact his life both now and in the future.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As book 3 in the series, I enjoyed this book at least as much as I did the previous two. With a backdrop of a simpler way of life filled with horses, laughter, sadness and love, English River was probably my favorite book yet. As a calm storyteller, author Thomas Nye pays beautiful credit to the Amish manner of living. A simple, sweet, heart-warming novel with a deeper message, I cannot help but recommend this book to many others. Hopefully, this skilled and gentle writer will have another book on the near horizon.

RATING:
4.25 (out of 5) pennies

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

The New American Heart Association Cookbook

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American Heart Association. 9th Edition. New York, USA: Harmony Books. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Would you like to be healthy? Eat correctly? Feel better? The American Heart Association makes it easier in their newest updated cookbook. Full of more than 800 recipes divided into categories such as snacks, soups, salads, seafood, meats, vegetables, breads, and desserts, the cookbook opens with heart healthy guidelines and tips. Complete with a list of ingredients and easy to follow, condensed directions, each recipe also includes nutritional values per serving. Packaged in a thick hardcover book, delicious and healthy menus are definitely possible.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Knowing and trusting the American Heart Association name, I was very interested in the newest edition of the cookbook. With simple yet delicious recipes, the only thing missing was pictures. Appreciating the nutritional sense included at the beginning of the book, this cookbook leaves no doubt as to the health of the recipes. Already watching my family’s diet, The New American Heart Association Cookbook only makes it easier and much more enjoyable. Absolutely a book to keep and share, this new edition updates tried-and-true past recipes mixed with new ones. With a focus on quick and easy methods and menus, there is something healthy for everyone. Sure to become a staple in American kitchens as healthy lifestyles emerge.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The American Heart Association Cookbook from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

The Weekly Prayer Project

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Hiltibidal, Scarlet. The Weekly Prayer Project: A Challenge to Journal, Pray, Reflect, and Connect with God. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Encouraging readers to be more intentional in their connections with God, author Scarlet Hiltibidal presents a personal journal filled with scripture, Bible verses, writing prompts and pages of lined paper for journaling thoughts, ideas, prayers, and dreams. Each two-page layout is broken into weekly topics under a broader subject. Encased in a hard cover book, this prayer project includes a presentation page, soft illustrations, reflection stories and a page marking ribbon.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Designed for the busy person who still yearns to spend time with God, The Weekly Prayer Project allows for the project to begin at any time, topics to be rearranged, and thoughtful, heartfelt writing to take place. Simple yet providing a deeper connection if desired, this book truly meets the reader where they are in faith. Based on prayers, each corresponding scripture verse and writing idea encourages personal consideration. Though not necessarily a devotional, this book touches more on prayers which could be easily incorporated into devotion time. Perfect as a gift, ministry or even a Bible study, this is a project I intend to complete.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Weekly Prayer Project from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

World of the Innocent

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Keels, Nadine. World of the Innocent. CreateSpace Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Becoming a young woman and realizing her own inward growth, Jhoi (pronounced JOY) has never considered Marcus more than just a friend. As a poetic artist, Jhoi has always been just friends with the somewhat-strange yet admired Marcus but something seems to be changing. As she explores her conflicting thoughts and feelings in this well-developed novella, Jhoi slowly, deeply and carefully makes the transition from childhood to young adult. Built on trust, morals and respect, the developing relationship between Jhoi and Marcus is endearing, heartening, and innocent.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a favorite author of mine, I know author Nadine Keels will deliver a well-written, character-deep, word-conscious piece. Her newest release, World of the Innocent, is no exception. Feeling the pull from the first few pages already, I enjoyed the style and voice with which this story was written. Though perhaps more a contemporary young adult book, I enjoyed it none-the-less. With a respectful message, a morally strong relationship and a durable faith, I wouldn’t hesitate to share nor recommend this sweet novella.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of World of the Innocent from the author 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*

The Physics of Everyday Things

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Kakalios, James. The Physics of Everyday Things: The Extraordinary Science Behind an Ordinary Day. USA: Crown Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Organizing the world into everyday useful, functional and interesting objects, psychics professor and author James Kakalios shares how these modern items work. Explaining the simple science behind such things as scanners, thermometers, microwave ovens, engines, batteries and others in an understandable manner, The Physics of Everyday Things doesn’t overlook the details. Coupled with a few relevant illustrations and examples of use, each section is split into everyday things used in certain actions (going to the airport, driving into the city, beginning your day, giving a business presentation).

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Honestly expecting a book filled with useful “useless knowledge”, I was pleasantly surprised to find more. Written by an authority on how everyday items work (a physics professor), though perhaps resembling a textbook, I thought it was broken down and explained in smaller, understandable pieces. Maybe not ever really wondering but now understanding how the scanners work at the airport, or how the Tyme machine knows my specific account, I find it very interesting as my mind considers even more elements. Able to read it in small snippets, this is a book I will share with friends and family as their inquiring minds may also want to know…

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Physics of Everyday Things from Blogging For Books for my honest review*