Prayers Of My Heart

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Taylor-Williams, Debbie. Prayers Of My Heart: A Personal Prayer Journal. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Organized like a personal calendar and journal, set-up in monthly and weekly pages, Prayers Of My Heart has plenty of room for planning and recording prayer reminders. Unnumbered squares make it easy and efficient to add dates while using the monthly and weekly schedules. Simply fill-in the boxes with prayer requests and record thoughts, meditations, and notes in the lined journal pages at the back of the book. With instructions on using the system, sample calendars, an abundance of pages and a pleasing teal-blue color throughout, this compact book makes keeping prayers of the heart better organized.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
In a very organized book begging to be used, I found this workable and useful journal both valuable and productive. Upon first glance at the plentiful open pages, I was a bit unsure how to make the most of this prayer journal; however, after reading the directions, it clearly made sense. Perhaps taking a bit to create a journaling habit, I feel with a few tweaks, this book could also become a calendar as well as the prayer journal. Certainly a prayer scheduler I will continue using to help meet my goals.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Prayers Of My Heart from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

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Auschwitz Lullaby

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Escobar, Mario. Abernathy, Gretchen (Translator). Auschwitz Lullaby. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson. 2018.

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SUMMARY:
Based on a true story, Auschwitz Lullaby follows Helene Hannemann and her family into the concentration camp at Auschwitz. German herself yet separated from her Gypsy husband, Helene and her five children must survive the hallows of the camp- physically, mentally and emotionally. When her background and skills are discovered, Helene is forced to open a daycare and school for the many children within the camp. Through heartbreaking decisions, difficult circumstances, and desperate measures, strength, heart, patience, faith, and compliance are tested.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
An emotional read based on an actual story, Auschwitz Lullaby shares the lengths a woman and mother will go for her children and family. Exceedingly protective of the children in her care, I so empathized with Helene as a mother. Heart-wrenching yet hopeful, deplorable yet strong, despairing yet inspiring, author Mario Escobar takes readers on quite a journey. Not easy to read but not a book to be missed, I am glad I took the opportunity to read this one. Discussion questions, a glossary, an author’s note and acknowledgements truly add to the impact of the story.  You will never know your own strength until you have no other option.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

We Hope for Better Things

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Bartels, Erin.  We Hope for Better Things.  Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing.  2019.

SUMMARY:
Taking place in three different time periods, with three very different characters, and three exceedingly different points of view, We Hope for Better Things intertwines all of these while tackling social issues, cultures, politics, generations, and beliefs. Meeting Mary during the 1860s, Nora from the 1960s, and Elizabeth in the present, through research and history, a common thread emerges. Heartbreaking yet inspirational, togetherness yet loneliness, unique yet brilliant, author Erin Bartels makes a dramatic entrance with her debut novel.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Wow. Filled with emotional baggage, We Hope for Better Things provides a journey across a vast timeline. Able to control that timeline effectively, as well as create well-developed characters with a deeper message within, debut author Erin Bartels does an excellent job with her first novel. As a photographer and artist, her work carries over into her writing as she paints the story. (She even reads with a spastic Chihuahua-mix on her lap…we have one of those, too!) Truly a book I enjoyed reading and an author I look forward to reading more of; so very well done!

RATING:
4.75 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of We Hope for Better Things from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Ultimate Bible Knowledge Challenge

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Toler, Stan (Editor). The Ultimate Bible Knowledge Challenge: A Collection of Bible History, Trivia, and Fun Facts. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Organized into 4 parts, (Bible Knowledge and Learning, Things We Say From the Bible, Bible Knowledge Challenge, and Essential Bible Verses), The Ultimate Bible Knowledge Challenge provides pages of Bible information set in easy to access lists and explanations, Bible quizzes complete with the answers, and a listing of Bible verses arranged by topic. Efficient, easy to read, and full of useful knowledge, general editor Stan Toler hopes to enhance the impact of the Bible on people’s lives.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Great as a review for people already familiar with the Bible, a wonderful resource for beginner Bible readers, or filled with interesting facts for any Bible user, The Ultimate Bible Knowledge Challenge was actually quite enjoyable to read and use. A general review of the Bible including people, books and events, as well as some very fun information regarding everyday things we say- “Wolf in Sheep’s clothing”, “Blind leading the Blind”, and “Burning the Midnight Oil” are explained and included. Inviting to browse, engaging to play, satisfying to learn, and comforting to know, I found this book perfect for travel, quiet time, or just a few available moments. This would be a great addition to a church library, classroom or personal shelf, and would work well with groups of people or individuals. An awesome resource!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Ultimate Bible Knowledge Challenge from Harvest House Publishing for my honest review*

The Weaver’s Daughter

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Ladd, Sarah E. The Weaver’s Daughter. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
The Dearborn family has stood firm in their loyalties and determination for keeping the family’s legacy alive as weavers for generations. The Stockton family, though linked to the past through their wool mill, also strives forward with new technology in running the Stockton Mill. Kate Dearborne and Henry Stockton find themselves caught in Britain’s Industrial Revolution while struggling with their own loyalties, beliefs, commitments and emotions. Though they hold different and rivaling ideas, living within the same community forces Henry and Kate to consider options, perhaps even those pertaining to their hearts.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
One of my favorite authors, Sarah E. Ladd writes yet another satisfying and complete story surrounding one of my favorite time periods. As a Regency novel, this book was historically interesting, contained developed characters, created a bit of suspense and shared a sweet, clean romance. Just like this author’s previous books, I was truly engaged and didn’t want the book to end. I look forward to reading even more from Sarah E. Ladd as I so enjoyed The Weaver’s Daughter. Well done!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Weaver’s Daughter from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

Meal Planner

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Shull, Shay. Mix & Match Mama Meal Planner: Your Weekly Guide To Getting Dinner On The Table. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers. 2018.

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SUMMARY:
In a beautifully photographed new cookbook by author and blogger Shay Shull, Mix & Match Mama Meal Planner is chock full of delicious recipes, efficient shopping lists, streamlined directions and personal tidbits. In a convenient size with thicker covers, glossy pages, and an attached elastic bookmark, this cookbook is arranged by seasons and makes getting dinner on the table a breeze.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Honestly not believing I would like this book as much as I did, I was so much more than pleasantly surprised. Organized by days of the week, with enough weeks to cover a month of meals, the included pantry essentials section and detailed yet manageable shopping lists saves tons of time. Filled with simple, delicious, creative, doable, and family friendly recipes, the corresponding photographs of each recipe takes this book over the top. With meals that are sure to please many different palates, the ingredients are also easy to switch if necessary.  Pumpkin Rigatoni, French Onion Joes, Grilled Shrimp Tacos and Hot Chocolate Cupcakes are only a few of the favorites so far. Definitely a cookbook I will use a lot and recommend often, I am thrilled I gave this new cookbook a chance.  Love it!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Mix & Match Mama Meal Planner from Harvest House Publishers for my honest review*

Eubeltic Descent

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Keels, Nadine C. Eubeltic Descent: Eubeltic Realm Series- Book 1. CreateSpace Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
Proud of her ancestry though she has never seen the land, Abigaia’s hope is to one day visit. As a young girl who blossoms into a young woman, her inner strength becomes visible as she grows. As she continues to mature and follow her plan, catastrophe strikes which changes everything. Perhaps now needed by her people, Abigaia must make a hard decision. Part history, part fantasy, part inspiration, totally engaging…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As one of my favorite authors and as a continuation of the Movement of Crowns trilogy, there was no doubt I was going to read Nadine Keels’ newest book, Eubeltic Descent. I absolutely loved this one, especially watching Abigaia grow- I actually found myself cheering for her. While fantasy is not a preferred genre of mine, this author has changed my mind with her writings. Able to be read as a stand-alone book, the background from the previous stories would only enhance the experience even more. Well written and sharing her mastery of language, Nadine Keels hits the high mark yet again. Glad to see this is Book 1 of new series, I hope she takes my advice to continue writing as I so savor her skilled talent.  I am confident readers of all ages will enjoy this book as much as I did. (As always, a gorgeous cover, too!)

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Eubeltic Descent from the author for my honest review*

My First Book of Prayers

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Various Authors. Illustrated by Flint, Gillian. Nashville, TN: WorthyKids Ideals Publishing. 2018.

SUMMARY:
In a sweet board book filled with timeless classic prayers, My First Book of Prayers contains prayers for bedtime, playtime, mealtime or anytime a special prayer is needed. With simple yet colorful illustrations accompanying each prayer, this little book is full of rhyming prose meant to shared.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Simple, sweet, classic, and timeless prayers perfect for sharing fill this adorable book. Remembering some of the prayers from my own childhood as well as several I shared with my own children, this book brought back memories shared between loved ones. Easy to read, simple to repeat, perfect to share and charming to give, this book would be wonderful in a church library, a Sunday school classroom, a personal bookshelf or as a baby shower gift. Simply delightful!

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

I received a complimentary copy of My First Book of Prayers from Worthy Publishing for my honest review*

Simple Organizing

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Michaels, Melissa. Simple Organizing: 50 Ways to Clear the Clutter. Eugene, OR: Harvest House Pulishers. 2018.

SUMMARY:
With encouragement to reach the end goal in mind, author Melissa Michaels, of The Inspired Room Blog, shares her organizational skills in her newest book, Simple Organizing. While organizing, decluttering, focusing and purposing every room, the author shares ideas, thoughts, photographs and inspiration in reaching the goals. Pleasant to read, easy to follow, and beautiful to look at, this book provides simple yet highly effective ways to organize.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Such a charming and useful little book to attain the goal of a more organized home and in turn, life. Set-up in areas of the home, the book provides practical and convenient ideas accompanied by appealing photographs. Though perhaps not the most novel of organizational suggestions, the book is certainly inspirational. Perfect as a house warming gift, a wedding present, or even for personal use, Simple Organizing offers helpful and valuable tidbits and designs that are sure to make a difference.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

Memory Rescue

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Amen, MD., Daniel G. Memory Rescue: Supercharge Your Brain, Reverse Memory Loss, and Remeber What Matters Most. Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 2017.

SUMMARY:
Using the plan of sharpening your memory and preventing Alzheimer’s Disease by eliminating, preventing and treating all of the risk factors associated with memory loss, Dr. Daniel G. Amen, in his newest book, Memory Rescue, shares his program. Under the Amen Clinics program which supports the acronym/ mnemonic BRIGHT MINDS for risk factors, he explains the importance of memory, provides a formula for preventing memory decline, supplies tips to boost memory as well as lots of correlating information. Filled with examples, encouragement, lists, tips, pictures, and ideas, this important book may change the way you live.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
First flipping through the pages and randomly reading excerpts within the book, I quickly realized I needed to read it cover to cover. Simple, straight-forward and educational, I learned so much from this book and realized I needed to make some changes. Already living healthy, there are some factors which I cannot change (age, genetics) but lifestyle decisions I can make to compensate for them (diet, sleep). An excellent resource for all, the importance of this book should not be overlooked. Definitely a book I will return to often for reminders and encouragement to continue fighting memory decline…thank-you for sharing, Dr. Amen!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Memory Resuce from Tyndale House Publishers for my honest review*