Nourished

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Huber, Lia. Nourished: A Memoir of Food, Faith & Enduring Love with Recipes. New York, USA: Convergent Books. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Part travel guide, part cookbook, and part personal exploration, Nourished is a memoir of a life surrounded by food. As a food writer. recipe developer, consultant, entrepreneur and blogger, author Lia Huber shares a recount of her journey to faith, food, and community. Written in an easy, more conversational manner, she chronicles portions of her life, ending each section with a related recipe. Finding her purpose through food and faith, Lia eventually made the connection though her adventures are far from over.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Expecting more of a cookbook than a memoir, I actually was not disappointed but found the book, Nourished, to be quite interesting. Liking her style of writing, I found myself immersed in pieces of the book though I only intended to scan it at first. Drawn into her life experiences, I enjoyed the travel aspects as well as the family, food, faith and community elements. Perhaps some of the included recipes are a bit out of my grasp but are appealing non-the-less. A perfect book for a reader compelled by travel and food; this is a book I am actually glad I read.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

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

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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*

The French Chef In America

Prud’homme, Alex. The French Chef In America: Julia Child’s Second Act. USA: Penguin Random House. Audiobook. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
As a freelance writer for the New York Times and author of several books as well as Julia Child’s grandnephew, Alex Prud’homme follows up his bestselling memoir of Julia Child, My Life In France, with his newest book, The French Chef In America, chronicling the second half of Julia’s life from personal cook to celebrity chef. As a major influence in cooking, Julia was also a mentor, friend, wife and TV personality. Rubbing elbows with the elite at the White House while still making time at home for the love of her life, Paul, the continuation and impact of Julia is read by the author himself, in this eleven-hour, nine CD audiobook of the available same hardcopy book.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Remembering the significance of Julia Child on cooking throughout the years, I was interested in this memoir of her life. Not having read the first book, this stand alone version worked just fine. As an audiobook, it was easy to listen to the story while in the car, on the treadmill, or at home. With a serene voice, author Alex Prud’homme narrates the story. As an icon to the popular and current cooking craze, The French Chef In America was a nice addition to my many, many books. I definitely learned quite a bit while listening as well as developing a respect for a well-known name in America.

RATING:
4 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary audio-copy of The French Chef In America from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

In Such Good Company

Burnett, Carol. In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox. USA: Crown Archetype Publishing. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
Well-known actress and author, Carol Burnett, takes the time to share what led up to her becoming a musical comedy performer with her own weekly show. Wanting to chronicle her years while her memory still serves her well, her newest book, In Such Good Company, tells her TV story as well as mentions the many characters who shared the show with her regularly and the many special guest stars. Taking the reader behind the scenes while bestowing her memoir too, Carol Burnett graciously proves why she is so loved and respected still today…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Loving Carol Burnett and her show, I knew I just had to read her story. Full of quirky tidbits, funny memories, likeable skits, and actor spotlights, In Such Good Company also shares photographs, thoughts, remembrances, and recollections of her wildly successful show which was originally supposed to only run for 6 weeks. (While researching her book, Carol Burnett actually watched all 276 episodes, marveling and delighting in how her hair changed over the years…makes me want to rewatch all my favorite episodes yet again.) Quickly reading through it yet trying so hard to slow down and savor it, I thoroughly enjoyed this book which will remain on my shelf for many years, like a dear friend. Thank-you, Carol, for sharing a bit of your life with us!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of In Such Good Company from Blogging For Books for my honest review*

Kit Kat & Lucy

DuPont, Lonnie Hull. Kit Kat & Lucy: The Country Cats Who Changed a City Girl’s World. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
As a memoir of the changes in her life brought on by two cats, Kit Kat and Lucy, author Lonnie Hull DuPont recounts the pieces of her life shaped by cats. Full of humor, compassion, poignancy and memories, Kit Kat & Lucy take the author (and readers) on a heartwarming journey. As an author of several animal stories, she still shares her home and heart with cats.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
I was originally drawn to this book by the title and cover which includes two very handsome kitties. Perhaps expecting something a bit different, I did struggle just a little with the mixed, short stories forming the overall larger story. Though well written, in places I had trouble connecting the tales, which in turn caused some dissonance for me. Liking the healing and helping nature of the cats for the author; however, I did appreciate her willingness to share her story.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Kit Kat & Lucy from Revell 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.

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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*

Roots & Sky

Purifoy, Christie. Roots & Sky: A Journey Home in Four Seasons. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

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SUMMARY:
Making the trek from Florida to Pennsylvania, author Christie Purifoy shares her hopes, dreams, joys, sorrows and life as she transitions through a year of her life from fall until the following summer. Longing for home, meaning so much more than just a physical building, she introduces us to the simple pleasures of neighbors, gardening, motherhood, faith, and love. With deeply rooted good things growing towards the heavenly sky, Roots & Sky ties together life now and in the future while loving what is directly in front of us…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As a book to wander through, taking time to smell the flowers and enjoy the breezes along the way, I found that cozy, warm, safe feeling of home nestled within the pages of Roots & Sky.  Almost a memoir, definitely well-written and flowing, I was drawn to the writing style of Christie Purifoy as I contemplated my own busy lifestyle. Absolutely soothing and inspiring, this book would bless a Bible study or Mothers’ ministry. Wonderful!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Roots & Sky from Revell Publishing for my honest review*

The Making of an Ordinary Saint

Foster, Nathan. The Making of an Ordinary Saint: My Journey from Frustration to Joy with the Spiritual Disciplines. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2014.

SUMMARY:
saintLearning and applying the spiritual disciplines in life can be overwhelming; however, in his book, Nathan Foster shares though not perfect, you can indeed find joy. With an introduction to each discipline from his author father, Richard Foster (Celebration of Discipline), explanations of the twelve different disciplines, personal past stories and the commitment to personally experience each, a brief history lesson of a Saint who attained that discipline and closing with a further reference/ reading list, this book will make you consider your life…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As truly human, Nathan Foster shares his very personal (albeit not saintly) life with the reader as an effective way to connect. As an ordinary guy, the author demonstrates that following the spiritual disciplines can truly bring happiness in life to oneself as well as to others. An interesting read, I am intrigued to return to his father’s book,Celebration of Discipline, to read the prequel to this author’s actions while understanding his true celebration.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of The Making of an Ordinary Saint from Baker Books for my honest review*

A Lady in France

Goutet, Jennie. A Lady in France. Printed in the USA. 2013.

SUMMARY:
franceWritten as a memoir, A Lady in France takes you on a life-journey laced with hope, loss, love, addiction, determination, faith and spirit. What starts out as a dream soon escalates into so much more, much of what was unseen as well as unpredictable. A beautiful book filled with life lessons and learning to accept yourself…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Not my usual genre of a book to read but I am actually glad I did! Beautifully written, author Jennie Goutet has a strong command of the English written language and it shines through in her memoir. Through achievements, loss, travel and experiencing faith, she shares her story which will make you consider your own course of life. Uniquely individual, I appreciated the honesty with which she conveys her story which is her own. The only problem I had with the novel occurred with the hard copy as the font was too small but it was easily fixable on my eReader version. I am not sure if the author has future writing plans, but if she does, I would definitely consider reading more of her work as I admire her manner of prose.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Lady In France from the author, Jennie Goutet, for my honest review*

Pure Joy…The Dogs We Love

Steel, Danielle. Pure Joy…The Dogs We Love. New York, NY: Random House Publishing Group. 2013.

SUMMARY:
PurejoyThe author, Danielle Steel, creates a memoir of the many dogs she has known over the years, spotlighting her relationship with her current dog, Minnie Mouse, a two-pound Chihuahua. Through musings, memories, stories and thoughts, Danielle Steel shares her love of dogs and their lifelong effects on our lives. From total happiness to utter chaos, she reminds readers why dogs are so popular with so many.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Aptly named, this book put a smile on my face as the author candidly spoke of her many dogs. Explaining she loves dogs as much as children (nine children-eleven dogs), she shows the “pure joy” her dogs have brought into her life (for the most part). Though I did not necessarily agree with all her dog actions/ experiences, I could relate to the emotions and turmoil puppies and dogs can evoke. Actually, when reading deeper into the book, Danielle states “allow yourself the luxury of letting happiness be whatever it is to you”. She found that happiness in her current dog, Minnie Mouse, although it could be anything in life. She goes on to say “why not” do something that brings joy to life, even if it requires courage to step outside the comfort zone (within reason). I chose this book for the cover and subject matter but came away with a different perspective on life to consider. I also appreciated the fact that it showed the “human-side” of a well-known, very popular author.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies