Perennials

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Cantrell, Julie. Perennials. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Haunted by a fire that happened years ago, Lovey (Eva) leaves town, far away from her bitter sister, Bitsy (Elizabeth). Living her own life while dealing with guilt, disappointment, anger and loss over the shed fire, Lovey is called back home to help plan her parent’s 50th wedding anniversary. Chancing a visit home though it may mean facing the pain from the event all those years ago, Lovey must make decisions which could change her life forever.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With an absolutely beautiful cover and a very appropriately named title, New York Times bestselling author, Julie Cantrell, centers her newest novel around perennials. Even with an inspiring and creative topic, unfortunately, I had trouble really connecting with this novel which surprised me.  Truly liking her previous books, I am not sure if it was the story or me personally that just couldn’t merge with the story this time. Struggling to finish with a few reservations along the way, I will definitely read this author again while hoping for a different reaction.

RATING:
3.5 (out of 5) pennies

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

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Hope Unashamed

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Keels, Nadine. Hope Unashamed: When It’s Time Series- Book 2. Smashwords. 2017.

SUMMARY:
As a good student with high morals, Arthur didn’t have time for girls. That is, until he met Lorraine which changed everything. Beginning as a high school romance and continuing the journey into adulthood, Hope Unashamed is filled with sweetness, innocence, perseverance, and hope. Written in a unique manner, author Nadine Keels travels back into the first book of the When It’s Time series where Arthur made his debut, his backstory is learned from his own point of view. Filling the gaps and then moving forward, the storyline only becomes fuller.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
With not only a new and interesting story manner but also words that so eloquently and naturally flow, Hope Unashamed has the power to draw you into a story through a connection with the characters. Absolutely relating to the way in which she writes, I am a huge fan of author Nadine Keels. With a talent for developing a deep and entire story within a novella, I can only hope there are more books already being worked on in this series because if history repeats itself, they will only keep getting better. (Adorable cover, too!)

RATING:
4.75 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Hope Unashamed from the author for my honest review*

Love Unfeigned

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Keels, Nadine. Love Unfeigned: When It’s Time Series- Book 1. Amazon Digital Services, LLC. 2013.

SUMMARY:
Lorraine Tyson and Isaiah James were childhood buddies who loved and trusted each other as only true young friends can. As the two grew up (and grew apart), though they found themselves back together, it was not with the same abandon as when younger. Maturity, honesty, forgiveness, understanding and healing come to have a part in their more adult relationship. With a mix of faith, love, adolescence and sweetness, accomplished author Nadine Keels shares the heartache and delight of growing up…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
As one of my most true and trusted authors, Nadine Keels yet again pens a cleanly and reliably written story. Fully developing the characters as well as the storyline, emotions, and scenes, Love Unfeigned is also complete with exquisite, interesting and skilled language adding to the overall success. As one of those stories that is hard to see end, luckily, a sequel has already been written, Hope Unashamed. Absolutely a book I would not hesitate to recommend, I can only applaud the author and encourage her to keep writing!

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Love Unfeigned from the author for my honest review*

Before You Hit Send

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Eggerichs, PhD, Emerson. Before You Hit Send: Preventing Headache and Heartache. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
Everyone has been there…sending the immediate message, only to regret it later. In his new book, Before You Hit Send, author Dr. Emerson Eggerichs hopes to help put the brakes on those messages sooner than later. Working through four important criteria for messages, both written and spoken, each message should pass through the “Is it True, Is it Kind, Is it Necessary, and Is it Clear” test. With explanations of each area as well as related scripture verses, thoughts, personal stories and self examinations, the book also includes ideas for actions if that message was sent too quickly.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Well organized, easy to follow, interesting to read and right on target, this thought-provoking, encouraging and highly applicable book should be required reading. Taking his advice to heart, I hope to redirect my communication to qualify through the four criteria presented in Before You Hit Send so as not to have the regrets nor the consequences of miscommunication through haste. A very good book with great ideas and important actions, I will recommend this book to many of my family and friends.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Before You Hit Send from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

A Fierce Love

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Shanks, Shanna. A Fierce Love: One Woman’s Courageous Journey to Save Her Marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing. 2017.

SUMMARY:
With her marriage on an uncontrollable downward spiral, author Shanna Shanks decides to take 1 Corinthians 13 literally and follow it word, for painstakingly word. Faced with a request for a divorce after her husband admitted to an affair, in her new book, A Fierce Love, the author shares her tumultuous season full of mistakes, missteps, uncertainty, and doubt. Pure, raw, and vulnerable, the decision made to save her marriage may save more than just her marriage, it may also save countless other relationships.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
A valuable read no matter the state of any marriage, A Fierce Love reiterates the truth found in God’s word in the Love scripture, 1 Corinthians 13. Written during one of the toughest seasons of her life, I so appreciated the honesty with which Shanna Shanks wrote. Able to take the lessons and strengthen not only marriages, the same principles could also be applied to endless relationships. Engaging, interesting, encouraging and inspirational, this book is not to be missed by anyone involved in a relationship.

RATING:
4.5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of A Fierce Love from BookLook Bloggers for my honest review*

World of the Innocent

Featured

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*

Married And Still Loving It

Chapman, Gary. Myra, Harold. Married And Still Loving It: The Joys and Challenges of the Second Half. Chicago, IL: Moody Publishers. 2016.

SUMMARY:
Could the second half of marriage be the beautiful season of marriage? New York Times bestselling author of The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman, and co-author and CEO of Christianity Today International, Myra Harold, explore the thought. Delving into different aspects of marriage-children, finances, retirement, grief, activities-from the perspective of the later years of life, Married And Still Loving It peers at the changes experienced over many years of marriage. Full of personal stories, advice, discoveries, encouragement and faith, and connected with interviews from long-married, well-known couples, the second half of marriage may just be the most beautiful season of all…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
What a wonderful book to share with parents, grandparents, Life Groups, church ministries and your own spouse. Organized into a flowing style in a reader friendly manner, I both flipped through it reading snippets then read the entire book from cover to cover. With side notes, interesting interviews and lots of revelations, I learned a few things, confirmed some items, and enjoyed my time reading. Definitely a book I will refer to in the future, and recommend to others, there are nuggets for all ages and stages. The beautiful season of marriage is truly real.

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of Married And Still Loving It from Moody Publishers for my honest review*

Cherish

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*

Unstuffed

Soukup, Ruth. Unstuffed: Uncluttering Your Home, Mind & Soul. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan. 2016.

*unstuffed

SUMMARY:
With tons of items cluttering homes, minds, souls and in turn, whole lives, now seems like a good time to unstuff. Sometimes an overwhelmingly personal, emotional and physical action, often it may more simply left undone. Through encouragement, knowledge, compassion and direction, New York Times bestselling author, Ruth Soukup, helps make such a daunting task much easier. Starting with a vision and working towards uncluttering space, relationships, schedules and minds, Unstuffed provides an organized manner in which to be successful.

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
In a subject that can be hard for many people, this author makes uncluttering understandable and achievable. Written in such a way that it almost seems enjoyable (okay…bearable), it is a well organized book with good ideas, explained results, relatable situations and positive advice. Approaching the cluttered style from a whole perspective, rather than just a materialistic approach, not only makes more sense but also serves several purposes at once. I truly appreciate the candid advice given in a doable, compassionate, upbeat, successful way. My home, mind and soul, thank-you!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

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

I Wish He Had Come With Instructions

Bechtle, Mike. I Wish He Had Come With Instructions: The Woman’s Guide to a Man’s Brain. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell Publishing. 2016.

iwishhehadcomewithinstructions

SUMMARY:
Through explanation, compassion, thoughtfulness and lots of humor, author and event speaker Mike Bechtle, tries to explain the uniqueness of a man’s brain in terms a woman can understand. While exploring the role of the male brain in relationships, I Wish He Had Come With Instructions gently guides towards an understanding of the male communication process, including actions, listening (or lack of it), feelings, conflict, missions, and silence. With witty examples, personal stories, straight-forward explanations and tons of encouragement, this author’s book is sure to answer some very evasive questions for women…

A PENNY FOR MY THOUGHTS:
Is it truly even possible to understand how men think? However, it must be easier than even trying to understand women!  Loving his last book, You Can’t Text a Tough Conversation, I knew I had to read this one and once again, found myself nodding in agreement quite often. Obviously wired very differently from women, author Mike Bechtle not only examines the differences but celebrates the uniqueness between the brains of men and women. I enjoyed the humor throughout along with the serious undertones supporting the necessity of strong communication. Perfect for relationships of all levels and stages, it would be great for a sermon topic, Bible study, marriage encounter or pre-marriage counseling. I will definitely continue to search for his newest books as well as reference this one as needed. Adorable cover and title, too!

RATING:
5 (out of 5) pennies

*I received a complimentary copy of I Wish He Had Come With Instructions from Revell Publishing for my honest review*