Posted in Book reviews, reading, Reviews, Tessa Afshar, update

Goodbye 2017, Hello 2018

It’s always weird to move on into the next year, to get used to writing the new number set, rather than the old. And the realization that time is going fast, and the number creeps up each more every year. 2018 seems so… far away, yet here it is. Crazy :)

And while we are in 2018 now, I am here to also wrap up, book-wise, the year of 2017. To give a last look-back and give a list of my favourite books of the year. Which is going to be hard, because I read a great many good ones!

 

 

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According to Goodreads, I read 20,650 pages spread out over 82 books.

That’s a lot of pages. If you’d like to see the books I read in 2017, you can check out the wrap-up Goodreads gave HERE. I love how Goodreads does that. I keep a Book Notebook throughout the year, but it’s nice not having to type it all up! :)

 

Trying to narrow down my favourite books of the year has been nearly impossible. I read a LOT of good ones, you guys. And I love them all! But by shear force, I made a list of my top TWELVE favourite books. Why twelve instead of 10 or 5? Well first off, 5 is not nearly enough I’ve decided. And Ten is kinda hard to choose too. So I went with twelve because that makes a book a month, and that sounded reasonable to me. :D Sooooo, without further ado, in no particular order, here are my…

 

TOP TWELVE FICTION READS OF 2017:

Clicking on the title/author of the book will bring you to my review of the book :)

 

 

Destiny Defended by J.A. Marx

Destiny Defended by J.A. Marx

 

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Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

Bread of Angels by Tessa Afshar

 

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Out of the Dark by MacKenzie Morganthal

Out of the Dark by MacKenzie Morganthal

 

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Everything's Coming Up Josey by Susan May Warren

Everything’s Coming Up Josey! By Susan May Warren

 

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Guilt by Association by Heather Day Gilbert

Guilt by Association by Heather Day Gilbert

 

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Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

 

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Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

Rescue Me by Susan May Warren

 

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Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

 

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A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White

 

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An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

An Inconvenient Beauty by Kristi Ann Hunter

 

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The Case of the Clobbered Cad by Debra E. Marvin

The Case of the Clobbered Cad by Debra Marvin

 

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The Genesis Tree by Heather L.L. FitzGerald

The Genesis Tree by Heather FitzGerald

 

 

 

NON FICTON:

 

Daring to Hope by Katie Davis Majors

Daring to Hope by Katie Davis

 

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Infinite Tuesday by Michael Nesmith

Infinite Tuesday by Michael Nesmith

 

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And because I don’t want to leave the list at just these, I put together some…..

 

Honourable Mentions:

 

 

High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin

October by J. Grace Pennington

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

The House on Foster Hill by Jaime Jo Wright

Dreams and Devotion by Sarah Holman

Priceless by brothers, Joel and Luke Smallbone

 

 

Life:

So besides reading, 2017 was a full year as most are.  And I have no idea how to sum that up in a post, or even a paragraph…I live life, so it happens, but to sum it up… I don’t really have skill in that one. ^.^  Stuff happened, good and bad, I learned things, I probably met new people, wrote stuff….and I read. That’s good enough for a life segment wrap up, eh?

 

 

So, there’s that! How was your year? Do you have any particular, big or small, hopes/dreams/plans for this new year?

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Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads, Reviews

“Vanishing Point” by Lisa Harris ~ Book Review

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“Vanishing Point” by Lisa Harris

A Nikki Boyd Files novel

Review copy from Revell Publishing Review Program

My Rating:  5 out of 5 Stars

 

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About the Book:

During Garrett Addison’s first week on the job as a criminal investigator for the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation, his team is called out to a murder scene of a young girl. She’s the third victim in a string of disappearances with one thing in common–a Polaroid photo of each victim left behind at the crime scene.

The FBI is pulled into the case to help, and Garrett finds himself working with Special Agent Jordan Lambert, the woman he once loved. When yet another girl dies–number six–Garrett blames himself and believes he doesn’t have what it takes to be an agent. What he’ll discover is that, while he may be done with the killer, the killer is not done with him–or Jordan.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lisa Harris unveils an unforgettable story of a case that has haunted the public and law enforcement for more than a decade. Fans of the Nikki Boyd Files will thrill to finally discover what actually happened to Nikki’s sister, Sarah. New readers will become instant fans after devouring this chilling tale.

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My Thoughts:

 

What a conclusion to this riveting series!
“Vanishing Point” was a unique twist from the first three Nikki Boyd series, and easily captivated my attention from the get-go. Instead of it being from the point of view of Nikki Boyd, the novel starts out some years previous to one of the first abductions in the Angel Abductor’s Case, with the point of view coming from two detectives/agents, Garrett, and Jordan.
Initially I was a bit sad to find it wasn’t Nikki Boyd front and center, but it actually worked really well being this way, and it gave a lot more insight into the case itself, stringing over numerous years until we reached present-day.
The mystery held strong to the very end, and tensions were high. Definitely another action-packed novel!
This series has definitely been a favourite, and while I am really glad to see how it ended, I am a bit sad to find that it’s over. The Nikki Boyd Files certainly brought us on quite the epic journey!
The characters in Vanishing Point were well constructed, just like the first three books. And the creepiness level was definitely there in the serial killer aspect.
It was almost hard watching how the relationship of Garrett and Jordan danced along, but it was very realistic, and don’t worry….it came with a happy conclusion!
The faith thread was also well-executed, beautifully and realistically portrayed.
“Vanishing Point” is a very satisfying finish to a fantastic series, and I am very impressed and pleased with Lisa Harris’ writing ability! Definitely will be eagerly waiting for whatever she has next in store. :)
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Quotes:

 
 
“I’m realizing that sometimes you can’t fix people or relationships. Sometimes all you can fix is yourself. You have to forgive them, love them, and then move on. It’s wha I’m going to have to do.” 
“Over the past decade, Garrett had come to realize more and more that his faith couldn’t rely on what was happening around him, or whether or not he understood how God worked. His faith had to rely on God Himself – who never changed – even when he didn’t understand what God was doing.” 
Posted in Book reviews, Reviews

“Jesus Always: A Devotional” by Sarah Young

 

“Jesus Always” by Sarah Young

A Devotional

Review copy through BookLook Bloggers

My Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars

 

 

About the Book:

With scripture and new personal reflections “Jesus Always” brings Jesus’ message of joy—for today and every day. Experience true joy—now and always.
Life today is full of difficulties—loss, sadness, fear. In the midst of these challenges, joy often feels impossible or out of reach. But Jesus has more for His followers than a life of striving, pain, and discontent. He offers life abundant, life to the fullest, life brimming with joy! Jesus Always, the new 365-day devotional from bestselling author Sarah Young, was written as part of Sarah Young’s exploration of the promises of joy in scripture. Written as if Jesus Himself is speaking directly to the reader, Jesus Always invites you into a new way of living—a life of joy. 

This deluxe comfort print edition includes easy-to-read large type and the full scriptures printed out.

Reaching out with joy-filled reminders from the Word of God, these devotions will intimately and gently connect you with Jesus—the One who meets you where you are. Draw near to Him in Jesus Always.

 

 

 

My Thoughts:

I love these “Jesus…” devotionals. They’re so beautiful, and full of Biblical truth, spoken from Jesus. I can be kind of picky when it comes to daily devotional books, but these have been a blessing to me, each day feeling like it came right from Yahweh just for me. The Lord definitely uses them in my life, and I find great encouragement in them.
“Jesus Always” has a beautiful cover, leather-like binding, and lovely script. This book is larger in size than my other devos, and is easy to read.
I definitely recommend “Jesus Always”, as well as the other devotionals compiled by Sarah Young. They’re full of truths and comfort.
Posted in Book reviews, Revell Reads, Reviews

Book Review: “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” by Bethany Turner

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“The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” by Bethany Turner

Releases October 3rd, 2017 (today!!)

Review copy from the author/publishers; launch team copy.

My rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

 

About the Book:

Becoming a Christian is the best and worst thing that has ever happened to Sarah Hollenbeck. Best because, well, that’s obvious. Worst because, up to this point, she’s made her very comfortable living as a well-known, bestselling author of steamy romance novels that would leave the members of her new church blushing. Now Sarah is trying to reconcile her past with the future she’s chosen. She’s still under contract with her publisher and on the hook with her enormous fan base for the kind of book she’s not sure she can write anymore. She’s beginning to think that the church might frown on her tithing on royalties from a “scandalous” book. And the fact that she’s falling in love with her pastor doesn’t make things any easier.

With a powerful voice, penetrating insight, and plenty of wit, Bethany Turner explodes onto the scene with a debut that isn’t afraid to deal with the thorny realities of living the Christian life

 

My Thoughts:

 

This book was adorable. The writing style was truly so great, and I was just drawn right in by the first chapter. It was so…readable. :) The style felt so unique and yet still so familiar to my own. And the story – oh my goodness, I had so many giggles throughout it. This was a book where I literally laughed out loud. Which then caused my family to question my sanity a tiny bit, but more so they wanted to know what I was laughing at. So yes, I had to read some parts out loud, and they giggled right alongside me! Sarah was hysterical in so many ways. From her crazy “What if??” scenarios, to her panicked reaction to things. And very relatable in those instances. Her character really was a gem to read.
Piper! Oh Piper, I loved her so much. Will she get her own story, Bethany? Please? She was like *the best* friend. So grounded, so joyful, and so loyal. Yep, loved her.
Ben. Um, yeah he was kinda perfect. Not like unrealistically perfect. But Bible-Nerd cute perfect. You can see why she fell for him right away.
The characters were all so well-written, and like-able (except Patrick…and one or two others that are supposed to be unlikeable. :D). This book was just a lot of fun to read.
So, the only “downside” to this book for me, what made this a 4.5 instead of 5 for me was Sarah’s obsession with sex. Yes, I expected a bit of that, seeing the plot of the story. And for the most part, it was handled really well and tastefully (going from a “steamy romance” novelist to a Christian…tricky transition that would be! But like I said, it was handled well!). And there wasn’t the “shame” that often comes when Christians have to deal with anything sex-related. However, that seemed to be Sarah’s driving point – when could she be together sexually with Ben? It couldn’t be soon enough for her, and sometimes that seemed like the only reason she wanted to be with him. No, I know that’s not true – she was in love with him for more reasons than that, but that was definitely a focal point that got stronger towards the end. There was nothing really inappropriate, but it was…edgy? That’s why I would recommend only for mature readers, because well, there’s a fair amount of sex talk. And for me personally, I don’t think it was all totally necessary. No, sex is not a shameful thing, and like I said, I was impressed that the author didn’t make it so, but I also don’t think it needs to be the focal point of a book, if that makes sense. And I know everyone’s preference on this one is different. I’m just stating this for others who feel as I do. :)
But that aside, it was a really adorable book, and I dearly loved it, enjoying it so very much. Author Bethany Turner writes with such wit, you can’t help but smile and laugh along, and it still deals with tougher aspects of life.
Oh, and the cover…!!! I can’t end my review without saying something about that. The cover for “The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck” is superb. Spot on. Brilliant. Amazing. Basically, I’m in love with it. As soon as I received my copy, held it in my hands, I was practically drooling over it. So beautiful! <3

 

(I created the first two – flower pot, and pink background – and the other graphic is from the author herself. :))

Posted in Book reviews, Books, Reviews, update, Writing

MAY I do my Recap

Okay, so the title of this post is a little cheesy. (I would very much like some cheese pizza, please). But I get tired of doing the same “(Month) Recap/Wrapup” and since I just got done writing in my snarky story, I can’t help it.

 (via Pinterest)

 

So yeah, May. ‘Twas full of busy-ness, doings, happenings, and whatnots. When it comes to life-recaps, my mind suddenly goes pretty blank. All I know is that we were busy. I finished my journal (started a new one). Had some kittens. Found a couple of cats a new indoor home. Read what felt like a lot. These are the books I read:

 

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson Shadow of Suspicion by Christy Barritt Admirable by Sarah Holman Befriended by Sarah Holman The Destiny of One by Sarah Holman Wings of the Wind by Connilyn Cossette

The Noble Servant by Melanie Dickerson (Review here), Shadow of Suspicion by Christy Barritt, Admirable by Sarah Holman (review here), Befriended by Sarah Holman (review here), The Destiny of One by Sarah Holman (review here), and Wings of the Wind by Conniln Cossette (review to come).

I received/bought several books this month as well, and some of those are:

 

 

Okay, before I dive into the first picture of books, you see the second one? I won that prize pack! I was so surprised when I got the email, because I’ve never expected to win one of those big prize packs that I so often enter – I mean, there’s always SO many entries. What are the chances?(Totally random, I get it.). But yeah, so that was utterly thrilling!

As for the books on the left. See what they’re sitting on? A record player! Yay! Been wanting one, and my sister and I found this one at a garage sale for extremely cheap and it all works! <3

Anywho, enough random rambling (what am I saying?! This whole post is basically that). In the book picture, the left hand stack are books I purchased. The bottom four were from a CBD sale! And then the next top four I bought through my darling friend in another state, and the top was one I got from the book group I’m apart of for selling/swapping. That book in the middle of the stacks – yeah, that was a surprise from said darling friend!! She got that book for me just because! So sweet! <3

The righthand stack: Bottom three were swapped books from the group, the next four are review books, and the top two (including the audio book) were give-away wins. So, lots and lots of fun. I love books. *Huggles them*. The book by Joanie Bruce I actually won from a short story contest. Dat was fun.

 

And now, a “Pretty Bookish Picture”:

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As for writing, I haven’t been doing a TON of that, but I’m now back to working at it some. Little by little.

 

Music. Listening to some records, and the soundtrack to Tarzan (because it’s pretty much perfection), and of course, The Monkees. They’re amazing, but everyone who knows me knows I think that. ;)

 

Sooooape. I guees that’s it. (“And that’s all!” – quote from a person from a video from the 60’s…*cough*)

June will be full of more book reading/reviews, God-willing. I’ve got a lot of books to review. But I love reading, so it shouldn’t be a problem. We’ve got some of the garden in, so that’s good.

What’s up with yous peoples? Read anything good lately? Have any books you hope to read this month? Do you having any records you enjoy?

 

 

Posted in 1940's, Book reviews, Reviews

Tnydale Book Review: “With Love, Wherever You Are” by Dandi Daley MacKall

 

“With Love, Wherever You Are” by Dandi Daley MacKall

 

About the Book:

Everyone knows that war romances never last . . .
After a whirlwind romance and wedding, Helen Eberhart Daley, an army nurse, and Lieutenant Frank Daley, M.D. are sent to the front lines of Europe with only letters to connect them for months at a time.

Surrounded by danger and desperately wounded patients, they soon find that only the war seems real―and their marriage more and more like a distant dream. If they make it through the war, will their marriage survive?

Based on the incredible true love story, With Love, Wherever You Are is an adult novel from beloved children’s author Dandi Daley Mackall.

 

My Thoughts:
This was a sweet WWII fiction, but what was better was that it was based upon the true story of the author’s own parents. That fact I found most touching.
Frank and Helen had a bit of a whirlwind marriage – a war marriage – and they went months in between seeing each other, yet their love for one another remained strong. They chose one another, and that was very sweet.
The story was well written, and I think very realistic. Sometimes I found it a tad bit slow, but not at all uninteresting – it’s a very good story.
I’ve read quite a few WWII fiction books and this was one that really felt authentic – the real story of it shone through beautifully and added a great depth to it. Truly, I think my favourite part of this book was the end bit where the author gave us a look behind the fiction into the fact. That was so neat to read, and see a copy of one of the original letters – what a special keepsake!
Fans of good WWII Fiction will definitely enjoy this one. :)
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Tyndale Review Program. All thoughts are my own.
Posted in Bethany House, Blogging For Books, Book reviews, BookCrash, Booklook Review, Books, God's Lessons, Litfuse, Moody Book Review, NetGalley Book Review, reading, Revell Reads, Reviews, update

An announcement of sorts

Good day to you, my much appreciated blog-followers! :)

As the title states, I do have an announcement to share with you all. And it’s rather large, in the sense that I didn’t think that I’d do this. But I’m content with this decision, because I know it is directed by God and He has shown Himself SO awe-some in every sense of the word. So my news is this:

 

I will no longer be reviewing books at the rapid pace that I have been – that I’ve been known for. In fact, I’ve gotten off several of the Book Review Programs. I’m taking a Sabbatical. (such a fun word, is it not?). The reason for this, in short, is that it is what the Lord has guided me to recently. It’s definitely time for a break. See, when I read and review books I am analyzing the book so I can justly review it, but by doing this constantly, I have formed a habit of being analytical in everything – and that is leaning on my own understanding, not God’s. It’s thinking through every little thing when I should have faith instead.  And I want to lean wholly on the Lord’s understanding instead of my own, and so I am obeying Him in this step back from reviewing.

 

Sabbatical

 

Truthfully, it is a relief. Yes, I have loved this season of reviewing – it has been a great experience! But I am now ready for a new season. I will still be reading (of course!) but at a more leisurely pace, and I won’t necessarily being posting reviews of every book, as the amount of review books I receive will be just about nonexistent.

However, I will be finishing out with the reviews I have already committed to, so there are a couple yet to come. And I’m not banishing myself from all book reviews, just really stepping back.

 

It’s a big change for me, I’ll be the first to admit it. I am a reviewer. But now, it is: I was a reviewer. My life doesn’t need to hinge on reviewing, and a breather will be nice!

I’ll still do my best to keep up with my blog here, and I’m still apart of some blog tours coming up. I’m just also going to be doing a lot of “de-stressing” which means de-cluttering, etc.

 

So, here’s to a new season! Thank you for understanding. :)