Month in Review: December 2014



Hello, friends. Here we have the second "month in review" on this blog which is set to chronicle some of the blog's content and I'm also going to be talking about some of my favorites from this month or new finds. Let's start that countdown to 2015. First up the new finds (one find I am sort of ADDICTED to), then we'll discuss the blog's month and some of the content yet to come.
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Best of 2014: The Books that are Still Favorites



Hello, hello! Here is "part 2" of my favorites list for 2014. (Part one was all about the big and small screen.) I'm so excited to share these lists with you all as I do at the end of each year. This year I thought I'd come away with more than fourteen (I guess the general "rule" is sharing favorites numbering to the year), but I'm glad to report, I ended up with sixteen on the graphics. (Technically it was more if you count I have tree from the same author on this list plus I have one that's not listed on the graphic.) But... moving on, the books of 2014.

2014 and its authors gifted us with some amazing works of fiction. Some of the books release in 2015, others are from debut authors (good for you, all) and some are from seasoned veterans, who never seem to run out of fresh ideas. Either way, these are the books the genuinely stood out in my reader's opinion.


This Quiet Sky, by Joanne Bischof
 
 
Murder at the Mikado, by Julianna Deering
 
 
Not in the Script, by Amy Finnegan
 
 
If I Stay, by Gayle Forman
 
 
A Broken Kind of Beautiful, by Katie Ganshert
 
How to Catch a Prince*, by Rachel Hauck
 
(*Review is coming + a Giveaway)
 
Review│Goodreads 
 
The Wishing Season, by Denise Hunter
 

 
In Between, by Jenny B. Jones
 
Review│Goodreads 
 
Raptor 6, by Ronie Kendig
 
 
A Table by the Window, by Hillary Manton Lodge
 
 
Silenced, by Dani Pettrey
 
 
Lizzy & Jane, by Katherine Reay
 
 
How a Star Falls, by Amber Stokes
 
 
Here to Stay, by Melissa Tagg
 
 
Somebody Like You, by Beth Vogt
 
 
Meant to by Mine, by Becky Wade
 
 
Always on my Mind :: It Had to by You :: When I Fall in Love
by Susan May Warren
 
Review│Goodreads 
 
 
 
Storm Siren, by Mary Weber
 
 
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....those are my top reads of 2014! I tried to be thorough about looking over the books I read in 2014, but there may be one or two I missed adding. Here's hoping I didn't. Either way, the books that are featured above were definite stand-outs, favorites because of their charm or ingenuity... or sometimes just because in the quiet way it told a story, the book spoke the loudest of anything else.
 
What were your favorites?
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Favorites of 2014: The Silver Screen



Each year I cut the favorites list in half. The first half is always the movies and TV shows of the past year that I've enjoyed most. The second are the best of books from my reading year. Since, of course, it's the books we love the most, that is the one I publish secondly. Let's jump in.
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The 2015 INSPYs are NOW Open



Good morning, readers! I trust you all spent a wonderful December 25th with family, good food and plenty of laughter. My day was quiet - as usual - with lots of Christmas movies and thoughts on another Christmas passing by. As we near the end of another year, I'm eagerly looking forward to reading the blogosphere's take on what the best in fiction was. As always I still have my best of lists to share and will certainly be putting that up soon. The list is made, I just have to post it you know. But that's beside the point.

Today, the purpose of this new blog post is all about the 2015 INSPYs. This is the day we've been planning for - your nominations! The 2015 nomination form is now up and running on the site. Or in other terms, we're waiting for your nominations to come in. (If the form is not yet opened, please be patient... with our different time zones, when we turn the form on just depends on the soonest one of us hits the button.) We've also posted something on the INSPYs site with some helpful tips on nominating. If you're interested in reading it, there are some suggestions on how books fit into one of the seven categories.

So... Christmas may be over, but you still have some lists to check off. Make sure you check them twice, too. *smile*

For more information on nominating, here's the 2015 press release:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
 
2015 INSPYs Nominations Open
 
December 27, 2014—Nominations for 2015 INSPY Awards — http://inspys.com — opened today.  

The Inspy Awards has returned for a fifth year. The INSPYs were created to select and showcase books with the highest literary standards that grapple with the Christian faith and were designed to help readers in their search for the preeminent faith-inspired literature of today. This program is organized and judged by book bloggers who have considerable experience and knowledge of books published for both the CBA and general market.
We welcome the return of advisory board members Lydia Mazzei (http://www.overweightbookshelf.com/), Stacy Millican (http://www.thenovellife.com/) Rel Mollet, Rissi C. (http://scribblesscriptsandsuch.blogspot.com/) and Jamie Lapeyrolerie (http://booksandbeverages.org/).

Please note that the advisory board has made the following changes to book eligibility and the nomination process:
  • Debut Novel and Historical Romance categories were introduced last year.
  • The Romance category has been broadened and renamed the Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense category
  • The dates of eligibility have returned to a 12 month timeframe and will include books published between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014.
  • Self-published books have been eliminated from consideration.
  • Books that were first published as an E-book only have been eliminated from consideration.
  • Books are to be nominated by someone other than the author.
Book nominations are sought in the following genres: Debut Novel, General Fiction, Contemporary Romance/Romantic Suspense, Historical Romance, Literature for Young Adults, Speculative Fiction, and Mystery & Thriller. The deadline to nominate a book is January 16.
Besides nominating the best in faith-driven literature, another way to help today is to spread the word — blog about the INSPYs, tell your friends.
The winners of the fifth annual INSPY awards will be announced June 28, 2015.
To stay informed, subscribe to the site: http://inspys.com.
--
The INSPYs Awards:  The Bloggers' Awards for Excellence in Faith-Driven Lit

If you'd like to potentially become involved with the 2015 INSPYs - by judging or nominating - please keep an eye out for the reminders of our judges applications (which will come up in the next couple of months) and visit our INSPYs site to nominate. Also, we welcome any help spreading the word on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook. Any questions, comments, suggestions or the like can be left below in the comments or posed to one of the links above. Hopefully we'll be back in the swing of keeping up with all our communication.

Thanks for all your support!
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Chrismtas Day is Here!



Merry Christmas!

I say this every year and yet each year, it seems more and more true. Time has again surprised me with how fast it's gone. It seems only yesterday was Thanksgiving and our small family gathering was hanging our heads in shame over our football team losing (or more accurately, I was reading while everyone else was watching), then we consoled ourselves with a tasty meal. 
 
Now, the day we anticipate all year is here.
 
My day will probably be all about recovering from a food coma since we're enjoying our meal with all the trimmings on Christmas Eve. Of course, part of that will involve binge-watching Christmas movies, catching up on TV shows, unwrapping presents, wrapping presents, watching Christmas movies (yes, this is on the list twice for a reason), listening to Christmas songs while singing along and probably somewhere in there, I'll sneak in some reading.
 
What are your Christmas plans?
 
Wherever you're spending the Christmas season, I wish you all a day filled with laughter, family and good memories.
 
Merry Christmas, friends.
 
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A Sugar Creek Christmas by Jenny B. Jones



About the Book:
Publisher: Sweet Pea Productions
Source: Personal Copy
Publication Date: 2014
Find the Review elsewhere:
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Amazon ǀ Barnes & Noble ǀ Goodreads
Series: A Sugar Creek Novel, Book 1
Genre: Fiction; Contemporary Novella
Rating: 4.5 out of 5


After taking some time off from the title of author (one she owned nicely), one of the funniest ladies blessed with the gift of prose, is back. The second book to be published from Jenny B. Jones this year, this novel is the first in her brand-new series of novels that explore a new genre for the author. But, more on that later. First, the story goes… 

Emma Sutton is one of the rising stars at her morning TV gig. In fact she’s on the fast track for an anchor seat, only her chances revert to start after an on-air “bah-humbug” moment. This sidelines her, and she’s charged with trying to find a warm, fuzzy Christmas story to air at Christmas. She finds just the thing in small-town Arkansas where she accepts an event planning job, and runs into her ex, Noah.

Ever since reading this lady’s Save the Date, I’ve been a fan. Since then, I’ve wanted to read all her novels and in fact was surprised when realizing I had not. I’ve yet to complete her Katie Parker Productions series (something I feel badly about) and am prompting myself to do so in the New Year. No excuses. Until then, I was thoroughly swept away by Jenny’s darling Christmas story that is, yes, a different kind of book than we’re used to reading from her. 

Instead of infusing her stories – or at the very least drawing a distinct line, in Christianity, Jenny has gone outside the “safe” normal and amp up the chemistry between her leading couple. Emma and Noah are a great one to boot. I enjoyed their banter and romance. Emma was doing everything in her power to ensure she wouldn’t get hurt by love (stemming from feeling abandoned as a child) while ironically, Noah in many ways was too.

He was keeping his distance from Emma because of their past, a past he believed was going to repeat itself. If something didn’t change. Emma’s work ethic was a barrier between them and Noah’s disappointment in her inability to see how unimportant that life was (by her own admission, she no longer loved her work) is what pulls them apart. One of the best pros for this story is the characters having a history. Novella style tends to almost require that for a love story to feel authentic. Keeping true to her brand of funny while stepping outside the “safe” comfort zone we’ve come to love from Jenny is this sweet story. It’s one that is easily read (unless you read like I do) in an afternoon, and for those of you still wanting a Christmas read, consider making this sugary confection part of your holiday.

Content: there are a few “questionable” scenes and moments that are a bit suggestive, depending on the reader. Nothing is graphic though and would be a solid “PG rating” or mild “PG13.”

Synopsis: Sometimes all love needs is a second chance.

Morning television show darling Emma Sutton has just been fired. The only way to get her job back is to find a holiday story to warm the coldest heart. So when her hometown of Sugar Creek, Arkansas, needs a Christmas event planner, Emma moves back, sure her story lies in the town’s desire to become a tourist’s holiday wonderland. The plan is perfect—until Emma meets her new boss.

Charming, handsome Noah Kincaid isn’t just Sugar Creek’s newest mayor. He’s also Emma’s ex-fiancé. Ten years ago Emma left Noah her ring and a goodbye note, but it’s haunted her ever since. The last thing Noah wants to do is work with the woman who broke his heart, but Emma’s desperate to prove to him that her bah-humbug ways won’t interfere with her work.

Emma finds it’s more than the mistletoe drawing her back to Noah. Whatever they had is clearly not over, but Noah’s kisses can’t protect Emma from a past that won’t leave her alone. As the snow falls and the trees glisten, love will come to Sugar Creek. But will it come in time to make all of Emma’s Christmas dreams come true?
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2015 Book Releases + Cover Candy


Morning, readers. Because I didn't get anything typed for today (blogger fail), I have a few cover pretties to share. Honestly, there aren't as many as I thought there were - I saved these for a while waiting for a nice collection and I even went searching for some "newbies." I did add a couple in that you've likely gushed over on Rel's site (simply because they're favorites and any excuse to promote them...). Beyond that, you may have seen all of these at some point or another in your browsing. If you still want to gush - sharing your favorites or anything else that catches your eye, feel free to do so below.


The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things, by Ann Aguirre

Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine… until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.

Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.

But love doesn’t mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again… - Goodreads, 2015


AmazonGoodreads


Wild Hearts, by Jessica Burkhart

Brie Carter's father's land development business has taken her family all over the world,
but as soon as they arrive at their new home in Lost Spring, Wyoming, the town turns out to protest. They don't want a new hotel if the resident mustang population will be displaced or hurt as part of the deal. Then Brie meets Logan, a gorgeous local who has a special connection to the mustangs, and she is immediately drawn to him . . . and the horses. However, with Logan's father leading the protests and Brie's father refusing to budge, it's clear that their parents are heading towards an all-out war. Can Brie and Logan find a way to save the mustangs and be together? Or is their love doomed from the start?

This new title in the If Only line is the perfect summer read and proves that love flourishes in the wildest places! - Amazon, May 2015


Royal Wedding, by Meg Cabot

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Princess Diaries series, comes the very first adult installment, which follows Princess Mia and her Prince Charming as they plan their fairy tale wedding--but a few poisoned apples could turn this happily-ever-after into a royal nightmare.

For Princess Mia, the past five years since college graduation have been a whirlwind of activity, what with living in New York City, running her new teen community center, being madly in love, and attending royal engagements. And speaking of engagements. Mia's gorgeous longtime boyfriend Michael managed to clear both their schedules just long enough for an exotic (and very private) Caribbean island interlude where he popped the question! Of course Mia didn't need to consult her diary to know that her answer was a royal oui.

But now Mia has a scandal of majestic proportions to contend with: Her grandmother's leaked "fake" wedding plans to the press that could cause even normally calm Michael to become a runaway groom. Worse, a scheming politico is trying to force Mia's father from the throne, all because of a royal secret that could leave Genovia without a monarch. Can Mia prove to everyone--especially herself--that she's not only ready to wed, but ready to rule as well? - Goodreads, June 2015


AmazonGoodreads


Sisters of Blood and Spirit, by Kady Cross

Wren Noble is dead—she was born that way. Vibrant, unlike other dead things, she craves those rare moments when her twin sister allows her to step inside her body and experience the world of the living.

Lark Noble is alive but often feels she belongs in the muted Shadow Lands—the realm of the dead. Known as the crazy girl who talks to her dead sister, she doesn't exactly fit in with the living, though a recent suicide attempt and time in a psych ward have proved to her she's not ready to join her sister in the afterlife.

Now the guy who saved Lark's life needs her to repay the favor. He and his friends have been marked for death by the malevolent spirit of a vicious and long-dead serial killer, and the twins—who should know better than to mess with the dead—may be their only hope of staying alive.
 - Goodreads, March 2015


Goodreads



Revenge, Ice Cream and Other Things Best Served Cold, by Kate Finn

The war rages on between Gemma and Hallie in the second installment of the Broken Hearts and Revenge series.

After the humiliating events on the 4th of July, Gemma's trying to handle the fact that Hallie knew who she was all along, and she was the one who stole Teddy from her. Gemma vows revenge, but things get more complicated than she planned. Ford, Gemma’s long-time crush, has arrived in the Hamptons cuter than ever. Josh is refusing to speak to her after she lied to him, and Teddy is playing champion to his beloved Marsh Warbler (in Gemma's backyard, no less).

Gemma and Hallie find themselves locked in an escalating revenge cycle. Just when Gemma thinks she has the upper hand, the biggest bombshell of all is dropped. And it’s one that threatens to change her life forever. This exciting sequel to Broken Hearts, Fences, and Other Things To Mend will leave you begging for the third installment. - Goodreads, May 2015


Amazon │Goodreads

P.S., I Still Love You, by Jenny Han

Lara Jean didn’t expect to really fall for Peter.

She and Peter were just pretending. Except suddenly they weren’t. Now Lara Jean is more confused than ever.

When another boy from her past returns to her life, Lara Jean’s feelings for him return too. Can a girl be in love with two boys at once?

In this charming and heartfelt sequel to the New York Times bestseller To All the Boys I've Loved Before, we see first love through the eyes of the unforgettable Lara Jean. Love is never easy, but maybe that’s part of makes it so amazing. - Goodreads, June 2015


AmazonGoodreads


Falling Like Snowflakes, by Denise Hunter

Riding in a bus in the thickly falling snow, Eden Davis wonders how it ever came to this—fleeing under cover of night with young Micah sleeping fitfully in the seat beside her. When a winter storm strands them in Summer Harbor, Maine, Eden wonders if what might have been the end could be a new beginning.

Beau Callahan is a habitual problem-solver. He’s recently left his job with the sheriff’s department to take over the family Christmas tree farm to save it from insolvency. But he’s flummoxed. During the busiest season of the year, he’s shorthanded. Then Eden shows up looking for work, and Beau believes he’s been rescued. Competent, smart, and beautiful, Eden’s also guarded and quiet. He soon figures out she comes with a boatload of secrets. But Beau can’t seem to help himself from falling for her.

As Christmas Eve approaches, Beau discovers he’ll do anything to keep Eden safe. But who’s going to protect his heart from a woman who can’t seem to trust again? - Goodreads, September 2015

 
 
Married 'til Monday, by Denise Hunter

With a big anniversary party in the works for her parents, Ryan will pretend to be Abby's husband for just one last weekend.

Ryan McKinley has tried to move on from his ex-wife, Abby. He’s sulked, he’s gotten angry, and ultimately he bought her dream house. Big mistake. Living alone in the massive 2-story has only made him miss her more. When her parents call him out of the blue about their anniversary party in Summer Harbor, Maine, Ryan believes God has dropped a golden opportunity straight in his lap.

Abby McKinley never exactly told her parents about the divorce. A strained relationship with her dad has culminated in a distant relationship with her parents, but she’s finally succumbed to her mom’s pressure to make the drive for their 35th-anniversary party.

Then Ryan shows up on her doorstep, looking as devastatingly handsome as ever. When he insists he’s going to Seabrook, with or without her, Abby knows she can’t say no. Her parents still think they’re married and now Ryan knows it too. Besides, he only wants to check in with his best friend from college—her cousin Beau, who just lost his dad. It’s just a one-week road-trip with the man who broke her heart. What could possibly go wrong? - Goodreads, June 2015







Love, Fortunes and Other Disasters, by Kimberley Karalius

In the tradition of Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic, one girl chooses to change her fortune and her fate by falling in love.

Love is real in the town of Grimbaud and Fallon Dupree has dreamed of attending high school there for years. After all, generations of Duprees have successfully followed the (100% accurate!) love fortunes from Zita’s famous Love Charms Shop to happily marry their high school sweethearts. It’s a tradition. So she is both stunned and devastated when her fortune states that she will NEVER find love.

Fortunately, Fallon isn’t the only student with a terrible love fortune, and a rebellion is brewing. Fallon is determined to take control of her own fate—even if it means working with a notorious heartbreaker like Sebastian.

Will Fallon and Sebastian be able to overthrow Zita’s tyranny and fall in love? - Goodreads, May 2015

Amazon│Goodreads



Lady Maybe, by Julie Klassen

One final cry…“God almighty, help us!” and suddenly her world shifted violently, until a blinding collision scattered her mind and shook her bones. Then, the pain. The freezing water. And as all sensation drifted away, a hand reached for hers, before all faded into darkness…

Now she has awakened as though from some strange, suffocating dream in a warm and welcoming room she has never seen before, and tended to by kind, unfamiliar faces. But not all has been swept away. She recalls fragments of the accident. She remembers a baby. And a ring on her finger reminds her of a lie.

But most of all, there is a secret. And in this house of strangers she can trust no one but herself to keep it. - Goodreads, July 2015

AmazonGoodreads
 


Jesse's Girl, by Miranda Kenneally

Everyone at Hundred Oaks High knows that career mentoring day is a joke. So when Maya Henry said she wanted to be a rock star, she never imagined she’d get to shadow *the* Jesse Scott, Nashville’s teen idol.

But spending the day with Jesse is far from a dream come true. He’s as gorgeous as his music, but seeing all that he’s accomplished is just a reminder of everything Maya’s lost: her trust, her boyfriend, their band, and any chance to play the music she craves. Not to mention that Jesse’s pushy and opinionated. He made it on his own, and he thinks Maya’s playing back up to other people’s dreams. Does she have what it takes to follow her heart—and go solo?  - Goodreads, July 2015
 


Amazon Goodreads



Wrong about the Guy by Claire LaZebnik

Claire LaZebnik's latest twist on a beloved classic asks the age old question: Could the girl who knows everything be wrong about the guy?

As the stepdaughter of a TV star, Ellie Withers has it all: an amazing house in LA, a devoted friend who loved her before she even knew who Ellie’s stepfather was, and a burgeoning romance with handsome Aaron Marquand. But Ellie isn't the kind of person who’s content with simply having it all—the people in her life have to be equally happy. And, of course, she knows exactly what they need.

When Ellie’s plans for her family, her friends, and even her love life don’t turn out the way she imagined, she begins to wonder if maybe she could stand to learn a thing or two after all. Most surprising, though, is that the perfect person to teach her is the last person she'd expect.

With her signature witty narration and swoon-worthy romance, Claire LaZebnik (the author of fan favorites Epic Fail, The Trouble with Flirting, and The Last Best Kiss) once again breathes new life into a perennially popular love story: Jane Austen’s Emma.
  - Goodreads, April 2015

Amazon
Goodreads




The Trouble with Destiny by Lauren Morrill

Pitched as "Pitch Perfect" meets A Midsummer Night's Dream on a cruise, about a drum major who must save her school band and navigate romantic disasters when their ship gets stranded at sea.  - Goodreads, 2015
Amazon│ Goodreads
 

Tonight the Streets are Ours, by Leila Sales

Tonight the Streets Are Ours is a YA novel about a teen girl living in the suburbs who becomes obsessed with a blogger in New York City, and sets out to track him down in real life. - Goodreads, September 2015

Amazon│ Goodreads


Fragile Line, by Brooklyn Skye

It can happen in a flash. One minute she’s kissing her boyfriend, the next she’s lost in the woods. Sixteen-year-old Ellie Cox is losing time. It started out small…forgetting a drive home or a conversation with a friend. But her blackouts are getting worse, more difficult to disguise as forgetfulness. When Ellie goes missing for three days, waking up in the apartment of a mysterious guy—a guy who is definitely not her boyfriend, her life starts to spiral out of control.

Perched on the edge of insanity, with horrific memories of her childhood leaking in, Ellie struggles to put together the pieces of what she’s lost—starting with the name haunting her, Gwen. Heartbreakingly beautiful, this poignant story follows one girl’s harrowing journey to finding out who she really is. - Goodreads, April 2015


AmazonGoodreads

Hello, Goodbye and Everything In Between, by Jennifer E. Smith

One night. A life-changing decision. And a list... Of course Clare made a list. She creates lists for everything. That's just how she is. But tonight is Clare and Aidan's last night before college and this list will decide their future, together or apart. It takes them on a rollercoaster ride through their past - from the first hello in science class to the first conversation at a pizza joint, their first kiss at the beach and their first dance in a darkened gymnasium - all the way up to tonight. A night of laughs, fresh hurts, last-minute kisses and an inevitable goodbye. But will it be goodbye forever or goodbye for now?  - Goodreads, September 2015

Amazon│Goodreads



Hello, I Love You, by Katie Stout

A teen escapes to a boarding school abroad and falls for a Korean pop star in this fun and fresh romantic novel in the vein of Anna and the French Kiss.

Grace Wilde is running—from the multi-million dollar mansion her record producer father bought, the famous older brother who’s topped the country music charts five years in a row, and the mother who blames her for her brother’s breakdown. Grace escapes to the farthest place from home she can think of, a boarding school in Korea, hoping for a fresh start.

She wants nothing to do with music, but when her roommate Sophie’s twin brother Jason turns out to be the newest Korean pop music superstar, Grace is thrust back into the world of fame. She can't stand Jason, whose celebrity status is only outmatched by his oversized ego, but they form a tenuous alliance for the sake of her friendship with Sophie. As the months go by and Grace adjusts to her new life in Korea, even she can't deny the sparks flying between her and the KPOP idol.

Soon, Grace realizes that her feelings for Jason threaten her promise to herself that she'll leave behind the music industry that destroyed her family. But can Grace ignore her attraction to Jason and her undeniable pull of the music she was born to write? Sweet, fun, and romantic, this young adult novel explores what it means to experience first love and discover who you really are in the process. - Goodreads, June 2015


AmazonGoodreads


The Wonder of You, by Susan May Warren

Mortified after her semester abroad is cut short, Amelia Christiansen returns to Deep Haven, certain she isn’t brave enough for the adventures she’s dreamed of. The last thing she expects is for the man who broke her heart to cross the Atlantic and beg forgiveness.

Heir to a European hotel dynasty, Roark St. John has trekked from one exotic locale to another, haunted by tragedy and the expectations that accompany his last name. Amelia is the first woman to give him a reason to stop running. He’ll do anything for a second chance—even contend with Amelia’s old flame, who is intent on sending Roark packing.


While one surprise after another leaves Amelia reeling, Roark’s continued presence only highlights the questions pursuing her. Like him, is she running from the life God has called her to? Could finding her new place mean leaving home behind?
 - Goodreads, July 2015


AmazonGoodreads

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Let's hear from you now!
Which of these caught your eye? Are there any 2015 books your practicing patience for!?
 
Let's talk.
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The Giver by Lois Lowry


 
About the Book:
Author: Lois Lowry
Publisher:
Source: Bought
Publication Date: 1995
Find the Review elsewhere:
Amazon Blogger Goodreads Novel Crossing ▪ Wordpress
Find the Book Elsewhere:
Series: The Giver Quartet, book 1
Genre: Fiction; Dystopian, Young Adult
Rating: 4 out of 5
 
Until news of the movie adaptation made headlines, I really knew nothing about The Giver. It wasn’t something that ever leapt out as a book I should read even though many Goodreads friends I now see have read and recommend it. Deciding the film was something to rent, I made time to read what turned out to be a relatively short novel. It's a perfect world that Jonas has grown up in. Lives are lived equally without lying and to prevent jealously or feelings of love or memories of what the world once was. Jonas is about to become a 12. He’s reached an age where he has to take injections to quell the “stirrings” and he’s attending the ceremony to be told what factor he’ll be a part of. His friend Fiona loves caring for people and that’s what she is assigned. Jonas is skipped over at the ceremony only he soon finds out there is a reason for that: He’s been chosen for a very special assignment, he’s the new keeper of memories. Suddenly during his training, an entirely new world is opened to him. He no longer has to adhere to the same rules – and the memories (ones full of things he never saw) start to awaken Jonas to real living.

Little that I know about Lois’ books and this series specifically, what I understand of The Giver is that this was kind of the “original” dystopian novel. Those of you who are fans of this quartet of books can correct me if I’m wrong, but author notes leads me to believe this. Even a couple of weeks after reading this, I’m honestly not sure what to say about it. To be fair, I read a good portion of it on Thanksgiving Day when talk of meal planning was surrounding me and when that wasn’t a football game was playing on the television. All of which could have played a part in my not totally focusing on the story. With that being put out there, I’ll share some of my thoughts on this beloved novel.

I’m not sure what to say about this book honestly since I cannot seem to help the comparisons that come to mind when associating the word “dystopian” with the book. Right off the start it’s not hard to understand this is going to be more of the quiet sort of story without anything going “bang” or an arrow shooting through the air. It’s both a refreshing change and something of a challenge because I’ll admit all of the memory transference can (in places) bog the book down. That’s what the majority of the book is; Jonas remembering memories that aren’t. It's a world he and his fellow neighbors never knew. Their council believes that by depriving citizens of such things, there can never be events that wiped out so much of humanity. It’s certainly an interesting concept though not one that always works.

Honestly, for me, this is one story that works better as a movie. The book didn’t capture me in the same way the film does nor did it affect me the same. Where the film has a kind of wonderment and room for your imagination to go wild, the book felt stiff in comparison. Plus add in the ideology of it's rigid equality, and as a book, this one wasn't a favorite for doubly certain. Why then did I give the book 4 stars? Overall, I probably liked this the best of most the dystopian novels I've read (so far) plus just judging the movie off this book and I'm impressed by the cinematic story. That's probably not the best sense of rating, but there you have it friends. In my estimation, The Giver is that quiet, deep-thinking kind of story that you read on a dreary day when you want to be challenged. It's one I'd like to read again when I'm more focused and see if I come away with a different opinion because I do think my mind might change if I read it in a quieter environment. Jonas is a hero to admire, no question. I liked that he stood up for what he teachings revealed. No matter the cost.

Synopsis: Life in the community where Jonas lives is idyllic. Designated birthmothers produce newchildren, who are assigned to appropriate family units: one male, one female, to each. Citizens are assigned their partners and their jobs. No one thinks to ask questions. Everyone obeys. The community is a world without conflict, inequality, divorce, unemployment injustice...or choice.

Everyone is the same.

Except Jonas.

At the Ceremony of Twelve, the community's twelve-year-olds eagerly accept their predetermined Life Assignments. But Jonas is chosen for something special. He begins instruction in his life's work with a mysterious old man known only as The Giver. Gradually Jonas learns that power lies in feelings. But when his own power is put to the test—when he must try to save someone he loves—he may not be ready. Is it too soon? Or too late? - Goodreads
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