Posted in Personal

Monday Musings…Best Books of 2013 (pt.2)

I have been a bit negligent to my blog lately….let’s just blame the holidays and all that entails! That said, here is part 2 of the best books of 2013 that I read, in no particular order:

1. Ronie Kendig’s Talon

2. Morgan Busse’s Son of Truth

3. Beth Vogt’s Catch a Falling Star

4. Carla Laureno’s Five Days in Skye

5. Lori Benton’s Burning Sky

6. Katherine Reay’s Dear Mr. Knightley

7. Melanie Dickerson

8. Gail Sattler’s The Path to Piney Meadows

9. Liz Tolsma’s Snow on Tulips

10. Karen Witemeyer’s Stealing the Preacher

Posted in Personal

Monday Musings…I’ve been nominated: The Versatile Blogger Award

Imagine my surprise when Johanna from http://booklovers1.wordpress.com nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award! How cool is that?! It’s my very first nomination and so encouraging as a blogger. The rules are as follows:

Display the Award Certificate on your blog.
Write a post and link back to the blogger who nominated you.
Nominate 15 other bloggers.
Inform them of their nomination via comment on their blog.
Post 7 interesting things about yourself.

Well, the only problem that arises here is that I do not know of 15 other bloggers to nominate! So that may take me out of the running. But still, I’m going to post 7 interesting things about myself. Here it goes:

1. I really enjoy eating and would love to be considered a foodie. For the past five months, my good friend and I have been on a journey in Chicago to find the best burger in the city. So. Much. Fun.

2. My favorite color is purple. My bedroom is purple. My kindle cover is purple. One of my Bibles is purple. My blog’s backdrop is purple.You know, the important things in life.

3. I fail to comprehend the idea of a pet. I joke with my friends that I only like animals when they’re dead and on my plate. That’s only like 99% true.

4. I studied abroad in Aix-en-Provence, France for four months, five years ago, and still I can’t talk about it enough. I loved Europe.

5. The Christmas season is my favorite time of the year. Though the actual day is often anticlimatic, I love the build up with the movies, the music, the gifts, and the parties. And then it builds up to a new year, which I always take as a signal to reevaluate my walk with Christ.

6. I teach Sunday School to 9-12 year olds and they are just the best. I cannot imagine not teaching them.

7. I post about two reviews on my blog every week, but in actuality, I read approximately seven books a week. A huge amount is YA fiction. After reading the Hunger Games, I decided to jump in the YA fray.

So that’s all folks! Thanks for celebrating with me! And thanks again Johanna!

versatile-blogger-award-pic

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized

Monday Musings…Best Books of 2013 (Pt. 1)

Can you believe it’s that time of year again? My goodness! This year went by so fast. I simply cannot just give you a list of ten of my favorite books. It’s going to be more like 20. First part now, second part in two weeks. I’ve read a ton of books this year. A part of the process of choosing the best books of the year is (1) remembering what happened, (2) wanting to read it again, (3) great expectation for more from the author, and of course (4) books that still stay with me. So, without further ado, here are ten of my favorite novels (authors) of 2013 in no particular order:

1. Patrick Carr was a new author I discovered this year and HE IS AMAZING! I had to list both of his novels. If you love anything remotely fantasy like, you will adore this series.

2. Tessa Afshar. I could not wait for this book and it lived up to all of my expectations. Darius and Sarah are like family.

3. The hero in this book had a unique problem that just pulled me in right away. I loved the way he dealt with it and watching the romance in this book? I did not want to put it down.

4. YA fiction is my new thing. And Jill Williamson is phenomenal. Her character Spencer is just an amazing narrator.

5. Stephanie Morrill. This is YA again and I was thoroughly engrossed by these novels!

6. Jody Hedlund. So romantic. That is all.

7. Dani Pettrey. These romantic mysteries are captivating. 

8. Becky Wade. Love the way he loves her.

9. Julie Klassen. A little Jane Austen, a little Jane Eyre, plus Elizabeth Gaskel =love

10. Sarah Sundin. WWII romance just can’t be beat!

Anyone agree? The list ain’t over, so stay tuned!

Posted in Personal

Feature Friday….Julie Klassen

How many people out there love regency novels? Me! So, who is one of the best regency Christian novelists? Julie Klassen. Every year she releases a new book and it’s better than the last! So without further ado, here are my favorites:

Here books have that slow romance that builds over time. And soon, this beauty if coming to a store near you:

Does anyone have a favorite Julie Klassen?

Posted in Personal

Feature Friday…Dee Henderson

If you read Christian fiction, then you’ve heard of Dee Henderson.  Ms. Henderson is one of THE Christian mystery authors. I was introduced to her novels when I was about 13 (Yikes!) and have read them ever since. I will state, that I personally believe that her mysteries are better than her romance, but I thought I would share with you my favorites of her books, such as:

This is the first novel I ever read by Dee Henderson and she had me by the end of the first chapter. If I had to pick, this is my favorite novel by her.

Love the military men in these books! And Ms. Henderson creates some strong heroines to match!

I put all of these up here because while some are better than others (the first four), you cannot start this series and not read all of them. 

I will admit, that as a 13 year old, the only thing I did not like about these novels were the characters’ ages. They were so old! But now that bothers me less (Ha!). If you haven’t picked up one of these, you don’t know what you’re missing!

Does anyone have a favorite that I didn’t mention?

Posted in Personal

Feature Friday…An Amish Giveaway

Happy November everyone! If you’re anything like me, November symbolizes…Christmas music! Love it (and may have gotten started listening to it a wee bit early this year)! In the spirit of Christmas I decided to host another giveaway, but this time, I will let you pick the book you want. Just leave a comment below with the name of the novel you want plus your email address. I will pick a random winner. The winner must live in the U.S. and respond within 48 hours of being notified of their win. The contest ends Nov. 22nd! Here are your choices:

Amish-raised Ada Rupp knows it’s time to make a commitment to the faith and join the church, especially if she wants a future with the handsome Amish widower Will Gundy.
But when she has the chance to travel to Switzerland as the caregiver of a young child, she leaps at the opportunity.

Anxious to learn more about her forebears, Ada enlists the help of a young Mennonite scholar named Daniel, but even as she develops feelings for him, she cannot get Will from her mind—or her heart. At a crossroads, Ada must decide what she is willing to give up from the past in order to embrace her future.

Every year, 30–40 young Amish men descend on the cozy little town of West Kootenai, Montana, arriving in the spring to live there for six months and receive ‘resident’ status for the hunting season in the fall. They arrive as bachelors, but go home with brides!
Sarah Shelter has lived in West Kootenai for the last ten years and wonders if she will ever fall in love. Since the tragic death of her best friend, she carries her memories in a jar along with the small items connected to them. For just as long, she’s also been carrying around her emotions instead of allowing them to penetrate deep into her heart.
Now she’s met a kind and gentle man who may be able to break down the wall. But can Sarah risk her heart to finally achieve her dreams?

In Jerry Eicher’s conclusion to his popular Fields of Home trilogy, readers will be delighted to attend the wedding of Teresa, the young Englisha girl who has come home with Susan Hostetler to learn the ways of the Amish—and in fact to become Amish herself.

But Teresa is not the only young woman to find romance in these pages. Susan, long estranged from Thomas Stoll, the young man she had intended to marry from her childhood, reunites with him….just as another man appears on the scene with designs on her heart. Which man is the one Da Hah has chosen for her?

Amidst the happiness, there is also turmoil as Menno Hostetler, Susan’s father, must face church discipline for a past sinful transgression he’s hidden for many years.  At his age, can he endure the humiliation and the path to restitution?

During a rumschpringe visit to Niagara Falls, Phoebe Miller meets Eli Riehl, a young man who charms her–and everyone else–with his exceptional storytelling ability. When Phoebe sketches scenes to illustrate one of his tales, Eli encourages her incredible talent, and together they embark on a lofty and unlikely business venture for two young Amish people–writing and illustrating a children’s book.

Eli’s kindness and appeal extend beyond his knack for words to reach inside Phoebe’s heart. But he is an only son with five sisters, and when his father suffers a heart attack, Eli gives up his writing to assume responsibility on the farm. Though willing to abandon his dream of becoming an author, he won’t give up his beloved Phoebe.

Can their love for a good story develop into something that lasts forever, or will Phoebe’s deep-seated fear of desertion stand in their way?

If no one wins the novel you want in this round, don’t worry there will be another!

Posted in Personal

Feature Friday…Gayle Roper

Gayle Roper is one of the first Christian authors that I started reading and she is amazing! She writes romance suspense novels that are heavy on the romance (the best kind!) Here are some of my favorites:

I’ve read this whole series several times over!

Here are some of my favorites. Do you have any that you would recommend?

Posted in Personal, Uncategorized

Monday Musings….Types of Romance Novels (Pt. 1)

Anyone who has read this blog for more than one day can tell one thing about me: I love romance novels. I don’t care that you know the guy is going to get the girl in the end. It’s all about the process. That said, there are many different processes and not everyone can do them right. I decided to devote the next few weeks to discussing a specific type of romance novel each week and then I will list some authors who write those types of novels well.

This week I present to you: the friend romance aka romance where two people become friends first before they consider each other romantically. This is my favorite type of romance. You will see this kind of romance often in fantasy/adventure stories where the two main characters have to learn to trust and depend on each other to get something first before they can pursue a romance.

This kind of romance can also be seen in novels where the two main characters have been friends for years and then suddenly realize they love each other (Emma by Jane Austen anyone?). I have even seen this kind of romance in arranged marriage novels, where the two main characters must learn to get along because they are stuck together.

The authors who use this trope well, are the ones who will have you putting a novel down and sighing because these are the romances that you truly see lasting until death do them part. Can this type of romance be done poorly? Yes. If the main hero begins to read more as a brother than there is a problem. Or if the romance just comes out of nowhere. There does have to be a subtle basis to it; a hint that there could be more, and those authors who can accomplish that are phenomenal. So here are some of my favorite authors who do this well:

Serena B. Miller

Tamera Alexander

Jenny B. Jones

Siri Mitchell (particularly her contemporary)

Tamara Leigh (particularly her contemporary)

Jill Williamson

Lori Wick

Have any you would like to add?