Saturday, December 27, 2014

Top Reads of 2014

I'm happy to say that this year, I fulfilled my goal of reading at least 26 books!  That would have been an easy goal for me a few years ago, but ever since my daughter was born, I have to intentionally set aside time to read.  I'm not complaining though, I love my munchkin!


My top five books of the year were:

1.  In the Shadow of Jezebel by Mesu Andrews - Read my review here.
2.  Meant to be Mine by Becky Wade - Read my review here.
3.  Balanced by Tricia Goyer - Read my review here
4.  Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund - Read my review here.
5.  Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers - Not reviewed.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Vacation, anyone?

Book Blogger Hop

Every week Coffee Addicted Writer hosts the Book Blogger Hop. Participants answer a question and then visit other blogs of fellow participants to chime in on the discussion. This week's question is:

“Do you have a book with a location that you just HAD to visit after reading the book?”

My answer:

I've never visited a location because of a book, but the two places I wish I could visit are:

1.  Israel - because I would like to experience the places of the Bible
2.  Emily Dickinson's House in Amherst, Massachusetts - because I'm a huge Emily Dickinson fan.

I think it's neat when books are set in cities that I have visited. I always find myself comparing the setting of the book to the real place.  I once enjoyed reading book set on Anna Maria Island, Florida, which a beach community about 25 minutes from where I live. Wish I could remember the name of the book! LOL.

What about you?

Monday, December 22, 2014

Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund

Emma Chambers craves stability. Coming from a turbulent past, her intense desire for a home and family leads her to a hasty marriage after she and her brother lose everything in a pirate attack. Emma's new husband, Patrick Garraty, is handsome, kind and God-fearing, but besieged by his own dark past. When rumors about Patrick's role in his late wife's death reach Emma, the suspicions she already had seem even more real. Still, Emma finds herself deeply drawn to Patrick in spite of her doubts. When the truth is revealed, will Emma and Patrick find the grace to forgive and release their pasts? Read more in Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund.

I thoroughly enjoyed Love Unexpected. Themes of grace and forgiveness, not only between Emma and Patrick, but also between God and humanity were expertly dealt with. The story commences with a pirate attack that effectively engaged my interest. The story was well-paced, well-written and had no trouble holding my interest. I felt like the physical desire aspects were a little overdone as Emma and Patrick were continually desiring one another, yet holding back. Still, this added tension to their relationship and the story, so I can see why it was included.

I could totally relate to Emma dealing with Patrick's son, Josiah, a strong-willed toddler. This added authenticity and a bit of humor to the story. However, it seemed to me that there were strong parenting messages in the novel regarding spanking, thumb-sucking, discipline. I personally agree with the stance that Emma chooses, so I wasn't offended, but those who adhere to more strict ideas regarding spanking, not co-sleeping, and ending thumb-sucking at a certain age may be at odds with the parenting messages that are conveyed.

Love Unexpected is the first, full-length novel in Jody Hedlund's Beacons of Hope series. There is a prequel, Out of the Storm, which is a free e-book novella that ties in with Love Unexpected. However, if you don't read the prequel, it won't negatively affect your understanding of Love Unexpected.

I recommend Love Unexpected to fans of inspirational romances. Like the rest of Jody Hedlund's books, this one is a keeper for my bookshelf. I'm sure I'll read it again and I'm already looking forward to the next book in the series.

Read an excerpt from Love Unexpected by Jody Hedlund on the publisher's website.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

Friday, December 19, 2014

To Review or Not to Review......

Book Blogger Hop

Every week Coffee Addicted Writer hosts the Book Blogger Hop. Participants answer a question and then visit other blogs of fellow participants to chime in on the discussion. This week's question is:

“Do you write a review for every book you read or only review copies from publishers?”

My answer:

It's a given that all the books I receive from publishers get reviewed eventually... otherwise they'd stop sending me books.

As for books that I buy or rent from the library, I review them if I have the time and desire. Extra time is often in low supply around my house, but I will make time if I feel the book warrants the effort. If I find an amazing book, I'll definitely share how much I enjoyed it. If the book is disappointing, I'll warn others to rent before buying.

What about you?