THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED
Twice a year I share a new list of wonderful books that I loved reading and highly recommend. The list I have to share with you today is super fabulous. I don’t know how I got lucky enough to run across so many great reads over the past 6 months, but man it has been a true pleasure. I gave all the books listed below a 4 or 5 star rating (on Goodreads, you can follow me over there by clicking this link). You can see my past book recommendation posts by clicking here.
In addition to the list of books, I would love to give one of you $100 Amazon Gift Card so you can buy a book or two, some new boots or maybe a clock for your pretty wall. Whatever you would like to use it for, please do.
To enter the giveaway leave me a comment telling me at least one book you loved reading and would recommend to the rest of us. You may enter from now until Tuesday February 4th. Winner will be announced and contacted on Wednesday February 5th. I can’t wait to see what you recommend!
Now, without further ramblings…here is the list, complete with my review of each one. Enjoy!
The Homecoming of Samuel Lake: by Jenny Wingfield
I haven’t read a book in quite some time, with characters as love-able and endearing as those that grace the pages of The Homecoming of Samuel Lake. (Excepting two, that I hated with a passion right from the beginning). The authors writing style is clever, engaging, humorous (I read with a big grin on my face for much of it!) and enlightening. While there are some events that take place in the story that are heartbreaking and sad to read, the main message of the book is founded on the intricate ties of family unity and love. I loved it.
The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeanette Walls
I read this book a couple of months ago, and I still think about it frequently. It’s the memoir of Jeanette Walls (a journalist for CNN). She grew up in ASTOUNDING poverty, with parents that were wildly unpredictable, slightly endearing and maddeningly negligent in many ways. I was amazed at the resilience Janette and her siblings had, their support of one another and their will to make a better life for themselves. It’s a modern-day story of survival.
Me Before You: A Novel by Jo Ho Moyes
I think I cried 5 layers of makeup off my face during the last 50 pages of this book. It’s a tear jerker to say the least. That said…I don’t think I have ever read a book that made me so sad and happy at the same time. It’s about abilities and disabilities, overcoming fears and living a beautiful, full life. The ending is not what I expected, but was so powerful and got me thinking about the amazing gift it is to be able to choose (agency, if you will) and how it’s such a basic and simple blessing that most of us overlook everyday. I wanted to be a better person after I read this book and take on a few of my own personal fears (like sledding down a snowy hill at warp speed, which I have always avoided due to the fact that I’m sure I’ll break my body and my life will be over…working up my courage, man. I am working it up. See you on a snowy hill sometime soon.)
Blackmoore (Proper Romances) by Julianne Donaldson (she also wrote Edenbrooke)
If you are looking for an awesome love story, this is it. If you love Downton Abby and wish you could roam the grand halls of a mansion in England, then read this book. It’s a clean, quick read that will keep you turning the pages well into the night. I loved it. Through and through.
Saving CeeCee Honeycutt: A Novel by Beth Hoffman
I loved this sweet book. It’s kind of a mix between The Secret Life of Bees and The Help. The main character is a girl whose mother has severe mental heath issues and the story is about love and healing. My 14 year old daughter read it and love it as well. “I totally cried my face off, Mom! It was so good.” were her words to be exact. I loved, loved, loved the main character and the wonderful women who helped to take care of her.
The Rent Collector by Camron Wright
This book is about a little family living in the middle of the largest municipal waste dump in all of Cambodia. I was so shocked by the living conditions they faced and amazed with the main characters will to improve her life. It’s about education, literacy, the power of knowledge and hope.
The Magic of Ordinary Days: A Novel by Ann Howard Creel
This is a thoughtful, quiet book set in Colorado during the 1940′s. It gives the reader a glimpse into Japanese Internment Camps, as well as the simple life of a farm wife during WWII. I loved the development of the main character, how she learned to understand herself, her losses and the situation she was in.
Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
If you enjoy reading historical fiction, I would highly recommend this book. It’s about WWII and the Russian occupation of Lithuania. I have read many, many books on WWII, but never any that depict the events that took place in this part of the world. The story is about a young girl who is taken captive from her comfortable home and made to work in prison camps. I was touched, particularly by her mother who was so brave and kind to all those they came in contact with.
My Story by Elizabeth Smart
I’m sure most of you are familiar with Elizabeth Smart and the story of her kidnapping, 9 month captivity and ultimate rescue. I was worried about reading it, considering the horrific subject matter. However, Elizabeth Smart is very tactful in her telling, giving the reader the story of what she endured without specific and detailed description of the terrible things that were done to her. She is an amazing, wonderful woman who persevered through this awful experience with a lot of grace and strength. I couldn’t get over the fact that she was only 14 years old at the time it all took place. I was so impressed with her ability to heal, and go on to live a full and beautiful life. It’s well worth the read. She is an incredible example. So glad I read it.
Mrs. Mike by Benedict Freedman and Nancy Freedman
I picked this book up to read, because so many of you have recommended it to me. Thank you! It has been around for forever (ok, maybe just 50 years or so) and I am surprised I haven’t come to know of it before. It’s a story about a 16-year-old girl who falls in love with well-respected sergeant in the Canadian Mounted Police. It reminded me a lot of “These is my Words”. It’s about love, trust, terrible challenges and difficult surroundings. I loved the messages that were intertwined throughout. It reminded me to cherish the little things in life, the “small things that make up a day”. Such great advice to all of us in the trenches of motherhood.