Great Books to Read this Winter (2016) and $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Great Books to Read this Winter (2016) and $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Today I (finally!) have my Winter Reading List for you! If you have followed my blog for a while now, you know that twice a year I post a list of 8-10 books that I’ve found to be wonderful. You can see the lists from 2015 here and here, 2014 here and here and 2013 here and here. (That’s a lot of books, yes?) I love writing these posts. I love talking about books and most of all, I love reading through the comment sections of these posts and reading your book recommendations. I have found many wonderful books through all of you and I am grateful.

If you want to see a comprehensive list of my book reviews you can follow me on Goodreads by clicking here.  I try to rate and review all of the books I read there so I can keep track of the really, really good ones to share with you here. I try to only post books on my blog that I’ve given a 4 or 5 star rating.

To enter the giveaway, leave me a comment  below telling me one book (or two or three) that you have enjoyed…loved, even. You can enter here, or on Instagram or Facebook. One entry per person, please. The giveaway will be open from today until Sunday February 21st at midnight. Winner will be announced Monday February 22nd. Thanks in advance for your comments! I love reading through them!

And now, on to this winter’s list…

The NIghtingale

The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah

I’ve enjoyed reading many of Kristin Hannah’s books, but this one was really amazing. Set in France during WWII, two sisters are faced with innumerable hardships, challenges and difficult choices as the Nazi’s invade their country. The story line is very captivating and characters are wonderfully endearing. I loved the character development, and so appreciated the underlying theme of family love and acceptance. A great read, to be sure.

This book won the top vote this year on Goodreads Top Historical Fiction Books. You can see the rest of the books that were in the running by clicking here.










Nobody’s Cuter than You: A Memoir about the Beauty of Friendship by Melanie Shankle

This is a darling memoir about friendship. Fun, chuckle worthy and lighthearted. Loved it. This is the third memoir style book by Melanie Shankle. All of them are great. Every time I read one of her books I have a smile on my face for days thinking back on it. She’s super down to earth and hilarious.








The Lake Houe

The Lake House: A Novel by Kate Morton

Kate Morton is one of my favorite authors. She has an amazing way of creating characters with such depth that I find myself sympathetic to all of them, despite their many flaws and choices. Her plot lines are generally full of twists and turns that keep the reader captivated (and surprised) until the very end of the book. This particular book, however was a little laborious at times, the ending somewhat predictable which was a small disappointment. However, I still enjoyed it immensely. Her writing style is just so, so good.







Secrets of a charmed life   Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

In her latest novel, Susan Meissner writes the story of two sisters growing up in London during WWII. The two are evacuated to the safety of the country when their home city is threatened by German bombs. While the first 60 pages or so were a bit slow, the rest of the story was captivating and beautifully written. It’s about the love of family, loyalty, forgiveness and redemption. Miessner weaves many golden nuggets of wisdom into the story line, which is something I always love in a book. 🙂 Here is one of my favorite quotes…

“…truth is a strange companion. It devastates one moment and enthralls the next. But it never deceives. And because of that, in the end, it comforts.”







My Name Is Mary Sutter

My Name Is Mary Sutter: A Novel by Robin Oliveira

Loved this book. It’s about a midwife living during Civil War times, who longs to become a surgeon. It is magnificently written (such beautiful prose, without being overly descriptive), has a wonderful, strong main character and is very informative regarding medical conditions during this time period. Many parts were difficult to read, however it shed a lot of light on how far medical technology has come, which I appreciated. The book as a whole was very interesting to me. I enjoyed the love story woven throughout as well. A great, satisfying read.






The Bronze Bow    The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare

This book has been around a long time. I read it when I was in junior high for the first time, but decided to read it again a few weeks ago after completing several books that were very average.  I needed something I knew wouldn’t disappoint! It didn’t. 🙂

This is a historical fiction book (for young adult readers) about an 18-year-old boy who lived during the time of Christ. After a very tumultuous childhood, he is left with a growing mound of bitterness and takes an oath of vengeance against the Romans who occupy his village. He is consumed with revenge and hate. One morning he is taken by a friend to hear Christ speak to a group of villagers. The story is about the boys transformation, faith and forgiveness.  A great read, especially for young boys.




The Mountain Between Us
The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin

This is a story about two strangers who meet in an airport. When their flight is canceled due to a terrible storm, they end up chartering a small plane together. The plane crashes in the middle of mountainous wilderness. It’s about adventure, survival, commitment…but most of all, it’s a love story. I enjoy a good Charles Martin book, and I think this might be my favorite. It has a surprise ending I didn’t suspect and I very much enjoyed the survival aspect of the book. A great, quick, clean read.







Wonder by PJ Palacio

This is one of my favorite books of all time. I know I have shared it in the past with all of you, but wanted to post a review of it again here for those of you who may have missed it. Also, there is a sequel to the book now (mentioned below) so I thought it fitting to add Wonder to this list. If you haven’t ever read it, do it!

Wonder is the story of a 5th grade boy with a severely deformed face. His family thinks it best for him to be homeschooled during his early elementary school years, but once he is old enough to go to 5th grade, off to school he goes. The book is about how he is treated at the school, the friends he makes and the change that happens to his school as a result of him being there. I cannot say enough good things about this book. I have recommended it to everyone I know, sisters, brothers, nieces, friends…etc. All of my children have read it (or have had it read to them) and I  have purchased and given away at least 10 copies. The underlying message of the book is kindness, love and bravery. Read it friends. And then have your kids read it. 🙂
Augie and Me   Auggie & Me: Three Wonder Stories by RJ Palacio
4 STARS (so far)

I have to admit that I’ve only read the first third of this book. We got it from the library on CD and my kids and I listed to it while we were driving to Bear Lake. (Loved it…especially my little boys who are 9 years old). We had to take it back to the library before we had a chance to listen to the rest.

The book contains three short stories and is a retelling of the first book (Wonder), but through the eyes of three different characters whose views are not given in the original story. The first story is told through the eyes of Julian (the respective “villain” of the story) and gives the reader a very interesting glimpse into his young life and helps us understand the reasons behind his actions. It was very good, I’m looking forward to finishing the rest!







Post a comment!


  1. 1
    February 20, 2016 at 7:58 am

    I always enjoy Sandra Dallas… always a good twist to her stories!

  2. 2
    February 20, 2016 at 9:20 am

    I enjoyed Winter Garden by Kristin Hannah. The plot was a roller coaster ride and I thought I had figured it out until KH would change it up again.

  3. 3
    February 20, 2016 at 9:27 am

    Sandra Dallas is great!!

  4. 4
    Nancy call
    February 20, 2016 at 9:34 am

    Despite the controversy, I was glad to read Harper Lee’s ‘Go Set a Watchman,’ and understand it in context of her rewrite efforts. Especially now that she has passed away, I am grateful to have read it. I liked To Kill a Mockingbird!

  5. 5
    February 20, 2016 at 10:01 am

    I remember reading the Bronze Bow in middle school. I loved it. Time to pick it up again!

  6. 6
    February 20, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Zafon. Loved how there is a story within a story.

  7. 7
    February 20, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    The Bible is always my go to book!! 🙂

  8. 8
    February 20, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    I’m a big fan of books by Emilie Richards, especially her quilting series. It’s easy to get drawn into her stories because her characters struggle with real-life issues that many of us can relate to.

  9. 9
    February 20, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    I always look forward to your book recommendations. We read a lot of them in our monthly book club. We have very similar taste in books so I know I can pick up any of the ones you recommend and I will love it. I had both my older girls 11, 9 read Wonder!

  10. 10
    February 20, 2016 at 8:41 pm

    John Grishams Rogue Lawyer

  11. 11
    February 20, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    I loved, loved, loved Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. Other good books I’ve read recently are Summer Secrets by Jane Green and Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner. I love your lists!

  12. 12
    February 21, 2016 at 12:09 pm

    I loved the Bronze Bow too. Two of my all time favorites are “David Copperfield” and “Pride and Prejudice”.

  13. 13
    February 21, 2016 at 1:31 pm

    Recently the best books I’ve read are The Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham and The Mistletoe Promise by Richard Paul Evans

  14. 14
    February 21, 2016 at 5:18 pm

    I enjoyed Katherine Center’s Everyone is Beautiful. It was humerous and a light hearted read.

  15. 15
    February 21, 2016 at 7:58 pm

    I just finished The Nightingale and it was wonderful!!

  16. 16
    February 21, 2016 at 9:43 pm

    I recently read Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley. It is a juvenile historical fiction about Thomas Jefferson’s children born through one of his slaves, Sally Hemmings. It was a little slow getting started, but by halfway through the book I couldn’t put it down. I thought about this book for days after I finished it and would highly recommend it.

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