10 Wonderful Winter Reads (2014 Edition) and $100 Amazon Gift Card GIVEAWAY!

10 Wonderful Winter Reads (2014 Edition) and $100 Amazon Gift Card GIVEAWAY!


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 lakeThe 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 CastleThe 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 YouMe 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.)


BlackmooreBlackmoore (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.





Saveing Cee Cee HoneycuttSaving 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 CollectorThe 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 DaysThe 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 GrayBetween 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 StoryMy 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.mikeMrs. 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. 🙂

Post a comment!


  1. 1
    February 1, 2014 at 11:55 am

    LOVED Kisses from Katie when I read it in December. It’s the true story of Katie Davis, a missionary in Uganda. She moved to Africa as soon as she graduated from high school and in under a decade has started a foundation that pairs donors with children in Uganda who are going to school. She has also adopted several little girls. The stories that she shares are remarkable.

  2. 2
    February 1, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Loved reading the Call the Midwife books and then watching it on PBS.

  3. 3
    Whitney Ashton
    February 1, 2014 at 1:37 pm

    If you love fantasy, I recommend the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. I absolutely love reading them!

  4. 4
    Jen Thomas
    February 1, 2014 at 2:08 pm

    Wonder is an awesome book. also Edenbrooke

  5. 5
    February 1, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    I just finished reading How Many Roads, Volume 3 of Dean Hughes’ Hearts of the Children series. I loved it and can’t wait to read volume 4. It is LDS historical fiction about the Vietnam Era, but includes so much more than just that aspect of that time period! Thanks, Jamie, for sharing some of your favorites! HUGS

  6. 6
    Jessica Danca
    February 1, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    I really enjoyed Blame by Michelle Huneven. I had to read it for my novel writing class at the University of Iowa but really loved it. The book is about an alcoholic woman who blacked out, and wakes up in jail as a murder suspect. It’s really intriguing!

  7. 7
    February 1, 2014 at 6:48 pm

    I highly recommend Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey which changed my thinking about money. Also, I really enjoyed Gone Girl.

    • 8
      January 11, 2015 at 11:04 pm

      That’s cleared my thoughts. Thanks for cornbinutitg.

  8. 9
    February 1, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    I really enjoyed Blackmoore too! The Elizabeth Smart book is one I would love to read.

  9. 10
    Teresa Winfrey
    February 1, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    I am reading the Irish Country Doctor series by Patrick Taylor–similar to the James Herriot books.

  10. 11
    Julie Lange
    February 1, 2014 at 10:33 pm

    I loved the book a Diary for Nicholas. I was prego when I was given the book to read. I cried and cried but kept reading great book.

  11. 12
    February 2, 2014 at 5:22 am

    I loved Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt-it is a beautiful story about strength of character and spirit. I loved all of the different women who helped Cee Cee-I wanted to know those women!

  12. 13
    February 2, 2014 at 7:15 am

    I just finished the book the map of true places

  13. 14
    February 2, 2014 at 9:03 am

    I loved loved Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt. I will forever look for an opportunity to flick slugs with my spatula. Does that thought just make you giggle? 🙂

  14. 15
    Amy Orvin
    February 2, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    I liked and enjoyed reading Twilight

  15. 16
    Tildie W.
    February 2, 2014 at 7:35 pm

    I would recommend The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. It is sad but has such honest truth about their cancer situation. Loved it. I have read a few on your list, I will have to check out the others.

  16. 17
    February 2, 2014 at 11:53 pm

    Saving CeeCee Honeycutt was one of the last books I read.

  17. 18
    Karen Van Orman
    February 3, 2014 at 7:32 am

    I have finished the book Divergent by Veronica Roth. It is the first in the series and I enjoyed it. I wanted to read it before the movie came out.

  18. 19
    February 3, 2014 at 8:41 am

    I loved the book, The Storyteller, by Jodi Picoult. She’s one of my favorite authors.

  19. 20
    February 3, 2014 at 9:39 am

    I love when your book lists come out! One book I have enjoyed reading was Gathering Blue by Lois Lowry.

  20. 21
    February 3, 2014 at 10:40 am

    The last book I read was A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, and I would absolutely recommend it. It’s intricate and lovely and features strong female protagonists. Thanks for the giveaway!

  21. 22
    February 3, 2014 at 12:51 pm

    I enjoy reading the Heartland series.

  22. 23
    February 3, 2014 at 2:24 pm

    I would recommend Love Walked In.

  23. 24
    Laura J
    February 4, 2014 at 12:05 am

    Oh I really loved Olive Kitteridge by Elizabeth Strout! Was one of my favorites that I have read lately!

  24. 25
    February 4, 2014 at 12:10 am

    I read The Passage by Justin Cronin last year and haven’t stopped thinking about it since. I’ve told everyone I know to read it!

  25. 26
    February 4, 2014 at 6:59 am

    I have enjoyed the Tea Shop mysteries by Laura Childs!

  26. 27
    February 4, 2014 at 9:52 am

    The Story teller by Jodi Picoult was excellent
    thanks for the giveaway

  27. 28
    February 4, 2014 at 9:55 am

    I enjoy so many books. I love the Iris Johansen Eve Duncan series. I work in a high school library and love to read the books we have for students. The last good book I read was “Eleanor and Park” by Rainbow Rowell. It is set in the ’80’s and goes back and forth from the two main characters perspectives. I would recommend it to adults and teens.

  28. 29
    February 4, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    I am finally reading Crossed. didn’t I would like this series but I do!

  29. 30
    Peggy T
    February 4, 2014 at 1:05 pm

    The Light Between Oceans by M. L. Stedman. Wonderful book!

  30. 31
    February 4, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    I am finally reading Crossed. I didn’t think I would like this series but I do!

  31. 32
    February 4, 2014 at 3:35 pm

    I also loved Blackmoore and Edenbrooke, another book by Julianne Donaldson. I recently read The Book Thief and thought it was amazing.

  32. 33
    Glenna Wilson
    February 4, 2014 at 4:07 pm

    I have enjoyed reading the first two books in the Women of Faith in the Latter Days series, showing the difficulties and courage these women faced helping to settle the west.

  33. 34
    Amy H
    February 4, 2014 at 4:28 pm

    I loved reading Blackout by Connie Willis and the sequel All Clear. 2 of my favorites last year. Love your blog!

  34. 35
    February 4, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    Thanks for this great list…so excited.

  35. 36
    February 4, 2014 at 7:13 pm

    Thanks for this great list…so excited. I loved edenbrooke.

  36. 37
    February 4, 2014 at 7:27 pm

    Thanks for the information. I am so excited. I loved Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin.

  37. 38
    February 4, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Some favorites of mine –

    Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly

    Elizabeth and her German Garden by Elizabeth Von Armin

    The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

    Joy in the Morning and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

  38. 39
    Rachel Henthorn
    February 4, 2014 at 9:26 pm

    I loved Candle in the Darkness by Lynn Austin.

  39. 40
    April 14, 2014 at 12:33 pm

    Mrs. Mike has been one of my favorite books all my life?

  40. 41
    October 27, 2014 at 9:05 am

    I just recently finished Cutting For Stone by Abraham Verghese. The story is about congenital twin brothers born in Ethipoia to an Indian nun and a British surgeon and follows their lives after the death of their mother in childbirth and the disappearance of their father.

  41. 42
    February 8, 2015 at 3:47 am

    It’s always a pleasure to hear from someone with expertise.

  42. 43
    November 6, 2016 at 4:15 am

    Pretty helpful… looking forth to visiting again

  43. 44
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