10 Wonderful Books (2015 Edition) and $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

10 Wonderful Books (2015 Edition) and $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway
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As many of you long time blog readers know, twice a year I post a list of great books I have read and highly recommend. See past lists here, here, here and here.  I am excited to be sharing this years winter reading list with you today! Thanks to those of you who have written in to me,  inquiring as to when the list was scheduled to be posted. I am happy  to know that so many of you enjoy these posts! I surely love putting them together. Don’t tell the recipes, but these book posts are my favorite. 🙂 Reading is such a source of joy to me, as I know it is to many of you as well. We reader-types have to stick together, you know. If you are a member of Goodreads (social media for book lovers), you can follow me by clicking here. Some of the books I read, I don’t ever end up posting about on my blog…not that they aren’t good! I just like to reserve these posts for books I’ve given 4 or 5 stars to. However, I have tried in the past year or so to rate and review almost everything I read (I know, book nerd here…I have a problem, just ask MyHandsomeHusband). You can see all of my ratings and reviews on Goodreads, by clicking here.

(No, this post is not sponsored by Goodreads) 🙂

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Also, I have added this handy picture link (above) to my side bar.  If you click on it, it will take you to a page housing all of my book recommendation lists. Once there, if you click on any of the little icons it will take you to that seasons book list. I hope you find it convenient!

Now, part of the reason I love these posts is the opportunity it gives me to hear from so many of you, and to look through your book recommendations. I have found many a treasured book in the comment section and for that, I thank you! And so, today…

…if you would like to enter the giveaway for the $50 Amazon Gift Card please leave me a comment telling me the title of one (or two or three) books that you have loved reading. It can be anything at all! The giveaway will be open from today (January 29th) to Wednesday Feb 4th at midnight. Winner will be announced on Thursday Feb 5th.

Best of luck to you! And now, without further ramblings, here is this seasons list!

My Name Is Resolute
by Nancy Turner

5 Stars

One of my favorite books of all time is “These Is My Words” by Nancy Turner. “My Name Is Resolute” is her latest novel and while I didn’t love it as much as These is my Words…it’s still really, really smack-down fabulous. I loved the main character and found her devotion to family, forgiving nature and overall growth to be very endearing and inspirational. Turner really knows how to build a strong main character! Additionally, I  loved reading about the early events leading up to the Revolutionary War. If you enjoy historical fiction and an amazing main character, give this book a whirl. It’s pretty long (almost 600 pages), but worth it.

 

 

 

 

  The Scarlet Thread
by Francine Rivers 

  4 Stars

Francine Rivers is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Every thing I’ve read by her, I end up loving and this book was no exception.

I liked the first 300 pages of this book and absolutely LOVED the last 150. There are two story lines. One about a husband and wife who  are having marital difficulties because of lack of communication and stubbornness. The other storyline is about a sweet gal who crossed  the Oregon trail in the mid 1800’s with her husband and family and the trials they experience. Both women struggle with similar issues,  though they live in vastly different time periods. I loved the imagery and meaning behind the “scarlet thread” in the book. Loved the plug  for personal conviction to God, and the ending was really fantastic.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Mao’s Last Dancer
by Li Cunix 

 5 Stars

Mao’s Last Dancer is the memoir of a young Chinese peasant boy whose childhood is spent in terrible poverty, but with a loving, wonderful family. At the age of 11, he is randomly chosen by his communist government to apply for Madame Mao’s school of ballet. When he is accepted to the school he is forced to leave his family and to live at the school for 6 years, where he becomes a fabulous ballet dancer.

This book lends an amazing view into the harsh realities of communism, the tremendous value of family unity and love, and the wonderful blessings of freedom and liberty.

This is one of my favorite quotes…

“…love and treasure your wife (spouse) and children with all your heart. It doesn’t matter what happens in the world around you. As long as you have your family, everything will be all right.”

MyHandsomeHusband also read it this past year and loved it.

 

 

 

 

   City of Tranquil Light: A Novel 
   by Bo Caldwell
   5 Stars

This is a beautifully written book about a married couple who choose to live in China as Mennonite missionaries during the early 1900’s. It’s fiction, but based on the authors maternal grandparents real life experiences. I don’t know if it struck a chord with me because I have missionary work on the mind lately (my oldest son will be going on a mission this summer), or due to the amazingly strong, hard working, self-less and kind main characters who were continually striving to better their individual relationships with God and to serve him in the most difficult of situations. I also found it super interesting to learn more about pre-communist China and the culture there.

This would make a great book club read.

One of my favorite quotes…

“My life is colored by unexpected moments of grace, small awarenesses of God’s presence that speak to me of who He is as much as any mountaintop experience.”

 

 

 

 

 

   What Alice Forgot 
   by Liane Moriarty
   5 Stars

Wow, I really loved this book. The main character Alice sustains a head injury and forgets the last 10 years of her life. Her last memories are of being pregnant with her first baby, head over-hills in love with her husband and fresh with all kinds of hope for their future together. Fast forward 10 years and her life is very different than she thought it would be.

I found Alice to be funny and very endearing. I related with her crazy life in so many ways. Hectic schedule, pressure to be the perfect mom, frantically trying to balance activities, community service, PTA, serving healthy meals…we mothers put so much pressure on our selves, don’t we! This book was a wonderful reminder to me that its relationships that matter most. Not how perfectly clean a home is kept or how many team sports our kids play. It’s how we love each other that really counts. Letting go of the small stuff, spending time together, forgiving and forgetting, cherishing the amazing blessing it is to be part of a family.

I am looking at my precious people with a fresh perspective after reading this. Loved it. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

  I’ll Be Seeing You 
  by Suzanne Hayes and Loretta Nyhan
  4 Stars

This is a charming book about two women who become pen pals during WWII. The whole story is told through their letters to each other, which I loved. It reminded me a lot of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society (one of my favorite books). I enjoyed the sisterhood, friendship and comfort these women were able to bestow on each other. The writing is clever, often funny and very endearing. A great read.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Whistling Past the Graveyard 
 by Susan Crandall
 4 Stars

This is a quick read, with a very endearing, spit-fire red head as the main character and narrator of the book. Set in the South during the 1960’s, one of the main themes is The Civil Rights Movement. But it’s also about motherly love, kindness, finding “family”, growing up and learning to recognize God’s hand in our lives. Loved it. 🙂

One of my favorite quotes…

“My daddy says that when you do somethin’ to distract you from your worstest fears, it’s like whistlin’ past the graveyard. You know, making a racket to keep the scaredness and the ghosts away. He says that’s how we get by sometimes. But it’s not weak, like hidin’…it’s strong. It means you’re able to go on.”

 

 

 

 

 

 Man’s Search for Meaning
 by Victor E. Frankl
 4 Stars

A sweet woman I met this past summer (while we chopped vegetables together at Girls Camp) recommended this book to me, when I told her my favorite book of all time was The Hiding Place. She said Man’s Search for Meaning was her favorite book, and that it was very similar to my favorite. I couldn’t help but give it a whirl. 🙂

The author is a survivor of the Holocaust, this book is his philosophical ponderings on the events that took place while he was imprisoned in a concentration camp. This is the type of book you could read over and over, finding new insights in it each time. His thoughts on the human spirit, its basic needs and ultimate quest for validation and meaning are fascinating. I think of it often.

My only complaint about this book (and the reason I gave it 4 stars instead of 5) is that I wished it were told in story form. I wanted more details about what  exactly happened to his wife and parents. It read more like a text book, a study of behavior, really…which was interesting, make no mistake…but the story-lover in me wished for more in that regard. Still, a very worthwhile read.

 

 

 

 

 When Crickets Cry 
 by Charles Martin
 4 Stars

This book is overly wordy at times (I have to admit to skimming the frequent lists of Home Depot tools and painfully specific details of boat repair). It’s pretty predictable and a bit overly coincidental…however, I really ended up liking it a lot. There are parts that are absolutely beautifully written and offer the reader much “food for thought”. It’s packed with famous quotes (from Shakespeare, Hellen Keller, The Bible and others) that I enjoyed very much. I loved reading about the specifics of the human heart, how it works and what is involved in heart transplant surgery. It gave me a better appreciation for the human body and it’s amazing design. Definitely worth reading, a 4 star rating here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Because of Mr. Terupt
   by Rob Buyea
   4 Stars

This is a cute juvenile fiction book about a classroom of 5th graders and their fabulous teacher. I loved that the story was told through the eyes of 7 different kids in the class. It was insightful, heartwarming and inspirational. There were several laugh out loud moments, and many with tears as well. A good reminder to kids (and adults) to be supportive of one another, to stick up for each other and to realize that everyone is facing some kind of battle. Even if it doesn’t show on the outside.

I would recommend it for kids ages 10-13, or for any adults who like a good juvenile fiction book once in a while. 🙂 My daughter Emily read it and couldn’t put it down. There is also a sequel called Mr. Terupt Falls Again. I haven’t read it, but Emily has and loved it more than the first.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy Reading! Looking forward to your recommendations!

 

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Post a comment!

50 Comments

  1. 1
    Ruth D
    January 29, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Still Alice is remarkable. Read it before you see the movie.
    I’m going to throw some sci-fi out there. I loved The Martian by Andy Weir. Funny and I just didn’t want it to end.
    I’ll second The Rosie Project.
    I’m reading Being Mortal by Atul Gawande now. It’s really giving me pause.

  2. 2
    Jennifer
    January 29, 2015 at 11:39 am

    I love Cold Sassy Tree,Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen, and Saving CeeCee Honeycutt

  3. 3
    Ashlyn
    January 29, 2015 at 11:46 am

    Unbroken was great, so much better than the movie. Still Alice, so good.

  4. 4
    Melodie Mach
    January 29, 2015 at 11:56 am

    Still Alice and Wild

  5. 5
    Stacy
    January 29, 2015 at 11:57 am

    Becoming Lady Lockwood was really good if you like proper romances!

  6. 6
    Jessie C.
    January 29, 2015 at 11:58 am

    I would like to read What Alice Forgot.

  7. 7
    Jennie
    January 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    Mao’s Last Dancer looks great!

  8. 8
    Tami Jacobi
    January 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm

    The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver is a powerful read. It takes place in Africa where you follow a Baptist minister and his family as he tries to bring the word of God to a dark place. His wife and daughters struggle with his decisions while trying to fit in with the people and their everyday life in a dangerous country. The minister’s decisions are questionable when he puts his family in danger during a time of unrest. You see the beauty of this country, its people, and a well-intentioned man of God intertwine in this dramatic novel.

  9. 9
    Dorothy
    January 29, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    i just read Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz and find it very weird, but strangely compelling.

  10. 10
    ShaNae
    January 29, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Some of my absolute favorite books:
    A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter (I didn’t care for Freckles as much, but it was good)
    Panther in the Sky and Follow the River by James Alexander Thom,
    Ride with Wind by Lucia St Clair Robson it’s about Cynthia Ann Parker who was taken as a child by the Comanche’s when her family was slaughtered. It is considered a romance, but it is a really good read,
    and last, but certainly not least,
    Conversations With a Moonflower by Chris Hall that my mom gave me for Mother’s Day. It hit me big time, and I have given it as gifts to many of my friends.

  11. 11
    Jennifer Thomas
    January 29, 2015 at 12:05 pm

    New book, The Line that Divides, by new author, Melanie Mason. If you haven’t tried it, please do!

  12. 12
    Hillary R
    January 29, 2015 at 12:08 pm

    I don’t know how many people read really old classics, but I love them. I just recently read The Odyssey by Homer, Sense and Sensibility by Austin, and Much Ado About Nothing by Shakespeare. Each one has an amazing story line, and lessons to be learned.

  13. 13
    Laura Leseberg
    January 29, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Just read “How To Become An American Housewife” and loved it! A little slow to start, but a great story. Also, an oldie but timely right now “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston – about the early Ebola outbreaks. Not fiction, but very compelling.

  14. 14
    April V
    January 29, 2015 at 12:23 pm

    My favorite so far has been “The Road”. Amazing read!!

  15. 15
    marty
    January 29, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    Can’t wait to get started on your list. First one will be “When Alice Forgets”

  16. 16
    Katie
    January 29, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Becaus of Mr. Terup would be great for my daughter. I would like to get this book.

  17. 17
    January 29, 2015 at 12:39 pm

    I absolutely LOVED reading Can you keep a secret? by Sophia Kinsella. I’ve read it multiple times 🙂

  18. 18
    Vi
    January 29, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    I love Unbroken

  19. 19
    Ann
    January 29, 2015 at 12:41 pm

    Agree about WHISTLING PAST THE GRAVEYARD. Loved it! I also love the Elm Creek Quilt series, THE HOUSEKEEPER AND THE PROFESSOR, and DIARY OF ANNIE’S WAR was interesting. And make sure you and your kids read WONDER.

  20. 20
    Allison
    January 29, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    I really loved “A Fall of Marigolds” by Susan Meissner. It has two storylines of two women in two different time periods though both have had their lives irrevocably changed. One woman by the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Fire in NYC and the other by 911. The characters are well written and the history was fascinating!

  21. 21
    Lindy
    January 29, 2015 at 12:47 pm

    Thanks for the book list! Some of my favorites are Rebecca by Daphne du Morier, Persuasion by Jane Austen, and (for a change of pace :-)The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown.

  22. 22
    Tiffany
    January 29, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    My all-time favorite is The Charm School by Nelson DeMille.

  23. 23
    kim
    January 29, 2015 at 12:51 pm

    The Glass Castle and wild and unbroken!!!!!!

  24. 24
    DJ
    January 29, 2015 at 12:52 pm

    What Alice Forgot was a favorite of mine, too

  25. 25
    January 29, 2015 at 1:07 pm

    read recently: Shades of Gray

    (Civil War-in Richmond,Va] RUBY’S SLIPPERS

  26. 26
    Peggy
    January 29, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    The Girl’s Still Got It! by Liz Curtis Higgs

  27. 27
    Sandra
    January 29, 2015 at 1:20 pm

    Being George Washington,
    In The Garden of Beasts,
    The Witch of Blackbird Pond,
    Calico Captive………..

    So many favorites of both new and old. 😉

  28. 28
    BlackAsphodel
    January 29, 2015 at 1:21 pm

    My fave books are:

    Love is just a word by Johannnes Mario Simmel,The way of Icarus by Ljuben Dilov, Solaris by Stanislaw Lem & The Red Lion: The Elixir of Eternal Life by Mária Szepes.

  29. 29
    Janelle
    January 29, 2015 at 1:24 pm

    I love “All the Truth that’s in Me” by Julie Berry. Also “Time Enough for Drums” by Ann Rinaldi.
    Excited to read some of your list!!

  30. 30
    Karen D
    January 29, 2015 at 1:25 pm

    I have not been reading much lately but this is a great list for ones I could pick up. A recent favorite for me was ‘The Book of Negroes’ which has been made into a mini series showing here on tv in Canada this month.

  31. 31
    Linda
    January 29, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    One of my favorite authors was Maeve Binchy. I’m so sorry she passed away, but still enjoy her books. Two of my favorite would be Firefly Summer and Circle of Friends.

  32. 32
    Megan
    January 29, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie (by Alan Bradley)

    Son (by Lois Lowry)

    East (by Edith Pattou)

    There are so many good books out there! Thanks for giving me some new ideas for ones to read.

  33. 33
    Sharon
    January 29, 2015 at 1:27 pm

    Unbroken, Boys In the Boat and Tasting the Sky are my latest.

  34. 34
    Sydney A
    January 29, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    I have really been enjoying reading Gillian Flynn’s books!

  35. 35
    Margaret Matlock
    January 29, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    I just finished “My Name is Resolute” a very good book.Charles Martin has a new book called “Life Interupted”
    It’s about football, redemption and forgiveness. I liked it but it had some rough scenes but a good message. I have read 6 of your list and will put the other 3 on my want to read list. I love seeing what all everyone is reading. Thanks for putting it out there. Love the recipes too.

  36. 36
    January 29, 2015 at 1:38 pm

    The Notebook was great. What a wonderful finish to a love story.

  37. 37
    Emma
    January 29, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    I didn’t read much this past year. But I really enjoyed The Rent Collector. I loved These is My Words so I put My Name is Resolute on hold at the library. Can’t wait to read it. Thanks for the recommendations.

  38. 38
    lynn
    January 29, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    I have enjoyed all of these books for various reasons, but in each the characters were quite captivating.

    The Street of a Thousand Blossoms by Gail Tsukiyama

    The Orchardist by Amanda Coplin

    My Name is Asher Lev by Chaim Potok

    The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets by Eva Rice

    Happy Reading!

  39. 39
    Katherine
    January 29, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Several of my favorites from last year: “The Winter Sea” by Susanna Kearsley and “The Firebird”, which is a bit of a sequel, and “The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie” by Alan Bradley.

  40. 40
    Dorothy
    January 29, 2015 at 2:40 pm

    Love the OUTLANER series of books by Diana Gabaldon. My favorites by far!

  41. 41
    Kathie
    January 29, 2015 at 2:51 pm

    Recently, I loved Gone Girl for fun and A Short History of Nearly Everything for cool information.

  42. 42
    Jessie
    January 29, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    I loved Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen. Anything by her is great!

  43. 43
    Elina
    January 29, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    I am also grateful for these book lists. I have ended up finding many gems here, books that I love. I love Jodi Picoult books. She tends to write about controversial topics- bullying, organ donation, medical issues, family relationships and they are thought provoking. As a food blogger you might especially enjoy Handle With Care by her.

  44. 44
    Vonda
    January 29, 2015 at 3:21 pm

    I enjoy anything by Sandra Dallas. They all have that special twist.

  45. 45
    Sharon A Rouse
    January 29, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    I haven’t read any on your list. I read a lot and belong to a book club.

  46. 46
    January 29, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I know that Nicholas Sparks is too melancholy for a lot of people but I really enjoyed his last book The Longest Ride.

  47. 47
    Jessica Harwood
    January 29, 2015 at 3:36 pm

    I just finished reading “The Thirteenth Princess”. It was a junior fiction but still very sweet and fun to read. Another beautiful read last year was “Unbroken.” It’s now one of my top favorites!

  48. 48
    Tara Halladay
    January 29, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    LOVE Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. I read a ton of books, and these are the best books I have ever read. No contest.

  49. 49
    Julie
    January 29, 2015 at 4:00 pm

    Gone with the Wind; an oldie, but a goody.

  50. 50
    TERRI
    January 29, 2015 at 4:10 pm

    I liked Lila by Marion Robinson.

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