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Top 10 Tuesday — Classics I Love and Classics I Don’t

21 Feb

The folks at The Broke And The Bookish are talking books we loved more than we thought we would and/or books we found kind of disappointing. I thought I would take the coward’s way and talk about Classics — you know, so no one would get their feelings hurt 😉 . To find out what other bloggers are talking about, click HERE.

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I am a book nerd without apology. I love a really good classic, and by good, I mean one that is highly readable. The kind that I would recommend to normal people; the kind that I think just about anyone could (or should 😉 ) enjoy! I’m not talking Finnegans Wake, but Jane Eyre (a book I knew I would love from the start). My list this week includes classics I just wasn’t sure of, but found I loved. Books that I easily can recommend. I have also included a few beloved classics — beloved by others, but not by me! Books that many love, but I just don’t understand why. So without further ado, here is my Top 10 Tuesday list:

Classics I Didn’t Think I’d Like, But Found I Loved.

Bleak House by Charles Dickens — I have to admit that I picked this book up after seeing just one episode of the BBC miniseries. This 900+ page book is a gem. If you didn’t like A Tale of Two Cities in ninth grade (I didn’t), don’t despair. This book is so much better!

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens — this book is a masterpiece of description. Way better than any movie version.

Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott — I started this book in college and never finished, although I did write a paper on it. Cringe! Later, having endured years of guilt, I started it anew. Loved. It.

Moby Dick by Herman Melville — this novel was another college assignment that I did finish. At first I thought whales, ships, uh no! But I loved this book. I loved it so much I talked about it with my youngest son, who also loves it. He in turn told his dad he had to read it. My husband? Not so much. He couldn’t get past the whales and ships . . . .

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Beloved Classics, But Not By Me!

Mansfield Park by Jane Austen — I know it may be almost blasphemy not to like a Jane Austen novel, but I cannot help myself. Austen is one of my very favorite authors and I love Persuasion, Pride and Prejudice, Emma  . . . . But I just can’t get into this novel. I didn’t like any of the movie adaptations I have seen either.

Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen — now I know you really think I’ve gone too far, but Catherine Morland is just plain silly, and unlikable to boot! Again, I didn’t like the movies.

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte — I loved Jane Eyre by sister Charlotte, and Villette by sister Anne is one of my all time favorites. But I wish Cathy and Heathcliff had just gotten lost on the moors at the beginning of the book and put this reader out of her misery!

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What about you?

Which books did you love and/or hate more than you thought?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Love and Suspense!

14 Feb

Valentine’s Day is all about romance, and this week the folks at The Broke And The Bookish are featuring what bloggers love about romance fiction. Well, I love my romance with a big dose of suspense! I love fast-paced action, twisting and turning plots, and characters that connect because of (or in spite of) the danger they encounter. Today I am featuring the authors who I believe do romantic suspense very well. To check out what other bloggers like in their romance, click HERE.

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Top Romantic Suspense Authors

Patricia Bradley — Logan Point Series

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Lynette Eason — Hidden Identity Series

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Irene Hannon — Men of Valor Series

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Lisa Harris — Southern Crimes Series

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What do you like in romance reading?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Christian Worldview

7 Feb

The folks at The Broke And The Bookish always have challenging prompts for their Top 10 Tuesday posts. This week they are challenging bloggers to explore what they would like to see more of in books. For what other bloggers are discussing, click HERE.

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So, what do I want more of in books? My book clubs have challenged and stretched my reading habits, and for this I am thankful. I think everyone should venture out of their comfort zones to read different genres or to discover new authors. Because of this I have read some books I never would have chosen on my own. And while I really enjoyed the books I am about to discuss, they seemed to lack something. As I pondered just what was missing, I came up with one common thing — lack of a Christian worldview.

Christian Worldview (also called Biblical worldview) refers to the framework of ideas and beliefs through which a Christian individual, group or culture interprets the world and interacts with it. — from Wikipedia.

Now, I am not judging the authors, but I don’t think I am going out on a limb saying that they did not begin writing saying WWJD! The books are well-written and award-winning — truly exceptional books, but left me feeling unsatisfied. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t need a book to be blatant or preachy, but I do appreciate when there is a subtly woven message of hope or redemption or forgiveness.

So today, I am presenting 4 books that I liked a lot, but would have loved if they had been based on Biblical concepts, and 4 books that I think are great examples of Christian Worldview. As always, these are my own opinions and not a judgment of the authors personally.

4 Books I Liked, But Would Have Loved If They Had Included A Christian Worldview

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr

Home Front by Kristin Hannah

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald

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3 Books I Loved That Include A Christian Worldview

Secrets of A Charmed Life by Susan Meissner

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill

Unwritten by Charles Martin

Water from My Heart by Charles Martin

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What do you want more of in books?

 

Top 10 Tuesday — Hidden Gems

17 Jan

The folks at The Broke And The Bookish have challenged us to list those books we term underrated/hidden gems. I really hate the term underrated. It has such a negative feel to it. So I am choosing to focus on books that I consider hidden gems — books that many people may not know about, but would love if they gave them a chance. The last time I tackled a list like this was back in July when the Top 10 Tuesday theme was books with less than 2000 ratings on Goodreads. Well, most of the books I read fit in this category! Why? Perhaps readers are just not motivated to rate books. But ratings mean a lot to authors — it helps with visibility and ultimately sales of their books. If you love a book I encourage you to rate it!

So here is a list of books I read in the last half of 2016 with not a lot of stars following their titles. Many of them made my Best of 2016 list too. To find out what other bloggers consider hidden gems, click HERE.

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Top 10 Hidden Gems

(Books with under 200 ratings on Goodreads)

The Cantaloupe Thief by Deb Richardson-Moore

A Day And A Life by Penelope Wilcock

The Fifth Column by Mike Hollow

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Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert

The Name I Call Myself by Beth Moran

Of Stillness And Storm by Michele Phoenix

The Raven by Mike Nappa

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Since You’ve Been Gone by Christa Allan

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

Within The Veil by Brandy Vallance

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Have you read any of these books?

If you haven’t already, head over to Goodreads and rate them!

Top 10 Tuesday — Best of 2016

27 Dec

2016 was a whirlwind of activity for my family. Several weddings, a couple of bucket list trips, and relocations led to a very busy year. Amid it all I did manage to read some great books — some new releases and some new to me. So, I am supposed to narrow my list to just 10. Hmm . . . can’t do it. 😉 So I have come up with two lists — Contemporary Fiction and Historical Fiction. No matter your preference of genre, there is something for you on these lists. To see what other bloggers consider their best of the best, please visit The Broke And The Bookish.

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Top Contemporary Fiction of 2016

 

Of Stillness and Storm by Michele Phoenix

Sea Rose Lane by Irene Hannon

Seeing Things by Patti Hill

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Since You’ve Been Gone by Christa Allan

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill

Song of Silence by Cynthia Ruchti

Sycamore Row by John Grisham

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Water From My Heart by Charles Martin

When Death Draws Near by Carrie Stuart Parks

The Witnesses by Robert Whitlow

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Top Historical Fiction of 2016

 

Anchor in The Storm by Sarah Sundin

AD 30 by Ted Dekker

A Day And A Life by Penelope Wilcock

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Forest Child by Heather Day Gilbert

The Inheritance by Michael Phillips

The Lady And The Lionheart by Joanne Bischof

Like A River From Its Course by Kelli Stuart

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The Memoir of Johnny Devine by Camille Eide

Though Waters Roar by Lynn Austin

Within The Veil by Brandy Valance

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Best of The Best of 2106

There were two books that I gave Very Highly Recommended ratings to in 2016. Both were from author Mike Nappa. These are great books I would recommend to everyone!

unknown2Annabel Lee

Fourteen miles east of Peachtree, Alabama, a secret is hidden. That secret’s name is Annabel Lee Truckson, and even she doesn’t know why her mysterious uncle has stowed her deep underground in a military-style bunker. He’s left her with a few German words, a barely-controlled guard dog, and a single command: “Don’t open that door for anybody, you got it? Not even me.”

Above ground, a former Army sniper called The Mute and an enigmatic “Dr. Smith” know about the girl. As the race begins to find her, the tension builds. Who wants to set her free? Why does the other want to keep her captive forever? Who will reach her first?

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill need to piece together the clues and stay alive long enough to retrieve the girl–before it’s too late.

41jklpz8chl-_sx322_bo1204203200_The Raven 

As part of his regular street performance, a deception specialist who goes by the name The Raven picks his audience’s pockets while they watch. It’s harmless fun — until he decides to keep the spare wallet a city councilman doesn’t seem to miss, hoping for a few extra bucks. When he finds not money but compromising photos of the councilman and his “personal assistants”, The Raven hatches a plan to blackmail the man. However, he quickly finds himself in over his head with the Ukrainian Mafia and mired in a life-threatening plot code-named, “Nevermore”.

Private investigators Trudi Coffey and Samuel Hill must scramble to sort out the clues — and their complicated feelings for each other — to rescue The Raven and save hundreds of lives from a wildcard bent on revenge.

 

Merry Christmas!

25 Dec

Every year I share Third Day’s Born in Bethlehem. I just love this song! Enjoy!

 

Top 10 Tuesday — New To Me Authors

6 Dec

2016 has been a great reading year! Lots of favorite authors with new books and plenty of new to me authors to insure many hours of reading pleasure in the future. This week the folks at The Broke And The Bookish are featuring 2016 New To You Authors. To discover a new to you author, click HERE.

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2016 New To Me Authors

 

 

biopicCalled “the suspense author everyone is talking about” by Family Fiction Edge magazine, Zachary Bartels is the author of critically acclaimed supernatural thrillers. An award-winning preacher and Bible teacher, Zachary has been serving as pastor of Judson Baptist Church in Lansing, Michigan, for ten years. He enjoys film, fine cigars, stimulating conversation, gourmet coffee, reading, writing, and cycling.

His debut novel, Playing Saint, has been called an “intrigue-filled thriller” (Library Journal) and “a page-turner from the very beginning . . . gripping and realistic” (RT Book Reviews). His newest book, The Last Con (HarperCollins Christian Fiction, 2015) has met early positive reviews. He lives in the capital city of a mitten-shaped Midwestern state with his wife Erin and their son.

 

71xnmguh8yl-_ux250_A graduate of Taylor University with a degree in Christian Education, and a former bookseller at Barnes & Noble, Dawn Crandall didn’t begin writing until 2010 when her husband found out about her long-buried dream of writing a book. Without a doubt about someday becoming published, he encouraged her to quit her job in 2010 in order to focus on writing The Hesitant Heiress. It didn’t take her long to realize that writing books was what she was made to do.

Apart from writing books, Dawn is also a mom to two precious little boys and also serves with her husband in a premarriage mentor program at their local church in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

Dawn is a member of the American Christian Fiction Writers, secretary for the Indiana ACFW Chapter (Hoosier Ink), and associate member of the Great Lakes ACFW Chapter.

The Everstone Chronicles is Dawn’s first series with Whitaker House. All three books composing the series were semifinalists in ACFW’s prestigious Genesis Writing Contest, the third book going on to become a finalist in 2013.

 

davis_lindabrooks_2016_01-31-copy-2Linda Brooks Davis is the 2014 Jerry Jenkins Operation First Novel 1st place winner. Her debut historical novel, The Calling of Ella McFarland, was released on December 1, 2015. Now working on her second novel, Linda pens stories inspired by her ancestors’ lives of faith and grit, tales that testify to the hope and healing found in Jesus.

Linda was born and reared on a farm in small-town Raymondville in the southernmost tip of Texas. She attended Abilene Christian University where she earned a degree in speech pathology in 1968 and maintained a forty-year career in public schools while rearing a daughter and son who are now veterinarians in practice together. As the eldest student in her post-graduate class, she earned a Master’s degree from Houston Baptist University in 2002.

Now retired, Linda lives in Central Texas with her husband. When not writing, Linda dotes on her six beautiful grandchildren, serves in lay ministry at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, reads, and explores genealogy.

 

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4114506_origCamille Eide writes romantic, inspirational dramas about love, faith, and family. She lives in Oregon with her husband and is a mom, grammy, bass guitarist, and a fan of muscle cars, tender romance, oldies Rock, and Peanut M&Ms. I read her historical/romance novel, The Memoirs of Johnny Devine.

 

 

 

 

amy-matayo-1Author Amy Matayo is an excellent speaker, mathematician, seamstress, chef…and liar. She’s decent at writing books but not much else. Then again, the book thing makes her marginally cool and a whole lot intimidating.

Not really. Not even her kids are afraid of her.

She graduated with barely passing grades from John Brown University with a degree in Journalism. But she’s proud of that degree and all the ways she hasn’t put it to good use.

She laughs often, cries easily, feels deeply, and loves hard. She lives in Arkansas with her husband and four kids and is working on her next novel.

I read The Thirteenth Chance.

 

4129Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater. Rachel McMillan is a keen history enthusiast and a lifelong bibliophile. When not writing or reading, she can most often be found drinking tea and watching British miniseries. Rachel lives in bustling Toronto, where she works in educational publishing and pursues her passion for art, literature, music, and theater. I read The Bachelor Girl’s Guide to Murder

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611b1ezgmtl-_ux250_For 27 years, Deb Richardson-Moore was a reporter for The Greenville (SC) News, winning three national writing awards and routine recognition from the South Carolina Press Association. She was a wife, mother of three, and that suburban cliche, a minivan-driving soccer mom.

She then took over the religion beat at The News and enrolled in a nearby seminary to learn more about it. Her life was never the same. She left the newspaper and earned a master of divinity degree. Because jobs for clergywomen were scarce in her own Baptist denomination, she accepted a job as pastor of the non-denominational Triune Mercy Center, a crumbling, inner-city mission church to the homeless.

Deb is a graduate of Wake Forest University and Erskine Theological Seminary. She and her husband, Vince, have three grown children. The Cantaloupe Thief was her debut novel.

 

41tko0oljtl-_ux250_Mike Nappa is an entertainment journalist at FamilyFans.com, as well as a bestselling and award-winning author with more than one million books sold worldwide. When he was a kid, the stories of Edgar Allan Poe scared him silly. Today he owns everything Poe ever wrote. A former fiction acquisitions editor, Mike earned his MA in English literature and now writes full time. Annabel Lee was his debut novel.

 

press-kit-headshotSandra Orchard is a multi-award-winning author of mysteries and romantic suspense She is an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Romance Writers of America and The Word Guild (Canada). A mother of three grown children, she lives in Niagara, Canada with her real-life-hero husband and writes full time . . . when not doting on her young grandchildren.

 

 

 

kelli-stuart-sqKelli Stuart is a writer and a storyteller at heart. A graduate of Baylor University with a degree in English Professional Writing, and a minor in the Russian language, Kelli has honed her skills in the written word through editing, ghostwriting, blogging, and traveling the world. Kelli has a gift for languages that puts her at ease in other cultures, allowing her to view this creative life from the vantage point of mothers worldwide.

Kelli is a noted blogger and the writer behind the wildly popular blog Minivans Are Hot.com. She has traveled extensively, constantly honing her craft at weaving words into tales as she experiences life and the world. Kelli has written for, and represented, such brands as The Huffington Post, 5 Minutes for Mom, Tonic.com, Disney, American Girl, The MOB Society, Extraordinary Mommy, God Size Dreams, Short Fiction Break, and (in)courage. Kelli has also served as editor-in-chief for the St. Louis Bloggers Guild and as a board member for the St. Louis Women in Media. I read Like A River from Its Course.

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(All author biographical information came directly from their websites.)

What new authors did you discover in 2016?