The three most important parts of a book are: a well constructed plot, compelling characters, and a satisfying conclusion.

Monday, December 30, 2013


When Mountains Move by Julie CantrellWHEN MOUNTAINS MOVE (Into The Free #2)
Author:  Julie Cantrell
Publisher:  David C Cook
Release Date:  September 2013

This is storytelling at its best - a delightful read that will touch your heart. The ending has a strong crescendo of suspense and a satisfying conclusion. This is truly a compelling and emotional novel by a gifted writer.

Gracianna by Trini AmadorGRACIANNA 
Author:  Trini Amador
Publisher:  Greenleaf Book Group Press
Release Date:  July 2013

This story is fiction, but based on true events of the author's great-grandmother, Gracianna Lasaga. The topic of the Holocaust brings with it deep sadness and the horrible realization of what occurred at that time. This is a compelling tale of love, family, suspense and survival. A gripping novel that I highly recommend. 
The Obituary Writer by Ann Hood
Author:  Ann Hood
Publisher:  WW Norton and Co
Release Date:  October 2013

 A story about love, loss, and grief.  I was able to submerse myself into two different eras with the beautiful descriptive writing that made the characters and settings come to life. This novel, by an incredible author, delivers in every way and is one that I highly recommend. 

Return to Me by Lynn AustinRETURN TO ME (The Restoration Chronicles #1)
Author:  Lynn Austin
Publisher:  Bethany House Publishers
Release Date:  October 2013

This is a story of new beginnings with a rich blend of history, faith, and redemption. The complex characters are well portrayed, bringing the biblical history to life. A beautifully written story and one that I highly recommend.
The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley
Author:  Priscille Sibley
Publisher:  Wm Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date:  February 2013

As the book unfolds, it goes through the five stages of grief: denial, bargaining, depression, anger , and acceptance. The story is told through flashbacks that weave the storyline together. This is a love story, and a story that deals with tough - unimaginable - moral issues at times. You will become entangled in sadness throughout with the intense issues unfolding. This book grabbed my attention from the first page and I never lost interest - it never had a slow or dull moment. A beautifully written and heartwarming story that will simply stir your soul. Priscille Sibley is a new author to keep an eye on. This is a story you'll not want to miss.

Orphan Train by Christina Baker KlineAuthor:  Christina Baker Kline
Publisher:  Wm Morrow Paperbacks
Release Date:  April 2013

I was not at all familiar with this strange and little known episode in our nation's history. The orphan trains existed from 1854-1929 and each child has a sad tale; they wouldn't be on the train otherwise.  Adoptive parents gathered at the train stations looking for a child to adopt. A child is selected for free on a ninety-day trial, at which point, if you so choose, you may send him back. But, too many times the children were abused. Babies and healthy older boys were typically chosen first; older girls were chosen last. If a child wasn't chosen, they would get back on the train and try again in the next town.

Christina Baker Kline brings richness and life to this compelling story - completely absorbing and beautifully written. 

The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes
Author:  Jo Jo Moyes
Publisher:  Pamela Dorman Books
Release Date:   August 2013

The author effortlessly weaves together two stories, a century apart.  2006 - London - where Liv Halston is struggling to get over her husband's death, that happened four years earlier. In her living room hangs the portrait of The Girl You Left behind, given to her by her late husband, David, on their honeymoon. The story evolves around the portrait and just when you think the story is resolved , it takes on a twist, and then, yet another. Finally the resolution comes, and not what is expected. I absolutely loved the ending. 

This is a beautifully written story that will capture you from the beginning. The author spins a tale of twisting emotions while blending the past and the present in vivid detail. You don't want to miss this one. 

Author:  Sarah Jio
Morning Glory by Sarah JioPublisher: Plume
Release Date:  November 2013

All of the characters are vibrantly drawn, with many startling revelations throughout. The book is beautifully written and cleverly blends together two different time periods. There are strong themes of tragedy with grief, lies, deceit, and love - a story laced with secrets. I absolutely loved the epilogue which was perfect for a satisfying conclusion - just beautiful!


Author:   Lori Nelson Spielman
The Life List by Lori  Nelson SpielmanPublisher:  Bantam
Release Date:  July 2013

This beautifully structured story touched my heart. The story was brought to life by the unique characters and I enjoyed the splashes of humor spread throughout. I also felt the sadness of Brett's loss of her mother - very poignant. And all the loose ends were tied up neatly at the end. Just an incredible debut novel by an amazing writer! Most definitely a favorite for 2013. 

One Light Still Shines by Marie MonvilleONE LIGHT STILL SHINES:  My Life Beyond the Shadow of the Amish Schoolhouse Shooting
Author:  Marie Monville, Cindy Lambert
Publisher:  Zondervan
Release Date:  October 2013

This beautifully written and heart-wrenching story will leave no reader untouched. It is the story of a miraculous love as Marie Roberts emerges from a terrible tragedy and does it with boldness, strength, and wholeness, and how healing was brought to her heart and restoration to her family. She was determined not to allow herself to go down in defeat, but be strong for her children. Through faith and the power of prayer, she was filled with assuredness and was able to embrace life again.