Thursday, November 30, 2017

"What to Say Next" by Julie Buxbaum

Last summer, I read Julie Buxbaum's delightful Tell Me Three Things. Then What to Say Next released, and my sister highly recommended it, so I requested it from my library. (Remember how awesome my library is?) It turned out to be every bit as good as I'd hoped!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

"The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck" by Bethany Turner

What if the nation's most popular erotic romance writer became a Christian and then fell in love with her pastor? This is the unlikely premise of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck.

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

"The Mistletoe Inn" by Richard Paul Evans

As part of my fun endeavor to read most of the books that have been made into this season's Hallmark Christmas movies, I picked up the audiobook version of The Mistletoe Inn.

The movie premiered on Hallmark tonight (I'm writing this from a hotel room on Thanksgiving, though I probably won't get it posted until after I get home Monday), so I thought it was perfect timing, as I listened to the whole audiobook during my 7-hour drive to Denver yesterday ... but then my hotel, which is fantastic in every other way, doesn't get the Hallmark Channel. Seriously???

Monday, November 27, 2017

"Charming the Troublemaker" by Pepper Basham

Earlier this year, I read Pepper Basham's much-acclaimed A Twist of Faith. While I enjoyed it, I didn't love it like so many others did. Still, I liked it enough to want to come back for the sequel, Charming the Troublemaker ... a book that I ended up loving!

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

"ESV Illuminated Bible" + Giveaway

How blessed are we to live in a time and place where we can easily own multiple copies of God's word? I probably own 10 or so copies myself between the various versions and study Bibles I've collected.

So why did I need another one?

I'll be honest ... I didn't. But I was immediately drawn to the beauty of the ESV Illuminated Bible, and I wanted to see it up close.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

"Christy" by Catherine Marshall

In the mid-90's, I was a big fan of the TV show Christy that aired on CBS, and I hated that it was cancelled before we knew who Christy would marry. (Apparently a series of TV movies wrapped up that mystery, but they aired on Pax TV, a station we didn't get, so I never saw them.)

My mom had a copy of Christy, so after the show's cancellation, I found the book and flipped to the end to see what happened ... only to close it in disgust, as Christy ended up with the "wrong" (to my 15-year-old mind) man. And that was the end of my journey with Christy ... until now.

Twenty years later, things look a little different, and I've relished this opportunity to read the Catherine Marshall classic!

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

"Alpha/Omega" by Kutless + Giveaway

For a time, I was a member of my church's worship choir. It was an amazing experience until I had to step away due to some health issues (which are thankfully under control now). Our director taught us some wonderful worship songs that I'd never heard before but that resonated with me on a deep level: songs like "Cornerstone" and "Great Are You Lord." So when I started listening to Kutless' new album and realized both those songs were on it, I knew that I'd found an album I'd love.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Book or Movie? "Miss Christmas"

Last week, a Christmas book popped up in one of the free book newsletters I subscribe to. Nothing unusual about that—free Christmas books are a dime a dozen this time of year. But this one caught my eye because of the elongated title: Miss Christmas: A Heartwarming Romance and 2017 Hallmark Film. (It's still free as of this writing, by the way.) It's a stupid title but brilliant marketing—Hallmark's Countdown to Christmas is wildly popular, so proclaiming a book's connection to Hallmark in the title is sure to catch a few eyes. It did for me, anyway!

Tuesday, November 7, 2017

"The Distance Between Us" by Kasie West

Of the now 3-1/4 Kasie West books I've read, The Distance Between Us falls somewhere in the middle. I liked it a lot, but I didn't love it ... probably because I read it right on the heels of On the Fence, which is shaping up to be one of my favorite reads of the whole year 🙂.

(One day, I might be able to drop that 1/4 book ... I'm just not sure if I'll ever go back and finish Lucky in Love. Why spend time on a book I can't get into? Lucky in Love seems to be an anomaly, though, so if you've tried it and not loved it, you should still give West's other books a chance.)

Monday, November 6, 2017

"Blue Ridge Sunrise" by Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter is one of my must-read authors. Her books routinely make my yearly "best books" lists, and I often stay up far too long while reading her books.

That's why I was so disappointed when her last book, Sweetbriar Cottage, didn't land for me. Of course, I still had hope for the books to come, saying,
I have great hope that Hunter's next book, Blue Ridge Sunrise (also set in Copper Creek, Georgia), will be a return to the achingly romantic, captivating stories that are Hunter's hallmark.
Thankfully, my hope wasn't misplaced, as Blue Ridge Sunrise is wonderful!

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Saturday, November 4, 2017

Book or Movie? "Marry Me at Christmas"

I've often heard this saying, and I'm sure you have, too: "The book is better than the movie." While I've found that to often be the case, I can think of a handful of movies that I enjoyed more than the books that came before them. The Time Traveler's Wife is always the first example I think of, but I could come up with several others.

Now that Hallmark Channel has started showing Christmas movies, it's giving me ample opportunity to compare movies to the books they're based on.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

What's Val Reading? (October 2017)

Welcome back for the next installment of "What's Val Reading?" Please take note of how timely we are with this post—it's November 1, and I'm posting it today, which is quite the improvement over last month 😃.