Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Best Books of 2019

How is it time to be picking a Top Ten yearly reads list again? It feels like we were just welcoming 2019, and now here it is, just hours away from 2020.

For this year's list, I decided to do something different. While I'm still picking my ten favorites, this year I'm not limiting myself to 5-star books as I have in the past. Instead, I'm going with the ten books that have most stuck with me. Ones that I loved (but maybe weren't perfect), ones that I could see myself reading again.

Review: "The Sky Above Us" by Sarah Sundin

Oh, this book! I preordered it, so it arrived in my mailbox on release day, but it kept getting pushed out of the way in favor of review books. But I knew I had several hours in the car ahead of me at the beginning of the week, so I threw it in my purse. And then once I started reading, I couldn't stop!

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Book or Movie? "The Goodbye Bride"/"Christmas on My Mind"

While many of this year's Hallmark Christmas movies were based on books, I only read one of them—it's one that I first read years ago and then sped read right before the movie's premiere: Denise Hunter's The Goodbye Bride, which was adapted into Christmas on My Mind.

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Review: "Wings Like a Dove" by Camille Eide

A few years ago, one of my favorite authors blogged about a new book that she loved: The Memoir of Johnny Devine. Though I'd never heard of author Camille Eide before, I took a chance on the book and loved it. So when I heard about her new novel, Wings Like a Dove, I didn't hesitate—I knew it would be a great reading experience!

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Review: "The Wedding Dress Christmas" by Rachel Hauck

I have loved the books in Rachel Hauck's Wedding Collection, and what could be better than a Christmas story set in that world? As soon as I heard about The Wedding Dress Christmas, I added it to my TBR.

Review: "The Dating Charade" by Melissa Ferguson

A great cover is an amazing marketing tool, and The Dating Charade certainly has a great cover! I didn't even need to read the synopsis to know that this was a book I wanted to read.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Book or Movie? "A Shoe Addict's Christmas"

I'm only a year late on this one! I actually just spotted it in my drafts—I wrote most of it last year but never finished it!

Thursday, December 19, 2019

Review: "Wyatt" by Susan May Warren

As Susan May Warren's Montana Marshalls series has released over the last several months, I've eagerly devoured each installment. I got review copies of the first several books, but I missed out on Wyatt ... so I bought it myself, as I needed to know what happened next!

Monday, December 16, 2019

Review: "Brand of Light" by Ronie Kendig

I am such a fan of science fiction movies and TV shows, but I rarely read sci-fi novels, and I've certainly never picked up anything that could be classified as a "space opera" before. But when I heard about Brand of Light, something about it intrigued me ... and now I wish the entire series was available, as book one wasn't enough!

Monday, December 9, 2019

Review: "Stay" by Catherine Ryan Hyde

You know how sometimes you finish a book and don't know what to say about it except that everyone should read it? That's me right now!

Saturday, December 7, 2019

Review: "Christmas Jars" (2019 film)

At this time of the year, my TV and movie viewing consists almost solely of Christmas movies and specials. So when I was given the opportunity to review Christmas Jars, which aired on BYU TV last weekend and also released on DVD, I jumped at the chance!

Friday, December 6, 2019

Review: "Misleading Miss Verity" by Carolyn Miller

I'm so glad that Carolyn Miller seems to be a quick writer—as soon as I finish one of her books, I'm ready to pick up the next!

Review: The Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls

Christmas seems like the perfect time to give someone a new Bible (at least Christmas is when I received all of my new Bibles as a kid!), and The Beautiful Word Coloring Bible for Girls is perfect for that girl who enjoys coloring!

Saturday, November 30, 2019

Review: "The End of the Magi" by Patrick W. Carr

As we approach Christmas, we often think of Jesus' birth, of Mary and Joseph, of the angels, and even of the shepherds. But what of the magi? I admit I don't often think of them—except to insist that the wise men in my nativity set must remain separate from the rest because they didn't show up until Jesus was a toddler.

Patrick W. Carr's The End of the Magi shines a fictional light on these mysterious men and helps the reader see the Christmas story in a new way.

Friday, November 22, 2019

Review: "A Match for Emma" by Pepper Basham

A Match for Emma by Pepper Basham

This is the second Emma adaptation I've read in the past few months (I recently read Alexander McCall Smith's Emma), and, while it might take more liberties with the story than the first did, it's also infinitely more enjoyable!

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Review: "Recursion" by Blake Crouch

A year ago, I read Blake Crouch's Dark Matter while on a five-hour flight home from San Francisco. (Best. Vacation. Ever.) When I learned Crouch had a new book releasing, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it ... except I had to, as there was a long waiting list at my library! My hold finally came in, and the wait was worth it!

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Excerpt & Giveaway: "The End of the Magi" by Patrick W. Carr

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

I'm excited to be joining with Prism Book Tours to spread the word about Patrick W. Carr's The End of the Magi! I'll be reading and reviewing the book soon, but today I'm sharing an excerpt from the novel. Check that out below, and then be sure to enter the giveaway!

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Review: "Lake Season" by Denise Hunter

Any day is a great day to read a Denise Hunter book! I'm always eager to read her new releases, and Lake Season is no exception.

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Review: "Royally Yours" by Melissa Tagg, Betsy St. Amant, Liz Johnson, and Ashley Clark

Christmas novellas from some of my favorite authors? Yes, please! The instant I heard about Royally Yours, I knew I needed to get my hands on the collection. And guess what? It's really, really good!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Review: "A Silver Willow by the Shore" by Kelli Stuart

On Tour with Prism Book Tours

A couple years ago, I read Kelli Stuart's Like a River From Its Course. I was blown away. So when I heard her next novel was about to release, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. 

Thursday, October 31, 2019

Review: "Practically Married" by Karin Beery

I am a sucker for the marriage of convenience trope. It's very common in historical romance, but I don't often see it done well in contemporary romance (it often feels quite contrived). Still, I'm always ready to try out a modern marriage of convenience romance, so of course Practically Married appealed to me.

Monday, October 28, 2019

Review: "Hereafter" by Jody Hedlund

You a know a book is good when you pick it up to "read the first chapter" ... and you put it down at 12:30 a.m. after you've read the final page!

Friday, October 25, 2019

Review: "A Cross to Kill" by Andrew Huff

If you enjoy suspense in the vein of Alex Cross or Jack Ryan, you'll find much to like in Andrew Huff's debut Shepherd Suspense novel.

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

How to Watch Hallmark on the Cheap

Guess what? According to Hallmark and Lifetime, it's the Christmas season!

But what do you do if you love Hallmark movies but don't have cable, or if you have just a basic package that doesn't include a DVR?

Enter Frndly TV.

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Review: "Dark Ambitions" by Irene Hannon

After reading (and loving!) my first Irene Hannon suspense novel last year, I was eager to get my hands on her next suspense release, Dark Ambitions. It was definitely worth the wait!

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Review: "Once Upon a Christmas" by Andrea Boyd, Mikal Dawn, Toni Shiloh, Angela Ruth Strong, Jaycee Weaver

I'm not one of those people who thinks Christmas entertainment should be reserved for the Christmas season. (Except for Christmas music. That should wait at least until November.) Christmas movies? Watch them in April! Christmas books? Read them in August! So when I had the chance to read a Christmas novella collection in October, I thought, "Why not?"

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Review: "Where Hope Begins" by Catherine West

Have you done a blind date with a book? This is my second one with JustRead Publicity Tours. You sign up, and they match you with a book to review. I enjoyed the first book they sent me, but this one? It couldn't have been a better match!

Friday, October 11, 2019

Review: "Emma" by Alexander McCall Smith

Given the option, I'd choose Mr. Knightley over Mr. Darcy every time. While I like the plot of Pride & Prejudice better than Emma (and I vastly prefer Elizabeth Bennet to Emma Woodhouse), I've always preferred Knightley to Darcy. I don't know why I felt like sharing that tidbit ... I guess I just had to get it off my chest!

Anyway, I picked up Alexander McCall Smith's retelling of Emma on a whim at the library the other day. This novel is part of the (now defunct) Austen Project featuring retellings of Austen's work by contemporary authors. I loathed Sense & Sensibility, I liked Northanger Abbey, and I'm afraid of reading Eligible (a Pride & Prejudice retelling). What would Emma bring?

Monday, September 30, 2019

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Review: "Foremost" by Jody Hedlund

I just finished reading Foremost, the second novel in Jody Hedlund's Lost Princesses series, and I'm left with just one question: How long until I can pick up Hereafter, the final book in the series? (Answer: about a month. Thankfully!)

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Review: "You Belong with Me" by Tari Faris

I hadn't heard of Tari Faris before one of my bookstagram friends started raving about her novella P.S. Goodbye (which you can get free by signing up for Faris's newsletter). After I read the novella, I understood why my friend was raving, and I immediately added You Belong with Me to my TBR. Once it arrived in my mailbox, it jumped over a few other books in the queue because I just couldn't wait to read it!

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My TBR I'm Avoiding Reading (and Why)

Happy Tuesday! I'm having a fabulous week so far, mainly because I kicked it off with a Backstreet Boys concert!!! As a child of the 90's, I was all about boy bands—and I firmly believed that *NSYNC was the best. I did like the Backstreet Boys, too, and now I would definitely say that musically speaking, Backstreet is the superior group. Because I enjoyed their music but wasn't a superfan, I just assumed that Brian and Nick were the lead singers, and the others were backups (like Justin and JC in *NSYNC) ... so I was surprised to see how often A.J. was the lead on Backstreet Boys songs! A.J. and Brian are probably the best vocalists in the group, but they all can hold their own.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Review: "Finding Lady Enderly" by Joanna Davidson Politano

Over the past few years, I've come to greatly anticipate Joanna Davidson Politano's releases, as I can always count on them to be thought-provoking, intriguing mysteries. Her new release, Finding Lady Enderly, is no exception!

Monday, September 2, 2019

August Wrap-Up

Hello, September! While I'm not as eager to see September this year as I am sometimes (because while the humidity has been unreal, the heat hasn't been that bad), I'm still ready for fall and all that it brings.

After my massive reading slump that lasted most of July, I happily devoured many books in August ... including half of the books I had on my August TBR. 50% is much better than I did in July!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

Review: "Forever Yours" by Judy Corry

I don't know what it is, but there's something about Judy Corry's writing that makes me do stupid things ... like staying up way past my bedtime to read her books. I've now read most of her books, and I think each one has been read between the hours of 10 p.m. and 3 a.m. Normally, I'm really good about putting books down and getting my sleep, but, without exception, her books call to me as I'm getting ready for bed, and then I can't put the book down until it's finished ... which is why I was VERY groggy at work yesterday. I pulled Forever Yours up on my Kindle at 10:15 ... and finished it at 12:30. Thank goodness I'm a quick reader, or it would have been much later!

Friday, August 30, 2019

Review: "Evermore" by Jody Hedlund

I'm so excited that Jody Hedlund has written another medieval series! After releasing the prequel novella for The Lost Princesses series earlier this month, she's back with book one, Evermore, and it's so good!

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Would Like Physical Copies of

Hello again, TTT friends! It's been a while since I've been around these parts. Today's topic was too good to pass up, though: Books I'd Like to Have in My Personal Library. I'm taking this to mean books I want physical copies of ... because for all of the convenience of an ebook, there's nothing like having a physical copy to hold, read, and use in #bookstagram photos!

Monday, August 26, 2019

Review: "State of Lies" by Siri Mitchell

A few years ago, I read a couple of Siri Mitchell's historical novels. I enjoyed them, but I wasn't dying to get my hands on more of her books. But then I heard about State of Lies—written in a completely different genre with a "book blurb" that caught my eye—and I decided to give it a chance.

Sunday, August 25, 2019

Review: "A Glitter of Gold" by Liz Johnson

Over the past few years, Liz Johnson has quietly become one of my favorite romance writers. I say "quietly" because her name is not one that quickly jumps to mind when thinking of my favorite writers, but every time I pick up one of her books, I. Love. It.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Review: "Stars of Alabama" by Sean Dietrich

Do you ever pick up a book by an author you've never read before and wonder how on earth you'd missed the author up to that point? Yeah, that's me right now. I had never even heard of Sean Dietrich, a.k.a. Sean of the South, before I picked up Stars of Alabama. And now I want to go back and read everything he's ever written!

Sunday, August 18, 2019

Review: "Always" by Jody Hedlund

A few years ago, Jody Hedlund, one of my favorite historical romance writers, penned a medieval YA series that I absolutely loved. (See my reviews of the books in that series here.) Though Hedlund has wrapped up that series, she isn't finished writing medieval YA; Always is the opening novella in her upcoming The Lost Princesses series!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Review: "Daughters of Northern Shores" by Joanne Bischof

There's just something about a Joanne Bischof book ... Daughters of Northern Shores is the third book written by Bischof that I've read, and it's the third of her books that I'm giving a 5-star rating to!

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Review: "Love and Other Mistakes" by Jessica Kate

I just love the trend of illustrated covers for romance novels! As soon as I saw the cover of Love and Other Mistakes, I added it to my TBR ... doesn't it look so fun?