2019 in Review: Top Books of the Year

December 31, 2019

Oh, my goodness! Here we are again, saying goodbye to one year and hello to another. 
This past year has flown by for me. There has been a lot of changes personally, that have made this year seem like a whirlwind and a slog. I'm always in a bit of a flabbergasted state when New Year's Eve hits. I know it's coming, but it still pops up quickly. 

 I didn't quite hit my goal, and near the end of this year, posting reviews became a little difficult for me, so that means, some of this year in review will have some reviews to be posted soon from me.

This was a wonderful year of books. So many authors brought to us some gripping, sweet, laugh out loud, nail biting, and addicting stories.

So, without further ado, here are my top reads of 2019!

American Heiresses 2
by Jen Turano

This whole series so far has just been fabulous! Can't wait for book 3.

Bradford Sisters 3
by Becky Wade

I loved this whole series. I'm sad it has ended, but Becky has shared some info on a new series she is working on and it sounds fabulous!

by Katherine Reay

This was such a strong and emotional book. Just loved it!

The Silent Years 4
by Angela Hunt

This book was so gripping and historically packed full of information. Couldn't put it down!

Hope & Glory 1
by Elizabeth Camden

Oh, goodness! This story! It's a must read...and so happy book 2 & 3 are planned.

by Lori Benton

The history, the characters, the settings...woven together beautifully in to a mesmerizing story!

by Patrick W. Carr

This gave a new look at the Christmas story. It was such a good story!

by Mesu Andrews

The book of Daniel is so pivotal in the Bible. Mesu has brought this book to life and these people into a world of possibility, that is true to the Bible.

by Laura Frantz

This book!! I honestly can't eloquently say enough wonderful things about. Laura's writing is poetic!

by Abigail Wilson

This is actually a 2 for 1 because her 2nd book Midnight on the River Grey came out as well and these 2 stories are what you want in a Gothic regency romance! Swooning and mystery abounds!

by Regina Scott

This book was a sweet story. It was a little slower pace, but it is a book I enjoyed. The realisticness of the character and the adventure was a nice change of pace.

Cities of Refuge 3
by Connilyn Cossettte

This was such a fantastic story. The emotions and the ideas these characters had was one that kept you reading. You had to know how it was going to end. 

 How was 2019 for you and reading?
There were just so many wonderful books. It was hard to narrow it down.
What is on your list?
What would you recommend the most?
I can't wait to see what 2020 brings for books and everything else!

Hope you have a Happy and Safe New Years!

Kids Christmas Books from Zonderkidz

December 20, 2019

Tis' the Season to get all the cute Christmas picture books!
Goodness, how I have always loved this time of year and the cutest books you can ever find. 
I thought it would be fun to share some brand new releases that have arrived just in time for this wonderful time of year. If you're looking for a new tradition or for one more gift for that special kid in your life, these are just the perfect books for that!

I always loved reading new books to my daughter when she was younger. She would pour over them for hours studying the pictures and she would curl up to sleep with them. They are some of my favorite memories. She has gotten older now and has moved on to older books, but she still enjoys a good picture story book when I get them for review. 

Here are some of the brand new releases from Zonderkids I just had to share with you. 

A Very Fiona Christmas
by Richard Cowdery
Join everyone’s favorite hippo, Fiona, and all her loveable animal friends for their first heartwarming Christmas adventure through the zoo to find the answer to the question, “What’s Christmas?” This fun and whimsical book is the perfect read-aloud for fans of Fiona (and hippos) everywhere!

A follow-up to the New York Times bestselling Fiona the Hippo picture book comes A Very Fiona Christmas!

It’s Fiona the hippo’s very first Christmas, and the zoo is sparkling with holiday spirit. When the adorable little hippo asks her friends, “What’s Christmas?” they set out to show her all the wonders and excitement of the season. With each new experience Fiona lets out a snort, wiggles her ears, and asks, “Is THIS Christmas?”

Amidst the snow, twinkling lights, mistletoe, and stockings, Fiona ends up meeting a new friend at the zoo who helps her discover the true meaning of the holiday: Love. Snuggle up with your little ones and join Fiona and her adorable animal friends for a heartwarming holiday romp through the zoo. 
I have been such a Fiona fan since hearing about this sweet baby hippo. I've watched the YouTube videos and was so excited when she was able to be with her family again. Seeing this sweet book about Fiona celebrating Christmas, it was the perfect book for both the Christmas and the animal lover. The illustrations are bright and brilliant and the sweetness of the story just signs through. It was a joy to tag-along with Fiona on this Christmas adventure. 

A Savior is Born:
Rocks Tell the Story of Christmas
by Patti Rokus
By arranging a few rocks together an entire story can be told. A Savior Is Born, Rocks Tell the Story of Christmas, created by Patti Rokus, is an unforgettable picture book that uses majestic rock art and simple yet powerful text to inspire wonder and awe as the miracle of Christmas unfolds across the pages. Readers will be absorbed in the nature-filled artwork that shows the birth of Jesus and the celebration of the very first Christmas in a powerful and unique way.
A Savior is Born: Rocks Tell the Story of Christmas is just absolutely beautiful! The artist style and the best story of all come together for just a special and unique book. This book is not just one for kids, but for the whole family. I honestly want to just display this book on my coffee table. 

A Christmas Gift for Santa: A Bedtime Book
by John T. Elkins
The Christmas story you haven’t read: What happens after Santa Claus delivers all the Christmas presents to boys and girls around the world?

Is there a gift waiting for Santa at the North Pole? Cuddle up with your little ones and follow the journey through Santa’s Workshop in search of Santa’s Christmas present. With bright and whimsical illustrations, this new take on the Christmas story is sure to become the newest addition to your holiday reading tradition—especially at bedtime!

Has Mrs. Claus forgotten Santa on Christmas Eve? He searches and searches their cozy North Pole home until he finds homemade gifts waiting for him next to a beautiful handwritten note. But what does it say?

This sweet Christmas book, written by J. Theron Elkins and illustrated by Ag Jatkowska, will become a holiday favorite as children cuddle up with their parents to read this wonderful story of love and gratitude before they close their eyes to go to sleep.
This was a cute story! Perfect for the little ones. The illustrations are so much fun! They are bright and just pop off the page. It is a book that you can't help but enjoy. This is a great read-along and enjoy with your little one or with a family. They rhyming was a lot of fun and having already known the original version of this poem made it fun to see where it would go with Santa. 

The Berenstain Bears Go Christmas Caroling
by Mike Berenstain
Gather you family together and join in as Mama, Papa, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear venture out together in the snowy, cold night and go door to door in Bear Country singing Christmas carols.

The Berenstain Bears Go Christmas Caroling also includes 4 postcards and a holiday door hanger!

In The Berenstain Bears Go Christmas Caroling, the whole Bear family is invited by the Bear Country Carolers for a round of Christmas Eve celebrations … and your whole family is invited to sing along!

This fun new book in the popular Zonderkidz Living Lights: A Faith Story series—beloved by parents, grandparents, children, and grandchildren alike—will earn a quick spot on your child’s bookshelf. You and your children will want to read and sing along together again and again as the kid-friendly text and easy-to-read, easy-to-remember song lyrics teach valuable life lessons, encourage discussion, and take you down memory lane with each subsequent reading. The Berenstain Bears Go Christmas Caroling also includes 4 punch-out postcards and a festive holiday door hanger!
I have grown-up with the Berenstain Bears. I love how Stan and Jan's son Mike has continued their story and kept these wonderful stories going. We get to join the Berenstain Bears in this fun story as they go caroling all around Bear Country. This is another fun story to read aloud and enjoy together as a family. The colors and characters are just as rich and vibrant as ever as well follow along with Mama, Papa, Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear on their Christmas Eve fun. 

Stories like these really bring so much more joy to an already magical and wonderful season!

Top Ten Tuesday: Winter TBR

December 17, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Artsy Read Girl.
Each week features a book related topic to spotlight your Top Ten.

Winter TBR
Goodness, here we are welcoming winter....well, most of the US is anyway. Texas is in it's yo-yo mood of weather, and we have no idea what the heck is going on half the time. 

What I do know, is that there are so many amazing books I want to read that have just come out or will be coming out very soon! Winter is looking like a lovely time of reading. And with Christmas break coming, I think I will be able to get a jump start on that. 

by Connilyn Cossette
by Sarah E. Ladd
by Jaime Jo Wright

by Tamera Alexander
by Tessa Afhsar
by Laura Frantz

by Sarah Ella
by Karen Witemeyer
by Allison Pittman

by Misty Beller
by Julie Klassen

What are you hoping to read in this cold season, that is perfect for blankets, hot chocolate and a good book?

Praying With Jane by Rachel Dodge- Excerpt Feature (Just Read Tours & Giveaway)

December 8, 2019

Welcome to the Blog Tour & Giveaway for Praying with Jane by Rachel Dodge, hosted by JustRead Publicity Tours!


Praying with Jane by Rachel DodgeTitle: Praying with Jane
Author: Rachel Dodge
Genre: Devotional
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Release Date: October 2, 2018

Daily Encouragement for Your Soul through the Prayers of Jane Austen

For more than two hundred years, Jane Austen and her novels have charmed readers from around the world. While much has been written about her fascinating life, less is known about Jane's spiritual side. In this beautiful 31-day devotional, Miss Austen's faith comes to life through her exquisite prayers, touching biographical anecdotes, and illuminating scenes from her novels. Each reading also includes a thematically appropriate Scripture and a prayer inspired by Jane's petitions.

May this journey into Jane Austen's life of faith and prayer ignite and deepen your own relationship with the Father who loves you.

“Reading Jane’s prayers is a bit like looking into her heart. In them, we get to know another side of Jane’s personality—a more serious and reverent side. They reveal a genuine, practical faith in Jesus Christ. Every line displays a balance of robust belief and tender intimacy.”

PURCHASE LINKS*: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N | Book Depository | Christianbook


Rachel Dodge Headshot

Rachel Dodge teaches college English and Jane Austen classes, gives talks at libraries, teas, and Jane Austen groups, and is a writer for the popular Jane Austen's World blog. She makes her home in California with her husband, Robert, and their two young children. A true kindred spirit at heart, Rachel loves books, bonnets, and ball gowns. When she’s not reading or writing, you’ll find her hanging out with her husband and kids, serving at her church, or watching period dramas and food documentaries

CONNECT WITH RACHEL: Website | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter


(1) winner will receive 2 gift sets that include a copy of Praying With Jane as well as a matching journal & stickers (1 for you, 1 for a friend!)!
Praying for Jane JustRead Blog Giveaway
Be sure to check out each stop on the tour for more chances to win. Full tour schedule shown below. Giveaway will begin at midnight December 4, 2019 and last through 11:59 PM EST on December 11, 2019. US only. Winner will be notified within 2 weeks of close of the giveaway and given 48 hours to respond or risk forfeiture of prize.

Giveaway is subject to the policies found here.

Follow along at JustRead Tours for a full list of stops!
*NOTE: This post contains affiliate links.

Thanks for stopping by!

Top Ten Tuesday: Holiday Reads

December 3, 2019

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Artsy Read Girl.
Each week features a book related topic to spotlight your Top Ten.

Holiday Reads

We have made it to my most favorite time of year!! 
The lights, the trees, the music! The yummy smells of all the delicious once a year type of treats baking. This is the best time of year!
The colors and the festiveness just bring so much joy. 
The joy also carries over into the books. I love a great Christmas read. They are fun, the are cozy, and just bring a smile. They are perfect to curl up with on a chilly day. 

by Phyllis Clark Nichols

by Catherine Palmer, Lisa Harris, & Linda Goodnight

 A Victorian Christmas Keepsake
by: Catherine Palmer, Kristin Billerbeck, Ginny Aiken
A Victorian Christmas Cottage
by: Catherine Palmer, Debra White Smith , Jeri Odell , Peggy Stoks
A Victorian Christmas Quilt
A Victorian Christmas Tea
by: Catherine Palmer, Dianna Crawford , Peggy Stoks , Katherine Chute 

by Susan May Warren

by Denise Hunter

by Janet Tronstad
by Jillian Hart & Janet Tronstad

by Colleen Coble

by: Catherine Palmer, Elizbeth White, & Peggy Stokes

by Tracie Peterson

by: Karen Witemeyer, Kristi Ann Hunter, Sarah Loudin Thomas, & Becky Wade

by: Cindy Woodsmall

There are just some amazing Christmas stories and collections out now. They are perfect for enjoying the season.
What books do you have on your list?

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