Self-Care Moment

white ceramic teacup with saucer near two books above gray floral textile
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Due to a cold, there won’t be a blog post this week. I want to take it easy, but also inform you guys about what’s going on. Which, in a way, when you’re sick you have time to snuggle with a book! Thanks to a crazy past few weeks, books have been put off again. But at least I have time to catch up, and maybe get more writing things in order regarding places to submit to, writing reference books to read, and so on.

If you’re sick, don’t forget that a book can be your best friend!

Happy writing!

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Reading a Book Series: How Many Have You Read?

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I’ve had this thought for a while with reading a book series. Why do I sometimes resist the temptation to pick up the next book after reading the first one? Is it because I have a preference for stand-alone novels where everything is wrapped up in a nice, pretty bow and you never revisit the characters again? Or does the fear of being let down by a second, third, or even fourth novel after reading a fantastic first book plague my thoughts?

The two books I recently purchased during Barnes & Noble’s Labor Day sale are part of a series. A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story is book four in the Daughters of the Promised Land series. The previous three books focus on Rahab, Deborah, and Ruth.  Just Let Go is book two in the Harbor Pointe series. The 1st book is Just Look Up. With these two books, I did not read the previous novels.

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That is a rarity. Usually with a book series, I read the first and don’t touch the other ones. Sometimes other books in a series don’t interest me. Other times, I do check one out and feel the writing, story, or characters are not as great. When other books are released, I feel I may be disappointed again and don’t bother. Or, I don’t want to follow a series and just stick with the ones I’ve read.

But just because I may have reservations about reading a series of books doesn’t mean I avoid them altogether. I have read a couple series in their entirety. Most books were fantastic from start to finish. Others had a few duds that weren’t as memorable. I think it’s all about preference and how much time and energy you want to dedicate to a series of characters and books.

Here are some book series I’ve read in their entirety:

  1. The Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer (# of Books in Series: 4)
  2. The Porter Family Series by Becky Wade (# of Books in Series: 4)
  3. The Royal Wedding Series by Rachel Hauck (# of Books in Series: 4)
  4. The Wives of King David Series by Jill Eileen Smith (# of Books in Series: 3)
  5. The Paper Hearts Series by Courtney Walsh (# of Books in Series: 2)
  6. The Angels Walking Series by Karen Kingsbury (# of Books in Series: 3)
  7. The Banister Falls Series by Kathryn Springer (# of Books in Series: 2)
  8. A Lineage of Grace Series by Francine Rivers (# of Books in Series: 5)
  9. The Treasures of the Nile Series by Mesu Andrews (# of Books in Series: 2)

Whereas…

This list shows some book series I’ve read some, but not all, of their books (this list may change if I get a chance to read more):

  1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling (Books in series: 7, read books 3, 6, and 7)
  2. Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver (Books in series: 3, read book 1; series also includes 4 novellas)
  3. The Red Gloves series by Karen Kingsbury (Books in series: 4, read books 1 and 2; books 3 and 4 on to-read list)
  4. Me Before You series by Jojo Moyes (Books in series: 3, read book 1; will skip book 2, book 3 on to-read list)
  5. Love is a Destination series by Carly Morgan (Books in series: 5, read book 1; book 2 on to-read list, no decision on next 3 books)
  6. Backstage Pass series by Janice Thompson (Books in series: 3, read book 1, no decision on next 2 books)
  7. The Living Water series by Stephanie Landsem (Books in series: 3, read book 3, book 1 on to-read list, skipping book 2)

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What are your thoughts on reading a book series? Do you read all the books or pick and choose which ones interest you?

Happy writing!

Finding the Right Fit

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Have you ever read a book that you just couldn’t read but then you return to it later on and realize why you checked it out in the first place? I’m starting to see that with this book I’m currently reading called Hurricane Season by Lauren Denton. I’ve only read a few chapters so far, but I’m enjoying the story. I’ve seen it in emails for a while from authors I’ve subscribed to and at my local library, but always avoided it for some reason. So recently, I picked it up, but still left the book untouched. Until Thursday, when I finally started read a few chapters. Emotional, excellent pace, and great characters so far have me intrigued.

At the same time, though, I couldn’t finish another book and put it aside. It was a short story collection I checked out at the library. A few of the stories were fantastic, and then all of a sudden I lost interest and just gave up altogether. I’m bummed, but maybe one day I’ll give that collection another try.

Sometimes a book doesn’t fit what you need right now, just like things in life don’t happen when you want them to. Probably a weird comparison, but I have weird thoughts sometimes! I’m not sure what journey I will be taking with Hurricane Season, but I think it might be interesting. We’ll see if it makes my September Book of the Month!

I’m keeping this post short this week so I can catch up on some reading.

Happy writing everyone!

Life Changes, as Do Books

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A week ago, you all read about me being in a difficult place creatively and spiritually. I felt like I was losing my purpose. However, I have felt a change in direction this week.

Ever since I read The Reason by William Sirls in 2013, I’ve come to believe that God uses people to encourage me when I am at my lowest. Sometimes, I even stumble upon the right book that gives me comfort and answers.

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With Labor Day weekend, Barnes & Noble had a Labor Day sale. I decided to purchase Just Let Go by Courtney Walsh, her latest book on my to-read list. But I couldn’t decide on the other book I wanted to get. Reading reviews for a second opinion, debating if the second book I bought would be something I would cherish and read again, and wondering if I was just buying the book so I could get free shipping.

You might remember my review earlier this year of Bathsheba by Jill Eileen Smith and the story that led me to discovering this author and my path as a writer. She has since written more Biblical Fiction books, including her latest, A Passionate Hope: Hannah’s Story.

I chose that book.

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Image: Amazon.com

The reasons:

  1. Familiarity with the author
  2. The themes of the book (hope, patience, being kind in the midst of meanness)
  3. The story from the Bible (Hannah is the woman who would be blessed with Samuel, a boy who later becomes a great prophet)
  4. Wanting to read a different story (this was the first book I’ve seen about Hannah)

I believe finding the books that I do that will help me understand my faith, myself, and my writing will play a bigger role in my journey going forward. Sometimes you need to learn about forgiveness and God’s goodness, other times about love and finding peace. Whatever literature leads you to these revelations, I pray you find them. I hope with these new books I will find the newest lessons I need to learn.

So one day, I can write a book that I will be proud of.

Happy writing!

My Top Ten General/Contemporary Christian Fiction Books

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Image: BenjaminMiller2651 (freerangestock.com)

It’s the final post of my top ten series! I hope you all have enjoyed the lists and have come across some new reads, or rediscovered old ones from the past. We will see what August brings for the blog!

Here are my top ten general/contemporary Christian Fiction Books. Please note that this may be more mixed because of the multiple genres some books fall under.

10) Divine by Karen Kingsbury

9) Chasing Hope by Kathryn Cushman

8) Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers

7) Red Rose Bouquet by Jennifer Rodewald

6) Strings of Faith by Terry Stafford

5) Between Sundays by Karen Kingsbury

4) Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers

3) The Sinner’s Garden by William Sirls

2) The Cat That God Sent by Jim Kraus

1) The Reason by William Sirls

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Happy writing and here’s to the end of July!

My Top Ten Contemporary Romance Books in Christian Fiction

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Image: BenjaminMiller2651 (freerangestock.com)

I began this series talking about my top ten Christian Fiction Writers. For the final two weeks, I’m going to focus on Contemporary Romance and General Christian Fiction. One reason is because I have many of these books on my book shelf. I try very hard with my faith not to be preachy or force something on others, so I understand why some may not be interested in these final two posts.

But it’s more than that for me. Character development, real life lessons, relatability, and plot have made these novels memorable. It’s why I pick them up over and over again or cherish them every day on my bookshelf.

So here’s my top ten Contemporary Romance Books in Christian Fiction:

10) Ordinary Snowflakes by Jennifer Rodewald

9) Meant To Be Mine (Porter Family Series #2) by Becky Wade

8) Maggie’s Miracle (The Red Gloves Collection #2) by Karen Kingsbury

7) The Bridge by Karen Kingsbury

6) Once Upon a Summertime: A New York City Romance (Follow Your Heart #1) by Melody Carlson

5) The Wedding Chapel by Rachel Hauck

4) A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert

3) Paper Hearts by Courtney Walsh

2) My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade

1) Undeniably Yours (Porter Family Series #1) by Becky Wade

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Tune in next week for the conclusion of my top ten series!

Happy writing!!

My Top Ten Nicholas Sparks Books

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My Nicholas Sparks Books

Before discovering Christian Romance, Nicholas Sparks’s books were my first encounter with romance novels as a teenager. My mom has always been a huge fan of his books and after reading a few, I found the other ones she had. I also watched a few film adaptations of some of the books. For this week, I wanted to do a top ten list of my favorite books from this author. See if you recognize your favorites! His next book, Every Breath, releases later this year.

10) The Last Song

9) Dear John

8) Message in a Bottle

7) The Notebook

6) See Me

5) Nights in Rodanthe

4) The Longest Ride

3) A Walk to Remember

2) Safe Haven

1) The Lucky One

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Tune in next week for my next list!

Happy writing!