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In 2014 I found a way to fuel my reading habit by becoming a Book Blogger. I started with one publisher and slowly added a few more. It has been so much fun! I love to see the manila envelope in my mailbox with a crisp, hot off the press, new book. Thanks to Bethany House, Revell, BookLookBloggers, Tyndale House, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review books! I have read so many fabulous books in 2014 but a few stand out above the rest. My list includes some of my favorite writers as well as new authors who absolutely blew me away.

Love's Fortune

 Love’s Fortune by Laura Frantz

I have said it before, and I will gladly say it again. This book is a fantastic work of historical fiction. Laura Frantz is a wordsmith. She has the gift of writing, the magic of words, the art of storytelling, and I cannot get enough!

In Love’s Fortune, Wren Ballantyne travels to Pennsylvania to meet her extended family, most for the first time. She is thrust into unfamiliar territory for a simple girl from Kentucky. A handsome steamboat pilot, James Sackett, is there to help her navigate all of the rules of society. It is the relationship between them that kept me turning pages through the night!

Read my review here.

THe butterfly and the violin

 The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron

I will never forget this book. In the same breath I recommend Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers to a friend, I will add The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron. It was my favorite surprise find of 2014.

I will not give anyway of the plot because that would be criminal. In short, The Butterfly and the Violin is the first book in Kristy Cambron’s debut series. Art dealer Sera James is searching for a portrait she saw years ago in a gallery. The painting is of a beautiful violinist with her hair shaved and a numbered tattoo on her arm. This book is about the story the painting tells, and the impact the story has on Sera James.

Read my review here.

Miracle in a dry season

Miracle in a Dry Season by Sarah Loudin Thomas

Sarah Loudin Thomas is another debut author in 2014 who made me fall in love with her characters and her unique style. Her writing is fresh and inviting.  If you missed this title in 2014, add it to your list of must reads!

In this book, a beautiful woman named Perla escapes to Wise, West Virginia to get away from all of the gossip and judgment she faced as an unwed mother. It is in Wise she meets Casewell and entrusts him with the truth about her situation. Casewell finds it difficult to see Perla as more than her sin, regardless of his feelings for her.

Read my review here.

Full Steam Ahead

Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witmeyer

I have long been a fan of Karen Witmeyer. I never have to wonder if I will enjoy one of her titles, it is a sure thing. Full Steam Ahead was by far my favorite book of Witemeyer’s yet. I enjoyed it immensely and I know you will too!

In Full Steam Ahead, Nicole Renard is on a mission to save her family’s business and legacy. She sets out to find not only the love of her life, but also an heir to take over her father’s shipping company. When her plans are deterred by those that mean her and her family harm, she stumbles upon Darius Thornton who is on his own mission, but his is one of self-imposed penance. The unlikely pair rescue each other in this fun and thrilling story.

Read my review here.

Fair Play

 Fair Play by Deeanne Gist

Deeanne Gist is another author who writes a guaranteed good read. What makes this particular title so wonderful is the relationship and love story Gist creates on the pages of this sigh-worthy book. I loved it.

Fair Play takes place at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893. Billy Jack Tate is a determined female doctor who is looking to make her way in the field of medicine. She is feisty, but still very much a lady. She has just hung her shingle, but hasn’t had much of a reception because medicine is a man’s world. Billy soon meets a handsome stranger who also happens to be a Texas Ranger. He is Hunter Scott and is the definition of a man’s man. They are an unlikely pair. Hunter discovers an abandoned baby at the fair and looks to Billy for help. His discovery takes the two of them down an unexpected path. Together, they work to bring life to one of the poorest neighborhoods in Chicago. At the same time, feelings grow between them.

Read my review here.

The Lady and the Officer

 The Lady and the Officer by Mary Ellis

Author Mary Ellis wrote an amazing piece of Civil War Historical Fiction in The Lady and the Officer. This title was especially delightful for me because I happen to live in the middle of Civil War Battlefields. I adored every page and I am excited to read anything Mary Ellis writes!

The Lady and the Officer tells the story of war widow, Madeline Howard whose husband fought for the Union. As the war creeps into her backyard she is rescued by dashing General James Downing. They quickly form an attachment, but Madeline is forced to find shelter with her only family left in Richmond. It is there she finds herself constantly pulled between the love of her Confederate family and her loyalty not only her country, but her new-found love.

Read my review here.

When I Fall in Love

When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren

I am definitely a reader who has a preference for Romantic Historical Fiction. This book fell outside of those lines, but I found it to be a wonderful story full of endearing characters. I so wanted When I Fall in Love to be made into a movie! More than that, it left me wanting to read the entire series.

In this third book of the Christiansen Family Novels, Grace Christiansen is sent by her family on a culinary vacation to Hawaii. It is there she meets up with Maxwell Sharpe who has been asked to look after Grace while she is away. Max is a hockey player and culinary whiz desperate for a vacation and adventure. The unlikely pair hit it off in a story you will want to read over and over. I truly hope this one makes it to the big screen!

Read my review here.

The Secret of Pembrooke Park

The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen

Love, mystery, intrigue, and great storytelling make The Secret of Pembrooke Park an easy favorite! Julie Klassen not only wrote one of my favorite books this year, she is on my list every year.

In The Secret of Pembrooke Park, Abigail Foster’s family is facing financial ruin and has accepted an offer of housing from distant relatives at Pembrooke Park. Abigail and her father find the old home just as the last family left it….eighteen years ago. The house is draped in mystery and frankly, a little creepy. Abigail works to put the house in order and begins to unravel the secrets of Pembrooke Park. She also meets a very attractive local curate, William. He and his family have some part to play in the house and the secrets it holds. Abigail must decide who to trust and with whom to exercise caution.

Read my review here.

A heart's rebellion

A Heart’s Rebellion by Ruth Axtell

I am thrilled to have discovered another author who tells a captivating story. Ruth Axtell has definitely won me over with this book. I am so excited to go back and read her other titles. If you enjoy Regency Romances, this book is for you!

In A Heart’s Rebellion, Jessamine and her childhood best friend Megan have arrived in London for their first season. Jessamine’s heart has been broken by Megan’s brother, Rees Phillips. Jessamine and Megan are the wallflowers of the season until they meet Lancelot Marfleet who is the second son of an aristocrat. Lancelot is a vicar and not exactly the suitor Jessamine had hoped to win. Instead, she begins a flirtation with a gentleman with a less than stellar reputation. As Jessamine comes to terms with her lingering feelings for Rees, she opens herself up to possible ruination.

Read my review here.

Love Skip Jump

Love Skip Jump by Shelene Bryan

Clearly, I prefer fiction. However, out of all the books both fiction and nonfiction, this book was the most memorable and life changing. I have recommended this book to countless people. If you were to pick one book form this list to read, pick this one.

Shelene Bryan is the founder and executive director of Skip1.org. Love Skip Jump is the story of how Skip1.org was founded. More than that, it is the story of how one woman’s yes radically altered the lives of so many. Shelene’s actions changed her own life and caused an unknown amount of ripples throughout the world.

Read my review here.

I would love to know your favorite reads this year! Please leave your picks in the comments as well as link to your blog. Happy New Year! Here is to sleeping less and reading more in 2015!

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