Love to Read – Some 2015 Favorites

I love to read – typically two to three books a week – often at the same time – I keep one in various rooms in the house and one in the car in case I have to wait somewhere. In December, I read a book or novella every day, so these are a tiny sampling.

Thought it might be fun to list a few of my 2015 favorite reads – and ask you – what were some of yours?


Remembering Christmas – by Dan Walsh WalshXmas


Often, in the Christmas rush, we look to the new things we will get, and fail to recognize gifts we already have. I love stories that stay with me because the characters’ lives meaningfully change. Walsh’s story of renewal is like that – a gift of entertainment with unpredictable events sure to keep you reading, yet more. Subtle surprises and poignant characters struggle to find restoration from Christmas past, a place to slow down and savor Christmas present and a hope for Christmas future. Rarely do I read Christmas books before the season, but I’m glad Revell sent an advanced reader copy so early because this is a classic that will be read again, this year and next.



Love Arrives in Pieces by Betsy St. Amant Amantpieces


An Example of the Finest of Fiction


Love Arrives in Pieces is like my favorite dessert. I was sad for it to end, but I will definitely be back for another go. It is a keeper.


The issues in the lives of these realistic characters were real and relatable. It was like watching your dear friends struggle with and then work out some deep issues. How wonderful it is done with an engaging story with its lighthearted moments. It’s not often that characters issues find their way into my thoughts as I prepare my prayer list, but it was a natural connection to pray for others with similar life trials.

***I also included this quote in a blog about losing a child, with the author’s permission: After Losing a Child – Alice in Wonderland – Read that her


The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry Methuselah-Project-Low-Res-259x400


The endorsements on the back of the book, by writing authorities I greatly respect, are what drew me to read a World War II novel with historical and futuristic plot lines about a world organization which reminds one of today’s political intrigue.


That said, Rick Barry’s crisp writing, smooth storytelling, accurate research, and plausible plot line kept me reading – and enjoying – a seldom read genre. More than a pleasant surprise, it was an adventure and I appreciated the unexpected twist in the closing pages.


I was privileged to receive a copy from the publisher in return for an honest review. I highly recommend the book, and the author, who is now added to my list of gifted writers.


Jan Elder – Semi-Precious Christmas  Elder-semi-precious-Christmas-180x270


This was my first read of a Jan Elder book, but it will not be the last. I have definitely found another favorite author!

I enjoyed the plot twists in Semi-Precious Christmas. Jan has skills that take a novella beyond the routine “cute but I know what will happen” and into page-turning levels of I wonder what will happen next. She cleverly kept some of the characters’ history to be discovered as they would in a natural relationship providing bit by bit the comfort, confirmation and surprised-with-joy moments the characters (and the readers) want. We can relate to these characters – slightly flawed, needy, and yet with recognizable strengths and skills to offer those in our lives.

Well done!

I was provided a copy for an honest review, and honest, I loved it!


Mismatched by Janice Hanna Thompson  JaniceHanna

E book – one of multiple by Janice

Belinda Bauer is willing to sacrifice her own dreams and longings by “helping God” populate her home town of Poetry, Texas – with mail-order brides. Hilarious scenes abound as Belinda and the town residents discover the best plans don’t always work out the way we expect.


A fun story filled with faith and laughter and a dozen personalities that could be our neighbor, it’s a pleasurable way to learn about matchmaking in 1904. We anticipate a happy ending, but just like in life there are a lot of detours and dilemmas on the way there. A delightful read.



A Nation Under Judgment: One Nation Apart from God by Richard Capriola

Richard Capriola spent many years serving as a hospital chaplain. He completed four years of Clinical Pastoral Education in preparation for becoming a chaplain. In addition to his pastoral care experience, he has led a church based outreach ministry and served as a mental health counselor at both a regional crisis center and a psychiatric hospital.

– Review and Back Cover endorsement

Not since Josh McDowell’s Evidence that Demands a Verdict, has there been such a broad a-nation-under-judgement-book-coverresource of the social, political and ethical trends and policies of our United States. Every legislator, and every believer, apologetic, preacher and evangelist needs this resource on their shelves. A Nation Under Judgment: One Nation Apart from God is effective, interesting and factual without the emotional intolerance of much of the 21st century’s reactionary rhetoric.

Read more here



Halo Found Hope by Helo Matzelle – Review for CWA

HelopicThis tender and personal story has a lot to offer. …

I’ve had the experience of a loved one’s diagnosis that make you look at every area of life, and obsess over what will happen next and how will we all bear it. Helo gave us the gift of sharing her personal journey as she would share with a friend.

Sometimes, we depend too much on only our own experiences to understand, relate to,and help others.

Helo’s story helps me to understand the physical trials of many I can tell are disabled and, as meaningful to me, those who are disabled though not visibly.

Read more here:

Now it is your turn.  What were some of your favorite reads in 2015?



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