So, if you know me at all or follow this blog, you are aware that I like to read. A LOT. It’s Dec. 6 and I’ve read 105 books so far this year. With my bookshelves and kindle, I’ll probably be over 110 by the end of the year. I thought I’d share my top picks for 2014 for anyone looking for a good read or maybe to give a special someone a special gift for Christmas. If I reviewed the book on this blog, I’ll link to it (just click on the blue title). If not, I’ll share a little more about the book other than the Amazon product description 🙂
Because I couldn’t limit it to my top ten, I’m going to give you my Top 10 adult fiction and my Top 5 YA fiction.
Drum roll, please….
Seek and Hide by Amanda G. Stevens
Six years ago, the government took control of the church. Only re-translated Bibles are legal, and a specialized agency called the Constabulary enforces this and other regulations. Marcus Brenner, a new Christian, will do anything to protect his church family from imprisonment–including risk his own freedom to gain the trust of a government agent.
Aubrey Weston recanted her faith when the Constabulary threatened her baby. Now released, she just wants to provide for her son and avoid government notice. But she’s targeted again, and this time, her baby is taken into custody. If only she’d never denied Him, maybe God would hear her pleas for help.
When Aubrey and Marcus’s lives collide, they are forced to confront the lies they believe about themselves. And God is about to grab hold of Marcus’s life in a way he’d never expect, turning a loner into a leader.
Hacker by Ted Dekker
My name is Nyah and I’m a hacker. I know things most people would never believe. Things that shouldn’t exist, but do.
Seventeen year old Nyah Parks is a genius hacker who makes a living by cracking the firewalls of the world’s largest corporations. But when the biggest job of her life goes wrong she’s plunged into a desperate situation with only one way out: one last hack that will either save her or kill her.
So begins Hacker, a modern day parable that examines the staggering world around us, the seen and unseen, and reminds us that there’s far more to who we are than meets the eye.
Searching for Home by Jessica Keller
She thought a dead relative ruined her life, but discovering his story will save it instead.
When the story of Whitney’s long-dead anarchist ancestor, Lewis Ingram, makes front-page news, she must find a way to exonerate her relative, or risk losing everything—her mayoral-candidate boyfriend and her job at a local magazine. Aided by Nate, a volunteer at the Chicago Historical Foundation, she digs in, determined to find a positive spin on the situation. But what awaits her isn’t spin at all. It’s truth—and it will change her life.
In the world of 1886, Ellen Ingram and James Kent didn’t intend to get caught in the middle of an anarchist spy ring. Ellen was content to leave all such intrigue to her brother, Lewis Ingram. But as the political climate in Chicago changes, Ellen and James have no choice. In the midst of the famous Haymarket Riot, both realize that they must live the life God created them for, not the one dictated by society.
Two generations encounter the same truth—and neither will ever be the same.
Undetected by Dee Henderson
When asked what he does for a living . . .
Commander Mark Bishop is deliberately low-key: “I’m in the Navy.” But commanding the ballistic missile submarine USS Nevada, keeping her crew trained and alert during ninety-day submerged patrols, and being prepared to launch weapons on valid presidential orders, carries a burden of command like few other jobs in the military. Mark Bishop is a man who accepts that responsibility, and handles it well. And at a time when tensions are escalating around the Pacific Rim, the Navy is glad to have him.
Mark wants someone to come home to after sea patrols. The woman he has in mind is young, with a lovely smile, and very smart. She’s a civilian, yet she understands the U.S. Navy culture. And he has a strong sense that life with her would never be boring. But she may be too deep in her work to see the potential in a relationship with him.
Gina Gray would love to be married. She has always envisioned her life that way. A breakup she didn’t see coming, though, has her focusing all her attention on what she does best–ocean science research. She’s on the cusp of a major breakthrough, and she needs Mark Bishop’s perspective and help. Because what she told the Navy she’s figured out is only the beginning. If she’s right, submarine warfare is about to enter a new and dangerous chapter.
Meant to be Mine by Becky Wade
Ty Porter has always been irresistible to Celia Park. All through high school–irresistible. When their paths cross again after college–still irresistible. This time, though, Ty seems to feel exactly the same way about Celia. Their whirlwind romance deposits them at a street-corner Las Vegas wedding chapel.
The next morning they wake to a marriage certificate and a dose of cold reality. Celia’s ready to be Ty’s wife, but Ty’s not ready to be her husband. He’s a professional bull rider, he lives on the road, and he’s long planned to settle down with the hometown girl he’s known since childhood.
Five and a half years pass. Celia’s buried her dreams so that she can afford to raise her daughter. Ty’s achieved all of his goals. Or thought he had, until he looks again into the eyes of the woman he couldn’t forget and into the face of the child he never knew he had.
How much will Ty sacrifice to win back Celia’s trust and prove to her that their spontaneous marriage can still become the love of a lifetime?
Silent Night Standoff by Susan Sleeman
When armed robbers strike her bank, hostage negotiator Skyler Brennan’s life is on the line. Rescue comes from the last person she thought she could count on—the ex-boyfriend who chose his job over their relationship. FBI agent Logan Hunter knows how much is resting on this case. The promotion of his dreams…and the safety of the woman he’s never been able to forget. But when an unexpected twist in the case pulls Logan in two separate directions, he’ll have to make an impossible choice. Will he manage to have it all by Christmas—a career and love—or will he lose them both?
First Responders: Brave men and women alert and ready for danger and love.
Jane and Austen by Stephanie Fowers
[Jane and Austen: a Sweet Romance]
Meet Jane and Austen. First there’s Jane—an impractical, starry-eyed wedding planner; if love can’t match what she’s read in a book, she doesn’t want it. And then there’s Austen—a pragmatic, logical-to-a-fault financial consultant; even if he were interested in someone, he wouldn’t know.
The two have one thing in common: they can’t leave each other alone. Jane believes that if Austen could just experience a fairy tale romance, he would secretly love it. And Austen’s pretty sure that if one of Jane’s beloved heroes escaped from the pages of her dog-eared novels, she’d run and hide.
Both are about to be proven right.
When the rivals are called on to help a friend plan the biggest wedding of the year, an entire resort full of colorful wedding guests descends upon them—many sharing uncanny similarities to characters in a Jane Austen novel. It doesn’t take long before Jane gets everything she thinks she wants. After all, too much of a good thing can’t be all that bad, right?
But when Jane’s life turns upside down, the only one she can turn to is Austen; though he’s got his own troubles of the heart…and she’s afraid that he’s enjoying them more than he should.
Forever with You by Robin Jones Gunn
When Christy Miller met Todd Spencer the summer she turned fifteen she only dreamed that theirs would be a forever love.
Now that they have been married for almost two years, Christy and Todd are facing challenges neither of them expected. Everything that felt familiar in their relationship is being shaken. All they had hoped for in their future together is about to change.
When Christy shares her life-altering news with Todd, she doesn’t receive the joyful response she was expecting. Aunt Marti inserts a few strong opinions about how the young couple should navigate this difficult season and when Todd’s dad asks for help renovating his Newport Beach home it’s clear that nothing will ever be the same for them again.
As Christy and Todd”s relationship is radically altered will they continue to drift apart? Or will they come through the major shifts with a deeper love for each other and the One who brought them together in the first place?
The Butterfly and the Violin by Kristy Cambron
A Mysterious painting breathes hope and beauty into the darkest corners of Auschwitz–and the loneliest hearts of Manhattan.
Manhattan art dealer Sera James watched her world crumble at the altar two years ago, and her heart is still fragile. Her desire fordistraction reignites a passion for a mysterious portrait she first saw as a younggirl–a painting of a young violinist with piercing blue eyes.
In her search for the painting, Sera crosses paths withWilliam Hanover–the grandson of a wealthy California real estate mogul–who maybe the key to uncovering the hidden masterpiece. Together Sera and Williamslowly unravel the story behind the painting’s subject: Austrian violinistAdele Von Bron.
A darling of the Austrian aristocracy of 1942, talented violinist, and daughter to a high-ranking member of the Third Reich, Adele risks everything when she begins smuggling Jews out of Vienna. In a heartbeat, her life of prosperity and privilege dissolves into a world of starvation and barbed wire.
As Sera untangles the secrets behind the painting, she finds beauty in the most unlikely of places: the grim camps of Auschwitz and the inner recesses of her own troubled heart.
“In her historical series debut, Cambron expertly weaves together multiple plotlines, time lines, and perspectives to produce a poignant tale of the power of love and faith in difficult circumstances. Those interested instories of survival and the Holocaust, such as Eli Wiesel’s Night,will want to read.” –Library Journal, starred review
A Broken Kind of Beautiful by Katie Ganshert
Sometimes everything you ever learned about yourself is wrong
Fashion is a fickle industry, a frightening fact for twenty-four year old model Ivy Clark. Ten years in and she’s learned a sacred truth—appearance is everything. Nobody cares about her broken past as long as she looks beautiful for the camera. This is the only life Ivy knows—so when it starts to unravel, she’ll do anything to hold on. Even if that means moving to the quaint island town of Greenbrier, South Carolina, to be the new face of her stepmother’s bridal wear line—an irony too rich for words, since Ivy is far from the pure bride in white.
If only her tenuous future didn’t rest in the hands of Davis Knight, her mysterious new photographer. Not only did he walk away from the kind of success Ivy longs for to work maintenance at a local church, he treats her differently than any man ever has. Somehow, Davis sees through the façade she works so hard to maintain. He, along with a cast of other characters, challenges everything Ivy has come to believe about beauty and worth. Is it possible that God sees her—a woman stained and broken by the world—yet wants her still?
And the Top 5 YA….
Safelands Trilogy by Jill Williamson
In a dystopian future, eighteen-year-old Levi returns from Denver City with his latest scavenged treasures and finds his village of Glenrock decimated, loved ones killed, and many–including his fiancée, Jem–taken captive. Now alone, Levi is determined to rescue what remains of his people, even if it means entering the Safe Lands, a walled city that seems anything but safe.
Omar knows he betrayed his brother by sending him away, but helping the enforcers was necessary. Living off the land and clinging to an outdated religion holds his village back. The Safe Lands has protected people since the plague decimated the world generations ago … and its rulers have promised power and wealth beyond Omar’s dreams.
Meanwhile, their brother Mason has been granted a position inside the Safe Lands, and may be able to use his captivity to save not only the people of his village, but also possibly find a cure for the virus that threatens everyone within the Safe Lands’ walls. Will Mason uncover the truth hidden behind the Safe Lands’ façade before it’s too late?
In Outcasts, the second book in Jill Williamson’s Safe Lands series, Levi finds himself not only the leader of Glenrock’s remaining people but also the head of a new rebel force called the Messengers, intent on unmasking the Safe Lands’ lies. At the same time, Mason uncovers secrets that may be more dangerous than he ever imagined. Meanwhile, Omar decides to take matters into his own hands.
The remnant of Glenrock has been scattered. But they are not beaten.
The Safe Lands have long kept the true meaning of Liberation secret from their people. But after being sentenced to Liberation themselves, Mason and Omar soon discover the truth.
Levi watched his brothers’ public sentencing and tries to hold out hope they are still alive, He is forced to focus his attention elsewhere, however, when his new wife, Jemma, is captured and made the Safe Lands’ newest Queen. His only choice to save Jemma may be to take up Omar’s old role of undercover vigilante, leading the rebels in their quest to overthrow the government. But will Levi’s new role be enough?
Meanwhile, Jemma’s sister, Shaylinn, is ready to give birth to the “Safe Lands’” children … but not even Ciddah is sure they can be delivered safely in the midst of a rebellion. And Mason must face the fact Omar’s illness could be fatal.
If they can all unite their efforts, together they may be able to expose the Safe Lands’ lies to the people. But if they fail, they will all surely die.
The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey
The riveting follow-up to the New York Times bestselling The 5th Wave, hailed by Justin Cronin as “wildly entertaining.”
How do you rid the Earth of seven billion humans? Rid the humans of their humanity.
Surviving the first four waves was nearly impossible. Now Cassie Sullivan finds herself in a new world, a world in which the fundamental trust that binds us together is gone. As the 5th Wave rolls across the landscape, Cassie, Ben, and Ringer are forced to confront the Others’ ultimate goal: the extermination of the human race.
Cassie and her friends haven’t seen the depths to which the Others will sink, nor have the Others seen the heights to which humanity will rise, in the ultimate battle between life and death, hope and despair, love and hate.
Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter
When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school, bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.
Her older self has been through it all already–she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.
Perfect for fans of Thirteen Reasons Why and The List, Every Ugly Word is a gripping and emotional story about the devastating consequences of bullying.
This is a new release of the previously self-published title Breakable.
The Princess Spy by Melanie Dickerson
Margaretha has always been a romantic, and hopes her newest suitor, Lord Claybrook, is destined to be her one true love. But then an injured man is brought to Hagenheim Castle, claiming to be an English lord who was attacked by Claybrook and left for dead. And only Margaretha—one of the few who speaks his language—understands the wild story.
Margaretha finds herself unable to pass Colin’s message along to her father, the duke, and convinces herself “Lord Colin” is just an addled stranger. Then Colin retrieves an heirloom she lost in a well, and asks her to spy on Claybrook as repayment. Margaretha knows she could never be a spy—not only is she unable to keep anything secret, she’s sure Colin is completely wrong about her potential betrothed. Though when Margaretha overhears Claybrook one day, she discovers her romantic notions may have been clouding her judgment about not only Colin but Claybrook as well. It is up to her to save her father and Hagenheim itself from Claybrook’s wicked plot.
Where She Went by Gayle Foreman
The highly anticipated sequel to the New York Times bestselling and critically acclaimed If I Stay
Picking up several years after the dramatic conclusion of If I Stay, Where She Went continues the story of Adam and Mia, from Adam’s point of view. Ever since Mia’s decision to stay – but not with him – Adam’s career has been on a wonderful trajectory. His album, borne from the anguish and pain of their breakup, has made him a bona fide star. And Mia herself has become a top-rate cellist, playing in some of the finest venues in the world. When their respective paths put them both in New York City at the same time, the result is a single night in which the two reunite – with wholly satisfying results.
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