2015 Book Reviews

2015 Book Reviews

Here are my top 10 favourite books that I read in 2015. To see what else I read during that year, please check out my Read in 2015 shelf on Goodreads.

  1. The Choice by Suzanne Woods Fisher

After the sudden death of her father, Carrie’s plans to run away with beau Sol are changed in favour of raising her younger brother Andy. Angry with her decision, Sol leaves her and their faith behind for a chance of becoming a baseball star. Meanwhile, Carrie concerned with the future and well-being of her brother decides to marry a young man named Daniel and become baptised into the Amish church. She and Andy move onto a new farm with Daniel, his father and Grandmother Yonnie. In a bid to get to know the man she married, Carrie learns of the past Daniel was trying to run away from back in Ohio. The Choice is the first book in Suzanne Woods Fisher’s Lancaster County Secrets trilogy. I18746125t is a fast moving story filled with romance and faith.

The author sure doesn’t waste any time getting into the plotline.Tragedy keeps occurring at every turn. I can see how this may seem like too much for some, but for me I was so lost in the story for this to bother me.

I would recommend this book to not only fans of Amish fiction, but to those readers who enjoy a story with meaning. Even a non-religious person like myself could see the hope and wisdom in this book. I am looking forward to reading the other two books in this trilogy: The Waiting and the Search.

2. Summer at Sea (Summer #1) by Beth Labonte

25427701 I haven’t had this much fun reading a book in a long time. Between Summer’s complete lack of judgement with men to her parents paranoid escapades, Beth Labonte had me laughing from page one. Although there is some romance, this story is more about Summer’s journey to independence. It was interesting learning how much she is sacrificed for her parents and how she learns to be more independent.

Summer at Sea is the second book by Beth Labonte, I have read. The previous book I read is called What Stays in Vegas. After reading these two different stories, one thing I found to be similar was the fact that both main characters were very relatable to me. I definitely share a sarcastic sense of humour with Summer. However the most ironic thing of all Is that fact that I am getting ready to go on vacation with my own parents.. and we are going on a boat! Thankfully my parents are very different and not as paranoid as Summer’s.

I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a funny beach (or cruise) read. Summer at Sea is a book I would read again and again. I’m looking forward to seeing what this author comes up with next.

3. The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom

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I was sent a copy of The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto by Mitch Albom, from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Earlier this year I read Mitch Albom’s book Have a Little Faith and just loved it. This authors writing style really captivated me and I couldn’t wait to read more of his books. After enjoying his non-fiction, I was interested and curious as to how his style would transition to fiction.

If my 5/5 rating isn’t indication enough, it is safe to say that I loved this book. I was just as captivated with Albom’s fiction as I was with his non-fiction. The multiple time periods were right up my alley and the way he weaved real life people into Frankie’s story was so imaginative.

Initially I was concerned that the shift between time periods would be confusing. The fact that most of the story is narrated by “Music” was quite different from anything I had ever read before. However the change in time was clearly noted and the narration offered readers a view of the characters life that was quite unique.

Although I have very little music ability myself and couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket, I consider myself a music lover. Most specifically I enjoy classic Rock and Roll and have always had a keen interest in the 1950’s and 1960’s. So The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto was a real treat and learning experience for me. As I read along I was very eager to see what music icon would be introduced next.

I would definitely recommend The Magic Strings of Frankie Presto to music lovers young and old. This was such a clever story that I couldn’t put down. I am very much looking forward to reading more by Mitch Albom.

4. The Selection (The Selection, #1) by Kiera Cass

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Set in a dystopian time period, I was worried that there would be more of a science fiction aspect to the story, with perhaps aliens or robots. But there wasn’t. I was surprised that I found myself interested in what America’s world looked like. Yet at the same time I think that it was good the author didn’t go too far into detail on this because it might have put me off from enjoying the rest of the story.

The descriptions of the palace and its gardens were beautiful, despite the ruins throughout the country. Reading of the makeovers the girls received and their glamorous wardrobe is a dream for many. I couldn’t help but get sucked in. America’s love triangle between Prince Maxon and Aspen was interesting and the rebel attacks kept the story exciting.

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy chick-lit for young adults. For those who may not be interested in the dystopian genre, I’d say for them to give it a shot. I did and I wasn’t disappointed. I’ve very much looking forward to reading the next books in this series.

5. The Imposter (The Bishop’s Family, #1) by Suzanne Woods Fisher

25178167I was sent a copy of The Imposter by Suzanne Woods Fisher from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Earlier this year I read Suzanne Woods Fisher’s novel The Choice and couldn’t put it down. So when I saw that she was releasing a new series I jumped at the chance to read and review it. I went into The Imposter with high expectations and I definitely wasn’t disappointed.

I found the two female leads to be quite relatable. Despite Jesse’s knack for getting himself into less than proper situations, his storyline was very entertaining. Then there was David. I am not normally one to crush on book characters, but I certainly did in this case. Not only was he was he a good father, but the strength he had in his faith and convictions never wavered.

Unlike other books I have read, The Imposter showed a lot of growth in its characters and their relationships. My favourite perspectives varied from Birdy and David. I loved how her mindful observations of the nature around her positively influenced David and his sermons.

Reading about the Stoltzfus family was an enjoyable cozy experience and I can’t wait for the release of the second book in this series. I would recommend The Imposter to fans of the genre who are looking for a warm curl-up-by-the-fire type novel.

6. Submerged (Alaskan Courage, #1) by Dani Pettrey 

12882349These are a few of my favourite things:
Russian history, Alaska and a good mystery are some of my favourite things to read about. Submerged had all three.

Location, Location, Location:
The more books I read set in Alaska, the more I long to go there. Normally associated with harsh winters, this book was actually set in summertime. To be honest I didn’t realize how beautiful the weather could get during that season there. The McKenna family’s tour business really helped to give the reader an idea of all the things this small town had to offer. Not only did cruise ships dock there, but the outdoor activities including; diving, hiking, boating and more. The author did a great job of pairing this adventure story with its beautiful setting.

The History:
Having read the synopsis, I knew that this would have some sort of mystery to it, but I was pleasantly surprised to read of the Russian historical aspect of this book. Although a work of fiction, Pettrey used real facts to blend in and create a family connection to the characters.

The Characters:
Submerged features a wonderful cast of characters with storylines that set the stage for future books. I loved reading about Cole and the McKenna family. Although Bailey and Cole are the main characters in this first installment, readers get an introduction to the rest of the family, an aspect of the story I found equally enjoyable.

My Verdict:
I became so caught up in Submerged that I just wanted to keep reading and reading. It was an adventurous story from start to finish that kept me guessing. I can’t wait to read the next book in the Alaskan Courage series. I would recommend this series to people who enjoy reading adventurous Christian fiction.

7. Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter

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8. Secrets of the Old Ladies Club by Nan Tubre

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9. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett 

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10. Have a Little Faith: A True Story by Mitch Albom

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Honorable Mentions

Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood,  Ice: A Memoir of Gangster Life and Redemption -From South Central to Hollywood by Ice-T, Appalachian Serenade (Appalachian Blessings, # .5) by Sarah Loudin Thomas, The Woman Who Wouldn’t by Gene Wilder, Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

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