About the Book:
The New York Times bestselling author of Learning and Leaving shares a heartwarming Christmas story about a devastating flood, lost love, and the beauty of enduring friendships.

For thirty years, Charlie and Donna Barton have run The Bridge, providing the people of middle Tennessee with coffee, conversation, and shelves of good books—even through dismal book sales and the rise of eBooks. Then in May a flood tore through Franklin and destroyed nearly every book in the store. By Christmastime, the bank threatens to pull the lease on The Bridge and is about to take the Bartons’ house as well. Despondent, Charlie considers ending his life. And in the face of tragedy, miracles begin to unfold.

My Thoughts:
The Bridge is a charming holiday tale from the always enjoyable Karen Kingsbury. As the story opens, we meet Molly Allen, who lives in Portland but still yearns for the days before she left Tennessee and the man that she loved, Ryan Kelly. She and Ryan had spent many hours in the little bookstore run by Charlie Barton, getting to know each other and falling in love.

They had parted ways under less than ideal circumstances, but they encounter each other again when they both come to Charlie’s bedside after learning of his terrible situation. Determined to help Charlie and The Bridge recover, they work together to restore his life’s dream and, in the process, have to decide whether they will be able to forgive each other for the past and move on in their lives – or whether God has other plans for them.

I greatly enjoyed The Bridge – this little book is a perfect quick holiday read!

The Sister CircleThe Sister Circle by Vonette Bright & Nancy Moser

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book:
The Sister Circle, book one of this charming contemporary series, introduces Peerbaugh Place, the quaint Victorian house that becomes a refuge to seven women of vastly different ages, personalities, and backgrounds. Through struggles and triumphs, the women forge a special bond of sisterhood. Readers will find their own place in the circle, gaining insight into their own spiritual gifts, as they laugh and cry with each of these women.

My Thoughts:
This starts out looking like fun, light Christian chick lit but reveals a surprisingly deep side as the women in the book grow closer to each other and examine their lives in the light of the gospel. I would recommend it and am planning to continue reading the series.

Pearl in the SandPearl in the Sand by Tessa Afshar

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is the second book I have read by this author (the first was Harvest of Rubies), and I wish there were more! I am definitely a big fan.

The depth of the characters, the detailed historical settings, and the intimate look at our relationship with God and others are all done so exquisitely. I loved too that this had a different approach to the main character’s restoration, as in this story the husband is instrumental in her healing.

Wonderful book!

Meet Lily Lapp, a sweet and energetic little girl growing up in a small Amish community in upstate New York. Her Papa and Mama have just welcomed a new baby brother, making her a big sister for the second time, and she loves playing with her cousins and spending time with her Grandma and Grandpa who live nearby.

It seems every day holds a new adventure, as Lily helps around the house and farm, goes to school, makes friends, and even occasionally gets into a bit of trouble. And, even as Lily is exploring and having fun, she is also learning from her parents’ example what it means to be Amish.

Read my full review and enter to win one of THREE (3) copies of Life with Lily at 5 Minutes for Books.

Blood TypeBlood Type by Melissa Luznicky Garrett

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

About the Book
Since getting attacked by a vampire, I didn’t believe in beginnings. Only endings. Every person born to this world comes with an expiration date, but I had never considered mine. At least not until I met John.

Now the end was all I ever thought about. I woke up every morning wondering if that day would be my last. Venom pulsed in my veins and seeped into my bones, infecting all my vital organs and changing me from the inside out. Slowly killing me.

But I’d welcome death in the end, if only because the alternative was even more frightening.

Popular girl Blake Ehlert has it all: a prime spot on the cheerleading squad, a jock boyfriend who’s strong and sensitive, and the winning vote for Homecoming Queen two years in a row. But when she strikes up a conversation with loner John Kelly, her entire world starts to crumble.

John Kelly is a vampire—what’s known to his kind as a Compeller. It’s his job to recruit human Donors with a particular blood type.

And Blake is his next target.

My Thoughts:
Another great YA novel from an up and coming author! In Blood Type, Garrett gives us her take on the popular vampire story, with this one centering on a young girl who has been infected by a vampire and now has to decide whether to allow herself to die or choose to be turned into a vampire.

The details of the vampire society in this book were fascinating, with each one having a different role to fulfill as they attempt to live undetected by the humans. I also enjoyed the way the plot unfolds, alternating between the present time when she is trying to figure out what to do and the recent past so we can understand how things got to this point.

Most importantly, I can safely recommend it as appropriate for my teenage friends as there is nothing too explicit or adult taking place!