Top 5 Favorite Animal Adventures (& Party Wrap-Up!)

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Can you believe it’s the last day of the party?!! It’s been such a blessing sharing a mutual love of books with you all. πŸ˜‰ I officially can’t wait for next year. πŸ˜€ But before you go, there’s a couple more things (and one last genre!) I’d like to share with you.

First off, the giveaway is over! Winners have been chosen, so head on over to Rebekah’s blog to see who won and congratulate them. πŸ˜‰Β She also did a fantastic job thanking all of our hostesses and YOU the party-goers. But of course she left herself out of all the thanks. (Which is really cool of her, you have to admit.) Just like last year, she was the brains behind this operation, the organizer, the enthusiasm, and the driving force. So go tell her how much you appreciate her! πŸ˜€

On our hostess blog, you’ll find a helpful pdf of all our favorite books from the week, so be sure to download that. πŸ˜‰ I’m also in the process ofΒ putting all the books I recommended on one Goodreads shelf. (And if it’s a series, I’ll just add the first book to save space. πŸ˜‰ ) Have fun browsing through it to find your new favorites! πŸ˜€

Just in case you missed any of my posts, here’s a nice map for you…

Monday: Top 5 Favorite Biblical Fiction Favorites

Tuesday: Top 5 Favorite Clean, Christian Romance Reads

Wednesday: Top 5 Favorites Series of All Time

Thursday: Top 5 Favorite Missionary Stories

Friday: Top 5 Favorite Indie Published Books

And now for the bonus genre!

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1. Come On, Seabiscuit by Ralph Moody is one of the best horse books ever! It’s based on real historical events and tells the story of a little horse with a big heart and the will to win. ❀ Ever since my mom read this aloud to us as younger kids, I’ve loved this story sooo much. πŸ˜‰ It’s definitely worth reading!

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2. I find Along Came a Dog by Meindert DeJong delightfully unusual for its genre. It stays pretty true to how farm animals would actually act, even down to the dog calling the farmer “The Man”. I read it aloud to my youngest sister earlier this year, and we enjoyed it immensely.Β (Read our review here.)

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3. Remember how I proposed that we start using heart ratings instead of star ratings?! The World of Pooh by A.A. Milne needs about seven hearts to properly portray how much I love it. πŸ˜‰ (And I know it’s technically not an animal book, but I had to get it in here somewhere. It’s close enough. πŸ˜› ) I read it aloud to my youngest sister a few months ago, and we wrote a review together here. ❀

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4. Oh, look! Another greatest-horse-book-ever! πŸ˜€ King of the Wind by Marguerite Henry is about the ancestor of Man O’ War who is the ancestor of Seabiscuit. So basically, this is where all the coolest horses started. πŸ˜€ Just a note that because the horse is from Arabia, Islam is portrayed.

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5. Big Red by Jim Kjelgard is another childhood favorite, and the main reason I always thought I needed to own an Irish Setter. πŸ˜€ This dog is epic-ly smart, loyal, and cool. πŸ˜‰ Just a note that there is some intense action and possibly a little “hick swearing”.

That’s all folks! Don’t forget to check out our hostess blog one last time! (I hear there are some books on sale too. Hint: The Twin Arrows is one of them. πŸ˜‰ ) It was great partying with you all, and I’ll see you next week with some regular blog posts.

Happy reading!

Top 5 Favorite Indie Published Books

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Woohoo for another day of partying! πŸ˜€ One of my favorite things about this party is the interaction with all you bookworms and the “complaints” about your TBR piles. πŸ˜‰ Thanks so much for joining us!!

I started reading independently published books about four years ago, and since then they’ve increasingly become a large percentage of what I read. πŸ˜‰ Goodreads informs me that out of the 54 books I’ve read so far this year, 33 of those are independently published! (Great job, authors!! Thank you for writing God-honoring, quality fiction that breaks the mold in so many ways.) That said, it’s gonna be really, really hard for me to choose just five favorites. But I’ll try my best. πŸ˜€

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1. I will never stop mentioning Dreamlander by K.M. Weiland. You can’t make me. πŸ˜‰ In fact, this blog is getting so cluttered with me mentioning it that I should probably start a whole new one entirely devoted to it. Okay, maybe not. πŸ˜› Anyway,Β it’s epic, portal fantasy, really, really, deliciously long, and epic. (And permafree on Kindle.) I wrote a fan-girly review when I first read it, but I think it’s time for a re-read soon. πŸ˜€

2. Gift from the Storm by Rebekah Morris is also pictured above. (I bought these two amazing books at the same time, so it was pretty much a package of happiness in the mail. ❀ )Β  This book is beautiful inside and out with the story of an ordinary family showing the love of God.Β πŸ˜€Β  And if any book is the perfect definition of a cozy, autumn read, this would be it! πŸ˜€ (Read my review here.)

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3. Sci-fi is one genre I really, really love but can’t find much to read in. I read Red Rain by Aubrey Hansen several years ago (six, maybe?) and fell in love with the Christian message, sparse writing style that suits the genre perfectly, and the BRILLIANT plot. πŸ˜€ (And thumbs up for a book with actual illustrations.) Just a note that there is a vague mention of an execution and some intense action.

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4.Β I haven’t read anything by Jane Austen, but I soon as I readΒ EmmelineΒ by Sarah Holman I knew it was a keeper. πŸ˜€ It’s a Christian re-imagining of Emma set in a vintage time period, and it reminded me a lot of the BBC 2009 adaptation (Mr. Knightley!!!) which happens to be my favorite. The beautiful spiritual lessons Emmeline learned really spoke to my heart. ❀ (I’m so excited to be taking part in a tour for this series later this year.)Β Read my review here.

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5. When we talk about Crossroads by Paul Willis, a lot of other reviewers and I agree. HOW IN THE WORLD can you have a book with such a deep theme AND a brain-bogglingly complicated plot?! There’s also strong Christianity, humor, and great characters to boot. πŸ˜‰ I actually fell into a reading slump for about two weeks after reading it, it was that good.Β πŸ˜‰Β (It is more of a book for highschool age readers, but you can find out more about that by reading my review here.)

FFF - bikesI hope the basket on your bike is big enough to carry all your favorite books! πŸ˜€ Take a ride down to the little cafe and order yourself a cup of hot chai tea or peddle down to the river and spread a quilt out on the bank.

Have you read any of these? What are some of your favorite independently published books?

(Disclaimer: This post is actually adapted from one I wrote a couple months ago called “My Top 10 Favorite Indie Books”. I highly suggest checking it out, since I did have to leave a few out of this list. πŸ˜‰ )

Don’t forget to check out the other bloggers favorites and enter the giveaway by visiting our hostess blog! πŸ˜‰

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Top 5 Favorite Missionary Stories

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Welcome back! Before we get started, I have something exciting to tell you. πŸ˜‰ Do you remember that Grand Prize I shared a picture of on the first day?

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Yes, that gorgeous thing. Well, we’ve hit enough entries on the giveaway that we’ve added a second place prize and we’re threatening to add a third place one as well if we can get 100 entries! πŸ˜€ Don’t forget to visit our hostess blog to find out more and enter.Β 

I’m glad that’s over. It felt all marketer-y or something. Now to the books! πŸ˜€

Missionary stories are some of my favorites. It’s always encouraging to see how other people live their lives for the Lord in a big way, serving Him by ministering to others and spreading the Gospel. And I’m always spurred on in my own ordinary but beautiful calling after reading one of these. πŸ˜‰

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1.Β John Hyde: The Apostle of PrayerΒ Β by Francis McGaw forever changed my life. I was encouraged by the life of this man who was limited by health problems and resources but served the Lord anyway by praying his heart out from the homefront. At one point in his ministry, his prayers were bringing six souls to Christ a day! There is always something we can do to labor in the harvest.

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2. You know about star ratings for books? Someone needs to do heart ratings. Serious, this book. ❀ Left to Die by Ivy Rose is the story of a young woman with an unexpected calling and the abandoned baby who helped her see it. This book truly falls into all my favorite categories–ordinary life stories, ministering to orphans, and a really sweet, God-honoring love story. Read my review here. (And go get yourself a copy, because there really aren’t any reasons not to. Except money. But forget that small detail.)

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3. The Family God Gave by Esther Mae Witmer also has an emphasis on orphans when a family living in a foreign country find their ministry brought right to them. It has such a sweet view of adoption, and I love how the parents gently welcome each new addition. Just a note that the family is Mennonite (although I found no doctrinal issues portrayed) and one person outside of the family makes a slightly racist comment.

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4. My dad read this book, Only a Servant by Kristina Roy, aloud to the entire family years ago, and it became a solid favorite. The character in this books lives the Gospel out in such a beautiful way that will leave you thinking and pondering how you can do the same. The writing style is slightly sparse, but it’s only because this has been translated from another language. (Which I’m really grateful for since it’s so good!) πŸ˜€

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5. Oh, this is one of my favorites!! πŸ˜€ I read Evangelists in Chains by Elizabeth Wagler years ago, but I “force” younger siblings to read it whenever I get the chance. πŸ˜‰ This is such a compelling story of a group of men being persecuted for their faith and serving God through it! (And I’m pretty sure it’s based on real history–which is a plus. :D) Also, the end will blow your mind. *huge grin* Just a note that there are a couple mentions of martyrdom and a few facets of Anabaptist beliefs some families may be uncomfortable with.

FFF - blanketsGrab a blanket, burrow under, and be inspired to follow Christ to the bitter end! Sometimes your calling with be the most extraordinary, dangerous, and exciting circumstances, but often it will be ordinary, every day life, living for God and loving others. πŸ˜‰ Tell me about your real-life or fictional missionary hero in the comments!

Don’t forget to explore all the other blogs and enter the giveaway by jumping off at our blog party. πŸ˜‰

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Top 5 Favorite Series of All Time

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Hello again! How are you enjoying the party? Have your TBR piles threatened to smother you yet? πŸ˜€ Prepare thyself–it’s about to get worse because today we are recommending entire serieses! (If anyone knows how to pluralize that, let me know.)

I love me a good series. If one book is good, more is better. πŸ˜‰ I love getting to spend more time with my favorite characters, and the anticipation of waiting for the next book in a series to come out is pretty good too. πŸ˜‰

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1. Burning Rose by Hope Ann is a compilation of the first three books (and a prequel) in her series Legends of Light. I first stumbled on this series when Hope contacted me to ask if I would be willing to review Song of the Sword, the second book. I said yes and ended up adoring it! It’s one of the best Christian fantasy books I’ve read; and, even though I’ve since read the whole series, it will always remain my favorite. πŸ˜‰ Not only does the series have a great fantasy medieval feel to it, but the books are also non-magical, loose retellings of fairytales with strong Christian elements. πŸ˜‰ My favorite type. ❀ (Read my reviews of all the books here.Β And since the author just released this yesterday, here’s a link to the awesome post about it. πŸ˜‰ I just ordered an autographed copy.)

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2. I can’t think of the word series without thinking of The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis. I have fond memories of my dad reading them aloud to me. These books served to draw me closer to God as we discussed the symbolism portrayed through the characters and their stories. I’m fond of all the books (except maybe all the underground scenes in The Silver Chair :P), but The Last Battle is my favorite. Further up, and further in, y’all! ❀ While I believe the author pulled this off in the best way possible, some of the books do include a theme of magic.

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3. Do you enjoy kid detective novels? I’m not a huge fan of them for… reasons. But I do enjoy exceedingly clever spoofs of them, so I was excited to read The Brixton Brothers series by Mac Barnett after a blog reader suggested them during last year’s Five Fall Favorites party. (You know who you are.) πŸ™‚ These books are soooo hilarious!!! And well-written too. I enjoyed the first two books immensely, and while the third and fourth weren’t as good I still enjoyed elements of them. πŸ˜‰ Just a note that they do get a little intense for younger readers. (Read my reviews of all of the books here.)Β 

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4. I’m so glad I finally decided to read Princess Academy by Shannon Hale and the two following books. πŸ˜‰ They have such great world-building and characters, and the stories themselves were sweet and interesting. (Except part of the third book. We’ll just pretend that didn’t happen.) I grew to love Mount Eskel, learning, and Peder ( πŸ˜› ❀ ) right along with Miri, and I enjoyed the realistic fairytale atmosphere of the books.Β (Read my reviews here.)

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5. This series is technically for kids, but I love it to pieces. If you haven’t been spoiled by a synopsis or the movie, go into it blind. You will love it that much more. πŸ˜‰Β  The three Books of Ember (the prequel isn’t worth it) by Jeanne DuPrau are far from the stale, over-used dystopian cliches, have amazing descriptions, and include some pretty cool characters. πŸ˜‰ This year, I’m working on re-reading the series and reviewing them properly this time. Enjoy this very fangirl-y review of The City of Ember. πŸ˜‰

FFF - booksBooks are one of God’s best inventions, I think. πŸ˜‰ Worlds on paper, just waiting to be soaked up and discovered by you and me. πŸ˜€ Have you read any of these or have a favorite series you’d like to recommend? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments! πŸ˜‰

And since we are celebrating books, I’m making my short story Enjoy the Poodle Skirt available for free today! Go grab your copy! (Warning: There is a 90% chance it will make you hungry. All the reviewers say so…)

Have you entered the Grand Prize giveaway? Click through to see Rebekah’s five favorites, links to all the participating blogs, and enter the giveaway. (Because more books to read. Cool stuff. Etc.)

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Top 5 Favorite Clean, Christian Romance Reads

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Welcome back! If you missed seeing the featured image, I highly suggest returning to the homepage and looking at it. It’s too cute to miss. πŸ˜‰

Romance… *happy sigh* It’s a genre I love because it serves to remind me of the beauty God created in the act of marriage between a man and a woman. Just like with a rich dessert, the results of an overdose can be disastrous, but today I’m sharing five books that include clean romance from a distinctly Christian perspective and that I think are worthy of reading. πŸ˜€

*rubs hands together* *swoons*

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1. Ready or Not by Chautona Havig (and the next two books! I need to read the fourth…)Β  is one I always mention without fail. πŸ˜‰ Reason #1? It’s a lot of hilarious and beautiful ordinary life with romance thrown in. Reason #2, it sorta includes adoption. And Reason #3? I want to be Aggie when I grow up–sending prayers up to God in the thick of raising seven children, getting it done even if she feels like going crazy, and holding on to joy. πŸ˜‰ I reviewed the first three books in the series here. (Which needs to be updated someday when I get the chance to re-read.) πŸ˜‰

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2. Okay, this book is so adorable!!! It makes me cry with the delight and the cuteness just thinking about it! ❀ The Garden Wall by Jennie Bishop is a picture book like none you’ve ever seen before. πŸ˜€ It tells a story based on 1 Corinthians 13 complete with adorable pictures. *heart squeeze*

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3. This isn’t a romance novel. It’s actually the biography of one of my heroes of the faith. (Everyone should know about this awesome man’s life for Christ!) But since A Man Called Peter is written by his wife (Catherine Marshall), there is a cute glimpse into their romance that is really sweet. (Be prepared for this one to also make you cry…)

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4. Okay, why do I keep picking books that make me cry??! There must be some conspiracy here… I love Last Wish by Valerie Howard because it portrays a friendship based on Christ growing into something more. It’s pretty sweet. ❀ (And Gospel-full!)Β Read my review here.

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5. Martin Hospitality by Abigayle Claire is more about redemption than romance, but that’s the special thing about it. God taking broken pieces and putting them back together in Him, making something beautiful! πŸ˜‰ My review-self can explain it all better than my blog-self can, so go check out my review here.Β Β (And if you would like to vote it up, that would be awesome.) πŸ˜‰

FFF - boatsBoats are the perfect place to read a book or play the Lady of ShallotΒ if you ask me. And with autumn leaves falling all around, the whole setting is simply romantic! (To use the proper sense of the word.) Share about a book that makes your heart squeeze in the comments.

For links to the other blogs, Rebekah’s five favorites, and the giveaway, visit our hostess blog. πŸ˜‰

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(P.S.– If you enjoyed this post, you might enjoy my romance recommendations from last year’s party found here.)

Top 5 Biblical Fiction Favorites

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Hello all! Welcome to the Five Fall Favorites party 2017 edition! πŸ˜€ I’m so excited to share book recommendations with you from six different genres every day this week! (And if you want to share some with me that would be fun too, because the more books the better, right? πŸ˜› )Β Rebekah wrote a really awesome welcome post that details the prizes and links out to all the participating blogs. Be sure to check it out! πŸ˜‰

And in case you wanted to see it… Here’s a picture of the Grand Prize.

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(O.o. Is that awesome or what?)

Anyways, on to today’s genre. πŸ˜€

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, and the subgenre of biblical fiction is especially fun. Too often though, I find books set in Bible times to be disrespectful, inaccurate, or both. I do have some favorites, though, and here they are! πŸ˜€

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1.Β Little Miriam of Galilee by Edith Martin is written mainly for younger children, but still a sweet favorite of mine. I enjoyed the illustrations, the details of regular family life in Bible times, and the family’s very real and poignant experience of the Messiah. It’s also really neat to see how a very minor character in the Bible could affect the lives of so many other people. πŸ˜‰

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2. Tirzah by Lucille Travis is a book we always look forward to when it’s assigned for our school reading. πŸ˜‰ It’s all about the Exodus from the perspective of young teens who fortunately don’t have modern attitudes. πŸ˜€ One thing that really stuck with me as I read about their journey to Mount Sinai was the clear difference between those who were following Yahweh and those who were not. It was neat to see how people put their faith in God before Christ came. Just a note that there are few instances of teenage romantic interest (although people did get married earlier back then πŸ˜› ) and some vague references to the infamous golden calf incident.

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3. My mom started reading us Vinegar Boy by Alberta Hawse during Eastertime. Since she was reading it aloud to everyone, she did do a little editing during the crucifixion, but most of the story was all right for everyone. πŸ˜‰ It was neat to see representations of a few of the apostles and some of the more minor characters, but the story mostly followed a young boy looking for a miracle. One of the things that really stood out to us as we looked at the events with new eyes was the story of Barabbas. Talk about Christ taking your place!

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4. & 5. These two lovely books,Β Titus: A Comrade of the CrossΒ and Stephen: A Soldier of the Cross by Florence M. Kingsley are actually a series. The second one is my favorite, but some of the characters from the first one carry over and their backstories are so beautiful. ❀ (I blame this book for making Stephen one of my favorite names. *sobs*) My dad read these aloud to us, and we had some great discussions about what was strictly Biblical and what was a little artistic elaboration on the author’s part. (Like I don’t think it was wrong for the apostles to cast lots to find out who would replace Judas…) πŸ˜‰ Anyways, they are family favorites, and I can’t wait to read them again soon. πŸ˜€ Just a note that because of martyrdom and some historically accurate evil thieves, it can get a little rough sometimes.

FFF - barnsHave you read any of these books? If not, find yourself a nice barn loft, attic, or treehouse and cozy up with a new read! If you have read any of these books or have favorites of your own, tell me in the comments. πŸ˜‰

For links to all the other blogs, Rebekah’s five favorites, and more info on that AMAZING Grand Prize, visit our hostess blog. πŸ˜‰

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