My Favorite Books from the First Half of 2014

I have read 45 books so far this year and I well on my way to my goal of reading 75 books in 2014. I have been blessed to receive some excellent books from authors and publishers. I have had amazing discussions about books with friends and at book club.  Unfortunately, I’ve also read some books that were just ok, and a couple that I actually didn’t finish.  But, today, I want to share my favorites so far this year.  If you haven’t added these to your to-read list yet, I highly recommend you do! Each of these are books that had me ripping through the pages, left me in tears or in shock, or left me thinking about the characters for days after.  These are books that I read in 2014, but were not necessarily published in 2014.

FAVORITE NON-FICTION

SILENT IMPACT by Joe Schmit
My Review:  HERE
I really loved the real-life stories and life lessons from this book. I have shared it with numerous people in my community and everyone has loved it and shared it with their friends.  If you are looking for a book to remind you of the goodness in others and show how you can have an impact on someone, read this book!
FAVORITE FICTION

CALLING ME HOME by Julie Kibler
My Review: HERE

A story of two women from completely different backgrounds and how one helps the other confront her past.  I guarantee you will love this story.

FAVORITE BOOK CLUB CHOICE

NECESSARY LIES by Diane Chamberlain
My Review: HERE
Historical fiction based on factual events are some of my favorite books to read and this one did not disappoint.  There is a lot to discuss after reading this novel and has been my favorite book club book and discussion this year.
FAVORITE PUBLISHED IN 2014

GRAND CENTRAL: Original Stories of Postwar Love and Reunion
My Review:  HERE
I have been telling everyone I know about this. The collection of short stories based on one day in 1945 at Grand Central Station is really beautiful and well-written. I can’t give this enough praise. I just loved it. 
FAVORITE REVIEW BOOK
THE ART OF ARRANGING FLOWERS by Lynne Branard
My Review: HERE
Fictional stories that you can relate to are sometimes just what you need to read.  You can find yourself in the characters. You can relate to their struggles and emotions.  You root for them all the way through the story.  Really a wonderful story about life, love and friendship.
HONORABLE MENTIONS
I couldn’t publish this list without mentioning these two books as well.  Both were so well-done and had a unique piece to their storytelling that made them stand out.  They deserve top mentions as well.
A FALL OF MARIGOLDS by Susan Meissner
My Review: HERE
A scarf ties two women together over 100 years.  Books told in two different time periods are becoming quite popular, but I found this particular one to be really special in how it tied two women in two different time periods to a scarf. A really special story.
WAKE: A Novel by Anna Hope
My Review:  HERE
Three women suffering from the devastation of the war. Their struggles are overwhelming, but in each story you will find a glimmer of hope.  Their connection to each other and to the war comes together in a surprising way and is really well-done.  
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