Love Unexpected | #HedlundChallenge2015 May Discussion & Survey

Hedlund Logo

The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year! If you’re on Facebook be sure to join our group!

I don’t know about all of you, but I felt like this book started with a lot of excitement. In the first chapter alone, Emma experiences a pirate attack followed by having to abandon the ship she is aboard because it is on fire, and then her struggle to stay afloat in the frigid Michigan waters. But then she gets rescued by a man with “the kindest eyes she’d ever seen” (20).

Emma’s innocence and inexperience are obvious when she arrives at the lighthouse, newly married. Her excitement to be a wife and mother is soon tempered by the daily hardships she must learn to endure. And Patrick is the most gentle and considerate man. His interactions with his son are adorable, and his thoughtfulness towards Emma is endearing. I enjoyed reading about their new life together, as they learned so much about each other, how to trust, forgive, and love one another.

I have to say some of my favorite moments were when Patrick would ask Emma, “Will you come up to the tower tonight?”

If you’d like to read more of our thoughts on Love Unexpected, check out my original review here and Jamie’s here!

Now it’s time for some discussion questions. Share your thoughts with us!

  1. What message did you take away from Love Unexpected?
  1. What was one of your favorite scenes?
  1. Patrick lives with guilt of things he unknowingly isn’t responsible for. Only towards the end of the book is he unburdened by the truth of his past. How does this affect his relationship with Emma and the way he lives his life?
  1. Emma confides in the wrong people because she is desperate for advice. How can we use discernment when choosing friends? How can we avoid gossip in our personal lives while still sharing our lives with the people we care about?

And before you go, we have something else for you. As it is May, we are officially at the half-way point in our Jody Hedlund Challenge! We are always looking for ways to improve this challenge for our readers, so we ask that you please take this short survey on how we can make this experience even better! Thanks so much! You can take the survey here.

–> Survey <–

Advertisements

June #HedlundChallenge2015 Announcement | Hearts Made Whole

The 2015 Jody Hedlund Challenge is a monthly series featuring the novels of author Jody Hedlund, hosted by Cassie of Bookshelves and Windows and Jamie of Books and Beverages. We invite readers and bloggers to join us in reading and discussing these books together. Every month, we’ll announce the book about four weeks before the discussion post will go live (alternating between Cassie and Jamie’s blogs). The following month, after everyone has read the book, we will discuss and interact with each other about our thoughts on each book with special appearances throughout the year! If you’re on Facebook be sure to join our group!

Hedlund Logo
Not only are we announcing the book to read for next month, but guess what??? We’re also doing a GIVEAWAY!!!

It should come as no surprise what we’ve decided to read in the month of June. As many of you are probably well aware, Hearts Made Whole, the second novel in Jody’s Beacons of Hope series is releasing in June, so of course we have to read it as soon as possible!!! I know I say this every month, but I am especially excited to read this one since it’s a new release. I love to experience new books from favorite authors, so this one is definitely one I’m eagerly looking forward to!

Don’t you just love the pop of color in the flowers she’s holding?

The official release date is June 2, 2015, so I would recommend pre-ordering this one. Who doesn’t love it when a box of books shows up on their doorstep?

Where to Buy (Preorder): Amazon | Barnes & Noble | CBD

Discussion Date: June 23, 2015

Next week we’re discussing Love Unexpected right here, so be sure to join us then! We’re going to do something a little different since Jody is so awesome! Do you have questions about Love Unexpected or this series? Post them in the Facebook Group and Jody will pop over and answer them before we post next week’s discussion! Isn’t that the best? So be sure to join the group here!

–>a Rafflecopter giveaway<–

Review: Nobody’s Cuter than You by Melanie Shankle

Real friendship requires effort. It’s showing up and laughing loud and crying hard. It’s forgiving and loving and giving the benefit of the doubt. xiv

Nobody’s Cuter than You by Melanie Shankle
Tyndale, 2015

This memoir about friendship is a combination of everything I was looking for: laughter, heart, and sentimental stories that remind us what friendship looks like. Melanie Shankle has a unique kind of humor, which just leaps off the pages as you read. I found myself laughing several times throughout her book, even pausing a few times before I could continue reading: it’s just that funny!

Confession: there may have been moments where I laughed so hard I had to share with the people I was sitting around (family). I would read sections of the book aloud to them. For example, the camping incident (Chapter 10), ignoring her friend during an interview (Chapter 12), the meter board story (Chapter 15), any reference to Star Wars, and Diamond Castle Barbie (Chapter 16). (Also, I’m pretty sure I read all of these sections of the book in one sitting because I couldn’t stop reading the hilarious stories Melanie shared!)

I loved the quotes about friendship that marked the beginning of each new chapter, and the fun chapter titles that gave you a preview into what Melanie would be talking about next. I got an overwhelming sense of the wonderful friendships she has had in her past and present, and how each of them has shaped her life in one way or another. It’s true, too, how people change us. Our friends become part of who we are and how we live, and Melanie gives us a glimpse into how her friends have made her life better, richer, and fuller.

This book makes me want to hug my friends tight and tell them how important they are to me. The laughs are just as important as those hard moments. And friendship is about the fun times, the hard times, and the moments that shape us into the people we are today.

*Thank you to Tyndale House Publishers who has provided a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.*

Review: A Sparrow In Terezin by Kristy Cambron

A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron
A Hidden Masterpiece Novel, Book 2
Thomas Nelson, 2015

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  Joshua 1:9, NIV

It is this verse which opens A Sparrow in Terezin, and how fitting it is for such a story as this. I loved how Kristy rooted her story is God’s word. It is this truth which her characters must trust and rely on. That even in the midst of trials that seem insurmountable, God is there and he is for you. And because of that, there is no reason to fear.

A Sparrow in Terezin, Kristy Cambron’s sophomore novel, is a masterpiece that will be proudly displayed on my shelves for years to come. I was captivated by Kaja’s journey out of peril, thrust into a new land, and her return to danger for the sake of love and family.

Readers who have read The Butterfly and the Violin will welcome the return of familiar faces in Sera and William, who are not only on the cusp of marriage, but also facing a lofty legal battle that threatens their relationship.

Kaja and Liam’s story is what captured my attention early on. From her time working at The Daily Telegraph to enduring the London Blitz, Kaja finds herself in the middle of a war she thought she had escaped when leaving Nazi-occupied Prague. And then Liam walks into the room and their connection is immediately evident.

Kaja has a quiet strength about her that is inspiring. Although she is fearful, she doesn’t allow her fear to stop her from doing what she feels God is calling her to do. And Liam was the perfect complement to her, devoted and supportive, supplying her with the extra measure of strength she needed to accomplish her task.

The scenes between them at the train station stand out as some of my favorite moments. And then the scene towards the end had me in awe with a certain turn of events. And to know that event was based on a historical event (which is discussed in the Author’s Note), made the book all the more fulfilling and special.

A Sparrow in Terezin is stunning. A beautifully written novel that shines with authenticity.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

*I am on Kristy Cambron’s launch team. This book was provided by the author and publisher in exchange for my honest review.*