Some of the novels I enjoyed were:
Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureno. Can't afford to take a trip to Scotland? Just read this book and I promise you'll be there.
Crossfire by Jodie Bailey. Need a thrill? Want to lose your breath in a good way and stay on the edge of your seat, or in my case the couch? Jump into this Love Inspired Military romantic/suspense.
The Wedding Game by Amy Matayo. Love sassy, witty banter and reality TV? Winner! A fun, fun read.
Always the Baker, Never the Bride by Sandra Bricker. I've read her other two out of order and I'll tell you it doesn't matter, but this one was my favorite. Love laughing, romance, and recipes? All three right here.
A Light In the Window by Julie Lessman. Interested in mysterious and dreamy heroes? Read her Daughters of Boston series? This book began it all. It's a must-read.
I also read some not inspirational fiction.
A Shade of Vampire by Bella Forrest. Looking for interesting settings, vampires and teenage romance? Granted the back of the book had me wondering as the heroine is kidnapped and forced into a vampire prince's harem. However...it turned out to be a really clean book. I was pleasantly surprised. This isn't everyone's cup of tea, but it was an interesting read and I liked it.
But I want to talk about the last book I read over the holiday. The one that had me boo-hooing.
A Fault in Our Stars by John Green
A story about teenagers with cancer. Doesn't sound light-hearted. It is and it isn't. There are moments when you get a break from the C-word.
I was utterly sucked into these lives. Especially the witty hero. As a mother, I cried over and over because I can't even imagine. As a human being, the compassion flowed like rivers.
But what had me snot-nosed weeping was while both of the characters searched for answers to an after-life (one thinking something better was there and the other never believing anything) they never found it. They found love with each other. They grew as people.
I wept into my hands and begged God to reveal himself to them and then it hit me, um...they're fictional. But my hope-filled heart ached anyway. And I have no idea what the author truly believes. I think the thoughts and discoveries and questions the main characters asked and explored were true to human nature. Faith was never really injected. So, I think it's safe to say that he wasn't writing from a faith-based point of view--not even from one character. I don't think every character needs to be a Christian when writing inspirational fiction. In fact, in my opinion, they shouldn't be. But that's a different blog.
I felt a renewed gratefulness, though, that I do write from a faith-based viewpoint (at least one!) And if you write from a faith-based view, you should be jumping up and down. Because we have answers the world doesn't. I've read some wonderful books, including this one, that make me think and wonder and give me information on a viewpoint I've never heard before. But I don't want to simply offer new questions. I want to offer solutions. Hope. Something that will leave a reader with something more than damp and wadded up tissues or the satisfied sigh of a good read (though I do want that too!).
Your view may not be the same and that's okay. But this is why I write. It's personal to me. I don't begrudge anyone who writes for other reasons. This book affected me. In so many ways. I 100% recommend it. Stellar writing. Amazing story.
But mostly I was hit with what wasn't written. What wasn't in between the lines or even subtly on the pages.
It reminded once again why I write. Who I write to. And who I write for.
What did you read over the Christmas holidays? Any recommendations? If you're a writer, why do you write?