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My Favorite Reviewed Reads of 2015

Posted by Julie on January 2, 2016 in About Me, Book Review, Julie Arduini |

For the past few years I’ve shared my favorite reads from the previous years. Most of my reading from 2015 were books I reviewed, and there were some standouts.

Fiction Honorable Mention:

A Brush with Love by Rachel Hauck

The Wishing Season by Denise Hunter

Every Bride Needs a Groom by Janice Thompson

When Kings Clash by J.E. Lowder

 

Non Fiction Honorable Mention:

Apologetics Bible Study for Students

Grin with Grace by Kathy Carlton Willis

 

Product Honorable Mention (CD, Movie, other)

Exhale by Plumb

Let it Be Jesus by Christy Nockels

Passport 2 Purity

 

And now, my top picks.

 

Favorite Reviewed Product of 2015:

Finding Noah

 

Favorite Non Fiction Reviewed Read of 2015:

Kelly Tough by Erin Kelly

Kelly Tough was not only my favorite non fiction reviewed read of 2015, but my favorite overall read of the year.

Kelly Tough was not only my favorite non fiction reviewed read of 2015, but my favorite overall read of the year.

 

Favorite Fiction Reviewed Read of 2015:

Burning Justice by Helena Smrcek

 

Please check out the links to find out how to purchase these. You won’t be disappointed!

 

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Book Review: The Wishing Season by Denise Hunter

Posted by Julie on January 22, 2015 in Book Review, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

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Book Description:

Living side-by-side, a fledgling chef anda big-hearted contractor find a delicious attraction.

Trouble is, their chemistry could spoiltheir dreams.

Spirited PJMcKinley has the touch when it comes to food. Her dream of opening her ownrestaurant is just one building short of reality. So when a Chapel Springsresident offers her beloved ancestral home to the applicant with the best planfor the house, PJ believes it’s a contest she was meant to win.

Contractor ColeEvans is confident, professional, and swoon-worthy—but this former foster kidknows his life could have turned out very differently. When Cole discovers thecontest, he believes his home for foster kids in transition has found itssaving grace. All he has to do is convince the owner that an out-of-towner witha not-for-profit enterprise is good for the community.

But when the eccentric philanthropist sees PJand Cole’s proposals, she makes an unexpected decision: the pair will share thehouse for a year to show what their ideas are made of. Now, with Cole and thefoster kids upstairs and PJ and the restaurant below, day-to-day life hasturned into out-and-out competition—with some seriously flirtatious hallwayencounters on the side. Turns out in this competition, it’s not just the houseon the line, it’s their hearts.

“An interesting storythat keeps the reader involved with the struggle the main characters havemaking their dreams come true.” —Romantic Times, 4-star review

“. . . sparkling contemporary tale of competing ambitions,wounded personalities, and powerful attraction.” —Publishers Weekly

“Hunter skillfullycombines elements of romance, family stories, and kitchen disasters.” —Library Journal

“. . . a warm, inspirational tale of ambition, confidence,family, and love.” —Booklist

The Wishing Season is one of those romances that comes along and sweeps the reader away. Denise Hunter crafted the perfect romance. Everything a reader needs for a satisfying romance is in The Wishing Season. Conflict. Chemistry. Secrets. Romance.

PJ and Cole both want the same house that is being offered in a contest, and aren’t too happy they have to share the house to be considered. PJ needs the kitchen and a new start. Cole wants to make good on his upbringing and hurt. They both need to win, and there’s the rub that makes this such a delight.

I loved everything about this book and I don’t want to say more because I want you to read it.

Click here to purchase The Wishing Season.

I received The Wishing Season from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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DANCING WITH FIREFLIES || RSVP for April 10th Facebook Party and enter to win a Kindle HDX from @DeniseAHunter!

Posted by Julie on April 2, 2014 in encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

Don’t miss Denise Hunter‘s latest Chapel Springs Romance, Dancing with Fireflies. Reviewers have already labeled Dancing with Fireflies “swoon-worthy” and “the perfect love story.” 

Join Denise in celebrating the release of her new book by entering her Kindle HDX giveaway and RSVPing for her April 10th Facebook party.

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One winner will receive:

  • A brand new Kindle Fire HDX
  • Dancing with Fireflies and Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on April 10th. Winner will be announced at the Dancing with Fireflies Facebook Party on April 10th. Connect with Denise for an evening of prizes, book chat, and an exclusive look at the next book in the series.


Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP today by clicking JOIN on the event page. Tell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 10th!

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Book Review: Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter

Posted by Julie on April 1, 2014 in Book Review, Guest blogger, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

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Book Description:

Jade returns home to Chapel Springs after years of protecting her fragile heart. Then along comes Daniel, making her long to dance again.

Creative and complicated, Jade McKinley felt like a weed in a rose garden growing up in Chapel Springs. When she left, she thought she’d never look back. But now, pregnant, alone, and broke, she has no other choice but to return.

The mayor of Chapel Springs, Daniel Dawson, has been an honorary member of the McKinley family for years. While his own home life was almost non-existent, Daniel fit right into the boisterous McKinley family. He’s loved Jade for years, but she always saw him as a big brother. Now that she’s back, his feelings are stronger than ever.

As Jade attempts to settle in, nothing feels right. God seems far away, she’s hiding secrets from her family, and she’s strangely attracted to the man who’s always called her “squirt.” Finding her way home may prove more difficult than she imagined.

Dancing with Fireflies is in the running for my favorite book of 2014. I read it in one sitting, Jade and Daniel captivated me that deeply. Denise Hunter dealt so gracefully with tough topics. A physical assault resulting in a pregnancy. An unmarried woman expecting a child. Jade was well-developed and her fears were real. Even to trust someone as dependable as Daniel.

Daniel is a hero to swoon over. He cares about his community. He’s loyal. He’s always there. Romantic? Oh, so romantic. But he doesn’t feel safe telling Jade he’s loved her for years.

This is a beautiful romance wrought with conflict. Like I said, so well-crafted I kept turning the pages to learn what was next. I strongly encourage you to pick up Dancing with Fireflies.

To purchase Dancing with Fireflies, click here.

I received a copy of Dancing with Fireflies from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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SMITTEN BOOK CLUB | KINDLE FIRE GIVEAWAY, FACEBOOK PARTY, AND SATURDAY BRUNCH

Posted by Julie on February 19, 2014 in Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

The Smitten gals are back with their newest release, Smitten Book Club! Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, and Denise Hunter are celebrating with a Kindle Fire giveaway, a Facebook party on February 20, and a nationwide book-club brunch on March 22.


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One winner will receive:

  • A Kindle Fire HDX
  • The Smitten books (Smitten, Secretly Smitten, Smitten Book Club)

Enter today by clicking one of the icons below. But hurry, the giveaway ends on February 20th. Winner will be announced at the Smitten Book Club Facebook Author Chat Party on February 20th. Connect with Colleen Coble, Denise Hunter, and Kristin Billerbeck for an evening of book chat, trivia, laughter, and more! The Smitten gals will also be taking questions from the audience, giving away books and gift certificates, and sharing news about their upcoming nationwide Smitten Book Club brunch on March 22nd. (Sign up to host today!)



So grab your copy of Smitten Book Club and join Colleen, Denise, Kristin, and friends on the evening of February 20th for a chance to connect and make some new friends. (If you haven’t read the book, don’t let that stop you from coming!)


Don’t miss a moment of the fun; RSVP todayTell your friends via FACEBOOK or TWITTER and increase your chances of winning. Hope to see you on the 20th!


Sign up to host a Smitten Book Club Brunch on March 22nd!
Smitten Book Club Brunch Coble, Hunter, Billerbeck, Hunt

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Book Review: Smitten Book Club by Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Diann Hunt, and Denise Hunter

Posted by Julie on February 18, 2014 in Book Review, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons |

519fdbtKEPL._AA160_About the book: The century-old Gentlewoman’s Guide to Love and Courtship is no ordinary book club choice. But for the little book club in Smitten, Vermont, it might be their best pick yet!

The thick, leathery tome Heather pulled out of the dusty cardboard box was definitely coming home with her. Not only was The Gentlewoman’s Guide to Love and Courtship an appealing curiosity by virtue of its title; it was also written by Smitten, Vermont native Pearl Chambers, a local gentlewoman from three generations back.

Little did Heather know the repercussions this little curiosity would have on her and her friends’ romantic exploits.
When Heather and her fellow book club members begin passing the book around, their respective interpretations are unleashed on their respective love lives . . . for better or for worse. Is it a mystery? An idealist fantasy? An intimation of Jane Austen? As romantic love finds its way to each woman, the Guide proves itself both surprisingly prescient and hilariously irrelevant.

What’s more, a handwritten inscription indicates that the arcane book might hold the only extant clues leading to buried gold—exactly what one of the members needs to keep her house. How could they not go treasure hunting?

In this remarkable collaborative novel, besties Colleen Coble, Kristin Billerbeck, Denise Hunter, and Diann Hunt tackle the tale of the Gentlewoman’s Guide by writing for one book club member apiece. Smitten Book Club is a hopeful, hilarious story of friendship and healing, written by friends for friends.

 

I absolutely adored the premise behind the Smitten Book Club. An old book find full of sage advice from a local woman three generations ago finds its way through Smitten. There is the mystery of buried gold and whether Chambers hid clues to the treasure within the pages of her Gentlewoman’s Guide. There’s the fun of watching romance unfold throughout Smitten thanks to the book.

I thought each story was seamless and as cozy as a Vermont drive. The romances were natural, as were the book club members and their friendships and struggles. The mystery was a fun touch, too.

The hard part for me was reading Diann’s story. I took twice as long because I kept thinking of her and her family as I read, knowing she received her eternal homegoing two months ago. I read so much from the others knowing no matter what Diann was facing or feeling, she met her deadlines. I savored her story knowing how hard she worked to deliver a story readers would love. How hard this must be for Colleen, Denise, and Kristen to promote without their friend.

Diann’s wish is realized. Smitten Book Club is a story readers will love. It’s a smart story that effortlessly weaves friendship, romance, humor, and mystery.

About the authors:

RITA-finalist Colleen Coble is the author of several best-selling romantic suspense novels, including Tidewater Inn, and the Mercy Falls, Lonestar, and Rock Harbor series.

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Christy Award finalist and two-time winner of the ACFW Book of the Year award, Kristin Billerbeck has appeared on The Today Show and has been featured in the New York Times. Her books include A Billion Reasons Why and What a Girl Wants.

Denise Hunter is the award-winning and best-selling author of several novels, including A Cowboy’s Touch and Sweetwater Gap. She and her husband are raising three boys in Indiana.

Diann Hunt has lived in Indiana forever, been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, her dog, and, well, chocolate. Diann lost her courageous battle with cancer in December 2013.

To purchase Smitten Book Club, click here.

I received a copy of Smitten Book Club from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.



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