In no particular order ...
(1) Crazy Love by Francis Chan. This book is great. It will make you examine your walk with God. It calls us to truly give up our plans/goals/dreams in life to pursue God by serving others. You cannot read this book without experiencing a great change.
(2) Firefly Lane by Kristen Hannah. Several people recommended this book to me. I really liked it. It recorded a friendship between two girls that started in Jr. High and lasted a lifetime. It reminded me of some of my own friendships at different points throughout the story. I have already received two other books by Hannah via paperbackswap and can't wait to read more of her works.
(3) The Girls from Ames by Jeffry Zaslow. This book was like a documentary about 11 girls from Ames, Iowa who were best friends (and a clique) in high school and still remain friends today (20+ years later), despite the fact that they are now spread all over the country. I found it a little unbelievable that 11 girls would have such a tight-knit group and remain close over so many years, but this book is based on a true story ... I liked reading the chapters about each individual girl and how they intertwined with some of the other girls in the group. However, I did not really care for the male author's research and commentary about "female friendships" and the insights he had regarding same. Maybe its because I'm a female and I get this.
(4) Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford. This book was a little slow going at first, but it ended up being a great story. I love historical fiction and this book was set in the 1940's during WWII when many Japanese-Americans were herded into internment camps. I feel like this little bit of our great country's history is often over-looked in the average high school history class and most of the girls in my book club group did not know a whole lot about it. I highly recommend this book!
(5) The Guersney Literary and Potato Pie Peel Society by Shaffner and Barrows. This book was another great work of historical fiction set during WWII (in Europe). It is not the typical concentration camp harrowing story that you typically associate with WWII novels, but a rather uplifting story of a group of Guersney islanders who were living under Nazi occupation. While there are certainly sad parts of the story, I love how this group of very different people draw together over books (whether it be poetry or cookbooks) to help them survive the tough times in which they found themselves.
(6) I Will Carry You by Angie Smith. Anyone who likes to read blogs has probably run across Angie Smith's blog before. She is such a moving writer, who can bring you to tears and uplift your soul in the same sentence. Even though I had read the story of Angie's Audrey on her blog, the book offers a more detailed version of that story along with biblical truths the guided Angie and her husband Todd through the journey of loving and losing their precious daughter shortly after her birth. Keep the tissue box nearby.
(7) Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore. This book was a nice and quick read. A good vacation read as I would call it. The story had some unexpected twists and turns and was intriguing enough that I read the entire book in two days (and I wasn't even on vacation). It is about a girl growing up in small town, Georgia who dreams of being anywhere but that small town ... you can probably figure out the rest.
(8) Feathers From My Nest by Beth Moore. I read this with my Wednesday night group of girls at church (we "hang out" while our kids are in choir). This book was just a collection of stories from Beth about bringing up her girls and then letting them go. I love Beth Moore as a writer and a speaker. She made me laugh and made me cry. She made me realize that my children are only young once and I need to cherish every moment of their little lives.
(9) Stop Dressing Your Six Year Old Like a Skank by Celia Rivenbark. I read this book while we were driving to Orlando last week and I cannot count the number of times of laughed out loud. Poor Will, who was stranded in the car seat next to me, had to listen to me read sections of the book to him that I thought were funny. Rivenbark is a southern humorist who shares her thoughts on child-rearing, marriage, celebrity and other such humorous topics. This was a fun easy read that is such to produce a few chuckles from anyone.