Sunday, January 31, 2016

No Ordinary Life by Suzanne Redfearn

Title: No Ordinary Life
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Realistic Fiction
Format: Paperback; 400 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (February 2, 2016)
ISBN-10: 1455533904
ISBN-13: 978-1455533909
Author's Website:
Notes: I was given an eARC loan from the publisher for review purposes. Thank you.

Faye Martin is a down on her luck mother of three who has recently been abandoned by her husband. In the midst of her despair and struggle to make ends meet, a seemingly miraculous thing happens--her daughter is discovered by the world via a YouTube video. Soon a major talent scout is knocking on their door and four year old Molly is on her way to becoming a star. It looks like Faye's prayers have been answered, but she soon discovers that fame and fortune come at a cost. As she sees the darker, uglier side of Hollywood, she'll have to decide if she can make things work, or if the price of fame and fortune is just too high to pay to let her child stay in the spotlight.
This was a book I thoroughly enjoyed reading. What little girl hasn't dreamed of becoming a star? I remember wishing I could be the next Shirley Temple, but alas, I didn't have her talent nor ever got discovered. *sigh* Over the years, however, we've seen newspapers and magazines articles about how child stars have a hard time making the adjustment to the real world once their fame and fortune dwindles. While Shirley Temple managed to do well for herself, many fall victims to drugs, suicide, and criminal activities. That is what this story hits upon and begs the questions--what can a parent do to protect their child in such a world?

Molly is a talented sweet kid, but her stardom doesn't just affect her, it affects her whole family. That's something Molly's mom soon comes to realize. While Faye is a loving mother who has a good heart, she has a habit of making poor choices. While she manages to gain a back bone by the end of the book, her habit of making poor choices doesn't seem to wane. That, in my eyes, is one of the things that makes this book such a wonderful book club read. The controversy over what she does, what others do, and how everything is handled is bound to lead to some fun discussions.

Overall, I gave this one 4 out of 5 roses. It was fast paced, conjuring images that you can clearly picture in your mind. The characters were believable and well developed. I loved little Molly and sympathized with Faye. Raising a child is not easy, but raising one up in the limelight would be even more so. There are so many things I'd love to talk about that I wish I had read this with the rest of my real life book club. I'd say more, but I'd be delving into spoiler territory. I'll seriously consider this one when its my turn to pick a book.

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Everything She Wanted (The Hunted Series #5) by Jennifer Ryan

Title: Everything She Wanted
Classification: Adult Fiction
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Series: The Hunted
Format: Paperback; 448 pages
Publisher: Avon Impulse (March 1, 2016)
ISBN-10: 0062396439
ISBN-13: 978-0062396433
Author's Website:
Notes: I received and eARC loan from the publisher for reviewing purposes.

Once upon a time there were two little girls who lived the stuff of nightmares. They got each other through the bad times, had each others back, and were always there when the other needed them--no matter what. They were each other's constant at a time when little else was. They lived their lives in fear, and were more prepared than any boy or girl scout, though their preparations were for flight when circumstances called for it. As they grew and entered adulthood, one held on to the belief that all their dreams could come true while the other was more cynical and skeptical. Just when it seemed the one would get her happily-ever-after, it was taken from her. Grieving for the friend she'd promised to grow old with, the one left behind vowed vengeance on the person responsible. This is her story. Little did she know that in the midst of her grief, she'd find her own happily-ever-after.
One of the things I love about Jennifer's books is that they tend to go from low to high. They give you a sense that no matter what life throws at you, you can get through it. The main characters are strong females who never lose that strength even when their 'Prince Charming' enters the picture. The men in their lives respect and admire their independence and inner strength and don't try to infringe upon it, take over, or change them. They'll be their safety net and person to lean on when needed and know, if need be, their gal will reciprocate. By the end you get the sense the couple will make it through thick or thin. All that wrapped up in a fast paced suspenseful and dramatic story line that keeps you wondering how things will play out.

Almost from the beginning we see the signs that Kate and Ben are perfect for each other. Kate is a smart woman who is both tough and feminine at the same time. She grew up in the school of hard knocks, and took away from it a bit of street smarts and a desire to help others in similar situations. It's what led her into a career as a social worker. Ben didn't have an easy childhood either. He grew up with a desire to help woman in abusive relationships, like his mother, by becoming an attorney and founding a shelter called Haven House. What I found interesting about this couple is that they'd met before and even had a "moment" yet nothing had ever come from it. It took a situation where they truly got to know and depend on one another for them to act on what they'd both felt, but previously hadn't allowed themselves to.

I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. This was a wonderful romance with a great big side of suspense added to the mix. I haven't read all of the previous books, but didn't feel lost at all. I will confess, however, I now want to read the others so don't be surprised if you see a lot of reviews in the near future for some of Jennifer's other books. On the Lisarenee Romance Rating this one gets a STEAM rating--too hot for a fan, but you still have a handle on things. You should use extreme caution when reading a book with this rating in public. People may inquire as to why you looked flustered and flushed.

Order of The Hunted series:

Monday, January 11, 2016

Winner of the 2016 Morris Award

The winner of Morris Award was announced at the Youth Media Awards today, January 11th, at 8:00 a.m. in Boston during the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting. The William C. Morris YA Debut Award, first awarded in 2009, honors the debut work of first-time authors writing books geared toward teens. The award recognizes impressive new voices in young adult literature, and being a finalist is quite an honor and achievement. The Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), selected the five finalists for the award who were announced in December. The winner this year is Becky Albertalli with her debut novel Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens. Congratulations to Becky and all the finalists. To learn more about the award, visit:

2016 Morris Award Winner

Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli
published by Balzer & Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers

Sixteen-year-old and not-so-openly gay Simon Spier prefers to save his drama for the school musical. But when an email falls into the wrong hands, his secret is at risk of being thrust into the spotlight. Now change-averse Simon has to find a way to step out of his comfort zone before he's pushed out—without alienating his friends, compromising himself, or fumbling a shot at happiness with the most confusing, adorable guy he's never met.

Incredibly funny and poignant, this twenty-first-century coming-of-age, coming out story—wrapped in a geek romance—is a knockout of a debut novel by Becky Albertalli.

2016 Morris Award Finalists

Because You'll Never Meet Me

published by Bloomsbury Children's Books

Ollie and Moritz are best friends, but they can never meet. Ollie has a life-threatening allergy to electricity, and Moritz's weak heart requires a pacemaker. If they ever did meet, they could both die. Living as recluses from society, the boys develop a fierce bond through letters that become a lifeline during dark times-as Ollie loses his only friend, Liz, to the normalcy of high school and Moritz deals with a bully set on destroying him. But when Moritz reveals the key to their shared, sinister past that began years ago in a mysterious German laboratory, their friendship faces a test neither one of them expected. 

Narrated in letter form by Ollie and Moritz-two extraordinary new voices-this story of impossible friendship and hope under strange circumstances blends elements of science fiction with coming of age themes, in a humorous, dark, and ultimately inspiring tale is completely unforgettable. 


Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert
published by Hyperion, an imprint of Disney Book Group

Ten years ago, God gave Braden a sign, a promise that his family wouldn’t fall apart the way he feared.

But Braden got it wrong: his older brother, Trey, has been estranged from the family for almost as long, and his father, the only parent Braden has ever known, has been accused of murder. The arrest of Braden’s father, a well-known Christian radio host, has sparked national media attention. His fate lies in his son’s hands; Braden is the key witness in the upcoming trial.

Braden has always measured himself through baseball. He is the star pitcher in his small town of Ornette, and his ninety-four-mile-per-hour pitch al- ready has minor league scouts buzzing in his junior year. Now the rules of the sport that has always been Braden’s saving grace are blurred in ways he never realized, and the prospect of playing against Alex Reyes, the nephew of the police officer his father is accused of killing, is haunting his every pitch.

Braden faces an impossible choice, one that will define him for the rest of his life, in this brutally honest debut novel about family, faith, and the ultimate test of conviction.

The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes 
published by Dial Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers

The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.

And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.

Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it's clear that Minnow knows something—but she's not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.

THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.

The Weight of Feathers by Anna-Marie McLemore 
published by Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press

For twenty years, the Palomas and the Corbeaus have been rivals and enemies, locked in an escalating feud for over a generation. Both families make their living as traveling performers in competing shows-the Palomas swimming in mermaid exhibitions, the Corbeaus, former tightrope walkers, performing in the tallest trees they can find.

Lace Paloma may be new to her family's show, but she knows as well as anyone that the Corbeaus are pure magia negra, black magic from the devil himself. Simply touching one could mean death, and she's been taught from birth to keep away. But when disaster strikes the small town where both families are performing, it's a Corbeau boy, Cluck, who saves Lace's life. And his touch immerses her in the world of the Corbeaus, where falling for him could turn his own family against him, and one misstep can be just as dangerous on the ground as it is in the trees.

Beautifully written, and richly imaginative, Anna-Marie McLemore's The Weight of Feathers is an utterly captivating young adult novel by a talented new voice.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

Title: The Girl on the Train
Classification: Realistic Fiction
Genre: Murder /Mystery;Contemporary;Thriller
Format: Hardcover; 336 pages
Publisher: Riverhead Books (2015)
ISBN-10: 1594633665
ISBN-13: 978-1594633669
Author's Website:
Notes: I bought this one.

Every work day morning, Rachel  takes the 8:04 train into London. When the train allows it, she watches a couple she doesn't know, but whom she's created her own story for. She's named them Jess and Jason and has filled in some the missing pieces while idealizing them in her mind as the perfect happy couple. That is until one day she sees something which prompts her to go talk to Jess and confront her.

'Buckinghamshire Police are becoming increasingly concerned for the welfare of a missing twenty-nine-year-old woman, Megan Hipwell, of Blenheim Road, Witney. Mrs. Hipwell was last seen by her husband, Scott Hipwell, on Saturday night when she left the couple’s home to visit a friend at around seven o’clock. Her disappearance is “completely out of character,” Mr. Hipwell said. Mrs. Hipwell was wearing jeans and a red T-shirt. She is five foot four, slim, with blond hair and blue eyes. Anyone with information regarding Mrs. Hipwell is requested to contact Buckinghamshire Police.'

The actual name of the girl Rachel dubbed as Jess is Megan Hipwell and she went missing the night Rachel went to see her.

'I know it sounds unlikely. What could I have done? Gone to Blenheim Road, attacked Megan Hipwell, disposed of her body somewhere and then forgotten all about it? It sounds ridiculous. It is ridiculous. But I know something happened on Saturday. I knew it when I looked into that dark tunnel under the railway line, my blood turning to ice water in my veins.'

Rachel has a drinking problem and somewhere in the jumbled drunken memories of her mind she may hold the key to what happened to Megan Hipwell. She knows she was on her way to see her. She knows she got off the train. After that there are only scattered bits and pieces of memories and feelings. Can she puzzle it all together? Will she regret it once she does?

“I don’t remember things,” I said. “I black out and I can’t remember where I’ve been or what I’ve done. Sometimes I wonder if I’ve done or said terrible things, and I can’t remember. And if . . . if someone tells me something I’ve done, it doesn’t even feel like me. It doesn’t feel like it was me who was doing that thing. And it’s so hard to feel responsible for something you don’t remember. So I never feel bad enough. I feel bad, but the thing that I’ve done—it’s removed from me. It’s like it doesn’t belong to me.”
This was a mental roller coaster of a thrill ride. Rachel is an emotional train wreck who should really be going to AA(Alcoholics Anonymous). She's basically hit rock bottom and needs to pull herself up out of the bottomless pit she's managed to sink herself into, and when Megan Hipwell disappears, she uses it as the lifeline she needs to do so. It gives her a purpose and helps her to see just how far she's fallen. It also makes her realize she's not the only one who has problems. Life isn't fair and people who don't deserve it have bad things happen to them. She's not alone.

The book is written from three points of view--- Rachel's, Megan's, and Anna's. Rachel is at a pivotal crossroads in her life. We, the reader, enter into the picture at an informational juncture where her past and future are discovered simultaneously while seemingly going in two opposite directions in the story line. We learn about Rachel's past beginning with the present working backwards. We learn about the future going forward from the present.

Whether intentional or accidental I thought the use of the train in this book was sheer genius and I love how the author did this. Trains often times in literature represent a journey--a time of self discovery and/or a period of transformation to somewhere or something new. I feel the train ride symbolizes her life. You can take a train to many places and once you reach a hub you can go back to where you came from or travel on to somewhere new. I feel that appropriately represents where we find Rachel. She has to decide where her life will take her and she can go in many directions. Rachel is presently at a place where she can choose to stay where she is reliving the past and never really getting anywhere or she can travel forward into an uncertain future.

The perspectives of Megan and Anna are used to give us clues/bread crumbs as to what happened to Megan and a little insight as to what happened to Rachel in the past. Anna is Rachel's ex-husbands new wife. The neighborhood Megan lived in was the one Rachel lived in with her husband. That is probably the real reason she became so obsessed with Megan and Jason. They reminded her of the way her life used to be. It also provided her a convenient distraction from seeing the old house she used to live in (that you can see from the tracks) that her ex and his new wife now live in. I can't begin to imagine what it would be like to have to pass that every day on your commute into London. I must warn you if you've recently gone through a breakup or divorce, this may not be the book for you. There are some heavy emotions that get tossed around, and if you're not in a good place emotionally, you may not want to venture into this one. I guarantee it will wake those emotions.

Overall, I gave this one 4 1/2 out of 5 roses. While I figured out the twist before the end, I loved all the twists and turns, the highly emotional ride, and finding out if my suspicions were correct. I can easily see why this one would become a movie. I look forward to seeing it in a theater.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Books to Movies; Books That are Coming to Theaters in 2016

Coming to theaters in 2016

Over four years ago I comprised a list of books being made into movies because I'd never seen one before. Now it seems like the talk of the town. Well, I've been listening and watching and updating my original list so here I go again....

I don’t know about anyone else, but I truly enjoy reading the book before I see the movie whenever possible. I thought I’d let you know what books appear to be making their to the silver screen this year. Please note the dates of movies are always subject to change and are not written in stone. If a book has TBA in front of the year, then the exact date it will hit the theaters is yet unknown. For those slated for 2016 without a specific date, there is a good chance they'll get pushed back to the following year. I plan on creating a second list of all the books that have had their screen rights bought, but have no date or year associated with them. I will publish that list later. It's a biggie.

If you'd like to purchase one of the books, click on its title and you'll be magically transported to Amazon.

So how many can you read before the movies come out? There certainly are a lot to choose from. Is anyone up for a challenge?

January 8, 2016 - The Revenant: A Novel of Revenge  by Michael Punke

The year is 1823, and the trappers of the Rocky Mountain Fur Company live a brutal frontier life. Trapping beaver, they contend daily with the threat of Indian tribes turned warlike over the white men's encroachment on their land, and other prairie foes--like the unforgiving landscape and its creatures. Hugh Glass is among the Company's finest men, an experienced frontiersman and an expert tracker. But when a scouting mission puts him face-to-face with a grizzly bear, he is viciously mauled and not expected to survive.

The Company's captain dispatches two of his men to stay behind and tend to Glass before he dies, and to give him the respect of a proper burial. When the two men abandon him instead, taking his only means of protecting himself--including his precious gun and hatchet-- with them, Glass is driven to survive by one desire: revenge.

With shocking grit and determination, Glass sets out crawling inch by inch across more than three thousand miles of uncharted American frontier, negotiating predators both human and not, the threat of starvation, and the agony of his horrific wounds. In Michael Punke's hauntingly spare and gripping prose, The Revenant is a remarkable tale of obsession, the human will stretched to its limits, and the lengths that one man will go to for retribution.

January 14, 2016 - 13 Hours: The Inside Account of What Really Happened In Benghazi  by Mitchell Zuckoff (Movie: 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi )

The harrowing, true account from the brave men on the ground who fought back during the Battle of Benghazi.

13 HOURS presents, for the first time ever, the true account of the events of September 11, 2012, when terrorists attacked the US State Department Special Mission Compound and a nearby CIA station called the Annex in Benghazi, Libya. A team of six American security operators fought to repel the attackers and protect the Americans stationed there. Those men went beyond the call of duty, performing extraordinary acts of courage and heroism, to avert tragedy on a much larger scale. This is their personal account, never before told, of what happened during the thirteen hours of that now-infamous attack.

13 HOURS sets the record straight on what happened during a night that has been shrouded in mystery and controversy. Written by New York Times bestselling author Mitchell Zuckoff, this riveting book takes readers into the action-packed story of heroes who laid their lives on the line for one another, for their countrymen, and for their country.

13 HOURS is a stunning, eye-opening, and intense book--but most importantly, it is the truth. The story of what happened to these men--and what they accomplished--is unforgettable.

January 15, 2016 - The 5th Wave (The Fifth Wave) by Rick Yancey

The 1st Wave took out half a million people.

The 2nd Wave put that number to shame.

The 3rd Wave lasted a little longer, twelve weeks... four billion dead.

In the 4th Wave, you can't trust that people are still people.

And the 5th Wave? No one knows. But it's coming.

On a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs. Runs from the beings that only look human, who have scattered Earth's last survivors.

To stay alone is to stay alive, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan may be her only hope.

Now Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death.

January 29, 2016 - The Finest Hours: The True Story of the U.S. Coast Guard's Most Daring Sea Rescue by Michael Tougias, Casey Sherman

The true story of an incredible disaster and heroic rescue at sea told by two masterful storytellers.

In the winter of 1952, New England was battered by the most brutal nor'easter in years. As the weather wreaked havoc on land, the freezing Atlantic became a wind-whipped zone of peril.

In the early hours of Monday, February 18, while the storm raged, two oil tankers, the Pendleton and the Fort Mercer, found themselves in the same horrifying predicament. Built with "dirty steel," and not prepared to withstand such ferocious seas, both tankers split in two, leaving the dozens of men on board utterly at the Atlantic's mercy.

The Finest Hours is the gripping, true story of the valiant attempt to rescue the souls huddling inside the broken halves of the two ships. Coast Guard cutters raced to the aid of those on the Fort Mercer, and when it became apparent that the halves of the Pendleton were in danger of capsizing, the Guard sent out two thirty-six-foot lifeboats as well. These wooden boats, manned by only four seamen, were dwarfed by the enormous seventy-foot seas. As the tiny rescue vessels set out from the coast of Cape Cod, the men aboard were all fully aware that they were embarking on what could easily become a suicide mission.

The spellbinding tale is overflowing with breathtaking scenes that sear themselves into the mind's eye, as boats capsize, bows and sterns crash into one another, and men hurl themselves into the raging sea in their terrifying battle for survival.

Not all of the eighty-four men caught at sea in the midst of that brutal storm survived, but considering the odds, it's a miracle -- and a testament to their bravery -- that any came home to tell their tales at all.

Michael J. Tougias and Casey Sherman have seamlessly woven together their extensive research and firsthand interviews to create an unforgettable tale of heroism, triumph, and tragedy, one that truly tells of the Coast Guard's finest hours.

February 5, 2016 - The Choice by Nicholas Sparks

#1 New York Times bestseller Nicholas Sparks turns his unrivaled talents to a new tale about love found and lost, and the choices we hope we'll never have to make.

Travis Parker has everything a man could want: a good job, loyal friends, even a waterfront home in small-town North Carolina. In full pursuit of the good life - boating, swimming , and regular barbecues with his good-natured buddies -- he holds the vague conviction that a serious relationship with a woman would only cramp his style. That is, until Gabby Holland moves in next door. Spanning the eventful years of young love, marriage and family, THE CHOICE ultimately confronts us with the most heartwrenching question of all: how far would you go to keep the hope of love alive?

February 5, 2016 - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, Jane Austen

“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”
So begins Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, an expanded edition of the beloved Jane Austen novel featuring all-new scenes of bone-crunching zombie mayhem. As our story opens, a mysterious plague has fallen upon the quiet English village of Meryton—and the dead are returning to life! Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is determined to wipe out the zombie menace, but she’s soon distracted by the arrival of the haughty and arrogant Mr. Darcy. What ensues is a delightful comedy of manners with plenty of civilized sparring between the two young lovers—and even more violent sparring on the blood-soaked battlefield. Can Elizabeth vanquish the spawn of Satan? And overcome the social prejudices of the class-conscious landed gentry? Complete with romance, heartbreak, swordfights, cannibalism, and thousands of rotting corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies transforms a masterpiece of world literature into something you’d actually want to read.

February 12, 2016 - How to Be Single: A Novel by Liz Tuccillo 

The inspiration for the hit film!

From the coauthor of He’s Just Not That Into You and a former story editor for Sex and the City, How to Be Single is about one woman’s attempts to navigate a world filled with ever-evolving definitions of love.

Julie Jenson is a single thirty-seven-year-old book publicist in New York. When her friend Georgia’s husband leaves her for a samba teacher, she forces Julie to organize a single girls’ night out to remind her why it’s so much fun not to be tied down. But the night ends up having the opposite effect on Julie. Fed up with the dysfunction and disappointments of singledom, Julie quits her job and sets off to find out how women around the world are dealing with this dreaded phenomenon. From Paris to Brazil to Sydney, Bali, Beijing, Mumbai, and Reyjavik, Julie falls in love, gets her heart broken, sees the world, and learns more than she ever dreamed possible. All the while her friends at home are grappling with their own issues—bad blind dates, loveless engagements, custody battles, single motherhood, and the death of a loved one. Written in Liz Tuccillo’s pitch-perfect, hilarious, and relatable voice, How to Be Single is “a summer read that, for once, accurately depicts the hopes, fears, and bad dates of a single woman looking for love” (Parade).

March 4, 2016 - Me Before You by Jojo Moyes

Lou Clark knows lots of things. She knows how many footsteps there are between the bus stop and home. She knows she likes working in The Buttered Bun tea shop and she knows she might not love her boyfriend Patrick.

What Lou doesn't know is she's about to lose her job or that knowing what's coming is what keeps her sane.

Will Traynor knows his motorcycle accident took away his desire to live. He knows everything feels very small and rather joyless now and he knows exactly how he's going to put a stop to that.

What Will doesn't know is that Lou is about to burst into his world in a riot of colour. And neither of them knows they're going to change the other for all time.

March 18, 2016 - Allegiant (Divergent, #3) by Veronica Roth

The faction-based society that Tris Prior once believed in is shattered - fractured by violence and power struggles and scarred by loss and betrayal. So when offered a chance to explore the world past the limits she's known, Tris is ready. Perhaps beyond the fence, she and Tobias will find a simple new life together, free from complicated lies, tangled loyalties, and painful memories.

But Tris's new reality is even more alarming than the one she left behind. Old discoveries are quickly rendered meaningless. Explosive new truths change the hearts of those she loves. And once again, Tris must battle to comprehend to complexities of human nature - and of herself - while facing impossible choices about courage, allegiance, sacrifice, and love.

Told from a riveting dual perspective, ALLEGIANT, by #1 New York Times best-selling author Veronica Roth, brings the DIVERGENT series to a powerful conclusion while revealing the secrets of the dystopian world that has captivated millions of readers in DIVERGENT and INSURGENT.

March 10, 2016 - Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt (Christ the Lord, #1) by Anne Rice (Movie: The Young Messiah)

With the Holy Land in turmoil, seven-year-old Jesus and his family leave Egypt for the dangerous road home to Jerusalem. As they travel, the boy tries to unlock the secret of his birth and comprehend his terrifying power to work miracles. Anne Rice's dazzling, kaleidoscopic novel, based on the gospels and the most respected New Testament scholarship, summons up the voice, the presence, and the words of Jesus, allowing him to tell his own story as he struggles to grasp the holy purpose of his life.

March 18, 2016 - Miracles from Heaven: A Little Girl and Her Amazing Story of Healing by Christy Beam (Movie: Miracles from Heaven)

In a remarkable true story of faith and blessings, a mother tells of her sickly young daughter, how she survived a dangerous accident, her visit to Heaven and the inexplicable disappearance of the symptoms of her chronic disease.

Annabel Beam spent most of her childhood in and out of hospitals with a rare and incurable digestive disorder that prevented her from ever living a normal, healthy life. One sunny day when she was able to go outside and play with her sisters, she fell three stories headfirst inside an old, hollowed-out tree, a fall that may well have caused death or paralysis. Implausibly, she survived without a scratch. While unconscious inside the tree, with rescue workers struggling to get to her, she visited heaven. After being released from the hospital, she defied science and was inexplicably cured of her chronic ailment.

MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN will change how we look at the world around us and reinforce our belief in God and the afterlife.

March 25, 2016I Saw the Light: The Story of Hank Williams by Colin Escott, George Merritt, William MacEwen 

The book that inspired the major motion picture I Saw the Light. Originally published as Hank William: The Biography.

In his brief life, Hank Williams created one of the defining bodies of American music. Songs such as "Your Cheatin' Heart," "Hey, Good Lookin'," and "Jambalaya" sold millions of records and became the model for virtually all country music that followed. But by the time of his death at age twenty-nine, Williams had drunk and drugged and philandered his way through two messy marriages and out of his headline spot on the Grand Ole Opry. Even though he was country music's top seller, toward the end he was so famously unreliable that he was lucky to get a booking in a beer hall.

Colin Escott's enthralling, definitive biograph--now the basis of the major motion picture I Saw the Light--vividly details the singer's stunning rise and his spectacular decline, revealing much that was previously unknown or hidden about the life of this country music legend.

April 15, 2016 - The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Among the most popular children's books ever written, The Jungle Book (1894) comprises a series of stories about Mowgli, a boy raised in the jungle by a family of wolves after a tiger has attacked and driven off his parents. Threatened throughout much of his young life by the dreaded tiger Shere Khan, Mowgli is protected by his adoptive family and learns the lore of the jungle from Baloo, a sleepy brown bear, and Bagheera, the black panther.

Subtle lessons in justice, loyalty, and tribal law pervade these imaginative tales, recounted by a master storyteller with a special talent for entertaining audiences of all ages. Included are such tales as "Rikki-tikki-tavi," a story about a brave mongoose and his battle with the deadly cobra Nag; Mowgli's abduction by the monkey people; and "Toomai of the Elephants," in which a young boy witnesses a secret ritual and is honored by his tribesmen.

This inexpensive, unabridged edition of The Jungle Book promises to enchant a new generation of young readers, as it recalls to their elders the pleasure of reading or hearing these stories for the first time.

April 29, 2016 - Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together  by Ron Hall, Denver Moore, Lynn Vincent 

Meet Denver, a man raised under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana in the 1960s; a man who escaped, hopping a train to wander, homeless, for eighteen years on the streets of Dallas, Texas. No longer a slave, Denver's life was still hopeless—until God moved. First came a godly woman who prayed, listened, and obeyed. And then came her husband, Ron, an international arts dealer at home in a world of Armani-suited millionaires. And then they all came together.

But slavery takes many forms. Deborah discovers that she has cancer. In the face of possible death, she charges her husband to rescue Denver. Who will be saved, and who will be lost? What is the future for these unlikely three? What is God doing?

Same Kind of Different As Me is the emotional tale of their story: a telling of pain and laughter, doubt and tears, dug out between the bondages of this earth and the free possibility of heaven. No reader or listener will ever forget it.

May 13, 2016 - The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man by Luke Harding (Movie: Snowden)

It began with an unsigned email: "I am a senior member of the intelligence community".

What followed was the most spectacular intelligence breach ever, brought about by one extraordinary man. The consequences have shaken the leaders of nations worldwide, from Obama to Cameron, to the presidents of Brazil, France, and Indonesia, and the chancellor of Germany.

Edward Snowden, a young computer genius working for America's National Security Agency, blew the whistle on the way this powerful organisation uses new technology to spy on the entire planet. The spies call it "mastering the internet". Others call it the death of individual privacy.

This is the inside story of Snowden's deeds and the journalists who faced down the pressure from US and British governments to break a remarkable scoop.

Snowden's story reads like a globe-trotting thriller, from the day he left his glamorous girlfriend on the island of Hawaii carrying a hard drive full of secrets, to the weeks of his secret-spilling in Hong Kong, and his battle for asylum. Now stuck in Moscow, a uniquely hunted man, he faces US espionage charges and an uncertain future in exile.

What drove Snowden to sacrifice himself? Award-winning Guardian journalist Luke Harding answers the question which should trouble every citizen of the internet age.

July 1, 2016 -  The BFG  by Roald Dahl

"Well, first of all, " said the BFG, "human beans is not really believing in giants, is they? Human beans is not thinking we exist."

Sophie discovers that giants not only exist, but that there are a great many of them who like to guzzle and swallomp nice little chiddlers. But not the Big Friendly Giant. He and Sophie cook up an ingenious plot to free the world of troggle-humping -- forever.

August 12, 2016 - The Shack by Wm. Paul Young

Mackenzie Allen Philips' youngest daughter, Missy, has been abducted during a family vacation, and evidence that she may have been brutally murdered is found in an abandoned shack deep in the Oregon wilderness. Four years later in the midst of his "Great Sadness," Mack receives a suspicious note, apparently from God, inviting him back to that shack for a weekend.

Against his better judgment he arrives at the shack on a wintry afternoon and walks back into his darkest nightmare. What he finds there will change Mack's world forever.

In a world where religion seems to grow increasingly irrelevant The Shack wrestles with the timeless question, "Where is God in a world so filled with unspeakable pain?" The answers Mack gets will astound you and perhaps transform you as much as it did him. You'll want everyone you know to read this book!

* book description from the back cover

August 12, 2016 - Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880) by Lew Wallace is one of the most popular and beloved 19th century American novels. This faithful New Testament tale combines the events of the life of Jesus with grand historical spectacle in the exciting story of Judah of the House of Hur, a man who finds extraordinary redemption for himself and his family.A classic of faith, fortitude, and inspiration.

October 7, 2016 - The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins

A debut psychological thriller that will forever change the way you look at other people’s lives.

Rachel takes the same commuter train every morning. Every day she rattles down the track, flashes past a stretch of cozy suburban homes, and stops at the signal that allows her to daily watch the same couple breakfasting on their deck. She’s even started to feel like she knows them. “Jess and Jason,” she calls them. Their life—as she sees it—is perfect. Not unlike the life she recently lost.

And then she sees something shocking. It’s only a minute until the train moves on, but it’s enough. Now everything’s changed. Unable to keep it to herself, Rachel offers what she knows to the police, and becomes inextricably entwined in what happens next, as well as in the lives of everyone involved. Has she done more harm than good?

Compulsively readable, The Girl on the Train is an emotionally immersive, Hitchcockian thriller and an electrifying debut.

October 14, 2016 - Inferno (Robert Langdon, #4) by Dan Brown

In his international blockbusters The Da Vinci Code, Angels & Demons, and The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown masterfully fused history, art, codes, and symbols. In this riveting new thriller, Brown returns to his element and has crafted his highest-stakes novel to date.

In the heart of Italy, Harvard professor of symbology Robert Langdon is drawn into a harrowing world centered on one of history’s most enduring and mysterious literary masterpieces . . . Dante’s Inferno.

Against this backdrop, Langdon battles a chilling adversary and grapples with an ingenious riddle that pulls him into a landscape of classic art, secret passageways, and futuristic science. Drawing from Dante’s dark epic poem, Langdon races to find answers and decide whom to trust . . . before the world is irrevocably altered.

October 20, 2016Never Go Back (Jack Reacher, #18) by Lee Child

After an epic and interrupted journey all the way from the snows of South Dakota, Jack Reacher has finally made it to Virginia. His destination: a sturdy stone building a short bus ride from Washington D.C., the headquarters of his old unit, the 110th MP. It was the closest thing to a home he ever had.

Why? He wants to meet the new commanding officer, Major Susan Turner. He liked her voice on the phone. But the officer sitting behind Reacher’s old desk isn't a woman. Why is Susan Turner not there?

What Reacher doesn’t expect is what comes next. He himself is in big trouble, accused of a sixteen-year-old homicide. And he certainly doesn't expect to hear these words: ‘You’re back in the army, Major. And your ass is mine.’

Will he be sorry he went back? Or – will someone else?

November 11, 2016 - Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain 

Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and a finalist for the National Book Award.

Billy Lynn's Long Half-Time Walk is a razor-sharp satire set in Texas during America's war in Iraq. It explores the gaping national disconnect between the war at home and the war abroad.

Ben Fountain’s remarkable debut novel follows the surviving members of the heroic Bravo Squad through one exhausting stop in their media-intensive "Victory Tour" at Texas Stadium, football mecca of the Dallas Cowboys, their fans, promoters, and cheerleaders.

December 16, 2016 Chicken Soup for the Soul: Think Positive: 101 Inspirational Stories about Counting Your Blessings and Having a Positive Attitude  by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen

Two of America's best-loved inspirational speakers share the very best of their collected stories and favorite tales that have touched the hearts of people everywhere. Canfield and Hansen bring you wit and wisdom, hope and empowerment to buoy you through life's dark moments.

December 25, 2016 - Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

As a kid, Jacob formed a special bond with his grandfather over his bizarre tales and photos of levitating girls and invisible boys. Now at 16, he is reeling from the old man's unexpected death. Then Jacob is given a mysterious letter that propels him on a journey to the remote Welsh island where his grandfather grew up. There, he finds the children from the photographs--alive and well--despite the islanders’ assertion that all were killed decades ago. As Jacob begins to unravel more about his grandfather’s childhood, he suspects he is being trailed by a monster only he can see. A haunting and out-of-the-ordinary read, debut author Ransom Rigg’s first-person narration is convincing and absorbing, and every detail he draws our eye to is deftly woven into an unforgettable whole. Interspersed with photos throughout, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children is a truly atmospheric novel with plot twists, turns, and surprises that will delight readers of any age.

(2016 TBD) Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

What if you only had one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last.

The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. Living the last day of her life seven times during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death--and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

(2016 TBD) - Cell: A Novel by Stephen King 

Witness Stephen King's triumphant, blood-spattered return to the genre that made him famous. Cell, the king of horror's homage to zombie films (the book is dedicated in part to George A. Romero) is his goriest, most horrific novel in years, not to mention the most intensely paced. Casting aside his love of elaborate character and town histories and penchant for delayed gratification, King yanks readers off their feet within the first few pages; dragging them into the fray and offering no chance catch their breath until the very last page.

In Cell King taps into readers fears of technological warfare and terrorism. Mobile phones deliver the apocalypse to millions of unsuspecting humans by wiping their brains of any humanity, leaving only aggressive and destructive impulses behind. Those without cell phones, like illustrator Clayton Riddell and his small band of "normies," must fight for survival, and their journey to find Clayton's estranged wife and young son rockets the book toward resolution.

Fans that have followed King from the beginning will recognize and appreciate Cell as a departure--King's writing has not been so pure of heart and free of hang-ups in years (wrapping up his phenomenal Dark Tower series and receiving a medal from the National Book Foundation doesn't hurt either). "Retirement" clearly suits King, and lucky for us, having nothing left to prove frees him up to write frenzied, juiced-up horror-thrillers like Cell. Stay tuned for more from the hardest-working retiree in the business with Lisey's Story, coming in October 2006." --Daphne Durham

(2016 TBD) The Zookeeper's Wife: A War Story by Diane Ackerman

The New York Times bestseller: a true story in which the keepers of the Warsaw Zoo saved hundreds of people from Nazi hands.

After their zoo was bombed, Polish zookeepers Jan and Antonina Zabinski managed to save over three hundred people from the Nazis by hiding refugees in the empty animal cages. With animal names for these "guests," and human names for the animals, it's no wonder that the zoo's code name became "The House Under a Crazy Star." Best-selling naturalist and acclaimed storyteller Diane Ackerman combines extensive research and an exuberant writing style to re-create this fascinating, true-life story—sharing Antonina's life as "the zookeeper's wife," while examining the disturbing obsessions at the core of Nazism.

P.S. Yes, I searched for all these movies. I am exhausted. Hopefully I found them all, but I wouldn't bet on it.

P.P.S. The book blurbs and pictures used are from Goodreads. That information was left off accidentally when I split my post into two, one for 2016 and another for the rest. Sorry Goodreads: 
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