I have quite the to-be-read pile this year, and I can’t wait to tackle it! Last year I decided I wanted to read more, and in December I found this great reading challenge for the year. Technically I cheated a little because I started reading my first book in 2018, but I finished it in 2019 so I’m counting it! Here’s a look at what’s on the short list for the TBR pile:
Mennonite in a Little Black Dress by Rhoda Janzen
Not long after Rhoda Janzen turned forty, her world turned upside down. It was bad enough that her husband of fifteen years left her for Bob, a guy he met on Gay.com, but that same week a car accident left her injured. Needing a place to rest and pick up the pieces of her life, Rhoda packed her bags, crossed the country, and returned to her quirky Mennonite family’s home, where she was welcomed back with open arms and offbeat advice. (Rhoda’s good-natured mother suggested she get over her heartbreak by dating her first cousin―he owned a tractor, see.)
Written with wry humor and huge personality―and tackling faith, love, family, and aging―Mennonite in a Little Black Dress is an immensely moving memoir of healing, certain to touch anyone who has ever had to look homeward in order to move ahead.
Turtles in the Road by Rhonda and Kaley Rhea
Piper Cope was so sure the Lord called her to be a pastor’s wife. So when her pastor/fiancé breaks it off, she’s every kind of puzzled. Does God even have a purpose for her anymore? On the road halfway between the bridges she’s burned and some kind of new start, she encounters the most unexpected detour. She swerves on a rainy road to miss a turtle and ends up in a ditch with an airbag to the face. Now stuck in this little town, she wonders how in the world she could’ve gotten her God-signals so very crossed. And how in the world is she supposed to know what He wants her to do now? In the meantime, at least the community center guy, Jay Marler, has her working a temporary job there. Problem is, somehow she’s coaching a children’s basketball team. She does not…basketball. And she certainly does not children
Indivisible by Travis Thrasher
Darren and Heather Turner share a passion for serving God, family, and country. When Darren is deployed to Iraq as an army chaplain, Heather vows to serve military families back home as she cares for the couple’s three young children.
Darren knows he’s overseas to support the troops in their suffering as their chaplain. What he doesn’t know is how he will get through his own dark moments. And as communication from Darren dwindles, Heather wonders what is happening in her husband’s heart. Meanwhile, she’s growing weary in the day-to-day life of a military base—each child’s milestone Darren will never see, each month waiting for orders, each late-night knock on the door.
When Darren returns, he is no longer the husband Heather once knew. She is no longer the woman Darren wed. And so it’s at home that the Turners face their biggest battle: to save their marriage.
Based on the screen play by David Evans, Indivisible is a tribute to the beauty of serving our country, the courage of choosing love in the darkness, and the power of a God who never gives up hope.
Plot Versus Character: A Balanced Approach to Writing Great Fiction by Jeff Gerke
What’s more important to a story: a gripping plot or compelling characters? Literary-minded novelists argue in favor of character-based novels while commercial novelists argue in favor of plot-based stories, but the truth of the matter is this: The best fiction is rich in both.
Enter Plot Versus Character. This hands-on guide to creating a well-rounded novel embraces both of these crucial story components. You’ll learn to:
- Create layered characters by considering personality traits, natural attributes, and backgrounds
- Develop your character’s emotional journey and tie it to your plot’s inciting incident
- Construct a three-act story structure that can complement and sustain your character arc
- Expose character backstory in a manner that accentuates plot points
- Seamlessly intertwine plot and character to create a compelling page-turner filled with characters to whom readers can’t help but relate
- And much more
Filled with helpful examples and friendly instruction, Plot Versus Character takes the guesswork out of creating great fiction by giving you the tools you need to inject life into your characters and momentum into your plots.
What are you reading?