What Reading (and Writing) Books Means to Me with Elizabeth Goddard

Happy Thursday! Today’s installment of What Reading/Writing Books Means to Me is brought to us courtesy of Elizabeth Goddard, popular author of romantic suspense - including her new book NEVER LET GO which released February 5, 2019 from Revell Books.

What Reading (and Writing) Books Means to Me

by Elizabeth Goddard, Author of Never Let Go

As a novelist, I know that I wouldn’t be a writer if I weren’t also an avid reader. Add to that, the two activities could be considered interchangeable, at least for me. As I write a novel, I’m also discovering the story. Discovery is what books are all about.

The love of reading and the books we read shape us early on, that is, if we’re inspired to read at a young age. They allow us to escape to new worlds never explored or that will never exist. We learn new perspectives through the eyes of characters whose lives we’ll never live.

For instance, most of what I know about World War II, I learned by reading historical novels such as Bodie Thoene’s Zion Covenant series (Brock Thoene is a historian so I trusted the history). I learned to love horses by reading Black Beauty and books like it. I grew to love romance and romantic suspense when I got hooked on gothic novels written by Phyllis Whitney, Victoria Holt, and the Bronte sisters.

I love the smell of a new book, the feel of it as I hold it in my hands. Like scents ignite memories long buried or music reminds of special moments, books make me think of my childhood and all things good.

Most of all, books remind me of my mother. She loved to read and brought books from her childhood into her own home when she married. Titles such as My Friend Flick, Rebecca, Jane Eyre, and countless more filled the bookshelves. Those books remained on the shelves for decades until all four walls of a room became bookshelves filled with new books, and the pages in my mother’s hardbacks turned yellow with age.

My mother was an avid reader and I learned to love books from her, often spending my entire summers reading some of my favorite books more than once. This activity ignited the desire to write my own stories, and my mother encouraged me in that as well. I’m grateful that I became published while she was still alive, so she could see the fruit of what she inspired in me. She passed away a couple of years ago, and I dedicated Never Let Go to her. I hope to pass down to my own children and grandchildren the same gift she gave to me—the love of reading, the joy of books, and for some, even the passionate drive to write novels.

Books have inspired me, changed me, given me hope, taught me, and carved out the path I walk every day on my journey to create more books.



Elizabeth Goddard is the bestselling, award-winning author of forty novels and counting, including the romantic mystery, THE CAMERA NEVER LIES–a 2011 Carol Award winner. Four of her six Mountain Cove books have been contest finalists. Buried, Backfire and Deception are finalists in the Daphne Du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery and Suspense, and Submerged is a Carol Award finalist. A 7th generation Texan, Elizabeth graduated from North Texas State University with a Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and worked in high-level software sales for several years before retiring to fulfill her dreams of writing full-time.



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The case may be cold, but things are about to heat up.

Forensic genealogist Willow Anderson is following in her late grandfather's footsteps in her quest for answers about a baby abducted from a hospital more than twenty years ago. When someone makes an attempt on Willow's life to keep her from discovering the truth, help will come from an unexpected source.

Ex-FBI agent--and Willow's ex-flame--Austin McKade readily offers to protect the woman he never should have let get away. Together they'll follow where the clues lead them, even if it means Austin must face the past he's spent much of his life trying to forget--and put Willow's tender heart at risk.

A Few of My Favorite Reads with Rebecca Maney

Happy Tuesday! At Hope By the Book we are trying out some new regular features here on the website, and today’s guest - avid reader Rebecca Maney - is kicking off our “A Few of My Favorite Reads” feature!

A Few – Emphasis on Few - of My Favorite Reads

by Rebecca Maney

Does anyone else have a brain that insists on processing information with pictures? Any topic, any time, any place? Mine does. So, when picturing my favorite reads, imagine a plush fireside chair blanketed with my Dallas Cowboys throw (I just had to say that); a cup of steaming hot chocolate just a blind reach away. Cozy. Comfortable. Captivating.

What sort of books fit into this idyllic scene? The ones that are read over and over and over again . . . just because. The ones that I run to when I want to hear the conversations of trusted friends, the ones I slip into without uttering a word or making a sound. They beckon me.

They are . . .


Remembered by Tamera Alexander

Oh my! The witty banter between Jack and Veronique should be written into a textbook. They argue uncontrollably and love unconditionally.

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Sweetwater Gap by Denise Hunter

Not only do I smell those mountain apples ripe and ready for the picking, but I let the story nourish my soul, reminding me that life is precious and forgiveness is offered generously by the author of life everlasting.

The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate

Above all that we can ask or think, His eye is truly on the sparrow . . . prayer is more powerful than a mighty ocean wave. Why do we forget that?

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The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

Maybe it is because I grew up traipsing along mountain trails (having a father who was a Boy Scout leader will do that to you), but my five senses immediately engaged in this story; the sights, sounds, smells, tastes and even gentle touches combined to convey the desperation of survival and the magnificence of miracles.

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Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade

Who doesn’t crave a good love story now and then between two unlikelies, perfectly imperfect for each other until it’s all on the line? Meg and Bo are two of my forever friends.


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Rebecca Maney is a graduate of Bryan College with a degree in Christian Education, and is currently serving at the First Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church in Gastonia, North Carolina as the Director of Children's Ministry. With nearly 28 years of experience in her field, she has had many opportunities to use her love of reading and writing in creative ways across the generations. A wife, mother of four "nearly" grown children, and grandmother to four beautiful grandchildren, Rebecca has been able to return to her love of reading and more recently reviewing, with a renewed passion for the "beauty of story".

What are some of your fave reads? Share on social media & tag us on social media @hopebythebook using the hashtags #hopebythebook #myfavereads

Change. New. Unknown.

Change. New. Unknown.

What kind of emotions do those words stir in you? Do you feel a bubble of excitement rising? Or maybe your stomach just sank and the blood drained from your face? Maybe your response was somewhere between those extremes, or maybe you’re wondering what the context is. After all, the context could make all the difference, couldn’t it?

Read More

Bookish Resolutions: Tame That Teetering TBR Tower

The new year is always a good time to set resolutions that will help make this current year better than the last. Gym memberships and diet program sign-ups increase dramatically every January, and people flood social media with their ‘word of the year’ and resolutions posts.

Bookworms have resolutions too, and one of the most common ones is "taming the TBR (to be read) pile”. Or in some cases, you may need to replace ‘pile’ with ‘tower’ or ‘island’ or even ‘universe’. (Ask me how I know this.) But where do you even start such an impossible feat as taming the amount of books you want to read, especially when irresistible new books pop up every day?!?

I (Carrie) have no idea. None. My TBR pile is out. of. control. It has been for quite some time now and shows no signs of diminishing in the foreseeable future.

So I asked my associate editor, Annie, to give some insight here. (Don’t let her great suggestions fool you, though - she’s as hopeless as the rest of us.)

Participate in Reading Challenges/Readathons

This time of year, there are lots of great reading challenges for you to start! Some go all year, and others are more monthly. These can make taming that TBR pile fun - and give you an excuse to finally read that book you’re not sure about (and which would otherwise stay on your TBR list to infinity) - plus they provide great accountability to keep at.

May I suggest Hope By The Book’s reading challenge? We’ve got three levels so you can do as little or as many as you choose! Find out more HERE.

Readathons are typically for a day or a week, though some are seasonal. You can find these on various book blogs and on social media. These are a great way to power-read your way through a chunk of your book stacks.

Buddy Reads

Everything is better with friends, even reading! Grab a friend or two, pick a book or series, read and discuss. Kinda like a book club but more one-on-one - AND it can be done online which is perfect for us introverted readers!

The ‘Reading Nook Stack’ Method

Stack five books at a time by your favorite reading nook (like on your nightstand or next to your reading chair). Read them off one by one, and don’t add any more until the last book has been read. If you change your mind on a book, switch it out instead of adding to the stack. This helps keep your immediate TBR within a reachable goal. Take caution though! If you overachievers out there decide to use more than five books at a time for this method, you might find yourself in trouble!

It is likely I will die next to a pile of things I was meaning to read.
— Lemony Snicket


Audiobooks are a great way to knock a book off your list while doing chores or commuting. I've even done it while shopping! Of course there is Audible and Scribd but you can also check out audiobooks through Overdrive and Hoopla, etc. And if Richard Armitage happens to be the narrator, all the better ;)

Set aside reading time

Keep this commitment of at least once a week, even if you are able to add more reading time. That way, even when busyness creeps up, you'll still have this time devoted for reading. Mark it on your planners and Google Calendars and carve out time each week for dedicated reading time.

Cull your Goodreads lists

Goodreads is a handy website that lets us keep track of our books read, series, authors, and what our friends are reading & reviewing. It also, let’s just be honest, adds even more stress to the overwhelmed TBR-owner. My want-to-read list is a metaphysical impossibility, yet I continue adding to it when I see a book on someone’s social media or blog. And sometimes my one-click reflex is faster than my thought process, so it’s prudent every once in a while to go through and make sure you really want to read that book that grabbed your attention.

Make a TBR jar

A) That’s super fun to say - “TBR jar”
B) It’s a super handy way to help yourself over those “I have 5000 books on my TBR list and I have no idea what to read next” dilemmas.

Take strips of paper and write down a TBR title on each one. Fold them up and fill up a mason jar with the papers. Each time you finish a book, reach in the jar and grab another title, and so on. Thanks to one of our reviewers, Andi, for pointing out this idea from BookRiot right as I was finishing up this post! Perfect timing :)

These are all great ideas! But, let’s face it… at some point we just have to surrender to the teetering TBR tower, acknowledge that we’ll never get it read in one lifetime, and hope Heaven has a library :) Until then, happy reading!!

Introducing the Hope By the Book 2019 Reading Challenge!

Do you like making lists? I do. And I’ll let you in on a not-so-well-kept secret: My favourite kind of lists are book lists! Even when I was a child I enjoyed making lists of all the books by my favourite authors. And oh, the satisfaction when I could cross another one off my list because it had taken up residence on my bookshelf.

As a book blogger and reviewer, I get plenty of opportunities to make bookish lists, but one of my favourite lists of all is the one I begin making at the end of each year listing all the new releases for the following year. Once I’ve done that, I can begin on my favourite list of all: my TBR!

Despite being my favourite list of all, it’s not an easy one to compile. For starters, there are so many wonderful new releases each month it’s impossible to read them all, even if I devote myself solely to reading new releases. Then there are the books that released the previous year that I didn’t get around to, the books I hear other readers raving about—and, of course, I want to make sure I have variety in my reading diet: different genres, a mix of non-fiction and fiction…

Are you beginning to feel a little overwhelmed?

Take a few deep breaths. Ready? Breathe in…two…three…four, and out…two…three…four. Feeling better? Feel free to keep taking those deep breaths while I share some good news with you!

Here at Hope by the Book, we understand how traumatic it can be to maintain a healthy bookish diet. That’s why we’ve created the Hope by the Book Reading Challenge for 2019. It’s perfectly tailored to meet all your bookish nutritional needs while giving you the freedom to choose the books you read!

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Here’s how it works.

There are three levels to the challenge: Avid Reader (2 books per month), Voracious Reader (1 extra book each month), and Insatiable Reader (2 extra books per month). You choose the level that best suits your reading appetite. So if you class yourself as a voracious reader, for example, you would choose two books from the Avid Reader list each month, plus one additional book each month from the Voracious Reader list.

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Each month, we’ll be talking about the challenge on the blog, sharing some book suggestions and encouragement. And make sure you watch out for us on social media as well. We’ll be using the hashtag #HBTB2019reads, and we’d love for you to do the same so we can see what you’re reading!

Want the whole reading challenge as a PDF? Download it HERE!

Here’s wishing you a blessed and bookish 2019!