Lori Benton’s Summer Reading List

We are excited to have Lori Benton join us today to share her summer reading list.  Her list features a variety of genres, including dystopian, contemporary romance, and some non-fiction.

Luminary and Revolutionary by Krista McGee
Publication Date: January 14, 2014 & July 15, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

What’s Anomaly series about:

Decades before Thalli’s birth, the world was decimated by a nuclear war. But life continued deep underground, thanks to a handful of scientists who created genetically engineered human beings who are free of emotions in the hope that war won’t threaten the world again. Thalli is an anomaly, born with the ability to feel emotions and a sense of curiosity she barely contains—until her secret is discovered when she’s overwhelmed by the emotion of an ancient piece of music.

luminaryWhat’s Luminary about:

Thalli thought escaping to the surface would mean freedom. But is she any less of an anomaly aboveground?

After escaping an underground annihilation chamber, Thalli, Berk, Rhen, and John find themselves fleeing across the former United States, aboveground for the first time. As the defectors cross the for gotten landscape, the three youths see things the y had only read about on screens: horses, rain, real books―and a colony of unsanctioned survivors living the ancient way in a town called New Hope.

When the citizens of New Hope reveal the truth of what happened years ago, Thalli is left unsettled and skeptical of everything she’s ever been told. Can she trust anything from the State, including her own feelings for Berk? When she volunteers for a peace mission to New Hope’s violent neighbor, Athens, her confusion mounts as the supposedly ruthless Prince Ale x turns out to be kind and charming. Although everyone in New Hope warned her not to, she can’t help but fall for him.

Meanwhile, John’s unwavering faith in the goodness of the Designer begins to make its mark on Thalli’s heart. But can Thalli really come to trust in a generous, protective Designer who rules over all things? Would that not be setting herself up for another betrayal?

The time for her to decide is now . . . because the State is closing in.

revolutionaryWhat’s Revolutionary about:
Back in the hands of the State, Thalli is caught in a horrible game of power―with consequences reaching further than she ever imagined.

After several months aboveground, Thalli had almost forgotten what living in the State was like. Programmed to be without emotions or curiosity, she was always an anomaly there. Too emotional. Too curious. Citizens of the State should behave exactly the way the Scientists designed them to behave: work in their assigned fields, maintain productivity.

Thalli’s entire genetically engineered generation has been eradicated by a scientocracy that believes human life is expendable. Now a pawn in a mad game of manipulation, held hostage, and tortured in the name of the State, Thalli can barely summon the strength to hope that the future of humanity could be any better.

She clings to her new faith in the Designer. But when she discovers that even the few villages aboveground are in danger of State domination, that fragile faith begins to crumble.

As Thalli, Berk, and Alex make plans to overthrow the evil Dr. Loudin, a chilling secret explains why they have been left alive at all . . . a personal secret that will haunt Thalli forever. And as she struggles with this new truth, she also struggles with decisions of the heart.

Can the State’s expansion be stopped? Or will humanity―above and below the surface―be irreparably damaged? Thalli is faced with a purpose both overwhelming and undeniable: to assume the role of a Revolutionary.

Lori’s Comments: I’m a fan of YA Dystopian, much to my surprise, and really enjoyed the first in this series, Anomaly.


Yawning at TigersYawning at Tigers, You Can’t Tame God, So Stop Trying by Drew Dyck
Publication Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Thomas Nelson

What it’s about:

Drew Dyck makes a compelling case that what we seek awaits us in the untamed God of Scripture—a God who is dangerous yet accessible, mysterious yet powerfully present. He is a God who beckons us to see him with a fresh, unfiltered gaze.

Lori’s Comments: It was recommended by a respected friend.


From the StartFrom The Start by Melissa Tagg
Publication Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Bethany House

What it’s about:

Kate Walker used to believe in true love and happily ever after. While her own love life may have left her brokenhearted, it hasn’t kept her from churning out made-for-TV romance movie screenplays…until a major career slump and a longing to do something meaningful send her running back to her hometown of Maple Valley.

Permanently sidelined by an injury, former NFL quarterback Colton Greene is temporarily hiding out in a friend’s hometown to avoid the media and the reminders of all he’s lost. Maple Valley seems like the perfect place to learn how to adjust to normal life. The only trouble is he’s never really done normal before.

While Kate plays things safe and Colton is all about big risks and grand gestures, they both get what it’s like to desperately need direction in life. An unexpected project gives them both a chance to jumpstart their new lives, but old wounds and new dreams are hard to ignore. Starting over wasn’t part of the plan, but could it be the best thing that’s ever happened to them?

Lori’s Comments: I’ve been wanting to read Melissa’s stories and now’s the time.


A Desperate FortuneA Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley
Publication Date: April 7, 2015
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark

What it’s about: 

For nearly three hundred years, the cryptic journal of Mary Dundas has kept its secrets. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas travels to Paris to crack the cipher.

1700s Jacobite exile Mary Dundas is filled with longing—for freedom, for adventure, for the family she lost. When fate opens the door, Mary dares to set her foot on a path far more surprising and dangerous than she ever could have dreamed.

Lori’s Comments: I read every new release from Susanna for her lyrical prose, vivid characters, and interesting historical/contemporary tied-in story lines. I wish I wrote this well.


A Love Like OursA Love Like Ours by Becky Wade
Publication Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Bethany House

What it’s about:

Former Marine Jake Porter has deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD and avoids relationships. When Lyndie James lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion’s reluctance to run.

Lori’s Comments: I enjoy Becky’s stories


Water From My HeartWater From My Heart by Charles Martin
Publication Date: May 16, 2015
Publisher: Center Street

What it’s about:

Charlie Finn had to grow up fast, living alone by age sixteen. Highly intelligent, he earned a life-changing scholarship to Harvard, where he learned how to survive and thrive on the outskirts of privileged society. That skill served him well in the cutthroat business world, as it does in more lucrative but dangerous ventures he now operates off the coast of Miami. Charlie tries to separate relationships from work. But when his choices produce devastating consequences, he sets out to right wrongs, traveling to Central America where he will meet those who have paid for his actions, including a woman and her young daughter. Will their fated encounter present Charlie with a way to seek the redemption he thought was impossible–and free his heart to love one woman as he never knew he could?

Lori’s Comments: I always enjoy his books and he’s got this new release out.


Give Yourself a BreakGive Yourself a Break, Turning Your Inner Critic into a Compassionate Friend by Kim Frederickson
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
Publisher: Revell

What it’s about:

Many people are used to showing compassion to others. What many of us have trouble with is showing that same compassion to ourselves. Grounding her advice in the Bible, licensed marriage and family therapist, Kim Fredrickson, offers practical steps, specific exercises, and compassionate words to say in order to build a loving relationship with ourselves.

Lori’s Comments: I need to read this book for my own soul’s growth.

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