Historical fiction is my favorite genre, so which books claimed favorite of the favorite status?

Daring Venture

A Daring Venture by Elizabeth Camden

In 1908 there are not many female biochemists, and none are catching more attention than Dr. Rosalind Werner as she seeks to prove that chlorine is safe for water treatment. You'll never read a more suspenseful or romantic book on eradicating waterborne diseases!


More Than Meets the Eye

More Than Meets The Eye by Karen Witemeyer

Logan Fowler is bent on getting revenge, until he meets gentle Evangeline Hamilton, whose mismatched eyes have made her a social outcast. How could he destroy her brother when he wants to protect this sweet young woman?


An Hour Unspent

An Hour Unspent by Roseanna M. White

Barclay Pearce is a fiercely loyal older brother and a reformed thief now working to help the British government during World War I. He's not going to let anything stop him from doing what he thinks is right... even if the woman he loves walks away from him.
Find out more thoughts on any of these stories by clicking on their titles.

No One Ever Asked


No One Ever Asked by Katie Ganshert

Loosely based on real-life events, this story deals with a lot of deep and thought-provoking issues, including some that are often swept under the rug. School districts merge and tensions of every kind run high in the lives of three different women.


Who I Am With You


Who I Am With You by Robin Lee Hatcher

It's tempting to hide from the past when it is full of pain. Pregnant widow Jessica doesn't want anyone to know that before he died her husband was about to leave her, and Ridley is fresh off a political scandal. Poignant and captivating.


Falling For You

Falling For You by Becky Wade

There's one person Willow Bradford never wanted to see again, and that's the man who is now back in her life. While she carefully maintains a perfect exterior, it may be time to face the things she has kept so deeply buried.
I read a lot of good non-fiction books this year, but these three rose to the top and have stayed with me the most.

Almost Already


Almost Already by Jonathan Tony

No one's life turns out how they anticipate it will be, but what do we do when grappling with the dichotomy of our dreams and our realities? I appreciated the truth packed within this book, as well as its conversational style that lets us know we're not alone in our struggles. 



Party of One


Party of One by Joy Beth Smith

"The one thing I wish someone had told me when I was younger was, 'Even if you don't get married, you'll be okay.'"
It's incredibly difficult to be a single woman who wants to honor God and follow Him whether or not He fulfills the desires of our heart. Is He still good though the way is hard? Yes, He is!


Story Equation


The Story Equation by Susan May Warren

If you want to be a writer or a really savvy reader, I found this to be an excellent resource! Story crafting is explained in a way I'd never heard before, and I've found myself recognizing various techniques all over the place now that my eyes are open to them.
Some of my friends love reading and discussing classic literature together. We usually do 4-5 group reads a year, though not everyone can participate each time. My selection of favorites for this year comes entirely from our group! 

Emily of Deep Valley


Emily of Deep Valley by Maud Hart Lovelace

In 1912 Emily desperately wants to go to college with her fellow high school graduates, but family requirements keep her at home. This young lady has the choice to lose herself in self-pity or rise above and make the most of life right where she is. A beautiful and inspirational story!


Pollyanna


Pollyanna by Eleanor Porter

You've probably heard of Pollyanna and her Glad Game, but it's still endearing to read the story of the precocious orphan girl who changes the lives of everyone around her with her positive spirit. In a world in need of cheer, Pollyanna shows us how to light the way.


Silver Lake


By The Shores of Silver Lake by Laura Ingalls Wilder

Have Laura and family finally found a place to stay? A town is rising up on the South Dakota plains, and the Ingalls family is one of the founding members. It is always an adventure with Laura and company!
Novellas offer us a chance to see different sides of authors we enjoy. While occasionally I find the short form holds some drawbacks, there are other stories that rise to the top and leave their mark with the depth they are able to achieve. Here are three such that I read this year.

Click on any title for more information on each story.

Bound and Determined


 Bound and Determined by Regina Jennings

She's determined to stop her father from bringing home a train of camels, but the Army officer assigned to assist her father has a lot at stake if the job is not accomplished. Two stubborn people and a group of unique animals - what a great cast of characters!


Unlucky in Love and Lyrics


Unlucky in Love & Lyrics by Tracy Joy Jones

Amelia Mayberry has been gifted with a beautiful singing voice, but the moment she steps on stage she cannot remember song lyrics. Can help come from an unlikely source? A fun story with a St. Patrick's Day theme.


Then Came You


Then Came You by Becky Wade

This was a very different kind of read, as it was written in epistolary form. Containing no traditional dialogue, interaction, or narration, it still captivates one's attention. Though not for young readers due to content, it really stood out for its uncommon approach.
I do love a good speculative story, and this year my favorite selection from this category was actually a re-read. It was a delight to go back through Sharon Hinck's Sword of Lyric series, to reacquaint myself with lovable, relatable characters and their wonderfully rich stories. Hinck's writing style is easy to read, and I would recommend these for readers of all ages.

Click on any title to read my full review of each book.

The Restorer

The Restorer


Susan Mitchell's suburban lifestyle did not prepare her for falling through a portal and discovering a world where she has special gifts and a divine calling.


The Restorer's Son


The Restorer's Son

This is my favorite book of the series, as it features a most unlikely hero who is sure that The One must be mistaken about what He's asking him to do.




The Restorer's Journey

Our story continues with things looking more dire than ever. Where is the love and direction of The One in times of such darkness and need?




The Deliverer

The One certainly has not forgotten His people, and in this conclusion to the series, a songkeeper will help light the way for the fulfillment of His promises.
It's always fun to look back at my favorite books on the year! It was hard to select only one for each genre, as there were so many good reads from 2017. You can click on any of the titles below to read my full review.

Historical Fiction




The Road to Paradise by Karen Barnett


This story set in 1927 in Mt. Rainier National Park has all the charm of classic literature, including a heroine who is a true lady while also standing up for what she believes. 


Young Adult Fiction

kids playing basketball


The Lewis & Clark Squad Series by Stephen Bly


I revisited these childhood favorites and thoroughly enjoyed them! This is a six-book series about a group of teens participating in a summer basketball league. It's all about fun, faith, and friendship!


Contemporary Fiction




"Life After" by Katie Ganshert

The sole survivor of a terrorist bombing tries to come to terms with her new lease on life while being wracked with guilt that she lived when others did not. Very thought-provoking and well-written.


Non-Fiction




"Women Who Move Mountains" by Sue Detweiler


While this is supposed to be a book on prayer, I found it more to be a book on walking confidently and securely as God's child. So much good encouragement!


Classic Literature




"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens


This tale may be short, but it is packed full of wonderful lines and thoughtful reminiscing. Ebeneezer Scrooge's gratefulness to be alive and able to change his ways gets me every time!


Novella





"One Enchanted Noel" by Melissa Tagg

Delightful characters with emotional depth set in a charming fictional small town. The whole Enchanted Christmas Collection is a real gem!



Here are my favorite reads from 2016! I hope you'll check some of them out for yourself. Click on any title to read my full review.

Historical Fiction



Anchor in the Storm by Sarah Sundin

This World War II story focuses on a plucky female pharmacist and a Naval officer as they try to uncover a drug ring operating out of Boston Harbor.


Young Adult Fiction



The Silent Songbird by Melanie Dickerson

A captivating retelling of The Little Mermaid, Melanie Dickerson again proves her brilliance as a fairy tale writer.


Contemporary Fiction



Keep Holding On by Melissa Tagg

I loved the depth of the characters, and I really related to one of them in particular. I just love Melissa Tagg's stories!!


Non-Fiction

I've got to go with the autobiographies of two Olympians here! Weren't the Rio Olympics exciting??



Greater Than Gold by David Boudia

David's journey from an active tot to a world class diver, and how he found Jesus along the way.




Courage to Soar by Simone Biles

Leader of the Final Five and winner of five medals in Rio, this 4'9" gymnastics wonder shares her story from adoption to training to topping the podium.


Classic Literature



Mr. Harrison's Confessions by Elizabeth Gaskell

This short novel, from which part of the miniseries Cranford was drawn, is laugh-out-loud funny and encompasses the delights of a small English village.


Novella

This category has two winners as well, because I couldn't choose between these two delightful Christmas stories.




One Enchanted Eve by Melissa Tagg

If you enjoy competitive baking shows, you'll love this story of a down-on-her-luck baker and her quest to find one wow-worthy recipe to land her dream job.





Restoring Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti

All Alexis needs for Christmas is her home remodel to go well. When everything goes wrong it may be time to reevaluate the true meaning of Christmas.
2015 held so many good reads that I am allowing myself 10 books spread over the categories below. Such a good reading year! Click on any title to read my full review.

Historical Fiction



A Sparrow in Terezin by Kristy Cambron

Set in Prague, London, and the Terezin concentration camp, this stirring World War II tale brings us the story of a young woman rising to the occasion to bring hope to the darkest of days. Captivating and inspiring.




The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah Ladd

Camille Iverness has known much unkindness in her life, but never more than when her London father disowns her. With a determined spirit that would rival Jane Eyre, Camille wants to stand on her own while yet learning the healing and beauty that comes with safe community.




With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin

Although this book was published a few years ago, it was new to me in 2015. It's a North African World War II version of "You've Got Mail" or "The Shop Around the Corner" - in other words, lots of great things combined into one! Instant favorite.



Young Adult Fiction



The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson

Rapunzel has always been one of my favorite fairy tale characters, and this much-anticipated retelling by Melanie Dickerson brought us lovely characters and a storyline that held true to the original tale while adding new twists along the way.


Speculative Fiction



The Methuselah Project by Rick Barry

When Roger Greene's plane is shot down over Germany in 1943, his Nazi captors force him to become part of a scientific project. As a result, Roger ceases to age. When he is finally able to escape the underground bunker more than 70 years later, Roger must adapt to the changes in the world and try to prove his identity.


Contemporary Fiction



The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert

Two sisters, raised by the same dysfunctional, drug-addicted mother. One becomes a perfectionist and the other a rebel. When they are thrown together and forced to forge a relationship, both will be changed for the better.


Non-Fiction



Tattered and Mended by Cynthia Ruchti

Cynthia Ruchti invites us to look straight into our tattered souls and ask the Master Craftsman, our Heavenly Father, to restore us in similar ways that human craftsmen restore priceless treasures and antiques. This is a book infused with hope and healing for all of our weary spirits.




The Finishing School by Valerie Woerner

There are a lot of things that we learn in life, but sometimes applying lessons and character traits can be a harder thing to grasp. Valerie Woerner shares her journey of living out what she's learned, and makes this a book that would benefit many young women.


Classic Literature



A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

I was introduced to this book by my grandmother when I was about 10 years old, and rereading it this year was such a delight. The heroine, Elnora, is everything that is beautiful and virtuous while still being real and relatable.


Novella




Three Little Words by Melissa Tagg

We first get introduced to Melissa Tagg's fictional town of Maple Valley, Iowa, in this short and sweet story. Tomboy Ava keeps running into closed doors as she pursues her dream, but when she connects with an old writing rival she may finally find a place to fit in and be at home.
2014 was a great year for reading! I'm thankful to have had the ability to read so many good books this year. Now I get to present my favorites to you and hope you'll check some of them out for yourself! Click on any title to read my full review.

Historical Fiction

Love Comes Calling

Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell

In a zany series of capers, Ellis Eton tries to trade identities with one friend and save the life of another. Ellis makes an endearing heroine because she has a good heart but she's also terribly scatterbrained. This one is an amusing and charming read!


Young Adult Fiction

Fairest Beauty

The Fairest Beauty by Melanie Dickerson

This year I read more young adult books than I have since I was a young adult myself, and while a number of them were good, I am still resonating with the spiritual truths and character growth found in "The Fairest Beauty." This was a lovely retelling of the classic Snow White fairytale.


Speculative Fiction

Awakening

Awakening by Tracy Higley

Museum worker Kallie Andreas suffers from amnesia, and she is given the opportunity of a lifetime when she's offered to lead a team in quest of finding a crucial artifact. As her journey takes her to Egypt, Italy, and the Greek isle of Santorini, Kallie discovers much about herself, her past, and our amazing God.


Contemporary Fiction

All My Belongings

All My Belongings by Cynthia Ruchti

Becca Morrow is trying to get a fresh start on life by changing her name and moving half-way across the country to escape the notoriety of her father's high-profile murder trial. While she's running from her past, her new friend Isaac is seeking his in the form of searching for his biological parents. The themes and lessons in this book were beautiful and insightful, and the wonderful balance of storytelling elements makes this one you can't put down.


Non-Fiction

Hardest Peace

The Hardest Peace by Kara Tippetts

Kara Tippetts is a pastor's wife and mother of four young children who has received a terrible diagnosis: terminal cancer. As her life on this earth fades away, Kara encourages all of us to trust God as the Author of our story, let His grace fill our lives, and love well those around us. Find the beauty in the heartbreak. This is an amazing book with applications for you no matter your life circumstances.


Classic Literature

Rilla of Ingleside

Rilla of Ingleside by Lucy Maud Montgomery

The final book in the Anne of Green Gables series is a coming-of-age tale set during the anxious days of World War I. Anne's daughter Rilla is one of my favorite literary characters ever written. She grows from a dreamy young girl into a mature and strong woman whose heart beats for the needs of others. Every emotion is written in such a way that you feel you're on the journey, too.
I was a reading overachiever this year, not only accomplishing the goal I set out for myself, but exceeding it by 44%! There were many excellent books, but a few really stood out. Here were my favorite titles by genre from 2013.

Historical Fiction
So Shines The Night by Tracy Higley

Set in Ephesus during the events of Acts 19, Tracy brings the Bible and ancient history to life. You feel like you are there. It's particularly challenging to fictionalize a Bible account, but Tracy succeeds magnificently.

Young Adult Fiction and Speculative Fiction
Anomaly by Krista McGee

Normally I separate these categories, but "Anomaly" wins both easily. In the futuristic world when nuclear war has destroyed most of the planet and humans are genetically engineered for specific tasks, Thalli realizes that there's more than the sterile world around her. If her differences and longings are discovered, it will require her death.

Contemporary Fiction
Winter in Full Bloom by Anita Higman

Lily is entering the middle of her life when she finds out that she has an identical twin sister living in Australia. Taking one of the first risks she has ever tried, Lily sets off the find the sister who was separated by adoption. This novel beautifully touched on many aspects of family relationships and the hurt and hope that many struggle with in this area.

Non-Fiction
You Were Born For More by Harry R. Jackson Jr.

I wasn't so sure about reading this book, but God got the last laugh on this one. Bishop Jackson brings out straightforward truths which would be beneficial to every believer to grasp and implement in their lives.

Classic Literature
Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

For this year it could be nothing besides "Les Miserables." Not just because it was the only classic I read this year (hey, it's 1450+ pages!), but because I drew so much inspiration from it.
2012 held so many good books. This was a hard list to compile. Please click on any of the titles below to read my original review!

Historical Fiction
The Maid of Fairbourne Hall by Julie Klassen

Fans of Downton Abbey will love this story. The wealthy Margaret Macy must pretend to be a lowly housemaid to avoid the unscrupulous man her stepfather plans to force her to marry.

Young Adult Fiction
Angel Eyes by Shannon Dittemore

Brielle Matthews is frozen with fear and grief after her best friend's murder. She slowly becomes aware of the spiritual battle around her, angels and demons in combat over the souls of men. Amazing.

Contemporary Fiction
Right Where I Belong by Krista McGee

Although this is actually a young adult title, it was the best of all the contemporary setting books I read. Natalia is 17 and her father is divorcing for the third time. Deciding to leave her home in Spain to go with her stepmother to Florida, she must adjust to a new country, new friends, and a new school, as well as all the decisions reaching adulthood brings.

Speculative Fiction
H2O by Austin Boyd and Brannon Hollingsworth

The Ice Queen, Kate Pepper, is devoted to her life of business. Her world is shattered when she begins having visions, sparked by contact with water, of a Living God who desires a personal relationship with her. The imagery in this novel is outstanding!

Non-Fiction
By Faith, Not By Sight by Scott MacIntyre

A finalist on Season 8 of "American Idol," Scott is a musician who was born blind. This is primarily the story of his struggle with kidney failure and the road God took him on to overcome many obstacles in order to fulfill his dreams. I would recommend this book for everyone!

Classic Literature
Sanditon by Jane Austen

This was an Austen I'd never read, and was truly a treat for this longtime fan. I thought the author who finished it did a fantastic job and gave a wonderful gift to Janeites all over the world.
My awards for books I most highly enjoyed in 2011. Please click on the title to read my original review.

Historical Fiction
A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell


Three girls in 1918 Boston. I couldn't put this book down!

Contemporary Fiction
When Sparrows Fall by Meg Moseley

This is a needed and relevant novel that asks gentle yet confronting questions about the darker side of Christian conservatism.


Classic Literature:
Persuasion by Jane Austen

I listened to this book on audio and even though I've read it multiple times, it's still a great one. :-)

Christian Living:
Fierce Beauty by Kim Meeder

This book impacted me so much that I was *this* close to leading a Bible study on it. The Lord led in another direction in the end, but I really benefited from this book and would recommend it to every Christian woman who wants to live as a victorious warrior for the Lord.
My awards for books I most highly enjoyed in 2010.

Historical Fiction:
The Seven Wonders Series by T.L. Higley


Higley is on my official watchlist of "authors I must read" after weaving these powerful stories. It's a great concept: a novel set at each of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. There are three titles out so far and I've found every one excellent. Besides the fact that they have sent me on a research mission of my own to know more about these places, what I also find inspiring is how Higley gives us a look at the faith of believers before Jesus Christ came into the world. How thankful I am that our Messiah has already come and we are no longer awaiting His arrival... yet we are still tied to those many thousands before who trusted in the One True God. I can't recommend these enough for those who love history!

Contemporary Fiction:
Healing Stones and Healing Waters by Stephen Arterburn and Nancy Rue


I haven't read the third book in this series yet, but the first two were wonderful. The first book is focused on Dr. Demitria Costanas, a woman literally caught in adultery who has lost her job, her self-respect and is well on her way to losing her family. The second book is about Lucia, a woman who has given up her desires and interests in favor of others all her life, but with her marriage on shaky ground and her televangelist sister needing her more than ever, she has some hard questions to ask herself. The connecting factor in both stories is Christian counselor Sullivan Crisp, who is on his own journey to work through the pains and haunting remnants of his past. Sully's story is woven seamlessly through these two books, while remaining separate from the ones he is working with. I can hardly wait to see how his personal healing comes full circle in the third novel.

Classic Literature:
A Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

This was one of my grandmother's favorite books and I remember her reading it to me as soon as she thought I was old enough to begin understanding it. It has continued to be a favorite of mine through many re-reads and this time through I realized just how much this book made an impression on me while growing up. I love how good literature does that!

Christian Living:

What Happens When Women Pray by Evelyn Christenson

Evelyn gets together with 7 other ladies to learn what happens when women pray... and it turns out to sweep across her home, church, community, and even beyond to change people's perspective on prayer. I thought this was very straightforward and focused on the right areas without being overbearing. Simple yet challenging! It made me want to get on my knees and start praying, which is exactly what a book on prayer should do.

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