Favorite Reads 2016

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I received complimentary copies of most of the books I mention here in exchange for honest reviews, which you’ll find in the posts I’ve linked to.

I’ve been waiting for this all year! As my blog is all about hope and inspiration, these are the books that most fit that bill for me in 2016 and that I highly recommend to fellow readers. You’ll find them listed in a pretty eclectic order.
*And to the authors of the winning books, if you’d like a little gift for making the list, see the bottom of this post.*

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Love at First Note_COVER.inddLove at First Note by Jenny Proctor

Christian Fiction/Romance

from me

There are plenty of reasons why a relationship between violinist and concertmaster Emma Hill and pianist and pop culture sensation Elliott Hart would never work. But, still, off they go. What I thought started off as a humorous and entertaining enough story became a symphony of emotion and (sometimes painful) discovery, to the point where I felt everything. The joy, the fear, the frustration, the passion, the doubt, the determination, the romance. Not to sound corny, but it really is a “you’ll laugh, you’ll cry” type of read, its own kind of quirky but ultimately harmonious masterpiece.

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Honest and for TrueHonest and for True by Jane Lebak

Women’s Fiction/Comedy

from me

Lee, a bright and hilarious car mechanic, has this terrible habit of lying about her job to every man she dates. Her bright and hilarious best friend and guardian angel, Bucky, wants Lee to drop the dishonesty already before it costs her more than she’ll ever want to lose. I found this novel to be quick and clever, imaginative and real, and a downright riot. The story also tugged at my heartstrings, taking a thought-provoking look at relationships: romantic, familial, one’s relationship with oneself. If you’ve got an appreciation for George Bailey and Clarence Odbody’s adventure in Bedford Falls (or, um, Pottersville), check out The Adventures of Lee and Bucky in New York City.

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A Light in the DarkA Light in the Dark by Becky Doughty

New Adult Fiction/Romance

from me

When a handsome, tortured artist auditions to join Tish Ransome’s band… Well. This is the second book in the Fallout series but can be read as a standalone. And I must say, the novel had me sobbing so hard toward the end that I hardly knew how to review it. Beyond the characters’ initial family and friendship threads, beyond the romance and humor, and even beyond the art, the journey here got real to me on a whole different plane. I’d recommend this novel to fiction fans who wouldn’t mind getting more than just an angsty romance out of a romantic read.

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The TouchThe Touch by Randall Wallace

Christian Fiction

from me

Andrew Jones, a young, gifted surgeon, refuses to operate anymore after a personal, fatal tragedy. Although this novella is by the screenwriter of the 1995 film Braveheart, I didn’t read it with Braveheart expectations or qualifiers in my brain. I just took the story as it came, and I’d encourage all readers who normally steer clear of novellas because of their “too short” or “no depth” stigma not to prejudge and pass up this book on that basis. It’s too nuanced, too raw, too beautiful, too powerful of a book to overlook. Both within and outside of the operating room, this story is beauty and art, faith and genius, trial and triumph, and it is now one of my all-time favorite books.

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The Confessions of XThe Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe

Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction

from me

Here’s the story of the historically “nameless” concubine of a bishop of the Church, Augustine of Hippo. I’ll admit I’m not crazy about one book blurb’s description of this novel’s central relationship as an “affair,” as that can connote something scandalous or unlawful, and this book isn’t about some seamy liaison. It’s a look at the complexities and ironies of life and love through the eyes of a woman of low societal standing. As a lover of language, I was drawn in by the author’s fluid style, pleased to find an example of how poetry in prose still lives. I found this novel utterly redemptive in that it gives this woman a voice, and an “insignificant” life given by God is therefore made precious.

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My Soul to KeepMy Soul to Keep by Davis Bunn

Christian Fiction/Suspense

from me

The indie film project of Hollywood has-beens might get buried alive by the competing project of some of Hollywood’s elite. A David and Goliath tale, this is, but there’s no smooth sailing as the filmmaking battle rages both above and beneath the surface. I wasn’t sure if I had a thriller on my hands, technically, but the intrigue certainly kept me turning the pages, and the motives and decisions of the principal characters kept me engaged. That is, I was rather riveted right through to the ending—not a fairytale ending but one bearing its own triumph and something of more value than a fairy tale.

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UnconditionalUnconditional by Eva Marie Everson

Christian Fiction

from me

*A 2016 Favorite Cover Pick*

Samantha hasn’t recovered from her husband’s murder, but reuniting with her best friend, Joe, and meeting “his kids” may change everything. This novel is based on the screenplay by Brent McCorkle, inspired by true events. Much like the movie, which I think is pure awesomeness, there isn’t anything super sensational or spectacular that makes the novel great. But it’s love that gives this story of friendship and redemption its strength, makes it exceptional. Pure, simple, honest love, like the most natural thing in the world—unhindered by years, by hardship, by tragedy, by race. This is a truly beautiful and brilliant read.

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praguePrague: My Long Journey Home by Charles Ota Heller

Nonfiction/Memoir

from me

How fortunate I was to come across this book. The author, originally from Czechoslovakia, tells a story of World War II, the Holocaust, and immigration to the United States from his perspective. I must say, one point among many that I found interesting was the author’s comparison of the treatment of Jewish people in the occupied country he left to the treatment of people of color in the U.S. Overall, this account is informative, layered, heartrending, and inspiring, and I believe that anyone who values remembering and learning from history can appreciate this memoir.

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The CenturionThe Centurion by Ken Gire

Christian Fiction/Biblical, Historical Fiction

from me

Now. Even with the early, bizarre crucifixion of the “King of the Jews” that has lasting influence through this novel, it isn’t a story centered on that. Rather, it’s the story of the life and career of a Roman centurion named Lucius; Mary Magdalene, a follower of Jesus; and equally about the history and conquests of Rome paralleled with the dangerous forging of the new Church. The author reveals compelling imagery and a depth of human emotion in this weighty tale, as epic and violent as it is contemplative. I found the telling of it all to be consummately amazing, and I’d strongly recommend it to any military and historical fiction fans—ChristFic readers and otherwise.

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a-river-too-deepA River Too Deep by Sydney Tooman Betts

Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction

from me

Has Alcy Callen, a young woman of faith, mistakenly labeled a whole people group as “savage”? In some ways, this book reminds me of Dr. Quinn: Medicine Woman, a historical television show that I love and respect for many reasons, including its depiction of race relations in America. I appreciate fiction that can take characters of different cultures and depict them as more than caricatures of their race, and the author achieves that here. Then, not to mention the novel’s romance, which I found to be riveting and passionate in its simplicity. This novel reinforced–even renewed, really–my love of historical ChristFic in a big way.

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long-way-goneLong Way Gone by Charles Martin

Christian Fiction

from me

*A 2016 Favorite Cover Pick*

After taking everything his father had, how can a certain songwriter ever go back home? This contemporary prodigal son story is quite heavy and intricately woven. It gives a powerful depiction of a love so fierce, I had to set the book aside for a while and just breathe. I couldn’t even cry. The book gave me so many thoughts–possibly what Wordsworth would call “Thoughts that do often lie too deep for tears.” (That isn’t to necessarily say I didn’t cry over it all later, though…)

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And that wraps up another (calendar) year of great reading for this book lover!

If you’re interested in the Favorite Reads giveaway, simply comment (“Share your thoughts”) on this post to be entered to win a paperback copy of The Confessions of X by Suzanne M. Wolfe or a hardback copy of Long Way Gone by Charles Martin.
Be sure to mention in your comment the title(s) of the book(s) you’d like to win. Yes, you can mention both if you wish! Any comment that does not request any giveaway book will be taken as a much appreciated friendly comment and won’t be entered in the giveaway.🙂
Giveaway ends on December 9, 2016.

The Confessions of X long-way-gone

Giveaway is open to U.S. mailing addresses only. Two randomly determined winners, one for each book, will be notified by email on December 10, 2016. If a winner does not respond by December 11, a different entrant will be selected. Add p.prospects@live.com to your address book to ensure that a giveaway notification isn’t sent to your junk mail/spam box. For additional giveaway terms, see the Blog Giveaways and Privacy Policy information on my Policies page.

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You can get started on the Fallout series by picking up a free copy of All the Way to Heaven by Becky Doughty. It’s available at Amazon.

All the Way to Heaven

All the Way to Heaven

You can also get started on a favorite epic fiction series of mine with a free copy of The Movement of Crowns, also available at Amazon.

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Congratulations, authors, and thank you for writing your books! If I’ve selected yours as a Favorite Read this year, you’re welcome to a complimentary medal to display on your website, blog, social media–wherever you wish. Click the image below and contact me to receive a full size PNG medal. (The lined watermark will be removed, of course, and the medal will include the year on it, 2016.) Thanks again!

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Favorite Covers 2016

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I received complimentary copies of most of the books I mention here in exchange for honest reviews, which you’ll find in the posts I’ve linked to.

I’m not strictly a “judge a book by its cover” kind of reader, as I’ve found and have read some wonderful books with covers I didn’t particularly care for.🙂 Still, I have an appreciation for cover art as a part of the reading experience, and here are covers I particularly liked from books I’ve read this year! They’re listed in the order I read them.
*And to the authors of these books, if you’d like a little gift (for yourself and even for your cover artist) for making the list, see the bottom of this post.*

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The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart

Christian Fiction

The Five Times I Met Myself

I actually read this novel last year, after the cover awards cut-off date, so I saved it for this year’s awards. Yes, red is my favorite color–garnet red and reds close to it, more specifically–but that’s only part of the point, here. This cover’s impact is in its simplicity, plain white text against deep red, and then an uncomplicated but striking two-part image that tells so much of the story: an unshadowed fedora sitting atop a man’s shadowy silhouette. Dreamlike, as if he may or may not really be there. Excellent!

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Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner

Historical Fiction/Women’s Fiction

Stars Over Sunset

Does this cover or does this cover not virtually shout “The Golden Age of Hollywood”? There’s the woman with the glamorous vintage haircut and a peek at the Hollywood Sign, which would have said “Hollywoodland” at the time this story begins. The cover design hints at this, with the woman’s arm and the boldly floral back of her dress tastefully interrupting the sign. It may be a depiction of nighttime, but this cover is all about fabulous light, giving the stars–the ones in the sky and the one in the dress–time to really shine. I’ve seen three or four different covers for this novel, but this version here is definitely the best.

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In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar

Biblical Fiction

In the Field of Grace

Gentle romance with golden earth tones in a beautiful field. Gotta love it. Ruth’s gaze at Boaz is perfect, clearly “in love” but not overly dramatic, and her smile is slightly obscured at just the right level by the brilliant sunlight making its way in over her shoulder. What I may love most about this cover, though, are its features you can only fully appreciate when a physical copy of the book is in your hands: the gold embossed lettering and the flecks of gold spread over the entire image, making the cover literally shimmer.

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The Hearts We Mend by Kathryn Springer

Christian Fiction/Romance

The Hearts We Mend

I passed over this novel a number of times without picking it up, but its gorgeous cover eventually made it too much for me to resist. The colors, the warm tone of it all, and the evening lights are reminiscent of a wedding reception at night, or something much like it. And, hey, who doesn’t appreciate seeing a dimpled smile and a nice hint of a beard?

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Abraham and Sarah by Roberta Kells Dorr

Biblical Fiction

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Bring on the textures that give this cover an “ancient” feel, especially toward the left side edge and including the look of Abraham’s skin, obviously roughened by wind and sun. (Sure, Sarah’s face looks a ways softer, back there, but it’s likely she may protect her complexion from the elements more, as a woman.) I believe this cover actually incorporates more separate images than it may appear, and if there’s a way to bring separate or unrelated images together into a complete, natural-looking whole, this is it.

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Unconditional by Eva Marie Everson

Christian Fiction

Unconditional

Yes, I saw the movie version of this story before I read the book, and, yes, this cover puts me in movie mode as much as reading mode. The separate images here take much more of a blending approach, flawlessly fading into each other, bringing a mixture of moods that all fit together. The models/characters/actors are ideal for their roles, which their facial expressions give a glimpse of here, and my favorite aspect of the cover is the stormy, possibly tragic, night fading into the hopeful sunlight piercing over the horizon.

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Rise and Shine by Sandra D. Bricker

Christian Fiction/Romance

Rise and Shine

This may be the most I’ve ever liked a cover that I feel doesn’t quite match the tone or subject matter of the book inside. Of course, this contemporary fairy tale has got its quirky and humorous moments, but I think the cover suggests more of an out-and-out comedy than this story is. Nevertheless, the bold colors and clouds are absolute eye candy (literally putting me in the mood for candy, something sweet ‘n’ tart ‘n’ crunchy.) And while I don’t normally go for covers with pets so prominently displayed, how could I not make an exception for this heroine’s dog after seeing that quirky contemplation on the heroine’s face?

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That’s How She Rolls by C.L. Wells

Christian Fiction/Romantic Comedy

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I originally read this novelette in the Where the Light May Lead anthology, so the story didn’t have a cover of its own at the time. But it does now, and, wow! Yes, the heroine leaning on the car with her keys in hand is right on theme. Then not to mention the fun fonts and texturing along with great layering and blending. See how the background color matches the model’s nail polish? And speaking of the model–I found her refreshing! Not only does her smile and pose make you anticipate a rom-com, but as the story itself highlights how beauty and hotness come in all different packages, the model fits the story’s message to a T. For fiction in general with all kinds of positive messages, I, quite frankly, would love to see heroes and heroines of different sizes on a more regular basis. Brava!

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The Lawyer’s Luck by Piper Huguley

Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction

The Lawyer's Luck

It’s rare that book covers, even great ones, are my strongest initial attraction to a book, but, come on. Just look at this. The cover models here are on point, giving us personality without melodrama; everything in the image is on theme; the layering is superb; there’s a beautiful blend of light and shadow; and the overall tone is muted but bold, giving us a modern look without sacrificing the historical feel. This is only the first book in the Home to Milford College series, but every book cover in the series is as “right” as this one.

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Zimrah, Dream Singer by Susan Valles

Biblical Fiction

Zimrah Dream Singer

Stunning. Absolutely stunning. The sunrise, the city, the lyre, the almost reflective text, and the woman with a hint of mystery, seamlessly blended into it all. The whole image gives a remarkable sense of time, place, and atmosphere, and it virtually sings just as much as the novel itself does.

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Broken Like Glass by EJ McCay

Christian Fiction/Women’s Fiction

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Really, folks, it may not seem like it while I’m going on about my favorite covers, but it is truly rare for a book cover to be the driving factor that gets me to read a book. This novel was one of those rare times. It sounded like the story itself would be somewhat too depressing for my taste, and if the book cover had been dismal and gloomy, I likely would’ve passed on the book. But I kept running into the “broken beauty” depicted on this cover, the spot-on imagery. Plus, again, with my being so partial to deep reds, I was finally persuaded to give the novel a go. Glad I did.

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You’re the Cream in My Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo

Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction

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Ah! The Roaring Twenties so wonderfully depicted by this fun, glamorous, and vibrant cover art. It’s rather intriguing, a woman holding a steaming cup of coffee (instead of a glass of something…else) during the era of Prohibition and speakeasies in the U.S. I felt that the book blurb incorporated the title–and, hence, the woman’s coffee, there–somewhat more meaningfully than the story itself did, but as this novel’s heroine would say, “That’s beside the point.” How could you look at this cover and not know you’re in for a good time?

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Long Way Gone by Charles Martin

Christian Fiction

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I was in for a surprise when I received this book and finally took a real look at the cover. While I’d initially seen the misty, wooded path with sunlight and shadow, and even the small silhouette of the man in the distance, I didn’t notice the most telling feature of the cover until I held the book in my hands: the path is a guitar. That alone, without “yelling” it out at the reader, speaks volumes about this contemporary prodigal son story. It’s pretty simple, really, and all kinds of excellent.

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Well, there you have them, and my applause to the artists who gave these books such a great look!

If you’re interested in the Favorite Covers giveaway, simply comment (“Share your thoughts”) on this post to be entered to win a paperback copy of The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart, In the Field of Grace by Tessa Afshar, or Rise and Shine by Sandra D. Bricker.
Be sure to mention in your comment the title(s) of the book(s) you’d like to win. Yes, you can mention more than one! Any comment that does not request any giveaway book will be taken as a much appreciated friendly comment and won’t be entered in the giveaway.🙂
Giveaway ends on December 9, 2016.

*GIVEAWAY BONUS*
Anyone who visits this Favorite Covers event from now until December 9, 2016 is welcome to request a free ebook copy of my inspirational romance, Eminence. I’m pretty fond of its cover.😀 Just include in your comment that you’d like the Giveaway Bonus, and after the entry period ends, I’ll send you a link to download a copy of Eminence in the format of your choice.

The Five Times I Met Myself In the Field of Grace Rise and Shine

Eminence Video

Giveaway for the three paperback books is open to U.S. mailing addresses only. Eminence Giveaway Bonus is open internationally. Three randomly determined winners, one for each paperback book, will be notified by email on December 10, 2016. If a winner does not respond by December 11, a different entrant will be selected.
Giveaway Bonuses will be sent out on December 10, 2016 and must be downloaded by December 12. Add p.prospects@live.com to your address book to ensure that a giveaway notification isn’t sent to your junk mail/spam box. For additional giveaway terms, see the Blog Giveaways and Privacy Policy information on my Policies page.

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Interested in starting the Home to Milford College series right away? You can pick up a free copy of The Lawyer’s Luck by Piper Huguley. I got mine at Amazon.

The Lawyer’s Luck

The Lawyer's Luck

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Congratulations, authors, and thank you for writing your books! If yours has one of my favorite covers, you’re welcome to a complimentary medal to display on your website, blog, social media–wherever you wish. Click the image below and contact me to receive a full size PNG medal. (The lined watermark will be removed, of course, and the medal will include the year on it, 2016.) If you know the artist who designed your cover, feel free to pass on the word about the award. The artists are welcome to display the medal as well. Thanks again!

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Christmas Book Picks 2016

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I received complimentary copies of some of the books I mention here in exchange for honest reviews, which you’ll find in the posts I’ve linked to.

The time has again arrived! I share my Christmas Book Picks before Thanksgiving Day in the U.S. in case any of my dear blog readers would like to procure and read a title or two from the list during the holiday season, which I sincerely hope you will.🙂 You’ll find them listed in a pretty eclectic order.
*And to the authors of my Christmas Picks, if you’d like a little gift for making the list, see the bottom of this post.*

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zuzus-petalsZuzu’s Petals, A Dream of ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ by Karolyn Grimes and Karen Deming

Children’s Fiction

from me

That’s right! It’s thee Zuzu from my all-time favorite Christmas film, It’s a Wonderful Life. This children’s picture book is by Zuzu herself–that is, the woman who played the role of Zuzu Bailey in the movie, actress and author Karolyn Grimes. It’s an inspiring story from Zuzu’s point of view, and it includes the Bailey family and the people of Bedford Falls as it draws a parallel to the movie’s message about the power of kindness. The illustrations by co-author and illustrator Karen Deming are just beautiful, and I highly recommend this book both to current and soon-to-be fans of the iconic and classic film.

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Winter LightWinter Light by Robin Maderich

Contemporary Romance

from me

While Luke only suspects he’s met Allie before, she hasn’t forgotten their one moment on the ice… This small-town romance takes place in fictional Connor Falls, Pennsylvania. I particularly appreciated how the plot doesn’t always take the most predictable route. The book is an excellent example of solid storytelling in short fiction, and I’d recommend it to fans of sweet romance who’d enjoy a quick Christmas read with warmth, deep emotion, and memorable light.

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The More the MerrierThe More the Merrier by Liwen Y. Ho

Contemporary Romance/Short Story

from me

 Blind dates don’t help Alyssa, but is a “fake date” with her guy-friend Barry any better? Having enjoyed other romances by this author, I just dove right into this one without knowing what it was about ahead of time. This read is short, sweet, romantic (even a little hot), Christmassy, and not just a straight shot to Happily Ever After without believable conflict. I even had some real giggles and a moment or two of eyebrow raising–in a very good way. I’d recommend this fun splash of Merry to any fans of sweet romance.

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The Spinster's Christmas

The Spinster’s Christmas by Camille Elliot

Christian Fiction/Regency Romance

from me

Yes, as sweet as its fitting cover is, don’t think this novel is all sweetness and holly and heart-flutters and nothing more. Miranda Belmoore and Captain Gerard Foremont are in for a Christmastide unlike anything they expected. What could easily have been a nice but flimsy Regency tale is instead a rather gritty and passionate holiday story of danger and longing, with dashes of humor and irresistible grace. Regency, suspense, and romance fans alike would do well to partake of this story, particularly at “Christmastide.”

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EvergreenEvergreen by Susan May Warren

Christian Fiction

from me

In light of their empty nest, John has got big plans for himself and his wife, Ingrid–and she’s not ready for any of it. It’s refreshing to read about couples who’ve been married for a while, who are still navigating the ins and outs of living an ever-unfolding life together. There’s depth to this story, a distinct understanding of the human experience, and the age-old Christmas Story is woven into this one in a way that’s real and relatable. For those who are familiar with the Christiansen Family series and those who are not, I highly recommend this warm, poignant, wise, and uplifting holiday novella.

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Hang Your Heart on ChristmasHang Your Heart on Christmas by Heather Blanton

Christian Fiction/Historical Western Romance

from me

Amy Tate, the town’s new schoolteacher, puts a hitch in the plans of Robert “Dent” Hernandez, a vengeful U.S. Marshal. Here’s a gritty holiday tale if there ever was one. It’s got the danger and rough-edged intrigue of the West, but it still manages to be warm and sweet when it needs to be. I was touched by the message central to the story, that there’s more to life than death. It makes the Christmas theme here all the more significant and beautiful. And, hey, that Amy and her spectacles–whoo hoo for girls with glasses!

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a-royal-christmas-weddingA Royal Christmas Wedding by Rachel Hauck

Christian Fiction/Romance

from me

So. A prince in Brighton Kingdom doesn’t plan on declaring his love for the American woman he once fell for, hmm? This novel is unashamedly a romance of fairytale proportions, one that I suspect fans of The Princess Diaries would enjoy. The story also makes way for some serious themes, including matters of faith and the tension between father/son respect and disagreement. Plus, the novel lays Christmas on thick, which I found absolutely delightful. How I’d relish being amid the festive sights and sounds of Brighton during the holiday season!

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The Incense Road Trilogy by Tracy Higley

Star of Wonder Star of Night Royal Beauty

Christian Fiction/Historical, Biblical Fiction

overall from me

The stars have heralded the coming of a new world ruler, and there’s a dangerous race through the sands of Arabia to secure power. When I started this series, I was unprepared for the stirring adventure the story becomes, something bringing Aladdin and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark to my mind. There’s action, intrigue, and romance, but along the way, the focus of this journey naturally shifts as the ultimate search for a Savior takes precedence. I’d recommend this trilogy to anyone who’d like to experience the Christmas Story in a broader context, beyond a baby in a manger.

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Those are my picks this year–and now Christmas is officially kicked-off! Entries for 2016’s Christmas Book Picks giveaway are now closed, but comments on the post are remaining open.

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Now, why not start off your Christmas reading right away with a free copy of Star of Wonder from the Incense Road Trilogy by Tracy Higley? I got mine at Amazon.

Star of Wonder

Star of Wonder

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Congratulations, authors, and thank you for writing your books! If I’ve selected yours as a Christmas Pick this year, you’re welcome to a complimentary medal to display on your website, blog, social media–wherever you wish. Click the image below and contact me to receive a full size PNG medal. (The lined watermark will be removed, of course, and the medal will include the year on it, 2016.) Thanks again!

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The Canadian West Series by Janette Oke

when-calls-the-heart When Comes the Spring When Breaks the Dawn When Hope Springs New

As a longtime fan of author Janette Oke, I just felt it necessary to chronicle that I finally finished the original four novels of the Canadian West series, the story of Elizabeth and the Canadian Mountie she marries, Wynn. I was determined to finish these books before I started watching the connected television series from Hallmark, When Calls the Heart. The CW series closes out with When Hope Springs New, which I gave three stars and said in my Goodreads review:

“The way Elizabeth really comes into her own in this novel makes for a nice enough ending to the original four-book series. Yet, it doesn’t exactly seem to end so much as it just finds a place to stop, eventually. There isn’t much of a climax, and after a significant change about three quarters into the novel, I couldn’t really connect with a whole different setting and a new bunch of characters when the book was almost over, bringing a new set of problems that would have to be rushed through. An ending like this one would need more added to it, sometime, to make something more of it.”

The first four novels were published in the 80s, and the series continued much later with Elizabeth and Wynn’s grown children in Books Five and Six. I actually read and enjoyed those two books first, when they released in 2000 and 2001.

Beyond the Gathering Storm When Tomorrow Comes

Time will tell if I’ll read the newer Return to the Canadian West books that Janette has co-authored with her daughter, Laurel Oke Logan. Despite taking its name and some elements from Janette’s first CW novel, I think the television series is more heavily based on the Return to the Canadian West books from 2014-2016.

Where Courage Calls (Return to the Canadian West #1) Where Trust Lies (Return to the Canadian West, #2) Where Hope Prevails (Return to the Canadian West #3)

Still, I chose not to wait any longer before starting the show. I’m about halfway through Season One, and I’m getting quite a kick out of it so far. It’s sweet and uplifting and somewhat corny, which I expected, but it also packs a little more punch and, um, “swoon-worthiness” than I imagined it’d have. I’ve posted the trailer from the show’s premiere before, and, hey, I feel like posting it again.🙂

Getting to Yes by Allie Pleiter

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Five Gold Stars


getting-to-yesGetting to Yes
by Allie Pleiter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Suzann knows Adam is the one. Adam knows Suzann is the one. Suzann knows this coming Valentine’s Day will be the perfect time for Adam to pop the question. And Adam knows…um, well. There may be some difficulty in Getting to Yes, a novelette by author Allie Pleiter.

I was pulled in immediately by the heroine’s smart and humorous style. Her avid desire for a marriage proposal seems to teeter a bit into an obsession, but, of course, given the length and purpose of this tale, there isn’t really time for Suzann to focus on other stuff, here. Besides, she’s so decidedly funny, you can’t help but to empathize with her.

Even for Christian Fiction, I thought the God-factor was spread on pretty thick. Not that I don’t want to see God in a romance, but I wouldn’t pick “Nearer, My God, to Thee” for wedding reception or honeymoon music, either. (And, no, that does not happen in the story!) Also, as Suzann narrates her tale in present tense, it seems that not all of her switches into past tense are intentional.

Still, this romantic little comedy makes a compelling case for love and commitment in a world where so many relationships go south. My e-reader wouldn’t stand for such a thing, but if I could slap this book with a resounding high-five, I would.

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Getting to Yes is Book One in the Sweet City Hearts series.

my-so-called perfect-blend

Sea of Strangers by Amelia C. Adams

Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
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Four Silver Stars

sea-of-strangersSea of Strangers by Amelia C. Adams

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

(Click the title to find the book description/blurb.)

Jeanette leaves her fiancé behind in Kansas and starts a six-month term of nursing school in 1870s New York. She’ll find out if she truly has what it takes to be a nurse in Sea of Strangers by author Amelia C. Adams.

I picked this novella up for a quick helping of historical fiction, and I enjoyed the story, appreciating how it depicts some of the harsh realities of the medical field. I found the heroine to be on the mousy side, but her fascination with medicine is clear.

I don’t think the book’s blurb most accurately represents the story, as the blurb seems to suggest more of a romance than this story is. I didn’t get the best sense of a central, building conflict in the plot, so the climax felt much like an add-on to Jeanette’s inward journey instead of a key place she’d been trying to reach all along. I also think some vague areas of the backstory kept the connected climax from being as powerful as it might have been.

Still, the book succeeds in whetting the appetite for the series, and as this HistFic fan found the read interesting overall, I wouldn’t at all mind reading more from this author.

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Sea of Strangers is Book One in the Nurses of New York series.

Cause of Conflict (Nurses of New York #2.) Touch of Tenderness (Nurses of New York #3)