I received a complimentary copy of one of these books for an honest review, which you’ll find in its related post I’ve linked to.
I look forward to these awards all year! As my blog is all about hope and inspiration, these are the books that most fit that bill for me in 2022 and that I highly recommend to fellow readers. You’ll find them listed in the order I read them.
To the authors of the winning books, if you’d like a medal for making the list, see the bottom of this post.
Susan May Warren
Christian Historical Fiction
Being a Gilded Age society debutante can be…costly.
Yes, this novel delivers in terms of lush historical entertainment dripping with diamonds. Still, the read took a substantive hold on me as it addressed social issues of the shifting period. Immigrants. Poverty. Racism. Labor strikes. Robber barons. Corrupt politicians controlling corrupt lawmen. Women’s suffrage. World war. And I very much appreciate how the faith thread doesn’t follow a stereotypical pattern that some ChristFic does. By the time I finished the novel, I was emotionally floored and ready for more of the Daughters of Fortune series.
Young Adult Split-Timeline Fiction
Abraham. Ishmael. And a modern-day father/son breakdown.
Two young men and their fathers are featured in this pair of stories woven together and stripped down into free verse, raw but straight to the point. I’m all for the way this read asks tough questions and isn’t afraid to show human flaws, even when it comes to Abraham. The young heroes’ related stories offer compelling hope without resorting to too-easy answers or fairy-tale fixes. I’d recommend this inspiring book to fans of split-timeline fiction and to contemporary poetry enthusiasts alike.
Middle Grade Fiction
Other kids tease him about his weight. But he makes a discovery…
This has to be the only middle grade novel I’ve read that’s written entirely through tanka poems. It’s such a beautiful and inspiring story, packed with a range of thoughts and emotions expressed in a style that says so much in relatively few words. The read hurts, and it heals—and the young hero, a fan of science fiction and the stars, shines his own light as he gains insight. I think I teared up thrice while gliding through this book, and I’d recommend it to the young, the old, and those in between.
The Cat and His Servant
Fantasy, Short Story
His Excellency the Grand Feline Supreme lends his paw to a helpless human. Heh heh.
The further I got into this ninth fairy tale retelling in the Once Upon a Short Story series, I started to remember the Puss in Boots story it’s based on. And, hey, this retelling may actually improve upon the original. I became more convinced of this after I read the Author’s Note at the end. But even before that, I found reading this story from the perspective of His Excellency (heh heh) to be refreshing, clever, and laugh-worthy. A thoroughly enjoyable read.
A Second Chance
Time Slip Fantasy
A career-driven woman wakes up in 16th-century Japan—as mother to the young son of a samurai.
There’s an abundance of detail and plenty of atmosphere in this fantasy novella. In a way, I felt about as lost as the heroine for a while as I floated along with the curious flow of the unfolding plot. Then the story’s elements of “what” and “why,” the meaning of the past and the blessing of the present, gradually came together in stirring fashion. This read left me with an almost haunting sense of hope, and if any of these characters happen to appear in a future story, I’ll be there for it.
My Body Is Not a Prayer Request: Disability Justice in the Church
Christian Social Issues
Casting a new vision for the diversity of God’s image-bearers…
With a mix of (snarky!) humor and grace, Kenny lays out so much for a critical perspective shift. She addresses practical issues concerning disabled people’s civil rights, and the way she gradually explains the prophetic witness of disability is nothing short of beautiful. Plus, the book includes plenty of actionable steps for readers/the church (meaning, people in the church) to take. Here’s a definite must-read for anyone who believes in loving your neighbor as yourself.
Isla to Island
Middle Grade Historical Graphic Novel
The 1960s. Danger in Cuba. And a young girl sent to the United States.
This beautifully drawn novel, even with only a small handful of words in it, is much. I was choked up (and not in a corny way) through plenty of it—during the parts of the young heroine’s journey that tore my heart as well as the moments that made me chuckle or simply smile. And when I closed the book after the last page, I wept: for children whose home and migration stories are like hers, and for children whose home and migration stories aren’t. Young, old, and in-between alike should check out this novel that is at once an expression and a call to the human soul.
Click the book covers below to pick up free ebook copies of two of my past Favorite Reads picks, plus one of my books, The Movement of Crowns. Be sure to double-check the prices before downloading!
Speaking of favorites… Two of my favorite things about writing are: 1) being able to make up fictional history in a completely fictional world, and 2) having the chance to feature uncommon lead characters in that world. Take a look at the
Eubeltic Realm series.
An era for historic change. And the people who bring it.
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. Thanks again!