2018’s Top Ten Posts

Prismatic Prospects just had its busiest year yet! Check out 2018’s Top Ten Posts.

Christmas Book Picks 2018

 

Favorite Covers 2018

 

Christian Fiction That Doesn’t Mention Christ?

Want Deeper, Grittier Christian Books? Then They Won’t Be “G-rated”

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

Favorite Reads 2018

 

Noteworthy Reads 2018

 

Want Different Books? You May Have to Do Something Different

Until We Find Home by Cathy Gohlke

Dear Authors and Readers: It’s Not About “Us” vs. “Them”

 

Noteworthy Reads 2018

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

In addition to my Favorite Reads this year, I felt compelled to recognize and recommend a few more noteworthy books that I’ve encountered over the past couple of years. I don’t know yet if this bonus list will become a recurring part of my Annual Book Awards season, but we’ll see what happens! You’ll find the books listed in an eclectic order.
*And to the authors of these books, if you’d like a medal for making the list, see the bottom of this post.*

Delilah’s Daughters by Angela Benson

Christian Fiction/Women’s Fiction

★★★★★ from me

A three-sister singing group and their mother, Delilah Monroe, have some tough decisions to make and lessons to learn about the cost of fame, the power of purpose, and the value of family. This novel kept me thoroughly engaged without any lag time in the middle, and Benson has a clear understanding of human nature. There are valid right and wrong points on all sides of this family’s dilemma—a dilemma that isn’t neatly packaged for an easy, cheesy fix. While the story addresses unsavory sides to the music business and relationships going amiss, the story doesn’t sink down to become an unsavory mess itself. You don’t find that balance everywhere!

The Samurai’s Heart by Walt Mussell

Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction

★★★★ from me

Sen is a Christian, seeking a Christian husband, but her faith has been banned in 1587 Japan. Nobuhiro, the son of a respected samurai, may be a good choice for marriage, but he doesn’t understand the hold Sen’s foreign—and now dangerous—religion has on her. As soon as I learned of this ChristFic novel’s existence, it went straight to my TBR list. While the two leading characters have a retiring quality for some time, they get their moments to stand up and show some fire, and they both grew on me. The story maintains a keen sense of its historical setting throughout the read, and the intrigue eventually took me from being interested to being enthralled. I’m keeping my eyes peeled for the next book in this series.

The Art Contest by Perry Elisabeth Kirkpatrick

Middle Grade Historical Fiction/Short Story

★★★★★ from me

The Nazi army has swarmed into France, and twelve-year-old Marie must now assist her father in sneaking intelligence past their country’s invaders. I appreciate stories that illustrate how sharp-witted and courageous humanity can be in dangerous times. This is a quick (but not rushed) read that conveys the gravity of a wartime situation without getting super dark, and children and adults alike can be inspired by it. I know people sometimes think of short reads as “too little,” but this is a great example of how I think of well-written short stories: just enough.

The Stronghold by Lisa Carter

Christian Fiction/Romantic Suspense

★★★★★ from me

Girls disappearing from Apache reservations: this case hits too close to home for tribal cop Pilar To-Clanny, and she’ll have to go after a ruthless killer with the help of Special Agent Alex Torres. This is a heavy read that braves rough and dark terrain. Poverty. Post-traumatic stress disorder. Self-harm. Manipulation. Racism. Rape, and a culture of sexual violence. Serial murder. FEAR. It’s not a story to be read for thrills but for its illustration of dynamic light cutting through grave darkness. Carter writes with depth, realism, and flashes of pithy lyricism, weaving an intricate plot that pierces so that it can heal. ChristFic fans who appreciate gritty and relevant stories of faith would do well to check this one out.

Racing Manhattan by Terence Blacker

Young Adult Fiction

★★★★★ from me

A misfit teenaged girl and an equally misfit Thoroughbred are joined in a fight involving more than a racetrack. This story isn’t the stuff that light and delightfully corny family horse flicks are made of. It’s a rather gritty novel, displaying family tragedy and dysfunction; sexism, bullying, and blackmail; and the seedy side of horse racing. Jay, the heroine, is full of rage and determination, and yet, she isn’t a snarky jerk, and she doesn’t forget how to smile. Blacker writes with a moving and brilliant style, and even if you’re past your young adult years, you could very well find this story to be relatable and inspiring, as I have.

Grenade by Alan Gratz

Middle Grade Historical Fiction

★★★★★ from me

An Okinawan boy. A young American Marine. And a moment in battle that changes everything. This World War II novel isn’t a nostalgic, romantic, or watered-down tale, to make war look like a grand and glorious adventure, merely a mechanism for building heroes. It’s a gut-wrenching, violent, tragic story of the impossible costs of deadly conflict. And yet, it isn’t dark for the sake of darkness. It’s a human story. A nuanced story. A story that might make your soul cry. The ending of Part One is painfully brilliant, and, man, how the sober, overall ending manages to be triumphant is incredible. Read it. If your soul cries, let it. Oh—and after the last scene, do not skip the Author’s Note.

Wings of the Morning by Lori Wick

Christian Fiction/Historical Romance

★★★★ from me

Captaining her own ship suits Victoria “Smokey” Simmons well, but she dreams of pursuing a future on land one day… And, yeah—I went for the original, oldie-but-goodie edition from the ’90s when I picked this novel up. I was intrigued by the thought of a lady skipper in the nineteenth century, and this skipper’s story of adventure and adversity didn’t disappoint me. I liked the mixture of confidence and vulnerability, awkwardness and sharp skill in the heroine, as well as the novel’s measure of grit and wit. Although it’s Book Two in the Kensington Chronicles, it can be read as a standalone, and I consider it to be the standout novel of the series, written by one of my personally most-read authors.

Love at First Bark by Dana Mentink

Christian Fiction/Contemporary Romance

★★★★★ from me

A pesky dog. A bashful cowboy. And an author under pressure who gets just the inspiration she needs. Admission Number One: I was looking for something quick and easy to perk me up when I started this novella, and I wasn’t expecting any surprises. So I was surprised when the story, well, pleasantly surprised me. The tale is sweet, light, and humorous, to be sure, but the crux of the hero and heroine’s conversation enters meaningful territory that isn’t the most predictable. Admission Number Two: I’m not the easiest reader to sell on contemporary romance these days, but I pretty much fell in love with this book as I went along.

Heartfelt Cases One, Two, Three, and the Prequel by Julie C. Gilbert

   

Christian Fiction/Suspense

★★★★ overall from me

It all starts with a cold case, a kidnapped child, and FBI agent Ann Davidson, who’s got no time for doubt. This prequel novelette and three following novellas each give a satisfying serving of suspense, like watching episodes of a prime-time crime drama. They aren’t sappy heart tales but rather heart-and-mind battles where life and death are the stakes. The series makes a place for faith without trying to wrap the stories up with neat and tidy bows. The fifth Heartfelt Case, which I haven’t yet read, is a full-length novel and will therefore be more of a movie than a television episode. Bring it.

The First Love Novels by Beverly Cleary

   

Young Adult Romance

★★★★ overall from me

Gee, how swell! Gotta love YA Lit from the ’50s and ’60s. I consider these YA novels by my favorite childhood author to be classics, and I had a marvelous time taking a second spin with them last year. (Well, it was only my first time reading Sister of the Bride.) I didn’t discern in my adolescence how wise and poignant a story The Luckiest Girl is. Jean’s gradual maturation in Jean and Johnny is so satisfying. And Fifteen is a charming tale that gets better as Jane begins to “learn her lesson.” Sister of the Bride isn’t really a romance but includes Barbara’s little pre-adventures with love and what she learns about herself while she helps prepare for her sister’s wedding. All in all, this is a fun and wholesome batch of old-fashioned but relevant tales.

An FBI Duo by DiAnn Mills

 

Christian Fiction/Romantic Suspense

★★★★★ each from me

In Trial By Fire, Special Agents Savannah Barrett and Paul Winston must hunt down an arsonist, while Savannah is also tasked with raising her suddenly orphaned grandchildren. A murdered oil and gas magnate happens to be the husband of Special Agent Tori Templeton’s best friend in Deep Extraction. Not all authors are equally skilled at writing both novellas and novels, but I found these two books to be equally well-written, substantive, and satisfying. Savannah and Paul aren’t a pair of twenty- or thirty-somethings, which adds a different flavor than you’ll find in a lot of romantic suspense. And the action in Tori’s story is unpretentious in the way it breaks out, set within an intricate plot that held my attention from cover to cover.

The Roaring Twenties Novels by Jennifer Lamont Leo

 

Christian Fiction/Historical Romance

★★★★ each from me

Small-town girl Marjorie Corrigan is visiting 1928 Chicago when she runs into the love of her life from ten years ago: a man presumed dead since he fought in the First World War. And Dot Rodgers, who’s trying to get her singing career up and humming, is right in the thick of the big city and the sparkling Jazz Age—but is she in too thick? There was never a dull moment for me as I read You’re the Cream in My Coffee, as all the various moving parts to Marjorie’s journey kept me engrossed. And as I read Ain’t Misbehavin’, I really came to like Dot, a woman who makes mistakes and doubts herself, but she’s also competent and capable when she puts her mind to something. These two novels are an enjoyable trip through the “roar” and glamour of the Twenties mixed with significant matters of the heart.

So. Does this list of books look good? Yes, it does! I may have to make another list like it sometime. 😀

You can get your reading started with a free Kindle copy of Love at First Bark, part of the Love Unleashed series, as well as a free Kindle copy of The Quinn Case.

 

And a bit of noteworthy news. 🙂 I first introduced a place called the Eubeltic Realm in the Movement of Crowns trilogy, and my latest novel, Eubeltic Descent, is a spin-off from that series. Now there’s more I’m planning to write about the original characters from the Realm in an additional spin-off! If you’ve not read the Movement of Crowns series yet, you can pick up the first book free. Check out the books at Amazon, or visit this page for links to more stores.

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Congratulations, authors, and thank you for writing your books! If one of these noteworthy reads is yours, 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.) Thanks again!

 

Favorite Reads 2018

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

I anticipate 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 2018 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 medal for making the list, see the bottom of this post.*

Finding Miranda by Iris Chacon

Mystery/Romance

★★★★★ from me

*A 2018 Favorite Cover Pick*

She’s a shy librarian. He’s her hunky neighbor. And somebody wants them both dead. I can’t say I know the best way to categorize this romantic comedic mysterious heart-tugging thingamabob of a book. But I enjoyed the heck out of it! Miranda is one unique cookie, and the romance is too cute. The mystery includes enough danger to keep you suspicious, and it escalates to the gripping level of a thriller. Plus, the humor is quirky, but the tale isn’t silly. Fellow readers who can rightly appreciate a thingamabob would do well to pick this one up.

Rhineland Inheritance by T. Davis Bunn

Christian Fiction/Historical Suspense

★★★★★ from me

In the aftermath of World War II in war-torn Europe, crippling poverty and a continent-wide conspiracy cross paths. Over the years, whether reading one of Davis Bunn’s newer titles or an older one like this, I’ve come to expect no less than excellent storytelling from this author. And excellent storytelling is what I got here. Danger, intrigue, a depth of emotion, and characters I came to like rather quickly. Especially sharp and intelligent Sally, who has quick, dry humor and a commanding presence balanced with softness and compassion. A stellar opening to the Rendezvous with Destiny series.

Ribsy by Beverly Cleary

Fiction/Children’s Books

★★★★★ from me

When this lively and loyal canine ends up lost, an adventure begins! This isn’t the only tale about Ribsy and his favorite boy, Henry Huggins, but this one is mostly from middle-aged Ribsy’s point of view. It’s funny how insightful the story manages to be, giving glimpses into the lives of an interesting mix of people along the way. Because various moments during Ribsy’s journey tugged on my heartstrings, the moments of excitement were all the more satisfying. A book filled with some of the reasons why, to this day, Cleary is still my all-time favorite children’s book author.

High Treason by DiAnn Mills

Christian Fiction/Romantic Suspense

★★★★★ from me

Monica Alden, a CIA operative, and Special Agent Kord Davidson are put on an FBI task force to protect a Saudi prince from assassination. This novel kept me on my toes from start to finish, from the high-stakes action, to the thick of investigation, to the engaging inward and outward dialogue of the characters. I’m all for a heroine like Monica: sharp, no-nonsense, gutsy, and driven, but with a sense of humor, compassion, and a vulnerable side. Though this is the third novel in the FBI Task Force series, it’s also a standalone, and every book I’ve read in the series is awesome.

Ace Carroway and the Great War and Ace Carroway Around the World by Guy Worthey

 

Historical Fiction, Adventure, Mystery

★★★★★ each from me

It starts when ace pilot Cecilia Carroway and her misfit crew of fellow World War I Allied prisoners look to escape prison. There’s something old-fashioned about the style of these stories, which deal with serious circumstances without taking themselves too seriously, but also without being mere jokes. I could laugh at some parts, while other parts hit me in the gut. Ace Carroway is one bad, bad chick: capable, competent, compassionate, commanding. And the second book has a “crime noir” flair with intrigue, atmosphere, and humor. Then, my goodness, I teared up at the end of the story. I’ve not read other books quite like The Adventures of Ace Carroway.

The Kremlin Conspiracy by Joel C. Rosenberg

Christian Fiction/Thriller

★★★★★ from me

Marcus Ryker, a U.S. military veteran and former U.S. Secret Service agent, is dead set on preventing a nuclear war. This is the third thriller I’ve read by this author, and I could hardly exhale after the ride it took me on. I almost didn’t like how “on edge” I was through a good deal of it. There were times when I practically balked at turning a page, not feeling ready to see what would happen next. But, of course, I had to keep turning pages. I can’t wait to read the upcoming sequel.

The Amazing Adventures of Aaron Broom by A. E. Hotchner

Historical Mystery

★★★★★ from me

It’s up to almost-thirteen-year-old Aaron to prove his father had no hand in a jewelry store robbery and murder. Readers from Aaron’s age to the age of the author—who’s around a hundred years old—are bound to enjoy this tale. The young hero is such a mix of maturity and innocence, of inexperience, sharp wits, and relevant, real-deal principles. I’d be having a bit of a laugh while reading, and then Aaron, his memories, and his next “happening” would break my heart. Then warm my heart. Then get my heart all pumped, like, “Yeah, you tell ’em, kid! You show ’em! Get it, Aaron!” Truly a substantive and poignant story that gives hope.

Mark of the Raven by Morgan L. Busse

Christian Fiction/Fantasy

★★★★★ from me

As heir to the House of Ravenwood, Lady Selene must find out the true reason behind her gift—or her curse?—of dreamwalking. I finished this novel in less than a day, which is rare for me. The book’s themes just got to me. Like, the idea that in order for Selene to protect and provide for her people, she has to…oppress them? The story doesn’t unfold with nothing but unexplained alternate-world-riddles for half the book or anything, so although fantasy isn’t my most-read genre, it wasn’t long before I got a good grip on what was going on. An amazing read about leadership, courage, conscience, compassion, and sacrifice. Light, Maker of Worlds, grant me patience as I await the next book in The Ravenwood Saga…

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Historical Fiction/Young Adult Fiction

★★★★★ from me

Liesel: a young girl in Nazi Germany. Max: a Jew in hiding. And the power, the haven, Liesel and Max find in words. I stopped for a while, toward the middle of this novel. Stopped, sighed, and wept after reading about Liesel reading one of her books—a book she didn’t steal. There were also parts that made me smile, and times when I had to pause and shake my head at some of the brilliant turns of phrase that fill this novel: ironic, ominous, and beautiful turns by turns. This is a raw, nuanced, layered, crushing, bittersweet, and haunting story that affirms life even in the midst of death. A singular work, this is.

White Picket Fences: Turning toward Love in a World Divided by Privilege by Amy Julia Becker

Nonfiction/Christian

★★★★★ from me

Do we, within our current social structure, want to get well? When it comes to the intended audience for this book, it will likely require some “pushing past” to even pick the book up. Pushing past the fear-based discomfort that says to avoid the topic. I appreciate how this book isn’t meant to demonize its readers, to make anyone feel guilty about their skin color or for being born to a particular social status. Becker doesn’t limit this discussion to the subject of race, and she addresses tough, complex issues with grace and nuance. A book well worth pushing past discomfort to read.

The Fargenstropple Case by Lia London

Detective Mystery/Humor

★★★★★ from me

When family jewels go missing at the Fargenstropple estate, Chief Inspector Terrence Morgan doubles down! This short and sweet mystery is simply delightful. It has a positively British flair, complete with British spellings and characters with a pleasant bunch of surnames, such as Nigglesby and Crumfellow. A jaunty thread of romance adds to the fun, and though I read my share of murder mysteries, I count it a boon to also find mysteries that involve cases other than murder. To enjoy an hour or two of light and hilarious entertainment with clever twists, go on and give this comedy a go.

How to Be a Perfect Christian: Your Comprehensive Guide to Flawless Spiritual Living by The Babylon Bee

Christian Satire

★★★★ from me

I’m not one who goes out of my way looking for satire, but I went ahead and started this book anyway. Then it got me within the first few pages, letting me know how Christian culture can lead me to be “transformed day by day into the radiant image of the modern American Jesus.” Hello. Sounds like a goal. Humor that’s unafraid to tackle what others may be reluctant to speak up about can help you stop and think, to take a second look at something in life or society (or Christian culture) that’s backward or off. You’ve got to think if you want to grow. I laughed, I contemplated, I laughed some more, and I eventually reached this book’s conclusion, which is beautiful.

Gift of Gold by Beverly Butler

New Adult Fiction

★★★★★ from me

Cathy lost her sight as a teenager. Now that she’s in college, she won’t let her blindness stop her from becoming a speech therapist. Will she? When I first came across this old-fashioned novel in my adolescence, I had no idea the author herself was blind or that I’d be revisiting this novel years later, and then more years after that. This isn’t some predictable, run-of-the-mill tale merely about goals and dreams. It’s a complex, soul-searching kind of read. Smart in style with wit and wisdom. Because Cathy’s journey pulls no punches, the truth, growth, and hope in her story is earned. Plus, there’s a nice little thread of down-to-earth romance tied in. Such a powerful novel I can see myself reading a fourth time. And a fifth…

And that wraps up another (calendar) year of favorites for this bibliophile!

Entries for 2018’s Favorite Reads giveaway are now closed, but comments on the post are remaining open.

  

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Feel free to check out more of my favorite reading (and writing!) from this year: Eubeltic Descent. I carried this story in me for almost four years before I could finally write it. ❤ Find it at Amazon here. (It’s free to read with Kindle Unlimited!) Or you can click here to get it in paperback.

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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, 2018.) Thanks again!

 

Favorite Covers 2018

I received complimentary copies of some of these books 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. 🙂 Still, I have an appreciation for cover art as a part of the reading experience. Here are covers I particularly liked from books I’ve read this year—and it’s quite a list this time around, folks! The books are listed in the order I read them.
*And to the authors of these books, if you’d like a medal (one for you and/or for your cover artist) for being on this list, see the bottom of this post.*

Jazzy Girl by C.L. Wells

Christian Fiction/Romantic Suspense

Sherice trusts no one but Jazz, her Labrador, and forming too close of an acquaintance with the nosy (and rather good-looking) man next door would be anything but safe. This book got a makeover since I read it last year, and what a makeover it is! It’s pretty simple, and it’s pretty everything. The black foreground is ripped away just over the eyes—a great depiction of a woman in hiding. The author name and top half of the title are doing less so that the bottom half of the title can do more. And the few, faint circles of bokeh lighting against the black adds some subtle jazz.

The Christmas Star: A Love Story by Robert Tate Miller

Christian Fiction/Contemporary Fiction

*A 2018 Christmas Book Pick*

A husband and father with a crumbling life lands back in time with shepherds who’ll travel to see the newborn Christ. Last December, the simple and tranquil but stunning quality of this chilly blue book cover, and the beautiful white light of that star winking at me, made me read this book sooner than I planned. The design is a quality example of when less is more.

The Baron’s Blunder by Susan M. Baganz

Christian Fiction/Regency Romantic Suspense

The Honorable Henrietta Allendale isn’t defenseless, but her association with a certain baron could still mean danger. Could this book cover be any more scrumptious? Bold with depth, and vibrant in a dark kind of way. The cover brings out the Gothic Regency aspect of the story but doesn’t forget the romance. The hero and heroine strike a visually dramatic note without going overboard, and that delicious jewel and bow toward the bottom ties it all together.

The Darkest Hour by Rebecca J. Greenwood

Christian Fiction/Regency Romance

While struggling to keep her brother alive, Lady Hester Douglas also struggles with growing feelings for her escort, a reverend. Another great Regency cover, here. The image of the woman in the window conveys soft drama, and there’s a wonderful contrast of darkness and light overall, along with lovely, excellent typography.

Finding Miranda by Iris Chacon

Mystery/Romance

She’s a shy librarian. He’s her hunky neighbor. And somebody wants them both dead. If there’s a way to properly represent a romantic comedic mysterious thingamabob of a book, this book cover is it. You can’t help but wonder what’s got bespectacled Miranda hiding in the bushes with her eyes (well, her eye, at least) popped wide and her mouth hanging open. The minimal but vibrant colors work well together, with the see-through title using a leaf to dot an i. How fun!

Tōru: Wayfarer Returns by Stephanie R. Sorensen

Historical Fiction/Alternate History

He believes it will take nothing less than an industrial revolution to save his native Japan, even with his own potential death sentence in the mix. What a display of juxtaposing images here. A samurai warrior—a depiction of longstanding tradition. A dirigible in the sky, looming, approaching, forecasting the dawn of a more modern era. And speaking of the dawn, check out the way the sun bursts through those thick, ominous clouds. And Tōru’s name at the bottom, smoldering with culture. Superb!

Washed Under the Waves by Gloria Clover

Christian Fiction/Romantic Fantasy

A princess reluctant to rule. A prince in disguise. And an island facing treachery. I don’t see how fantasy fiction fans could resist checking out a novel with such a stunning book cover. You can all but feel and hear those waves crashing, and the dramatic, multicolored splash of it all—from the vibrant sky in the background to the almost hauntingly aware young woman in the foreground—is so on point.

Bride Tree by JP Robinson

Christian Fiction/Historical Thriller

Conspiracy, sacrifice, and calamity collide as France becomes embroiled in a Revolution. This striking cover captured my interest in a heartbeat. The design is mysterious, layered, and lavish, with color that pops. And of course, that cunning stare from the notorious Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, rightly promises intrigue. Truly captivating!

No Less Days by Amanda G. Stevens

Christian Fiction/Speculative Fiction

What is life like for a man who doesn’t age—and can’t die? I passed by this book a time or two and kept coming back to it. The more I looked at it, the more this cover grew on me. A bibliophile can’t resist the “Old & Rare Books” bookstore here, with lighting that’s equally soft and bright in somberly pouring rain at night. Plus there’s a subtle hint of shadow behind the title. Just enough. The image as a whole has such atmosphere to it.

The Bluebird and the Sparrow by Janette Oke

Christian Fiction/Historical Fiction

Berta feels plain, ordinary, and unappreciated compared to her glowing, outgoing, adored sister, Glenna. Yup, I absolutely reached for an oldie-but-goodie from the ’90s. It’s not the novel’s latest book cover, but it’s still the one I prefer. Artwork with such lovely, softly brilliant pastels and the blending of colors, light, and darkness in the typography. This cover does nostalgic justice to one of Christian Fiction’s notable pioneers, author Janette Oke.

Design for Dying by Renee Patrick

Historical Mystery

The 1937 silver screen is sparkling, and an aspiring actress is murdered in Hollywood… And this cover, in a style common for the genre, has such a fitting blend of glamour and danger with a vintage feel. The colors. The lines. The light. The shadows. The title, flowing in minimal, beguiling curves over it all. Bring on the mystery!

Murder at the Flamingo by Rachel McMillan

Christian Fiction/Historical Mystery

A deadly shadow looms over the grand opening of a 1937 nightclub, presenting a case for the unlikely detective duo of Van Buren and DeLuca. Another cover with vintage style. A glamorous evening. The subtle pull of the big city in the background. And the decked-out pair in the foreground, perhaps whispering something to each other—with their backs to us. Hmmm. Something’s up…

Thief of Corinth by Tessa Afshar

Christian Fiction/Biblical Fiction

Ariadne’s secret deeds put her, and her soul, in more than one level of danger. I love the angles and motion on this book cover. The soft and rich tones and texture, mixed with the peril of a young woman on the run. Running on a rooftop, no less, and looking back over her shoulder. The cover alone tells a story before you even crack the novel open.

Catching Christmas by Terri Blackstock

Christian Fiction/Contemporary Love Story

He’s a disgruntled cab driver. She’s a worried lawyer. And her grandma is on a matchmaking mission. Seriously, and delightfully, this little hardback may be the most precious book I’ve held all year, aesthetically speaking. A cute trio of gifts stacked on top of a cute cab. The few splashes of red and the bokeh effect of white and citrusy lights splashed over darker greens in the background. If ever you encounter this book in person, you may very well wish to hug it.

Ace Carroway and the Handsome Devil by Guy Worthey

Historical Adventure

World War I veteran and ace pilot Cecilia Carroway is back together with her motley crew—and not a moment too soon! Considering the previous books I read in The Adventures of Ace Carroway series, this may be the most unexpected cover I’ve come across this year. The wide, aware eyes of that snow leopard, creating intrigue. The dark sky and cool, natural, gradual nighttime light and hue. The style and slant of the title and author name, promising action, adventure, and a retro quality. And a single, vibrant rose, punctuating it all. A design that’s right on the mark!

An excellent list, if I do say so myself. My applause to the artists who gave these books such a great look!

Entries for 2018’s Favorite Covers giveaway are now closed, but comments on the post are remaining open.

   

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You can get your reading started with a free Kindle copy of The Baron’s Blunder, first in the Black Diamond Gothic Regency series. And as of the time of this posting, you can get a free copy of The Darkest Hour if you sign up for author Rebecca J. Greenwood’s newsletter.

 

Speaking of book covers 😀 , the Movement of Crowns series got a new set of them this year! You can pick up the first book free. Check out the books at Amazon, or visit this page for links to more stores.

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Congratulations, authors, and thank you for writing your books! If yours has one of my favorite covers 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, 2018.) 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!