What I loved reading this year
Yesterday I shared the nonfiction books that I absolutely loved this year. Today it’s time for fiction!
I read a lot more novels during the course of the year so I had more to choose from. I’ve got some favorite authors in my list as well as a few new ones. It’s been a great reading year!
So, without further ado, here are my favorite novels of 2015 (in no particular order)!
Shadow of the Mountain: Exodus by Cliff Graham (Bethany House)
Yes! I read a dude’s book! But I love biblical era fiction so this was a must read for me. I’m so excited to have Cliff Graham releasing books in our market again. We’ve missed him! He began a new series with Shadow of the Mountain: Exodus this year. It’s not only a page turning novel but it’s a great study in the life of Joshua and Caleb. I love it when books make you go back to Scripture to get the original text!
Cliff is committed to writing stories around inspiring men in Scripture that will prompt the reader to hopefully discover the great story that God has placed in their own life. Hands down, Cliff is the one I recommend the most to customers who are looking for a great novel to share with a man in their life. Ladies, if you’re a fan of strong storytelling, you’ll enjoy it, too. I sure did!
The Third Target by Joel C. Rosenberg (Tyndale)
Also known as the one book of the year that left me with the biggest of all cliff hangers. Thank you, Mr. Rosenberg!
As with all of his novels, The Third Target is a fast-paced book that feels like you’re reading events out of today’s news. Joel is immersed in his personal life with the events in the Middle East and his knowledge of places, cultures, and events come through very well in his novels. I ended up learning a lot about the current climate of that part of the world while reading his latest book. You’ll also see the biblical significance of the Middle Eastern world and how it plays into what is unfolding today.
The Third Target is a must read for those who enjoy thrillers. And now is a great time to read it. Book two, The First Hostage, arrives at LifeWay on December 29!
The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker (Tyndale)
I got a call from Tyndale early this year informing me that they had a novel coming out from Ted Dekker’s daughter. Great, I thought. Another kid of a successful writer who wants to try to write a book and ride on their parent’s coat tails.
Totally not the case with The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker. What a great surprise this book was to me. I think I read it in like two days. This girl can stand on her own two feet, even if her last name was Smith!
This book will become a new model for me when I tell people about the power of Christian fiction. Rachelle not only gives us well developed characters, imaginative settings, and a fast paced delivery, but she effortlessly weaves in themes of understanding who we were created to be and the importance of seeing our value through the eyes of our Maker. It’s not forced. It’s authentic. Something that is hard to achieve at times within the Christian market.
The Pharaoh’s Daughter by Mesu Andrews (Waterbrook)
Ahh. Mesu Andrews. Just thinking about her books give me the warm fuzzy reader feelings.
She’s been on my list of favorite novels since her first release. I love her books that much. Everyone should be reading her. That includes you!
Mesu is the best in the business when it comes to biblical era fiction. The Pharaoh’s Daughter gives us a look into the life of the woman who found baby Moses floating in the river. Little is known about his growing up years in the house of Pharaoh so Mesu sets off to present as accurate of a possible story as she can. Through Scripture and historical research, the story makes the reader feel like they are walking the dusty streets, strolling the halls of the elaborate palace, and experiencing the hard lives of the Hebrew slaves.
Mesu is one of two novelists that I am on a personal mission to spread the word on. She’s among the best writers that I’ve read in either Christian or general market. Pick up a copy of The Pharoah’s Daughter and give her writing a try! You’ll love her.
The Woods Edge by Lori Benton (Waterbook)
The other author I’m wanting everyone to read? Lori Benton.
Y’all. Seriously. Read her if you’re a historical novel fan. Like Mesu Andrews, Lori has a commitment to historical research that takes her writing to a level that few others reach in our market.
The Wood’s Edge begins a new series and takes us to the rugged early American town in New York. White settlers were still having to face the threats of the neighboring Indian tribes. Major Reginald Aubrey makes a split second decision after the death of his son at birth that sets off a chain reaction that he could have never predicted. As the years go by he constantly feels the regret and fear from that one life changing decision. The truth begins to come out as unlikely friendships between two cultures are developed, leading to even more conflict.
Such a powerful story. I’m already looking forward to the continuing story this spring!
The Five Times I Met Myself by James L. Rubart (Thomas Nelson)
James Rubart is one of the most creative storytellers we have today.
In The Five Times I Met Myself, Brock Matthew’s blessed life is quickly unraveling. The coffee company he has spent every waking moment working to build has at the same time caused his marriage and family to fall apart.
When Brock starts to have dreams where he meets his younger self, he begins to wonder if there is a way to go back and undo some of his biggest mistakes. The encounters with younger Brock provide remarkable and yet, disturbing results. What is real and what is a dream? Through each conversation with his younger self, Brock realizes how great his life could be if he will only make the decisions that he knows God is wanting him to make.
The Five Times I Met Myself is such a compelling story. I would recommend it to anyone who first, enjoys a great novel and second, who might be searching for ways to move forward out of past regrets. Even a novel like this can provide you with refreshing biblical insight that will help you see that God is a God of second chances and that he’s waiting on you!
Esther by Angela Hunt (Bethany House)
Yep, another biblical era novel! It was a great year for them. And please, that cover? So beautiful.
Even if you feel you know all there is to know about Queen Esther, you’ll enjoy Angela Hunt’s new novel. You’ll meet a young Esther living with her beloved Uncle Mordecai in Susa. Like all young girls, she enjoys being with her family, friends, and dreaming about the man she’ll one day marry. All of that seems lost when she is removed from home to become one of King Xerxes wives. Esther’s life in the palace provides her the pivotal chance to save her people from the edict that her husband just issued.
If you want to visit Esther’s world through powerful storytelling and amazing characters, definitely treat yourself to Angela Hunt’s Esther.
The Curiosity Keeper by Sarah E. Ladd (Thomas Nelson)
You knew I had to have a Regency Era novel in my list!
I’ve enjoyed all of Sarah’s previous novels but I felt that her latest one, The Curiosity Keeper, took her up a notch in the level of her storytelling. There’s a delightful suspense tone to the book that I wasn’t quite expecting that kept me guessing the whole book.
Camille Inverness runs her father’s curiosity shop in a small English village. She and her father don’t have much themselves besides the shop and their strained relationship. After an unexpected betrayal, Camille must trust a stranger to rescue her.
Jonathan Gilchrist prefers his work at the apothecary shop than helping to manage his family’s estate. Poor decisions by his father lead to the potential loss of the home but the sale of a priceless possession could be all it takes to save their estate. When it is discovered missing, all clues begin to point to Camille’s curiosity shop.
Oh, the drama! I won’t tell you what happens but it’s good! If you enjoy Julie Klassen’s works you’ll want to check out Sarah Ladd, too!
What about you? What have some of your favorite novels been for 2015?
Our largest giveaway of the year starts tomorrow! I’ll be giving away all of my favorite books for 2015. You’ll want to check it out so come back and see us!