Posted in About the Author, Book Reviews

The Best of 2015

Here are my reading stats for the year:

Total Books Read: 62
Kindle vs Paperback: 46 on Kindle and 16 Paperback

Goodreads Challenges:
Spell My Name in Book Titles: All 15 letters
Book Cover Challenge: All 6 books
Alphabet Title Challenge: 19 Letters
Reading 20 Books off of my Kindle Storage: 18
Reading 24 Library Books: 22
Reading 20 New (to me) Authors: 24

My List of 5-Star Books for the Year (All links lead to Goodreads):
Gunpowder Tea by Margaret Brownley
A Wedding Date in Hot Springs, Arkansas by Annalisa Daughety
One Enchanted Christmas by Melissa Tagg
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
Into the Whirlwind by Elizabeth Camden
Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
A Pioneer Christmas Collection by Lauraine Snelling +8
The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson
Hope for the Holidays Historical Collection by Mary Connealy +3
Every Bride Needs a Groom by Janice Thompson
On This Foundation by Lynn Austin
The Perfect Arrangement by Katie Ganshert
Luther and Katharina by Jody Hedlund
The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen
All Our Empty Places by Alicia G. Ruggieri
The Lost Heiress by Roseanna M. White
The Mistress of Tall Acres by Laura Frantz
Drop Dead Diva by Christine Lynwiler
The Outlaw Takes a Bride by Susan Page Davis
Short-Straw Bride by Karen Witemeyer
A Voice in the Wilderness by Grace Livingston Hill
Honor by Lyn Cote
A Most Inconvenient Marriage by Regina Jennings
Letters from the Enemy by Susan May Warren
A Bride Opens a Shop in El Dorado, California
Emma by Jane Austen
Yankee in Atlanta by Jocelyn Green
Wings of a Dream by Anne Mateer
With Every Letter by Sarah Sundin
Over the Edge by Mary Connealy
The Captive Imposter by Dawn Crandall
In Too Deep by Mary Connealy
Where Wildflowers Bloom by Ann Shorey
Goodbye, Magnolia by Krista Noorman
Out of Control by Mary Connealy
A Heart Deceived by Michelle Griep 
Widow of Gettysburg by Jocelyn Green
Rebellious Hearts by Jody Hedlund
Love Comes Calling by Siri Mitchell
This Quiet Sky by Joanne Bischof
Death on a Deadline by Christine Lynwiler

 

Most Beautiful Cover: The Outlaw Takes a Bride. It’s hard to say exactly what takes my breath away more: the smooth, haunting colors, the creative use of letters in the background (a personal favorite), or the wishful way the lady appears on the cover. This cover stole my heart from the moment I saw it.

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Most Read Author: Mary Connealy with her Kincaid Brides series and Christmas novella.

Best War Fiction: It’s nearly impossible to choose, but in the spirit of picking a winner, I’m going to choose Widow of Gettysburg. The entire series by Green is amazing, but this one had that extra something.

Favorite Heroine: Ellis Eaton, from Love Comes Calling, is warm, funny, loving, and determined…and she just happens to have a short attention span making her unique, memorable, and all around remarkable.

Favorite New (to me) Author: Laura Frantz with The Mistress of Tall Acre. I was blown away by Laura’s ability to capture me with her every word. She’s like a word wizard or something. I can’t explain it.

Favorite Couple: Cote went for the difficult when she paired a Quacker and a deaf man together with a marriage of convenience in Honor. I really enjoyed watching these two connect with each other as well as the obstacles Samuel faced with his disability.

Marriage with the most Unusual Circumstance: I LOVE a book that brings two lovers together under the strangest circumstances. It was completely impossible to choose so I left it as a tie.
When 4 brothers draw straws to determine who would marry the beautiful stranger that wandered onto their property, you have the start of something both hilarious and spectacular in Short-Straw Bride.
There seems to be nothing convenient about accidentally marrying a stranger in A Most Inconvenient Marriage.

Best Dressed: I studied the covers to find the model that I thought was best dressed. I have another tie here, but oddly  enough the novels are written by the same author.
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Couple with the Most Friction: Another favorite plot of mine is the bickering couple. I walked away with two books that did it so well.
Elenora moves to El Dorado with the intentions of co-owning Miles’s general store, but when he refuses to partner with a woman, she becomes his competition in A Bride Opens a Store in El Dorado, California.
Maggie struggles to keep her business afloat when her arch enemy, Simon, moves back to town, but she’ll struggle even more when he sets out to woo her in Goodbye, Magnolia.

Best Gospel Message: Beautiful are the feet that carry the good news of Jesus Christ and beautiful is the novel that weaves the gospel into the fabric of its story in both a solid and knockout presentation. Letters From the Enemy sits as one of my top ten for the year for its treatment of the gospel…and the beautiful love story.

Favorite Theme: Any Christian book worth its grain of salt carries a theme. A purpose. Some are more subtle than others. My favorite theme for the year is GRACE and I particularly love the way Alicia handles it in All Our Empty Places. She managed to bring the theme of grace out so naturally in the characters’ personalities, actions, and the plot itself. This is a very beautiful story.

Most Spiritual Impact: Lynn Austin had me pulling my highlighter out and meditating on the truths she brought to life in her version of Nehemiah’s story in On This Foundation. While the book read like a fiction novel, it carried some wonderful themes: lessons on glorifying God, restoring a right relationship with the Lord, letting go of fear and anger, staying committed to a God-given task in the face of opposition, and extending forgiveness.

Best New Release: The Perfect Arrangement captured my heart like few other stories have this year. It was light, funny, warm, real, and just flat out amazing. This novella is one of my top ten favorites for the year with its retelling of one of my favorite movies, You’ve Got Mail.

Favorite Christmas Story: A Pony Express Christmas from A Pioneer Christmas Collection remains my favorite Christmas story of the year. I’ve read some good ones this year, but this one had that extra something that made it unforgetable.

First Kiss: Out of Control has one of the most unique first kisses that I’ve ever read. I won’t spoil it for you. You’ll just have to read it for yourself.

Best I Love You Scene: There’s a reason why I’ve read Wings of a Dream twice in 12 months, and the ending is just one of the many reasons that this book is one of my favorites.

Favorite Hero: Brady James from Every Bride Needs a Groom has little to no competition in this department. It’s hard to say exactly what it is about him that works so well. This fictional character makes being charming seem so natural and effortless.

Oldest Novel: I’ve had my hands on a few classics this year but my oldest was Emma.

Most Shocking Novel: 😉 Just to verify, I mean shocking in a good way. The twists, turns, and surprises had me gasping on every page and sometimes every paragraph as The Silent Governess wrapped up.

Novel that Most Resembles My Life: I was so surprised to meet myself on the pages of A Wedding Date in Hot Springs, Arkansas. Reagan is a busy mother of four and the day to day life that Annalisa brought to life hit a little too close to home. Lol

Most Surprising Novella: I have another tie here. I wasn’t so sure what I’d find when I picked up these novellas but was pleasantly surprised by the rich story that awaited me.
One Enchanted Christmas swept me off my feet and has me eager to read more from Melissa Tagg.
This Quiet Sky was both charming and heart breaking. I didn’t expect to fall so in love with these characters.

Best Mystery: Gunpowder Tea brought together a host of suspects that kept me guessing until the very end.

Favorite Classic: I only read three classics this year and all of them deserve this award, but I’m handing it over to Jane Eyre for two reasons: I had already read the other two and knew that I loved them. And I was so surprised by how much I enjoyed this one.

Best Setting: A good setting can really take a story to new levels and Into the Whirlwind remains one of my top 10 favorites for the year for its rich and detailed take on the Chicago fires. As an author, I was forced to sit back in awe and question how she managed to bring so many details to life. Did she set an entire town on fire just so she could experience what it was like? Lol Doubtful. Which is what makes her work even more remarkable.

Now it’s your turn! I’d love to here some of your reading stats for the year. Which books would you give an award to (please, feel free to steal my list of awards)? Do you have a top 10 list? How many books did you read? Did you complete any Goodreads Challenges? Did I list any of your favorite novels? Have I talked you into picking up something?

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2 thoughts on “The Best of 2015

  1. Ugh… It took awhile but I’m glad I finally convinced you to pick up Jane Eyre 😉
    Also realizing that I’ve read tons of books from this list. I’m going to have to go back through later and add a few of the ones I haven’t to my to-read list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol You know… I’m glad you talking me into it. I really, really liked it.
      I’m a little curious though as to which ones you plan to add to your list. Do you remember anything off the top of your head? Lol At the moment, I can’t remember a single book ON my list. Lol

      Like

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