One of the most popular pages on my website is my page on Book Reviews! And when I look up the statistics for my site over the last couple of years, almost half of the top posts are . . . yep. Book reviews. I shouldn’t be surprised. Readers like to know about good books.
I’ve read a lot of good books this year. Some of the best nonfiction books I reviewed in blog posts, but I typically only review fiction on GoodReads and Bookbub. (And yes, I believe most people should read some fiction. It has LOTS of great benefits. If you want to know more, click here and here.)
To help add to your fiction To Read list, here are some of the best ones I’ve read so far this year.
Side note: If you want to read even more of my reviews, check out the nonfiction books I’ve reviewed on my blog by clicking here OR join me on GoodReads by clicking here or on BookBub by clicking here!
Best Fiction Reads, Part 1
1. Always by Jody Hedlund, Book 0.5 of The Lost Princesses
178 pages, Medieval historical, Young adult. Jody Hedlund is the only author I can name that draws me into a story written in the first-person point of view without me having to work hard at it. Usually, I need to force myself to read two or three chapters before I care enough to continue fighting a point of view that I don’t like. However, I was starting the second chapter of this book before I consciously thought about how it was written. That aside, the characters are great, the storyline compelling, and the pace excellent. She balances tension with hope, treacherous scenarios with believable escapes.
2. The Crimson Cord: Rahab’s Story by Jill Eileen Smith, Book 1 of Daughters of the Promised Land
368 pages, Biblical fiction. So much about Rahab is unknown to us, yet this author formed a believable story that well followed the little we are told within the Bible. While parts were not easy to read, they were necessary to the story, and Ms. Smith did well in telling enough to make things clear without crossing lines into too much information. She is one of my favorite authors for biblical fiction!
3. No Other Will Do by Karen Witemeyer, Book 1 of Ladies of Harper Station
368 pages, 1894 historical, Texas. A while back, I read and enjoyed the novella that comes between books one and two in this series, so I’m not sure why it took me so long to pick this one up, but I’m so glad I did! I don’t know the historical accuracy of a woman’s colony in the late 1800s, but it’s an interesting concept. Karen Witemeyer filled her town with delightful characters, and I quite want to meet the aunts in particular. The storyline was good, the actions believable, and her ending was superb.
4. A Name Unknown by Roseanna M. White, Book 1 of Shadows Over England
432 pages, World War I historical, London. The pre-World War 1 environment Roseanna White created was both inviting and disheartening as I can imagine it truly was in those days, and the character Peter Holstein was enchanting and inspiring. I can well imagine being in his employ would be a constant flip between exasperating and endearing, even though he goes down as one of my favorite characters out of all the books I’ve recently read. The overall story was excellent, and this family quickly became one of my favorite cast of characters of all time!
5. Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano, Book 1 of American Heiresses
368 pages, 1885 historical, New England, USA.Oh my goodness! This heroine! Such a delightful story on so many levels — the heroine and her ineptness at most domestic chores aside, the children, the aunt and uncle, the town, the cow in the drawing-room, and Elmer the chicken! It’s a wonderful cast of characters, and I loved how the author gave the heroine tremendous value without immediately adding to her skillset. In fact, the poor character had to continuously admit she was horrid at yet one more thing. The storyline was good and the hero appropriately tough and romantic. I loved it!
6. For Love of Liberty by Julie Lessman, Book 0.5 of Silver Lining Ranch
164 pages, 1868 historical, Virginia City, Nevada. Oh, my goodness! I LOVE these two main characters and their fire for each other! Clearly, they have a lot of growing to do, which happened in the first full-length novel in this series. The sass, the attitude, the fun, the conviction and redemption of multiple characters–so much to enjoy about this extended family as they love and grow together.
7. Aiming for Love by Mary Connealy, Book 1 of Brides of Hope Mountain
304 pages, 1873 historical, Colorado. While this one feels a little different than Mary Connealy’s western romances, it is no less enchanting. The relationship between the three sisters is wonderful, and the storyline as they interact with non-family people for the first time in their lives both interesting and amusing. I love how she creates a major plot that runs through all three books, but she ties up this first book well enough that if I couldn’t continue on for some reason I’m still satisfied with what I know.
8. The Secret of Penbrooke Park by Julie Klassen
464 pages, 1817 historical mystery & suspense, England. This might be my favorite of Julie Klassen’s books. It was a lot of characters to keep up with, some who were only talked about rather than actually appearing on the pages, but they were all necessary for the story. The secret treasure, the hidden room, the mysterious letter writer, and anonymous storyteller . . . not to mention the gentle romance and forbidden friendship. The author expertly wrote so much unknown into the story with intrigue and the threat of danger, but she kept it tender and compassionate without slowing the pace. It’s a beautiful book!
9. Knox by Susan May Warren, Book 1 of The Montana Marshalls
320 pages, contemporary Christian romance mystery, Montana. Oh, a whole new cast of characters to love as well as some appearances by old favorites that make me want to go back and read previous series. Mrs. Warren put far more than real-feeling people full of realistic issues in these pages. She put a lot of heart, some tough but love-filled conversations, and at least one “Ouch!” moment for me as a comment between characters hit a little too close to home. This was classic Susan May Warren: high action, a touch of heat, a bit of romance, and a roller coaster ride that partially ends but promises to keep going into the next book. I love it!
10. Esther: Royal Beauty by Angela Hunt, Book 1 of Dangerous Beauty
352 pages, Biblical fiction. With the skill of an expert storyteller, Angela Hunt weaves a familiar tale faithful to the biblical record while adding in details from history and making logical assumptions based on the time period and culture. The first-person accounts from both Esther and the king’s eunuch provide a broad scope of palace life and intrigue, and the eunuch’s genuine consideration for the king offers a very human, somewhat sympathetic perspective of a man history tends to view with great negativity. This might be my favorite fictional account of my favorite story in the Bible.
What about You?
Did your To Read List just grow a little? Find this post on my Facebook page to tell me what makes your Best Fiction Reads 2020 list so far this year.
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