Can you believe that today is the last day of June already? Today’s Top Ten Tuesday theme is the top books we’ve all read so far this year. That’s really hard for me to narrow down to only 10, but I’ll give it a whirl 🙂
In no particular order …
1. The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion – I read this as part of a reading challenge, so it’s not my usual type of book but I really did enjoy it! First, it wins my award for “best last 3 sentences to end a book” – left me smiling as I figuratively closed the last page (because of course I was reading the ebook). Second, at the risk of minimizing the author’s own great talent & voice, I couldn’t help but subtitle this “If Sheldon Cooper Fell In Love” as soon as I began to read. And if I didn’t already find Sheldon so endearing, I might not have enjoyed Don quite as much as I did. (Disclaimer to my Christian fiction readers: this book is not Christian fiction and as such does contain some profanity.)
2. Chasing Francis by Ian Morgan Cron – This is a novel that chronicles a pilgrimage to restore a disillusioned pastor’s faith in Jesus & the church, a pilgrimage composed of studying the life and ministry of Saint Francis of Assisi. A must-read for anyone who is feeling disillusioned too or just spiritually dry… Or knows anyone who is.
3. Jaded by Varina Denman – The first book I ever reviewed on the blog, Jaded is just such a good novel! Varina’s smooth writing voice, the endearing characters, the sweet gentle romance, the theme of forgiveness and restoration, the questions that are slowly unfolded … a stellar debut! (You can read my interview with Varina here.)
4. Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano – I practically swallowed this book whole; it was that excellent. Carla Laureano’s writing voice lilts warmly and engagingly and immerses you in the story until you become part of the scene rather than just reading words on the page. The characters reached out and introduced themselves to me … and then quickly became old friends I was joining on their journey. I hadn’t read more than 2 or 3 pages before the brewing romance had me solidly in its cheering section, and the tenderness wielded as different characters wrestled with God was the perfect blend of the reality of faith without being too preachy.
5. The Thorn Bearer by Pepper Basham – Possibly one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read. Woven together with rich characters, poetic language, riveting history, wry humor, and heart-wrenching secrets, The Thorn Bearer is a book that will draw you in and refuse to let go. It isn’t often that I finish a fictional book and pause to reflect on it in silence for several minutes, but I did in this case. Even after I finished the last word, this story resonated throughout my spirit for a good long while. You can read my full review here and also my hilarious interview with Pepper!
6. The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson – Imagine this -Robin Hood meets Swan Lake meets Melanie Dickerson. If the thought that popped into your brain was “perfection”, then you already have a great picture of The Huntress of Thornbeck Forest! Nobody but nobody retells a fairy tale like Melanie Dickerson, and this latest release may very well be her best yet. The characters are faced with some of the most complex decisions, some of the most pivotal situations, as in any of her previous retellings, and we the readers get the privilege of being observers to how it all plays out at the direction of Ms. Dickerson’s talented pen. You can read my full review here and my rather-fangirlish interview of Melanie!
**Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh only 4 more to go – how will I choose?????**
7. Meant to Be Mine by Becky Wade – This book just won the 2015 Inspy Award for Contemporary Romance, so I guess I have good taste lol. “I’m in love with someone else.” Yep. Those six words are a death knell in every romance fan’s heart. They’re usually accompanied by the reader’s audible gasp and a “noooooooooo” … which are then joined by odd looks from whomever happens to be around said reader. (Don’t ask me how I know this. I just do.) These are the same six words that Ty Porter and Celia Park have to overcome in “Meant to be Mine”. Well, that and a pint-sized teal-glasses-and-pink-cowboy-boots-wearing scene stealer named Addie. 🙂
8. How To Love Your Neighbor Without Being Weird by Amy Lively – This is a challenging book – coaxing us out of our comfort zones and asking us to do things most of us just plain aren’t comfortable doing. But, it’s also a freeing book. Amy Lively’s dry humor allows you to chuckle at the realities of the daily Jesus-life and realize you’re not the only woman to be irritated by the Proverbs 31 woman. It releases you to offer hospitality without having a spotless house (“This isn’t an eat-off-the-floor kind of clean; a simple wipe-off-what-someone-just-ate-off-the-floor will do.“) and recognizes (with suggestions!) that introverts aren’t going to reach out to their neighbors in the same way as extroverts. Read my full review here.
9. Justified by Varina Denman – The latest book in the “Mended Hearts” series, Justified takes us back to the small town of Trapp, Texas, and the characters we grew to love (and strongly dislike) in Jaded. Swirling with poetic language and poignant truth, Justified is the prodigals’ story – the ones who came home and the ones who kept walking. It will stir up a Texas dust storm of emotions in you – laughter, nostalgia, swoons, tears, anger, boy-that-dude-needs-counseling, smiles – but the journey is more than worth it. Read my full review here.
(Ack! How are we already at #10?! I still have too many books to talk about!)
10. A Worthy Pursuit by Karen Witemeyer – Packed with the perfect blend ofromance, emotion, faith and action, plus twinkles of humor, A Worthy Pursuit is a more than worthy read. The characters – main and supporting alike – are lifelike and skillfully developed with a depth of heart and history that feels like they are part of a series rather than merely a stand-alone novel. The message of orphans (of all ages) finding a place to belong and be loved resonates sweetly and subtly. The fast-paced action drives through the book with all the drama of Lily’s beloved dime novels but without the cheese, and the romance…. ohhhhh be still my heart, the romance! Read my full review here.
I will probably stress over this list later – thinking of other books I need to include (I’m already wishing that 10 could be stretched to at least 12) – but these really are extremely fantastic books that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend over and over again. Oh, who am I kidding – #11 would absolutely be No Place to Hide by Lynette Eason and #12 is still up for grabs between about a dozen other books lol.
What about you? What are your Top Ten books of 2015 so far?