My Fave Reads of 2017: Contemporary Fiction

January 3, 2018 Best Books 2017, Christian, contemporary, romance 28

Continuing the series of posts that has had me curled up in the fetal position, whimpering in the corner. I mean, when you read around 350 books in one year, these ‘best books of the year’ posts can easily cover 100 books. Not joking. And that’s just too many books to feature in one post. SO… I had to narrow it down. Slash titles that I really did love. Cut a book here. An author there. Whimpering all the way.

Don’t forget – there’s also ALL the books I haven’t read yet. Books whose authors have been infinitely patient with me when life imploded. Books I hope to catch up on in the first couple of months of 2018. (All that to say – if your book isn’t here, I might not have even read it yet. It will probably be on next year’s list lol.)

Without further adieu – let’s look (in no particular order) at my fave contemporary fiction (romance & women’s fiction) reads of 2017!! (Mystery/suspense and Amish contemporary reads will be spotlighted on a different day this week.

A New Shade of Summer by Nicole Deese
PUBLISHER: Waterfall Press
RELEASE DATE: September 12, 2017


My Review

A New Shade of Summer is fun and romantic and heartfelt. Deese’s witty and endearing characters move right on into your heart, Callie’s tiny house hooked up to the trailer hitch. You will fall in love with Davis and Callie and their romance for sure, but you will also readily embrace the rest of the supporting players as well. Undergirding the story is a beautifully-woven tapestry of themes that will hit you in all the feels.

The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon
PUBLISHER: Radiant Publications
RELEASE DATE: November 2, 2017


My Review

The Esther Paradigm is Sarah Monzon’s best book yet. The whole story, not to mention Karim himself, is bravely unique to Christian fiction but it is here ‘for such a time as this’. This is a novel we all need to read and ponder and allow the truth tucked inside the story to change our own hearts. A must-read for everyone! Can’t recommend it highly enough!

Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh
PUBLISHER: Tyndale House
RELEASE DATE: July 4, 2017


My Review

Just Look Up by Courtney Walsh is poignant and sincere, with just the right amount of flirting and faith. Ryan Brooks is the perfect book boyfriend, and you’ll find yourself grinning like a lovesick teenager whenever he’s on the page. Lane is a heroine who could be your sister, your best friend, your coworker … even you yourself. Together, they team up with a colorful cast of supporting characters to tell a sweet story of family, forgiveness, and restoration. This one will be lingering in my heart for a while!

The Memory of You by Catherine West
PUBLISHER: Thomas Nelson
RELEASE DATE: March 28, 2017


My Review

The Memory of You by Catherine West doesn’t shy away from the pain of life. But neither does it shy away from the audacity of grace. The combination of the two makes for a riveting read that sinks deep into the heart and swirls up truth in the soul. The main characters are vivid and layered, and the secondary characters are complex and delightful. This story is sweet and healing and provides the best of both worlds – authentic struggles against a backdrop of redemption and restoration. Have a tissue box (for the ugly-crying) and a fan (for the swooning) close at hand.

Then There Was You by Kara Isaac
PUBLISHER: Bellbird Press
RELEASE DATE: June 7, 2017


My Review

From the sassy banter, the laugh-out-loud humor, and the breath-stealing romance to the sincere emotion and poignant spiritual insight, Then There Was You by Kara Isaac is delightful on all levels. It also contains one of my very favorite declaration scenes of all time. (I’ve read that section more than once. Don’t judge.) Brilliantly written, endearingly relatable, Then There Was You belongs on every romcom fan’s must-read list!

Count Me In by Mikal Dawn
PUBLISHER: 121 Publishing House
RELEASE DATE: May 16, 2017


My Review

Count Me In by Mikal Dawn is flirty and sweet, romantic and fun! The sincerity of the message wraps organically around the authenticity of the characters and leaves you with the assurance that God cares and He loves you as you are. It’s a great beach read, riding-the-subway read, bubble-bath read or just “curl up in bed and leave me alone while I read” read. You will fall in love with Tyler and Allegra even as they fall in love with each other. The cast of secondary characters hooks readers’ interest as well and sets a solid foundation for more books in the series.

A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti
PUBLISHER: Abingdon Press
RELEASE DATE: April 4, 2017


My Review

Don’t let the title fool you. This story is anything but fragile. It’s a picture of vulnerability, yes, but even more so of strength. Of having everything you thought you knew ripped out from under you and struggling to stand under the onslaught. It’s not knowing how the story will turn out (for the characters or the reader) until the last pages. It’s learning how to truly love, how to truly forgive, and how to truly move past the past. Highly highly recommended.

Life After by Katie Ganshert
RELEASE DATE: April 18, 2017


My Review

The characters you meet on the pages of Life After feel real, their stories grippingly honest. In equal parts sobering and uplifting, the presentation is wholly tender and this is perhaps my favorite aspect of the novel. Exquisitely written and full of authenticity, Life After and its characters will linger with me for quite a while.

Just the Way You Are by Pepper Basham
PUBLISHER: Pepper Basham
RELEASE DATE: April 2, 2017


My Review

Since I reviewed this book for RT Book Reviews, I am not allowed to reproduce a snippet here on my blog. But click on the ‘my review’ link to read it in its entirety.

Also check out reviews from The Green Mockingbird, 100 Pages Per Hour, and Relz Reviewz!

Blue Columbine by Jennifer Rodewald
PUBLISHER: Rooted Publishing
RELEASE DATE: May 19, 2015 (totally counts b/c I read it in 2017! lol)


My Review

Warning: Reading Blue Columbine by Jennifer Rodewald will cause the ugly cry. But oh please don’t let that stop you from diving in to this beautifully written novel! Andy and Jamie completely capture your loyalty; from their childhood friendship to their current relationship, you will be captivated by their story. The honest look at Andy’s struggles with addictions and Jamie’s battle to know when – and how – to let go is heartbreaking, yet at the same time the power of God to redeem a life from the pit is tenderly displayed and authentically revealed. I cannot recommend this book highly enough if you’re looking for a story that you will feel all the way down to your soul.

Whew! What about you? What were some of your fave contemporary fiction reads for 2017?


28 Responses to “My Fave Reads of 2017: Contemporary Fiction”

  1. Carolyn Astfalk

    Some of these are among my favorites! I’d add Just Maybe by Crystal Walton and The Grace Crasher by Mara Faro. This is far and away my favorite genre! Oh – and The Whys Have It by Amy Matayo.

  2. Sarah

    I’m so proud of you!!! You managed many keep it to 10. THAT is super powers lady.

  3. Courtney Vorel

    I knew you read a ton- but wow!!! 350?? So impressed that you narrowed it down. I read Nicole, Pepper, and Kara’s books and heartily concur with their spot on this list. I’m sure it’s SO hard to come up with your end of year lists, but they comprise my favorite posts of the year! Thanks for powering through!!

  4. Gloria

    A lot of these are on my Kindle or TBR. I enjoyed The Secret Life Of Sarah Hollenbeck.

  5. Haley Resseguie

    Oh wow, for the first time I have read 8 of the 10 and have the other 2 on my TBR! I always love your faves posts and I can only imagine how hard it is to narrow it down. Thank you for always pointing the way to great books and authors!

  6. Mikal Dawn

    Your superpowers will never cease to amaze me. Neither will *this* particular post. <3 Sooooooo honored!!!! THANK YOU!!!! <3

  7. Caryl Kane

    CARRIE, I’m in awe of your superpowers! Thank you for sharing this SPECTACULAR list! 🙂

  8. Terrill R.

    With romantic comedy as my favorite romance sub-genre, I hit pay dirt with Bethany Turners, The Secret of Sarah Hollenbeck. It might by my #1 favorite contemporary of 2017.

      • Terrill R.

        Knowing some of your contemporary romance favorites that lean towards romantic comedy, I’m thinking you’ll really enjoy this one. In fact, I’m almost shocked that you haven’t read it yet. 😉

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