It’s that time of year when everyone is making lists and checking them twice. Some are finding out who has been naughty and who has been nice. Some are making sure those in their circles of gifting know what they want for Christmas.
Here at Reading Is My SuperPower, I’m making lists too! Every day this week will feature the best books I read in 2015 from different genres.
Today’s focus is contemporary fiction.
So without further adieu and in no particular order, may I present…
Refuge of the Heart by Ruth Logan Herne
Publisher: Franciscan Media
Publication Date: September 25, 2015
My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-lQ
Ruth Logan Herne’s writing style is perfection, as are her characters. This story – and Mitch, Lena, and Anna – have thoroughly captivated me and they will stay in my heart for a long time to come. Highly recommended for any and every one! Refuge of the Heart is a book you just simply must read!! If I could make it a requirement for all my blog followers, I would!
Jaded by Varina Denman
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: March 1, 2015
My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-2
Her writing voice is smooth and easy and the scenes played out in my head like a movie while I read. The characters are so life-like and relatable that I felt almost sad when I closed the book because I wouldn’t get to spend time with them anymore.
Justified by Varina Denman
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: June 1, 2015
My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-4Z
Justified is a beautifully written story of second chances – giving them, knowing when to stop, and learning the fine line between the two. It’s also a story of relentless hope and the reminder that God meets us where we are… if we just stop long enough to look for Him.
An Endless Christmas by Cynthia Ruchti
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-xV
Such love and warmth and laughter and friendship emanated from this novella, courtesy of Cynthia Ruchti’s talented pen. Grandma Dodie and Grandpa Wilson are just the absolute sweetest and cutest couple ever! I want to be like them when I grow up.
Isle of Hope by Julie Lessman
Publisher: Julie Lessman
Publication Date: November 1, 2015
My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-pE
Isle of Hope may in fact be not only Julie’s best novel so far but also her most important. With the impeccable talent synonymous with her name, Julie Lessman takes an honest, few-holds-barred look at the price of sin and the cost of forgiveness. Isle of Hope will tear out your heart and put it back together, a little sore for the process but sweetly soothed all the same. It’s emotional and raw and convicting … but healing.
Hope Harbor by Irene Hannon
Publication Date: July 7, 2015
My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-cm
The plot of healing and forgiveness (both of yourself and others) and selflessness – all of those themes just add layer upon layer to the romance until you’re left with a book that redefines “love story” as something deeper and more Divine than you expected. A romance that is so much more than a romance, Hope Harbor will wind its way into your heart and settle there along with the reminder that sometimes healing can start with a fish taco.
The Isaac Project by Sarah Monzon
Publisher: Radiant Publications
Publication Date: September 1, 2015
My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-cN
These characters got to me & this book touched my heart. The dual first person narrative adds a wonderful depth of personality and makes for a delightful perspective to the character’s thoughts. In addition – a unique premise, a solid plot, and a charming writing voice combine with a dash of suspense to ensure a truly enjoyable experience for readers. Sarah Monzon is a fun new voice in contemporary Christian fiction, and I for one look forward to more from her in the future!
When the Right One Comes Along by Kate James
Publisher: Harlequin Heartwarming
Publication Date: October 1, 2015
My Review: Goodreads
So many great things about this story – adorable little girls, hunky cops, awesome K-9 police dogs, and a really likable heroine. The well-written earthquake scenes and the cop action sequences later in the story brought just the right amount of suspense and tension to the plot & the romance was sweet and believable. I was in their corner from the moment they met!
The Art of Losing Yourself by Katie Ganshert
Publication Date: April 21, 2015
My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-aJ
From infertility to miscarriage to marital problems to mental breakdowns to alcoholism to dementia to a multitude of teenage angst, The Art of Losing Yourself paints a portrait of people with real issues – tough issues – and packs a pretty emotional punch. Yet, even at the darkest moments, beautiful waves of hope saturate this novel – hope for redemption, hope for truth, hope for joy.
Married ‘Til Monday by Denise Hunter
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: June 9, 2015
My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-6u
The author’s use of flashbacks lifted the story to a whole other level, in my opinion, as we were given glimpses into the early days of their relationship, Abby’s troubled childhood, and the painful end of their marriage. It reminded me that Married Til Monday is so much more than a romance – it is a beautiful story of restoration.
Meant to be Mine by Becky Wade
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: April 29, 2014 (but i read it this year)
My Review: Goodreads
Things I loved: Ty learning about princesses, Celia trying and failing to resist his charms, their banter, Ty telling Addie a bedtime story for the first time (FAVE scene in the book! SO cute! “It was good for your first try.”), Celia’s return to God – the simplicity and sweetness of it, Celia’s true-to-life battle with forgiving Ty (“She shut the Bible and dashed into the pantry to alphabetize her spices. She couldn’t deal with forgiveness today. Maybe tomorrow.”), Ty’s return to God – the simplicity and sweetness of it, the KISSING – SO MUCH KISSING!!!!! 🙂
Five Days in Skye by Carla Laureano
Publisher: David C. Cook
Publication Date: June 1, 2015 (Paperback)
My Review: http://wp.me/p61QCL-1a
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.
That’s my list of the best of the best contemporary books I read in 2015. Stay tuned tomorrow for the historical list!
“An Endless Christmas” has a really gorgeous cover. It makes me want to read the book right now…and I don’t even know what the book is all about 😀
It IS a gorgeous cover!! And the book is sweet & funny & full of Christmas warmth
Zhana, I can’t wait for you to read it!
I’ve read the all except — Five Days in Skye, When the Right One Comes Along, The Isaac Project, and An Endless Christmas. Great list. Now I’ll have to play catch up!
Oh Kav… you MUST read Five Days in Skye. Just remember when you do that James is mine 😉
I’ll meet you in the pages of An Endless Christmas!
I loved the ones I read on this list, so now I need to read the rest! I have a few on my kindle and checked out from the library already! 🙂 Thanks for this awesome post/list!
You are so welcome! So glad you enjoyed the list – have FUN reading the books!! 😀
I love Varina Denman’s books and can’t wait for the next one! I haven’t read any of these others, but several were already on my radar. Great list, Carrie!
That so surprises me, Sarah! I thought we pretty much read the same things lol. You’ll definitely have to add these to your TBR then – all are so very worth the read!
Love having a book on someone’s radar! 🙂
Thank you so much, Carrie, for naming When the Right One Comes Along as one of your Best Books of 2015! I wish you and your family the very best for the holiday season!
It was my absolute pleasure, Kate! A very Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to you and your family!!
Looks like some good ones and great covers!!
I just love these covers!
What an honor, Carrie! You made my day!
it is my absolute pleasure. Stay tuned for the Best Nonfiction post on Friday 🙂
I’ve read Meant to Be Mine, and a lot of the others are on my list!
You will enjoy them!!
I haven’t actually heard of any of those books. But I guess I got a new pile to add to my TBR.
that’s always a good thing when it comes to books! 😀
Dreams, you’ll be dreaming books soon!
OH. MY. GOODNESS!!! If there’s ANY list I am OVERJOYED to be on, it’s yours, Carrie, because I absolutely LOVE your taste!!! A nod from you is a nod for me to read, so thank you for some great suggestions AND for including Isle of Hope on your list, my friend — I am truly honored.
Hugs and more hugs!!
Oh Julie, you are too kind to me!!! It is truly my pleasure to feature Isle of Hope because it was truly one of the best books I read this year!! Looking forward to more from you, my friend!!! Loads of hugs back atcha 🙂
You had me at “hello”!!!! 🙂 What a wonderful list, and I’m simply overjoyed to have made the cut with Refuge of the Heart! Thank you, thank you, thank you! What a delight to be listed with so many amazing authors, now you’ve got me smiling all day!
And can I honestly just give you a big shout out for what you do to promote beautiful fiction? If we were all in a room right now, all of us, every single one, would be standing and applauding you. And you know why? Because you put in the time and effort to be so good at what you do.
Thank you again and Merry Christmas, sweet thing!!!!
Ruthy, you just made me all “tearful” (as my grandma used to say) . Thank you for such encouraging & gracious words!!!! Merry Christmas to you & yours 🙂
Tears of joy are the very, very best!!! (passes tissues and chocolate). Let’s party!!! I brought eggnog and pecan pie bars. I think that’s a great beginning!
(thanks Ruthy for the tissues and chocolate) A party sounds delightful! I’ll supply spiced cider and sugar cookies 😀
Adding my applause!
Cynthia, I add my heartfelt thanks 🙂
Love this list, Carrie – thank you!!
“Refuge of the Heart” & “Isle of Hope” are definitely 2 of the best contemporary fiction books this year – I was deeply moved and touched by both, the characters remaining with me. I own a couple of others on your list, but haven’t had the opportunity to read them – others are on my TBR list, and any that aren’t, I’m adding. As with Julie, I love your reading choices!!
Now – do you have a magic wand you can wave to allow me more time to read all these wonderful books (as well as your wonderful blog more often), lol??
Love the snow on your blog page!!
Hahaha! If I had such a magic wand, I would be using it to give myself more reading time too LOL. But of course I would share 🙂
Oh, man, the time thing is a killer, isn’t it? And yet, how blessed are we to have full lives and be busy? But I take Carrie’s recommendations very seriously, and can’t wait to read some of these!
I can’t wait to get my hands on Isle of Hope. I’ve loved the other Julie Lessman books that I’ve read!
It is amazing!!