Sunday Book Club: Genre 101

Posted May 21, 2017 by meezcarrie in Sunday Book Club / 20 Comments

Happy Sunday, my friends!

I get asked a lot for book recommendations for people starting out in a certain genre. Like “I’ve never read romantic suspense before. Where should I start?” OR “I want to learn more about World War 2. What novels would you recommend.” OR (my personal fave) “I have never read Christian fiction (or I haven’t read any since Janette Oke). What should I read first?”

So today on the Book Club, I thought it might be fun to talk about your favorite genre/s and what you consider essential starter books for people who are unfamiliar with said fave genre/s.

Ok, now it’s your turn. What would you tell someone who said to you, “I’ve never read any ____ . Where should I start?”


20 responses to “Sunday Book Club: Genre 101

  1. Megan Hamsher

    My first response is usually, “I read a lot of books, so if you want recommendations, tell me what kinds of books you enjoy reading … then I can give you my suggestions!”

    This is the list I created in 2016….

    Christian historical fiction:
    Tricia Goyer (new WWII series, London Chronicles, being worked on!)
    Judith Pella, Janette Oke, Mary Ellis, Judith Miller,
    Lynn Austin,
    Cara Putnam, Rick Barry
    Sarah Sundin (already working on her next trilogy – Sunrise over Normandy!)
    Don Brown – Destiny, Pacific Rim series (first 2 books so far)
    Michael Phillips isn’t recent, but I love most of his books!
    Kristy Cambron – Masterpiece series (Sparrow of Terezin; first book is called Butterfly & Violin)
    (haven’t read yet, but see over and over again:
    Jocelyn Green, Rachel Muller, Elyse Larson,
    J. M. Hochstetler, Ginny Dye, Cindy McCormick Martinusen, Terri Wangard)

    Love-Inspired Historical Fiction (whole series can be found here)

    You can also check out:
    Inspirational Historical Fiction Index

    Armed Forces/FBI/Law Enforcement combined with suspense and romance?
    Irene Hannon, Dee Henderson, Susan Paige Davis,
    Don Brown (Navy in particular)
    Robert Whitlow (although I haven’t read any of his to date)

    “Small Town” Feel?
    Mitford series by Jan Karon,
    Christy by Catherine Marshall,
    Harmony series by Philip Gulley,
    Joan Medlicott
    Non-Christian: Debbie Macomber

    Colleen Coble, Karen Kingsbury, Denise Hunter, Sally John, Gary Small, Joan Medlicott

    Love-Inspired Romance

    Love Find You series

    Biblical? Tessa Afshar, Mesu Andrews

    Amish? Beverly Lewis, Shelley Shepard Gray
    Tricia Goyer was co-author of Pinecraft Pie Shop Amish series; she also has an Amish series called Big Sky … Involved in Sugarcreek Amish Mysteries

    Guideposts-Published Series
    Home to Heather Creek (only series I’ve read all but one book)
    Miracles of Marble Cove (couple books left to read)

    Grace Chapel
    Mary’s Bookshop series
    Patchwork Mysteries series
    Mysterious Ways series
    Mysteries of Sparrow Island Series
    Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn series
    Secrets of the Blue Hill Library series
    American Tapestries series
    Forever After in Apple Lake series
    Mystery and the Minister’s Wife series
    Women of the Bible series (but written in ’80s, so may be hard to find)


    Christian mystery series:
    Martha’s Vineyard Mysteries by by Philip R. Craig
    Squeaky Clean Mysteries by Christy Barritt

    Christian Crime Dramas:
    Christy Barritt
    Susan Sleeman
    Bugman series by Tim Downs

    Christian Suspense (haven’t read, but see recommended a lot):
    Dani Pettrey
    Terri Blackstock
    Love-Inspired Suspense (whole list can be found here)

    You can also check out:
    The Suspense Zone (Christian Suspense)

    Christmas Books:
    A Christmas Journey; Christmas series by Donna VanLiere
    Where Treetops Glisten by Tricia Goyer, Sarah Sundin, and Cara Putnam
    Blue and Grey Christmas Joan Medlicott
    Holiday Defenders (Love-Inspired Suspense) by Debby Guisti, Susan Sleeman, & Jodie Bailey

  2. . . . never read any CF fantasy (except Tolkien and Lewis), you should start with Stephen Lawhead. If you like the Merlin/Arthur legends, you’ll love his multi-book series. He has tons of books to work through including a Robin Hood series too. Another great CF fantasy writer is Patrick Carr. He has not been on the scene as long as Lawhead, but his world-building and characterization is outstanding.

  3. . . . never read CF fantasy (except Tolkien and Lewis), then begin with Stephen Lawhead. I loved his multi-book Merlin/Arthur series. My son loved his Robin Hood series. He has tons of books to work through, so you have plenty of enjoyment ahead. Another outstanding CF fantasy writer is Patrick Carr. He has not been on the scene as long as Lawhead, but his world-building and characterization are outstanding!

  4. Kim

    Carrie, I was waiting for what you tell them!

    I would tell everybody to read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers for historical/Biblical as well as her Mark of the Lion series – so good.

    For suspense, I’d say Cold Shot by Pettrey.

    Then there are just a plethora of books I would recommend like The Memoirs of Johnny Devine, The Mistress of Tall Acre, anything by Ruth Logan Herne, Becky Wade, and Katie Ganshert. Gosh, I could just go on and on!!

  5. I kinda have a series of questions I have to ask them. Do they like a hint of mystery? Romance? Certain settings….now say a person doesn’t know what they like…at all…and wanted to try Historical Fiction in general…i would say Jen Turbo for a fun light read. Pepper Barham or Jody Hedlund for a deep and moving book. And Kate Breslin or Sarah Sundin for WW1/ WW2 books. Contemporary….probably Kara Isaac, Pepper Basham, Mikal Dawn. (I love it when you post loaded questions bahaha)

  6. MH

    I’ll comment on my favorite authors I’ve read so far (though there are tons of yet-to-be-read Christian authors on my TBR list that I’ve started a small book trying to keep track of them):

    Biblical fiction: Angela Hunt, Jill Eileen Smith, Roseanna M White

    Contemporary romance: Beth K Vogt, Candace Calvert, Carla Laureano, Catherine West, Denise Hunter, Karen Kingsbury, Katherine Reay, Katie Ganshert, Rachel Hauck, Melissa Tagg, Susan May Warren

    Speculative: James Rubart

    Historical romance: Elizabeth Camden, Julie Klassen, Julie Lessman, Kristi Ann Hunter, Kristy Cambron, Laurie Alice Eakes, Melissa Jagears, Naomi Rawlings, Roseanna M White, Ruth Axtell, Sarah Ladd, Sarah M Eden, Susan Ann Mason, Melanie Dickerson, Melanie Dobson, Heather Day Gilbert (I guess I read this genre a lot, huh?)

    Suspense romance: Cara Putman, Carrie Stuart Parks, Dani Pettrey, Dee Henderson, DiAnn Mills, Irene Hannon, Kristen Heitzmann, Lenora Worth, Lisa Harris, Liz Johnson, Lynette Eason, Patricia Bradley, Ronie Kendig, Terri Blackstock

    Whew! And these authors are just my favorites!

    • Megan Hamsher

      I had to laugh .. ’cause my initials are MH and I wrote a “book” on my favorite authors.

      Your post made me feel like I wasn’t the only crazy one!

        • Megan Hamsher

          Not my list … and if I wanted to add names, I would have just replied to my own post!!!

          only authors I’ve actually read from that list include
          Denise Hunter, Karen Kingsbury,
          Kristy Cambron, Cara Putnam (I would have put under historical fiction),
          Irene Hannon, & Terri Blackstock

          I do have books by Angela Hunt, Jill Eileen Smith, Dee Henderson, DiAnn Mills,
          Lynette Eason, Lisa Harris, and Ronie Kendig … I just haven’t read any of them to date.

  7. Paula S.

    Cozies: Ann H. Gabhart, Julianna Deering , E. E. Kennedy Annie’s Attic series and their spinoffs.
    I agree with the previous posts on the historical and suspense genres. Add Beth White for historical. Shelley Shepherd Gray has a combo of genres. Historical suspense is great! I have two whole looseleaf notebooks full of authors and their books that I’ve read or would like to read!

  8. This is too hard, ha! For CF in general, my starter go-to authors Francine Rivers, Lynn Austin, Charles Martin. I’ve added Lisa Wingate’s The Story Keeper and The Prayer Box to that list. Now I’d add Katie Ganshert’s Life After.

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