Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2014 "Best of the Best" - Part 2

Out of the 115 books I read last year, several stood out to me for various reasons - their character depth, emotional impact, or simply how good they made me feel. There wasn't room to list all of these on one post, hence a "Part 2"! All are excellent reads that I highly recommend - and they deserve a special highlighting of their own. Some of these authors will also be featured in giveaways soon, so stay tuned!

These are listed in alphabetical order by the author's last name, and you can click on the covers or titles to see my reviews. Have you read any from this list?

Humor, quirky characters, and a small-town New Mexico setting combine to make my first read by Cathleen Armstrong memorable.

First book in a delightful Amish romance about an elderly couple who decide to meddle in their grandchildren's lives in order to help them find suitable mates. Jennifer brings humor to the Amish genre and I can't get enough of her writing.

Loved by me and numerous others for her Amish fiction, Vannetta ventures into the romantic suspense area with this incredible debut novel.

One of my favorite genres is southern fiction, and Judy does it extremely well. Big oil companies, small-town Louisiana setting, and a group of community of artists combine for a highly entertaining read.

I loved everything about this story set during the months after WWII ends - the setting, richness of characterization, spiritual inspiration, and the emotional struggle to adapt and find one's place when you're not the same as before.

I'm not particularly fond of time travel or ancient Rome settings, but this book is highly entertaining, relevant, and challenging for us today - and downright hard to put down!

With its expressive narrative, rich characterization, rugged setting, and spellbinding romance, Jody continues to excel at historical romance. These characters are still in my mind.

Julie writes the kind of Regency romances that I want to read slowly so as to savor every word and minute spent in its pages. With its theme of music and dance, this was a favorite.

This is an unusual Amish story, with plot and characterization so strong that its appeal should reach beyond Amish fiction fans. I'm so glad to have discovered Ruth's writing!

This is an unusual historical romance, nothing predictable about it. Strong in characterization and spiritual message, with one of the most satisfying conclusions I've ever read.

This is an excellent relationship drama that pulls at the heartstrings, a story of three people who simply need each other.

Dan takes us on a journey where the characters rediscover the things that matter most in life - love, truth, and family. This was my first Dan Walsh read, and what an impact it made!

By Beth Wiseman, Kathleen Fuller, Tricia Goyer, Vannetta Chapman
Amish stories by four wonderful authors, with unusual depth and characterization for a novella collection. One of the best I've read, left me wanting more.


  1. I have read One Last Chance (actually have read all 3 in the series and loved all three). Hidden and Love Comes Home are on my Kindle to read and it looks like I have several more to add to want to read pile. So many books - too little time. Also noticed Chateau of Secrets for 2015 and I have read it and I thought it was a good one too.

    1. Ann, I primarily read character-driven stories, a description that fits all of these. I loved One More Last Chance even though I hadn't read the previous book. #3 is in my review stack and I really look forward to it. Hidden, although romantic suspense, is still character driven. And Chateau of Secrets is one of those epic books that really makes me think.

      "So many books - too little time" - Isn't that the truth?! Or if I could only read faster. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Ann.

  2. Carole, thanks for featuring Huckleberry Hill on your list! I am honored. I love your very skilled descriptions of each book. I want to read them all. Time, time, I need more time. :)

    1. Jennifer, your writing certainly deserves to be featured! I'm trying to cut back on review commitments - not yours! - so I can read some books of my own choice, like the previous series you wrote. And like you, I wish for more reading time or that I could read faster! Thank you for taking the time to visit, Jennifer.

  3. What a joy this whole post is, Carole! Thank you for sharing such a beautiful collection of gems-in-book-form, and your equally beautiful thoughts on them! :)

  4. Great list! The only one I've read yet is The Dancing Master. I enjoy all of Julie Klassen's books, and this one was no exception, but I didn't think it was one of her best. If you haven't read any others of hers, you definitely should! Thanks for sharing this at Booknificent Thursday!