Wednesday, January 7, 2015

best books of 2014: top 10

According to my Pinterest board, I reviewed 88 books in 2014. I'm not sure I remembered to pin all of my reviews, and I did read a few books that I didn't review, so I'm guessing that I read between 90 and 100 books during 2014. That's insane! I enjoyed—even loved—the vast majority of books that I read this year. It really seems like the inspirational market was on fire in 2014—there were just so many great books published, and I still have a bunch of titles on my TBR list. Here's hoping 2015 is just as good!

I had a really difficult time narrowing my list of best books down to ten, but after much debate, I did it ... though I will list some honorable mentions at the end. (Note that these are books that I read in 2014; they may have been published earlier.)

10. An October Bride by Katie Ganshert (my review)
I read each of Zondervan's Year of Weddings novellas, and An October Bride was my favorite. I absolutely love fake dating/engagement stories (almost as much as I love marriage of convenience stories), and Ganshert's novella nears perfection. Plus, it can be read in about an hour, making for a really enjoyable evening.

9. Princess Ever After by Rachel Hauck (my review)
I'm absolutely loving Hauck's Royal Weddings series, and Princess Ever After was a pure delight. If you like fairy tales with a side of reality, then this is the book for you! (Also note that you don't need to have previously read Once Upon a Prince in order to enjoy Princess Ever After.)

8. All's Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant (my review)
If you enjoy cooking competition shows like I do (my most recent fave was Food Network's Holiday Baking Championship), you'll love Betsy St. Amant's romance/behind-the-scenes look at a Food Network-ish show. Plus, the cover is to die for!

7. Luminary by Krista McGee (my review)
This may seem like an odd choice, since I also read the wonderful conclusion to McGee's Anomaly series in 2014. I gave both books 5 stars, but I enjoyed Luminary just a bit more. I think it was because it focused on Thalli's introduction to the world outside of the State, and Revolutionary (the final book) takes place almost entirely in the State. Both books are fantastic (as is Anomaly, which was #9 on my best of 2013 list); I just liked Luminary a bit more.

6. Silenced by Dani Pettrey (my review)
Finally in 2014, Pettrey gave us the story we'd been waiting years for—Jake and Kayden's story! (At least I'd been waiting years for it!) Silenced is the fourth book in Pettrey's fantastic Alaskan Courage series. Not only is the romance wonderful (and long overdue!), but the suspense in Silenced felt so much more, well, suspenseful than in the previous novels. Read this book ... but read the others in the series first (Submerged, Shattered, Stranded)!

5. A Promise in Pieces by Emily Wierenga (my review)
Of all the books on the list, A Promise in Pieces surprised me the most. When it arrived in my mailbox, I thought, Why on earth did I request this book? Then I started reading. Not only is the story completely captivating, but this book is also responsible for the top "ugly cry" of the year. I was practically sobbing! A Promise in Pieces is so much more than a romance—it's a beautifully written, life-affirming masterpiece. (And I still say that Hallmark should make it into a movie!)

4. In Perfect Time by Sarah Sundin (my review)
Is it any surprise a Sarah Sundin book landed on my list? Each year that I've compiled a list (2011, 2012, 2013), a Sundin book has made the cut. 2014 couldn't be the odd man out! In Perfect Time is the perfect (ha, ha) conclusion to Sundin's Wings of the Nightingale series, and I think it's probably my favorite of the three books in the series. Now I'm eagerly awaiting Sundin's next release!

3. Dancing with Fireflies by Denise Hunter (my review)
Dancing with Fireflies is the second book in Hunter's Chapel Springs series to make one of my "Best of" lists—Barefoot Summer was #10 on my 2013 list. Where Barefoot Summer was wonderful, Dancing with Fireflies was simply phenomenal. In fact, for much of the year I thought it would end up in the top spot. It did get edged out (barely), but it's still one of the best books I've read in a long time.

2. When I Fall in Love by Susan May Warren (my review)
The love that I feel for Susan May Warren's Christiansen Family series knows no bounds. In fact, this is one series that I think I could happily reread (and I very rarely reread books). While I completely adored Take a Chance on Me and It Had to Be You (though I never reviewed them ...), I fell head over heels for When I Fall in Love. Grace Christiansen is my favorite book heroine of 2014, probably because I see bits of myself in her. Because of the way Warren is writing this series, with one book flowing into the next, you really need to begin with Take a Chance on Me and just dive into the series. Trust me; you want to read these books!

1. Meant to be Mine by Becky Wade (my review)
In 2012, I read Wade's My Stubborn Heart and immediately knew I'd found another writer to watch. (That book ended up in the #1 spot on my Best of 2012 list.) While I enjoyed her follow-up novel, Undeniably Yours, I didn't have the same connection with that book that I'd had with My Stubborn Heart. (Don't get me wrong—I liked it. A lot. But it just wasn't quite as good as My Stubborn Heart.) So I went into Meant to Be Mine a bit cautiously, wondering if Wade could capture the magic of My Stubborn Heart again. And she did! I read Meant to Be Mine in one evening (and early morning)—I simply couldn't put it down! Not only was the romance sizzling hot (without crossing the line), but the characters were some of the most realistic that you'll find in the inspirational market. Celia and Ty were certainly not perfect ... and that made them even more likable. Even now, I'm itching to read the book again. It's so, so good!

Honorable Mention (because I couldn't stop at 10):
A Promise Kept by Robin Lee Hatcher (my review)
Take A Chance on Me, It Had to be You, and Evergreen (my review) by Susan May Warren
A May Bride by Meg Moseley (my review)
Friend Me by John Fabion (my review)
Keepers of the Covenant by Lynn Austin (my review)

There are my favorites ... what did you love reading in 2014?

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


  1. You rock, Becky! THANK YOU for reading my novels. I'm so happy that Meant to Be Mine connected with you and that you found Ty and Celia realistic and imperfect and -- at the same time -- likable. That's exactly what I hope for when I'm crafting my fictional 'people'.
    I appreciate you! Thanks for reading and reviewing and supporting Christian fiction. It's a joy for me to see many of my author friends on the list above!

    1. It's my pleasure, Becky. I'm obviously a big fan of Christian fiction :-) And I can't wait to get my hands on Jake's story--I've been curious about him for so long that it will be great to finally read all about him!

  2. OHHH Dancing with Fireflies was one of my top favorites too!
    I also liked All's fair in Love and Cupcakes and Oct. Bride, I also thought it was best one!

    1. PS&BTW here's my top 10 -

    2. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your own list! Dancing with Fireflies is the only one I've read--will have to check the others out!


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