Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Best Books of 2019

How is it time to be picking a Top Ten yearly reads list again? It feels like we were just welcoming 2019, and now here it is, just hours away from 2020.

For this year's list, I decided to do something different. While I'm still picking my ten favorites, this year I'm not limiting myself to 5-star books as I have in the past. Instead, I'm going with the ten books that have most stuck with me. Ones that I loved (but maybe weren't perfect), ones that I could see myself reading again.

Unlike last year, when I had a hard time identifying a favorite of the year, this year I've had a suspicion since January of which two books would be my top two—and nothing unseated them throughout the year! The rest of the Top Ten, though, could be in just about any order.

And ... I'm also listing some honorable mentions. These were so close to making onto the Top Ten, and, on a different day when I was in a different mood, they might've. In each of the titles, I've linked to my review, and I'm also linking up with Top Ten Tuesday.

Honorable Mention

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay
A Match for Emma by Pepper Basham
A Reluctant Bride by Jody Hedlund
Ayesha at Last by Uzma Jalaluddin (review coming soon)
When He Found Me by Victoria Bylin
"The Lost Princesses" series by Jody Hedlund

10. Where Hope Begins by Catherine West

This book, about a woman who struggles to find her place after her husband leaves, was the surprise read of the year for me. I wasn't sure if I'd like it, and I ended up absolutely loving it!
I was hooked from the beginning, and at first I wasn't sure what would (or should) happen. As the story went along, I figured out where Savannah's story would go—but knowing didn't lessen the impact. I closed the book with tears streaming down my face (I sobbed through the final pages), and I know this is a story that is going to stick with me.

9. Wooing Cadie McAffrey by Bethany Turner

It's a rom-com with depth. Super fun and engaging, it also deals with serious topics in a sensitive way, and I completely loved it!
This book is one of the only ones I've ever read that tackles sin and sex in such a sensitive and realistic way. Most of the time in Christian romance, sex is danced around or alluded to; maybe a character had sex in the past and dealt with the consequences or a couple lets their kisses get a little heated, but it's not often an "in the moment"/this-might-actually-happen-or-maybe-it-did issue. But Turner, in both The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck and here, is not afraid to go there, and I appreciate that. It brings a dose of reality and, ultimately, allows for deeper discussion of repentance and forgiveness.

8. Stay by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Set during the Vietnam War, Stay is all about one person's power to make a difference in the lives of those around him or her. 
The writing in Stay is absolutely beautiful; it's been a while since I read a book where I felt so strongly about the writing, and now I know I must find more of this author's books!

7. The Sky Above Us by Sarah Sundin

Oh, this book! I preordered it, so it arrived in my mailbox on release day, but it kept getting pushed out of the way in favor of review books. I finally read it this week, and it was so good!
While I had to warm up to Violet, I loved Adler from the beginning, and I loved watching his journey to faith and then the changes that resulted in his life after committing himself to the Lord. And his fractured and then slowly repaired relationship with his family gave me lots of feels.

6. Sweet on You by Becky Wade

Becky Wade's sweet contemporary romances never disappoint—and this one, about best friends Britt and Zander, was especially sweet. 
As has been the case with each book in the series, Wade also includes an intriguing mystery, this time surrounding Zander's uncle's death and surprising past. This mystery not only leads Zander and Britt closer to each other, but it also helps Britt confront her reliance on herself and helps her recognize her need to trust the Lord.

5. A Silver Willow by the Shore by Kelly Stuart

I don't really know what to say about this novel besides READ IT! It's a truly beautiful story.
This story of three generations of women gripped me right from the beginning. Elizaveta, Nina, and Annie are mother, daughter, and granddaughter all living under the same roof, but as the story begins, they couldn't be farther apart. Each woman carries a secret, and it's in the revealing of these secrets that they find healing.

4. At First Glance by Susan L. Tuttle

Jonah is my favorite romantic hero of the year, hands down! I'm so glad I discovered Susan L. Tuttle in 2019!
About halfway through the novel, I was ready to throw my Kindle across the room because Penny's actions were so incredibly frustrating to me. But then I put myself in her shoes ... and it is absolutely plausible that I would react in the same way. It's so easy to see who's right and wrong for someone when you're on the outside looking in, but when it's happening to you? Not so clear.

3. More than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer

I almost didn't read this book. With a few notable exceptions, historical fiction isn't really my thing, but this marriage of convenience romance is pure delight!
Here's the mark of a good book: I finished reading it two weeks ago, I've read multiple books since I finished it, and I'm still thinking about it! It's probably the most enjoyable historical romance I've read this year. 

2. Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

This novelization of the relationship between Joy Davidman and CS Lewis is so beautiful. If you're a fan of Lewis's writing, you'll definitely want to read this book!
Though I didn't always love Joy, I came to appreciate her—her struggle to balance her aspirations with her family life, her desire to follow God, and her love for Lewis. And as I turned the last page, tears streaming down my face, I knew this would be a novel that would stick with me for a long time.

1. How the Light Gets In by Jolina Petersheim

The plot twists in this book ... they had me gasping for breath and cheering out loud. I loved this book so, so much, and I think everyone should read it!
Simply Stunning. Those are the first words that come to mind when thinking of How the Light Gets In. Those words are quickly followed by "maddening," "heartbreaking," and "impossibly difficult."
Have you read any of these books? What did you think? And what was your favorite book of 2019? I'd love to know!

See my lists from 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.


  1. I loved How the Light Gets In, Sweet on You, and The Sky Above Us! I’ve been wanting to read Becoming Mrs. Lewis but haven’t yet... maybe in 2020 ;) Happy New Year!

    1. I'm glad you enjoyed those! And you must read Becoming Mrs. Lewis! I was hesitant at first, but I loved it so much!

  2. Oh THANK YOU for including AFG on this list. I will admit that I wanted to shake Penny a few times myself while writing;) Also, I now have added to my own growing TBR list based on some of the books here that I haven't read yet--so thank you for that as well, lol :)

    1. You're welcome! And I'm glad you picked up some books to add to your TBR, too :-)

  3. "How the Light Gets In" by Jolina Petersheim seems like a fun read! I'll have to add it to my To-Be-Read list. :)

    1. Oh, do read it, Lectrice! It's mind-blowingly good :-)


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...