• Grace A. Johnson

Favorite Books of 2019

So, last year I went all-out for Christmas and received no less than fifty books. Of course, most of them were secondhand and sold for only a dollar apiece, but still. Fifty plus is a lot. Then, over the course of 2019—after I read those first fifty books—I read plenty more, as usual.

Here are my top ten favorite books from this year—and trust me, there were a lot to choose from.


#1: Unraveling by Sara Ella. This was one of those books that I just had to read. After loving the first book in Sara Ella’s YA fantasy series, The Reflection Chronicles, I immediately ordered this one and DEVOURED it. Such beautiful prose, deep characters, and intriguing plot! What’s not to love?


#2: Unblemished and Unbreakable by Sara Ella. So...this goes with the above. Unblemished and Unbreakable were books 1 and 2 of The Reflection Chronicles. Tearjerker Unraveling remains numero uno, but these two were otherwise unbeatable.


#3: A Voice in the Wind and An Echo in the Darkness by Francine Rivers. This year, I took the plunge and read 6 of Francine Rivers’ novels, including the entire Mark of the Lion trilogy. Those three huge books made up part of my Christmas, and the first two are tied for third place on my Top Ten list. At times, I actually wanted to get down on my knees and pray for the characters. That says a lot.


#4: A Soft Breath of Wind by Roseanna M. White. Not trying to seem biased here...but Roseanna M. White is an amazing author, hands down! I read A Stray Drop of Blood—is it just me or are all biblical fiction novel titles extremely long?—and A Soft Breath of Wind during the summer, and loved them both. Still, A Soft Breath of Wind topped her predecessor.


#5: More Than Words Can Say by Karen Witemeyer. I have loved positively everything by Karen Witemeyer. She is the queen of the Wild West with beautiful prose, interesting and original plots, and amazing characters. I wasn’t quite sure about More Than Words Can Say when it first came out—although I’ve enjoyed everything before—because marriages of convenience are always tough to pull off convincingly (and are way overdone) but this novel really lived up to its name. I can’t honestly say anything bad about it!


#6: The Number of Love by Roseanna M. White. Again, she’s amazing. And though The Number of Love was not my favorite of hers, it was still really good and kept me on my toes. She pays such great attention to detail, and unlike some of her other historicals, The Number of Love is super suspenseful and intriguing with a little bit of action thrown in there.


#7: The Sea Before Us by Sarah Sundin. I don’t really like WW2 era novels—unless we’re talking Bodie and Brock Thoene here—but Sarah Sundin is just so good that I just can’t resist. The Sea Before Us stole my heart and won’t give it back. I absolutely love the story, the characters, everything!


#8: My Heart Belongs in Niagara Falls, New York: Adele's Journey by Amanda Barratt. I took the plunge, and I’m so glad I did. I read s short novella in a collection by Amanda Barratt really enjoyed it, so I decided to read one of her full-length novels. Adele’s Journey was amazing! Amanda Barratt has some of the most beautiful prose, and I really enjoyed learning about tightrope-walkers in the late 19th century. Such an interesting piece of history!


#9: The Ladies of the Manor series by Roseanna M. White. Is it just me, or do I read a lot of her? I read this series awhile back and came back this year to reread it. I think it was even better the second time! I absolutely love the upstairs-downstairs feel of Edwardian England and am super excited about a new series that Roseanna’s writing. My all-time favorite of the series is A Lady Unrivaled. Ah, so good! I’m in love with her hero Cayton!


#10: The Bachelor's Homecoming by Karen Kirst. I read a lot of “little tinies” this year—you know, Love Inspired Historical and Truly Yours by Harlequin and Barbour, respectively. One of which was The Bachelor’s Homecoming. Usually, these little tinies are missing something—plot elements, character depth, even the romance. But not this one. I could’ve sworn I was reading a full-length novel of 300+ pages with just how interesting and exciting the story was. The characters grew so well, and the romance element was perfectly executed.


Obviously, I read much of the same thing—at least this year. Maybe next year I’ll branch out and try something new!


(Originally published November 22nd, 2019.)

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