Nominate your favorite 2012 book

Janet Grant

Blogger: Janet Kobobel Grant

I find myself looking over my shoulder at 2012 and evaluating the books I read as I decide what I want to launch into for my first 2013 reading adventure. Everyone from the New York Times to Amazon creates its list of top books; so why shouldn’t we?

I’ll be asking for your votes for Favorite Book of 2012 in the comments section.

I nominate The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman. His debut novel went on to become a best-seller (don’t we all dream of that!?) and charmed me. The premise of the contemporary novel is to show the birth, life and death of an English-language newspaper created in Rome with a staff consisting mostly of expatriates. The book is a collection of entertwined short stories, with overlapping characters and told in sequence. Each story is told from a different character’s POV. So you can see, from the outset, that the author created several challenges for himself: to write a cohesive novel from stitched together short stories; to keep the storyline moving, with arcs for each character and for the plot; and to create a vivid and appropriate voice for each character. Rachman succeeded at every juncture.

While all of those attributes would make it a worthwhile read, what I found put the book in the outstanding category was that each short story took me to a different place emotionally. Any of them could have stood alone and been a rewarding reading experience. But when the book was viewed as a whole, each story contributed to the entirety in such important ways that the plotline would have been less lush without even one of the stories.

Reading The Imperfectionists enriched 2012 for me more than any other book as the characters faced life’s unexpected challenges with varying degrees of grace, aplomb or disintegration. As a result the book provided me with insight in dealing with my own set of challenges. Who could ask for more than that in one volume?

Now, tell us which book topped your 2012 list. We can all use tips on what to add to our own 2013 must-reads.

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133 Comments

  • Anne Love says:

    Laura Frantz’s Love’s Reckoning.

  • Sundi Jo says:

    I can’t pick just one.

    “The Circle Maker” – Mark Batterson
    “Wrecked” – Jeff Goins
    “Kingdom Journeys” – Seth Barnes
    “Fully Alive” – Ken Davis
    “Not a Fan” – Kyle Idleman

    Okay, I’ll stop now :)

  • I’m one of *those* people. You know them/us. We don’t want to pick a favoUrite kid, a favoUrite, pet or even, gasp, a favoUrite movie, because the others will feel left out. (Like I did when I was little and no one with a half a brain cell left picked me for their team…even though I had the athletic skill of a jellyfish on a beach in summer. Hey! Who doesn’t have issues? Huh? Excuse me, I need a tissue…)
    Ahem. Soooo anyway…I’ve read a few I’d highly recommend, but I’m going to pretend to be a citizen of The US of A and plead the 5th on picking a favoUrite.

    Did anyone catch our spelling lesson for today?

  • David Martin, Ph.D. says:

    I nominate Peter F. Hamilton’s “Great North Road” published in 2012 in the UK and this year in the US. I should start off by saying I’m a big fan of Peter F. Hamilton’s work; best to be honest up front and everything. I ordered the UK edition from Amazon.com.uk so I could read the book before its January 2013 US release date. As I said; I’m a big Hamilton fan, I can remember picking up “The Reality Dysfunction” in Denver’s The Tattered Cover and being astounded at the giant brick of a book, to be honest I was always a little intimidated by the size. I finally took the plunge and ended up consuming the whole Night’s Dawn trilogy over the space of a weekend. I’ve been a fan ever since. Hopefully this won’t color my review.

    Peter F. Hamilton’s latest novel, “Great North Road,” is a stand-alone story and is unconnected to any of his earlier books, so can be read in the confidence that you won’t need to be signing on to a multi-book epic and you don’t need to have read his earlier work to jump on. For people who haven’t dipped into the worlds of PFH it’s a great book to start with.

    The book is set in 2143 and has two main threads; the first is pretty much a police procedural and concerns the hunt for a killer; high ranking member of the important North family is found murdered in Newcastle. The death links to another North murder committed years early, the jailed perpetrator of which has always professed her innocence and maintained that “Aliens did it.”

    The second thread follows an expedition to a very strange, and little explored, colony world called St. Libra; the planet on which the original North murder was committed. The two plots are linked in various ways and by various characters which become more and more apparent as the story progresses and both the investigation and the expedition being to run into problems from within and without. The book also has flashbacks scattered throughout which reveal clues and character history that inform the current events as they unfold.

    Hamilton is an old hat at complex world building and he’s on great form here. His depiction of the high tech future police procedures, the organisation and staging of the expedition and the various other aspects of the society he creates are brilliantly thought out. The nature and history of the North family is particularly interesting although I was reminded of Hamilton’s earlier Confederation universe at times. These interstellar societies all start to look the same after a while.

    Character-wise the book has many interesting and engaging people; from weary Newcastle police officer Sid Hurst and his investigative team through to Angela Tramelo, who after her many years in prison is probably the most complex and layered of the protagonists in the book. The various members of the expedition and peripheral characters are all engaging and Hamilton manages to inject a decent amount of depth into even the smallest of background player. Hamilton has written more interesting characters in previous books, but none more intriguing and complex than Angela. The book has a terrific ensemble cast who carry the story well.

    As is pretty much guaranteed with Hamilton, the book is huge, clocking in at nearly 1,100 pages. He always give good value for money in a book and if I had one issue to bring up about this and PFH’s writing in general it’s that he tells big engrossing and all encompassing tales but he’s often let down by his endings. Not that “Great North Road” has a bad ending; it’s just that the journey is so good and when it comes to an end it’s very difficult to do that journey justice. “Great North Road” has one of those 100 years later type epilogues and I found myself not wanting to see this but instead wanting to read and find out about the stories which may have occurred in those intervening years. I wanted the book to keep going. To keep telling me tales of these characters and worlds and that isn’t a bad thing, far form it, but alas, all good things must end. I wouldn’t however, not say no to a sequel to this book at some point.

    But I’m getting ahead of myself, the book is a great read, full of interesting characters, great action wonderful tech and a very engaging central mystery and it rips along at a fair old pace. I heartily recommend it to anyone who’s a fan of space opera, future tech or anyone who just likes a damn good yarn.

  • I’m kind of with Jennifer here, only because it’s hard to narrow down my favorites to just one. By I really enjoyed Susan Meissner’s The Girl in the Glass. Somehow she creates a leisurely pace in a book you can’t put down. Love her stuff.

  • I recently finished Frank Peretti’s first release in seven years called Illusion.

    It was fantastic! A bit of romance, suspense, magic, sci-fi and faith. Read it!

    It’s quite different than the other books he’s known for but still a rightful best seller.

    Happy New Year everyone! :)

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Frank wrote a memoir a few years ago. Have you read it?

    • Oh and I forgot. Here’s the book blurb for Illusion via Amazon.

      After a car wreck tragically claims the life of his wife and magic partner, Mandy, Dane Collins finds himself in a quaint coffee shop transfixed by a magician whose illusions even he, a seasoned professional, cannot explain.

      Even more mysterious is the performer herself. Nineteen-year-old Mandy has never met him, doesn’t know him, is certainly not in love with him, but is in every respect identical to the young beauty he met and married some forty years earlier.

      They begin a furtive relationship as mentor and protégée, but as Dane tries to figure out who Mandy really is, and she to understand why she is mysteriously drawn to him, she is being watched by those who not only possess all the answers but who also have the power to decide her fate.

  • Lori says:

    I nominate two books from Anjali Banerjee: “Haunting Jasmine” (released in 2011) and “Enchanting Lily” released in 2012). I read both books this year and I read “Enchanting Lily” before I read “Haunting Jasmine”. Both I think are more of a light novel than a romance. “Haunting Jasmine” has a quality that reminds one of the movie “The Ghost and Mrs Muir”. “Enchantin Lily” tells the story from the main character, Lily, and from her cat’s perspective.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Are these books Indian? I’m trying to figure out the nationality of Anjali Banerjee.

      • Lori says:

        Anjali Banerjee was born in India and raised in Canada and California. She received her degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. Currently she lives in the Pacific Northwest. Both of the books I read took place on an island off of Seattle, Washington.

      • Navdeep Kaur says:

        She is of Indian origin–based on the name. I’ve heard of some of her books, but I always gravitate towards Chitra Divakaruni’s books ( I idolize her).

        I think I’ll have to try Anjali Banerjee this year. Thanks for the suggestion. :)

      • Lori says:

        Navdeep

        Have you read any books yet by Thrity Umrigar? I have a copy of “The Space Between Us” that I have been wanting to read but other books get in the way. She is from Bombay originally and now lives in the Cleveland, Ohio area. She used to work for the Akron Beacon Journal which is where I originally read articles by her before she left to become an author and a professor at Case Western University.

      • Navdeep Kaur says:

        Lori,

        I haven’t yet read her books, but I too have one on my bookshelf and The Space Between Us on my To-Read list.

        Isn’t it just wonderful being able to see a writer’s progress?

  • Ooo, so tough. But I guess a book that I had a lot of fun reading was Becky Wade’s “My Stubborn Heart.” Her voice is just…wow. I had a hard time putting it down.

    But there were sooooo many other good ones, so it’s a tough choice for sure.

  • Jill Kemerer says:

    I have two.

    Jody Hedlund’s UNENDING DEVOTION was fast-paced and set during the lumber baron period in Michigan. I loved the historical details she threaded into a rich romance.

    The other book I loved was also a historical romance, but it’s mainstream (a head’s up: there are a lot of things Christian readers could find offensive). Joanna Bourne’s THE BLACK HAWK is the fourth in her Spymaster series. It’s set during the French Revolution. I’ve read all of the books in this series, and they continue to surprise me with their plot twists and deep romance. Joanna Bourne is one of my favorite authors.

    Every time I read her books, I shake my head and think, I’ll never be that good!

  • This is like picking my favorite child! Tough call, but I’m going with Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Could you tell us a little about the book to tempt us to check it out?

      • Absolutely! The storyline is not for everyone, and certainly heavy at times, but the characters are beautifully developed and easy to fall in love with. In brief, Maura, the main character is an overscheduled Mom who takes her eyes off her 9-year-old son to answer a text – a car strikes him. The plot examines her guilt, struggles, and strengths – but those of each of the supporting characters and their interwoven relationships. Beautifully written! And FYI – Lee Woodruff (author) is the wife of reporter Bob Woodruff who suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury in Iraq. I met them a few years back at a TBI fundraising dinner – very inspiring couple! Add it to your Goodreads shelf! :-)

  • Laura Frantz says:

    Thanks so much for the kind words above, Janet and Anne, etc.

    I was really struck by Joanne Bischoff’s debut, Be Still My Soul. I’ve just endorsed book 2 in the series, Though My Heart Is Torn, and am still pondering both. Always a good sign, I think:) Beautiful covers, too.

  • Jeanne T says:

    Oooh, that’s so difficult to decide. I read lots of older books, but one that came out last year that I LOVED was Rachel Hauck’s, “The Wedding Dress.” A fabulous read. I’ve read it twice and marked up my copy to figure out how she crafts her stories. :) Loved this story.

  • I loved the Cirlce Maker as well.

    But my favorite fiction book would be Veil of Pearls by Marylu Tyndall. First book I ever read by Marylu and I am now a fan.

  • Emily says:

    Definitely Julie Lessman’s “A Love Surrendered”! I absolutely loved the message of abstinence…we definitely need that in this day and age!

  • Janet, I’ve put your recommendation in my Amazon Wish List. I concur with the recommendations on Susan’s THE GIRL IN THE GLASS. I picked it up on the recommendation of Dianne Burnett at the ACFW conference and couldn’t put it down. I find very few books “transport” me to another place and time. That one did.

    Another book that stole my breath away this year was an accidental find called THE WINTER SEA by Susanna Kearsley (thanks to Amazon’s “if you like, then” feature). Here’s the blurb courtesy of Amazon:

    History has all but forgotten…In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown. Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write. But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth-the ultimate betrayal-that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her…

    THE WINTER SEA is no time travel but rather a novel set in two time periods with a rich story line in each. As the story lines converge, the book became impossible for me to put down. The ending…well…it blew me away…still does when I think of it. And for me, the mark of an amazing book is that I still think of it even after reading many other books. This one qualifies…

    • Oooh…Kathleen. “The Winter Sea” is one of my all-time favorite books. I was actually reading it when God placed the story for my first novel on my heart.

      Her style of weaving present day and past is fascinating and the genre of Contemporary-Historical Fiction was exactly the niche God must want me in–since I’ve been plotting on and off on twelve other book ideas in it.

      Though she’s a secular author, Susanna Kearsley’s books are super clean and appropriate. Great choice! You should also read “The Rose Garden.”

  • pat says:

    Laura Frantz’s Loves Reckoning. This book was a pure joy to read.

  • Stephanie M. says:

    I’m going to have to agree with The Imperfectionists. I thought it was lovely and it was the only one that really stood out above the Meh’s.

    My problem is I’m constantly re-reading old, good-uns, which cuts into any new discovery. Maybe in the new year I’ll try to read one new one a month.

    You know what they need??? They need to have a radio station that plays book blurbs on XM radio, and then you can just pick the books you want based on the blurbs (and you can listen at work or in the car:)

  • Any of Laura’s books are FABULOUS! Love’s Reckoning was right up there with Courting Morrow Little for me! So lyrical and exquisite!

    On the ‘fun’ side of reading, Becky Wade’s book was delightful. A lot of deep emotion framed in a light-hearted, touching way.

    Sigh…such great choices! :-)

  • I read The Imperfectionists some time ago and found it such a fun, offbeat, quirky, and occasionally disturbing read. As an Italian, I loved the setting in Rome. Great character development and story telling. I am glad to see you liked it.

    My best reads of the year include:

    Coup d’Etat, by Ben Coes, part of the Dewey Andreas series, for pure thriller-type action.

    The Emerald Storm (An Ethan Gage adventure), by William Dietrich, for swashbuckling, historical fiction in the Napoleonic era with lots of action, humor, quick-witted writing, and romance.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Thanks for those recommendations; they both sound great.
      I’m glad you liked The Imperfectionists. The Italian setting was such an important part of the story, and I thought the author did a great job of portraying it.

  • Oooh, Cara – I want to read The Girl in the Glass! Read the reviews and the back blurb, but haven’t gotten to it yet.
    another New Year’s resolution :-) LOL (one that is much easier than losing weight)

  • Sarah Grimm says:

    Oooh favorite 2012 read? I just have to get in on this.

    Anew and Awry by Chelsea Fine. I just purchased Avow on my kindle and I can’t wait to read the conclusion to the Archers of Avalon series. Squeee!

  • It is so hard to narrow it down, isn’t it? I absolutely loved “Love’s Reckoning” and a few others that came out this year. Just blown away that Laura enjoyed my books. She is an amazing writer and a wonderful person. Laura instantly became one of my favorite authors.

    I also really discovered some new writers and their blacklist’s this year. Carla Stewart’s “Chasing Lilacs” and Chris Fabry’s “June Bug”. I love reading what these writers put out a few years ago, makes me eager to keep my eye on what’s to come!

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Joanne, welcome to this blog post! Isn’t it fun to find yourself named as a favorite–and you a debut novelist and all! Congratulations on winning Laura’s adulation. I’ve added your first novel to my to-read list since your second one probably isn’t available yet. (But I’ll check.)

    • Jan Thompson says:

      I can’t believe I forgot about your book! I saw your post and I was like — she wrote “Be Still My Soul!” I love that novel. I read it twice! I rarely read novels twice, not even those by my most favorite author (Michael Connelly), but I love your story.

      I’m going to have to amend my voting (posted previously) and make your book a tie at #1 with Laura Frantz’s “Love’s Reckoning.” May I do that, please, Janet? Thanks!

      In both books, Joanne’s and Laura’s, I was captivated by the characters, the setting, the story, the craft, the entire thing from start to finish. And to make it even better, I could not find a single grammatical error. I was so excited at the high standard of Christian fiction today compared to back in the 1990s. I think this speaks volumes of the effort put in by not only editors, but literary agents. Keep it up!

      • Thank you so very much, Jan! I am so glad that you enjoyed Be Still My Soul! :) Your comment is so sweet. Just tickled that the book was one of your favorites and cannot agree more with what you had to say about Love’s Reckoning!

    • oh my, I meant to say “backlist” oops!! These books are definitely not blacklisted. :)

  • Darby Kern says:

    2012 was the year I gave up on more books than any year in my life (that I can remember). The book that grabbed me the most was Chris Fabry’s Not In The Heart- though it was a 2011 release.

    Chris tells a compelling story with a character that you just want to throw a beating on throughout the story. I have never been so angry with a main character in my life…

  • My absolute favorite read this year was “The Light Between Oceans.” In my book club we try to circle the planet with books set in various countries and cultures. Much of M.L. Stedman’s novel takes place at a lighthouse off the coat of Australia and it has everything good fiction should: love, suspense, a unique plot, and fast-paced – yet exquisite – writing.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Another author I’m not familiar with. I’m beginning to feel like I better read a lot faster…

    • Lori Benton says:

      For CBA books I’m going with Be Still My Soul, by Joanne Bischof, for my favorite, but I’m going to also second (third, tenth? :) )Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz which I read in progress… was it in 2011, Laura? Time sure flies. Both of those books are at the top of my list of books recently read.

      For general market books, one I really enjoyed (audio) was La’s Orchestra Saves the World, by Alexander McCall Smith. Set mostly in Suffolk, mostly during WWII, the story is about Lavender (La to her friends) who changes the lives of a country village after she moves there from London and starts a community orchestra, inspiring courage and hope for those fighting Hitler and those struggling without them at home… and in the process La meets a man who will change her life forever.

    • Lori Benton says:

      The Light Between Oceans is on reserve at my library. I think there were about 85 people ahead of me at first. Must be a VERY good book. It came highly recommended to me this year.

  • I’m partial to M. K. Gilroy’s “Every Breath You Take.” (Worthy Pub.) It’s Gilroy’s follow up to “Cuts Like a Knife.” If you’ve not discovered the Kristen Conner books yet, you’re in for a treat. They’ve got great twists and characters that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

  • Leah E Good says:

    I read so many books this year, I can’t remember them all. The first that comes to mind, though, is “Peter’s Angel.” It’s a self-published book, which I don’t read many of, but it surprised me by being very well written and polished. Definitely a book worth reading. It kept me up till three in the morning.

  • Kiersti says:

    I know so many others have already suggested, but I was going to say Laura Frantz’s Love’s Reckoning before I even looked at the comments, so I’ll still give that as my choice! (And though I barely finished it in 2012, as I got it for Christmas! I did, though. :) ) So so beautiful…it’s rare that books sweep me away as Laura’s do. And I loved how the twists nearing the end (don’t want to give anything away) so surprised and threw me, even shocked me, at first…yet ended up showing God’s redemption and mercy so much more beautifully than a more “typical” ending I might have thought of. All these other books sound wonderful too–I’m hoping to find a copy of Be Still My Soul someday soon.

  • Sarah Thomas says:

    So many I loved in 2012–Love’s Reckoning and Talking to the Dead are at the top of the list. But the book that really grabbed hold of me (published in 2001, where have I been?) was Under a Southern Sky by Deborah Raney. It captured me so because it presented an impossible choice for the main character. IMPOSSIBLE. And yet Deb resolved it perfectly. She, like me, is a pantser so I asked if she knew how the book would end before she got there. Nope. I just love that–when God writes the ending.

  • Kid lit: The False Prince by Jennifer Nielsen

    Adult (but it wasn’t published in 2012, so it doesn’t really count) Unbroken by Laura Hildenbrand

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Beth, I was just asking about what you’ve READ in 2012; it doesn’t have to be a recent release.
      I love Unbroken. I still think about it, and I read it two years ago.
      Notice how often we’re saying that we still think about a book, even though we’ve read many since that one? That shows the power of a good book.

  • Caroline Privette says:

    Without a doubt my choice is Love’s Reckoning by Laura Frantz! Can’t wait for the rest of the Ballentyne Legacy to be released. Laura’s books just keep getting better and better!

  • Barbara Thrasher Finity says:

    I wholeheartedly recommend “Holy Estrogen”, written by Carol McLeod. Outstanding book, laced with rich wisdom and relevant, real life applications….is life changing. I keep it as a reference and will always have it on hand…

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Could you tell us a bit more about the book, Barbara? This is a chance to convince others to read it as well.

      • Diane Detrich says:

        “Holy Estrogen!” by Carol McLoud is my top book for 2012 also! She has written a book that all women should read but those of us over 40 and in the “change” years will be helped so much. I have read most of the books others have nominated and would encourage all of you to read this one and pass it on! Your mom will thank you, your sister will thank you, your husband will thank you, your best friends will thank you, your daughters will thank you, your co-workers will thank you…! It is a book filled with biblical truths intertwined with real women and our real daily lives, thoughts and emotions and how to navigate them Gods way.
        I am not a book reviewer, so please read it and let me know your review.

      • Barbara Thrasher Finity says:

        (Janet, thanks for asking for more deatil on the book “Holy Estrogen”, by Carol McLeod.)

        We women are often controlled by emotions, and we tend to attribute/blame the seemingly inevitable “emotional roller coaster” to hormones.

        “Holy Estrogen” is a challenge to women – to discover the purpose for which God gave us emotions. Women can “either be controlled by their emotions or they can allow the Holy Spirit to control their emotions.” This book is for women of all ages, at any stage in life, who want to be more like Jesus.

        God beautifully designed women – with estrogen – so we can be truly alive and completely engaged in life, in the place we have been planted. Through this remarkable book, Carol shares valuable tools to help women flourish in all of life’s situations. We learn to move beyond the pain, the disappointment, the woundings, the fears, and even the princess persona – and are equipped to change our emotional wardrobe!

        Some chapters include: OCD, Chicken Doo-Doo and Worship! * An Emotional Enemy * Fingernails on the Chalkboard of Life * Time for a Change * Who Do You Mend a Broken Heart? * It’s All About Me! (And lots more.)

        This book challenged me on so many levels. Emotions and “issues of the heart” are every woman’s battle. “Holy Estrogen” is a book I keep at my bedside as a resource to keep my poised to win whatever battle I might be facing.

        As Carol says, “I do not believe that God intended for women to live a roller coaster life ordered by the fluctuation of some hormone that you exert absolutely no control over. God’s plan has always been that you would decrease and that He would increase.”

  • Peter DeHaan says:

    I read many good books this year and the one that tops them all is “V is for Vulnerable” by Seth Godin.

    I’ve already read it three times; thankfully it’s a quick read.

  • Oh, I thought it had to be released in 2012. In that case, I did really enjoy Frank Peretti’s Illusion but I also loved Susan Meissner’s “The Shape of Mercy.” Both of these books have stayed with me long after I saw “The End.”

  • Navdeep Kaur says:

    Since we’re allowed to name a book we read in 2012, but isn’t necessarily published in 2012, I have to say One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni.

    Strangers from different walks of life find themselves trapped together in a basement after a California earthquake. They all decide to share one very meaningful, special, and powerful story from their lives while they await their fate. The book really hit home with me because it is representative of our multicultural communities and our oneness despite differences.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Love the premise, hate the setting. Since I live in California, I don’t want to read about earthquake disasters. I’d rather mentally stay in La-La land.

      • Navdeep Kaur says:

        That’s what I thought at first too…but the earthquake fell into the background because the stories of all the individuals were so engaging. I felt really positive and blessed after reading it.

      • Navdeep Kaur says:

        Being a Californian myself, I have to admit that I tend to resist reading about earthquakes whenever I can. :)

  • Karyn Rousseau says:

    Holy Estrogen by Carol McLeod best book I have read in years I laughed cried and learned so much about mysel.

  • Wow, I added a lot of books to my TBR pile today. I’m coming to the conversation late, but this year I discovered Charles Martin. I nominate Thunder and Rain. I love his writing style.

    If I were to add another, I think I’d add Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Not a CBA book by any standard, but what an interesting writing style she has.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Thanks for those suggestions, Robin. I think Charles Martin is one fine writer.
      I haven’t read Night Circus, but I’ve been curious about it. Your comment encourages me to check it out.

  • Cheryl Russell says:

    I’ve added a few more books to my “want to read” list. I have two books from last year that have stuck with me: “The Yellow Birds” by Kevin Powers & “The Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey (I love the author’s name).

    TYB is a war novel & I generally stay away from war novels, but the writing-wow. I originally borrowed it from the library, but ended up buying a copy. The novel follows two young soldiers in the Iraq war. One soldier promises another soldier’s mother he will keep her son safe & bring him home after the war. Of course, it’s a promise that can’t be kept and the novel follows that relationship & the aftermath. It reminds me a lot of Tim O’brien’s work.

    TSC is set in early 1900s Alaska. The story revolves around a lonely, childless couple who decide to homestead in Alaska to start a new life. One night after snowstorm, they build a snow child. In the morning,the snow child is gone, but they spot a little blonde haired girl running in the woods. (My Paraphrase of Amazon’s description.) the book is a combination of historical & fantasy or fairy tale. I think the author got the idea from a fairy tale she read, but I’m not sure.

    Talk about two books at opposite ends of the spectrum.

  • Great post today Janet! In between having my Facebook hacked, having the FLU, enduring freezing cold weather AND wait for it…3 kids and a husband home >>all day, every day<<, I needed the fun of this post.

    And umm, it appears, correct me if I'm wrong, Laura Frantz is a keeper? ;)

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Jennifer, I’m glad the post brightened an otherwise glum day.
      Regarding Laura Frantz, yeah, I’m privileged to represent her. She’s so dang nice AND a great writer.

  • Kim Pickard-Dudley says:

    I would like to nominate Carol McLeod’s new book, “Holy Estrogen!” Carol’s life-changing message challenges women (in particular) to evaluate their walk with God and to consider their role in God’s plan at this time in history.
    Women are emotional beings. Period. Holy Estrogen!, by way of heartfelt stories and the Scriptures, teaches women that our lives are to be guided by the power of the Holy Spirit –NOT by our emotions. Practical strategies are laid out in Carol’s book.
    I believe this is “a must read” for women — however I wouldn’t shy away from recommending it for men as well. “Holy Estrogen!” motivated me gracefully to “do life” very differently — and has inspired me to honor God in all things — irrespective of “what I feel” or my circumstances.

    • Janet Grant Janet Grant says:

      Thanks for the summary of Carol’s book. I’m not sure you can sell guys on reading a book with that title, but if can, you’re a marketing maven of the highest order.

  • This was on my mind today, as I just posted my top 10 list. My favorite of 2012: Defending Jacob by William Landay. A close second was Unexpected Christmas Hero by Kathi Macias.

    Anyone who would like to review the entire list can find it at http://thebookconnectionccm.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-book-connections-best-books-of-2012.html

  • Maudie Lou says:

    I want to nominate “For What It’s worth” by Karey White. It was my favorite read for 2012.
    It contained a lovely love story, an intriguing idea and a challenging conflict. It kept me worried long enough to burn the midnight oil for the resolution. I wanted it to go on and on. But I think that is what makes a book wonderful, to keep you wanting more. It contained characters that I truly liked, so I cared about the outcome. I recommend it to everyone of any age, either sex. If you love this book as I did, you will also want to read “Gifted,” another Karey White book that I LOVED! lmh

  • Christy Christopher says:

    I vote for Holy Estrogen by Carol McCleod. In a world where emotions run wild and cause so much damage, we need to bridle our emotions and reactions and this book will teach you just that!! Highly recommend!!!

  • Miranda says:

    I’m voting for ‘Veil of Pearls’ by MaryLu Tyndall. The story resonated with me in so many ways. Totally loved it!

  • Camella Binkley says:

    LOVED Holy Estrogen by Carol McLeod…ladies, we CAN turn our emotions into something positive and powerful!

  • Carol McLeod says:

    My 2 favorite books of the year were “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson and “I Will Carry You: The Sacred Dance of Grief and Joy” by Angie Smith.

    “The Circle Maker” is a compelling challenge to the way we pray. It has changed my approach to prayer and my commitment to prayer. His writing style is easily read and digested.

    “I Will Carry You” is poignantly well-written. It is a mother’s account of carrying her baby to term regardless of the doctor’s advice and diagnosis. Angie is a gifted writer with a lovely heart. I want to be her friend.

  • Alicia Hall says:

    Hands down my favorite book of 2012 would be “Hemingway’s Girl” by Erika Roebuck. Such a unputdownable read! Characters that pulled at your heart and made you talk to them out loud, hoping they would listen to your advice and never knowing if they would. Highly recommend it.

  • Sue Hilchey says:

    I’d like to nominate “Holy Estrogen” by Carol McLeod. Her writing style is engaging, as if we were sitting right across the table from each other. Carol shares God’s best plans for keeping our emotions under control and helps us realize that we can even make our emotions the holiest part of us! What woman doesn’t struggle with her emotions? You’ll want to keep a copy close at hand so you can share these strategies with the rest of the women in your life! You’ll be blessed!

  • Linda Jewell says:

    Medal of Honor: Portraits of Valor Beyond the Call of Duty by Peter Collier and Nick Del Calzo. I read it the first time to learn more about the recipients of the medal of honor. I read it a second time looking at it from a “spiritual warriors’ perspective. Another book I recommended to others is The Tenderness of Wolves by Stef Penny. Although it’s set as a historical novel AND a mystery, it reads like a literary novel.

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