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Monday, December 31, 2012

Stand Out Books of 2012

Hi friends. It's that time of year again for me to mention some of my favorite books I've read. Of course, this year the situation has been complicated by the fact that I've been editing for WhiteFire and critiquing for a number of published authors. So in addition to including older books that I've read in 2012, I'll also be offering some sneak peeks at books coming out in 2013. My list has little rhyme or reason, except that I've read the books this year and enjoyed them.

Top Picks of 2012
Science Fiction

The Hunger Games Series - Yes, I've jumped on that bandwagon. I haven't read anything this compelling in a long time. I'm sure I probably got myself into trouble by blowing things off to read this series, which after all, is the mark of true genius. And like all great fiction, even though I didn't agree with all the philosophical viewpoints, it challenged me and caused me to think. For me, the main message I came away with was the need to be courageous and stand up to tyranny and oppression at any cost. I was idealistic like that as a young person, but I had lost it somewhere along the way.


A Heart Most Worthy by Siri Mitchell - Loved this novel full of colorful characters. Siri brings Italy to life in the streets of America. I knew almost nothing about this part of history and enjoyed learning about it through this incredible story. And as usual, Siri's novel is rife with rich themes and thought provoking material.

Veil of Pearls by MaryLu Tyndall - Truly a heart-rending story. I applaud MaryLu for tackling the subject of a mixed-race slave passing as white. Full of adventure and romance as all MaryLu's books are, but I think this one added an extra dose of emotional depth.

Walks Alone by Sandi Rog - I fell in love with her hunky half-breed Indian hero long ago. I read this first as an acquisitions editor, so I might be a little biased, but I recall that it was one of those rare books that made me think, "I wish I had written this." If you haven't checked out Sandi Rog, you need to.

Heiress by Susan May Warren - If you like Christian books with a good dose of reality and edgy subject matter, this is a great one. More women's fiction than romance, this novel reveals the debauchery of the "Gilded Age" and shows how hard it was to be a woman in history.

Captured by Moonlight by Christine Lindsay (Coming Soon!) - Look for this book for sure. Christine's award-winning Shadowed in Silk received rave reviews, but as one of the few people who've had the honor of reading this second book in advanced, I will dare to say it's even better. Be sure to catch up with her first novel so you'll be ready for the sequel next year.


Contemporary Fiction

The Opposite of Art by Athol Dickson - This book was just masterful. Beautiful and literary but with plenty of suspense and romance to keep you reading. The artists quest for the face of God created a powerful premise that impacted my life. The spiritual thread is more about searching than finding. The author handles the actual finding of God with a light hand, which some Christians might question. Personally, I found it to be incredibly artistic and transcendent, much more so than a preachy ending could have been.

Paint Chips by Susie Finkbeiner (Coming Soon!) - You might want to get this book pre-ordered now. Although a story about a woman in a mental institution and an ex-prostitute might sound depressing, it's actually a novel full of hope and healing of the caliber of a Lisa Samson masterpiece. The story opens with these two women in a time of restoration, and although it goes back and retells their stories, it will leave you changed and uplifted

Prophet by R.J. Larson
I picked up this book for free for kindle thinking it was Biblical fiction, but I was pleasantly surprised to realize it was fantasy. I enjoy a good Christian fantasy novel, and there don't seem to be many out there for adults lately. The study of the prophet's life fascinated me, and it had plenty of adventure and romance to keep the book moving. Loved it. Will be reading book 2 soon.

Dr. Noah and the Sugar Plum Fairy by Carla Rossi - I purchased this adorable little Christmas novella for $.99 on a whim after it was featured on my group blog. I thought it would be fun to read for the holidays. I had no idea I would fall completely in love with it. I've never really been a fan of novellas, but this one changed my mind. It was perfectly paced. I felt like I had plenty of time to know and fall in love with the characters. It featured dance and even poetry, two things I adore, and even managed to weave in a great spiritual thread. Bravo!

Now that I'm looking back, I'm feeling a little bit guilty that I didn't find time this year to read the latest releases by many of my favorite authors like Julie Klassen, James Rubart, and Tosca Lee. No doubt they've written books that deserve to be on this list as well. But this year I've really focused on checking out new authors and expanding my reading list. Other noteworthy authors I've checked out for the first time this year include Nicholas Sparks, Charles Martin, and Elizabeth Camden. All of their books will live on in my memories for a long time as well.

And on that note, I wish all of my reader and writer friends a Happy New Year full of wonderful books :)


  1. Wow, Dina! I just saw this. Thank you so much!

  2. I'm very excited about Paint Chips, Susie!