28 December 2013

Noela's Favorite Books of 2013


A HANDFUL OF MY FAVORITE BOOKS FROM 2013

There were so many amazing books released this year so it was impossible to list them all, so here are just a few of the many outstanding books that I've read and would love to recommend to everyone!
Click on the book title to be able to purchase any of these incredible books.

OUTSTANDING NOVELS

THE TUTOR'S DAUGHTER by Julie Klassen (Jan 1, 2013)
Julie Klassen has a true gift in delivering unforgettable stories.
Emma is the daughter of a tutor, but in a time when marrying within your own social class meant everything, could a simple tutor's daughter find love with a Baronet's son? Located on the wind-swept coast of Cornwall, The Tutor's Daughter is an enigmatic and captivating story with an intoxicating romance and a good dose of suspense. Including truly memorable characters and strikingly vivid images, this Regency era novel will be a lifetime favorite of mine!!


LOVE AT ANY COST by Julie Lessman (April 15, 2013) 
This is a romance that will take you to giddy heights and sorrowful depths. A journey of love and relationships that will spark hope and longing within you for the heroes of the story. And a tale of faith and the importance of integrity that will stir your heart as you become involved in the lives of the men and women of this charismatic and loving family. Cassidy McClare, a spunky 'cowgirl' arrives in San Francisco from Texas and is on the run from romeo's and heartache. Or has she just run right into it? Julie's stories will always seize you by the heart but leave you smiling!


BURNING SKY by Lori Benton (August 6, 2013)
Burning Sky takes you on a fascinating, yet heart-rendering journey to the New York frontier in 1784 during the aftermath of the Revolution. Now a beautiful young woman, Willa who spent nearly half her life with Indians after being abducted, is now a young woman caught between the white man's world and her Mohawk upbringing, and a man from either world. Charged with tension and danger, courage and love, 'Burning Sky' will abduct you as it did me with it's engaging story, allowing no escape until the final pages.


A PIONEER CHRISTMAS COLLECTION by Various Authors (September 1, 2013)
This is a compilation of nine original and inspiring historical romance novella's. These amazing authors all tell unique stories of breathtaking tales of pioneer life and love in untamed lands. And each story concludes with the new pioneer's celebrating Christmas in unconventional dwellings. I loved each and every story but I have to make special mention of one very talented author and close friend, Marcia Gruver, whose amazing novella 'A Badlands Christmas' included a character that happens to go by the name of Noela Nancarrow... and who spends Christmas in a soddie!

LOVE'S AWAKENING by Laura Frantz (September 15, 2013)
This is book 2 in the phenomenal Ballantyne Legacy series of Laura Frantz. In this sublime novel, we read of an exquisite love story within two powerful, feuding families of Pittsburgh. One family involved in whiskey dealing and slavery and the other secretly involved in the abolition movement... these are dangerous times and lives and love are at stake. As with all of Laura's novels, the historical detail is fascinating and flawless, a real treat for anyone who loves history AND a brilliant story!


REBELLIOUS HEART by Jody Hedlund (September 15, 2013)
Jody Hedlund consistently writes outstanding historical fiction stories - this here is yet another one! 'Rebellious Heart' is modeled after the inspiring true courtship of John and Abigail Adams. Pre-American Revolution, it's a volatile time in history, and the heroine Susanna struggles with her beliefs and values after Ben, the hero of the story, challenges her to consider God's higher laws of justice and mercy. This is a novel of love, courage, and faith. A fast-paced page-turner steeped in intrigue and danger, guaranteeing it'll keep you up late reading!! One of Jody's books will never disappoint!

TRACES OF MERCY by Michael Landon Jnr & Cindy Kelley (Oct 1, 2013)
'Traces of Mercy', the first in The Medallion Trilogy, is impossibly difficult to put down as you immerse yourself into this fascinating tale of a woman with amnesia and an enigmatic past. Set at the end of the civil war, 'Traces of Mercy' is a satisfying mixture of warmth and hope, of turmoil and drama, and of unabated intrigue. With the infusion of a charismatic and heart-rending romance, this is a unique story that will captivate you easily and swiftly! Highly recommended! I can hardly wait to dive into the next book of this series!!


GUNPOWDER TEA by Margaret Brownley (October 8, 2013)
Margaret Brownley brews a refreshing and stimulating historical romance with 'Gunpowder Tea', that's infused with clever wit, humor, a stirring romance, and is steeped in a baffling mystery! Join top Pinkerton detective Miranda Hunt and Wells Fargo detective Jeremy Taggert as they both aim to hunt down the 'Phantom'. Only thing is, they both suspect each other as working for this elusive criminal. So what do they do when they come to like each other a little too much?! This book has everything in it - a brilliant story, delightful and unique characters, a great spiritual message and words of wisdom, fascinating history, and even author notes on gunpowder tea!


ELUSIVE HOPE by MaryLu Tyndall (November 1, 2013)
This novel is as bursting with intrigue and fascinating storylines as the jungle is with life! Expect to be swept up in the drama and romance that MaryLu writes with such a skillfully expressive brush of the pen, that you'll suddenly find yourself totally immersed in the jungle along with the amazingly realistic characters that MaryLu has created. Unique to many of MaryLu's books, including this one, is a thrilling supernatural thread running through the story, reminding us of the importance of spiritual warfare. Join Hayden and Magnolia and the rest of the New Hope colony in Brazil for an adventure unlike any other!


THE CAPTIVE MAIDEN by Melanie Dickerson (November 19, 2013)
The Captive Maiden is an enchanting and inspiring re-telling of the classic and classic fairy-tale, Cinderella. This is a story for the adult, young or old, that is a romantic at heart and loves chivalry, knights, and damsel's in distress. Even so, The Captive Maiden is so much more than that. It will hold you captive from the very first page onward with Melanie's engaging writing as we watch the delightful romance between Gisela and Valten develop from early on in the story. You also glean a glimpse into history with the exciting tournament scenes and jousting. And if that's not all, there is a terrific message about finding your own purpose in life. This book is refreshing, unique, and entertaining!


OUTSTANDING NOVELLA'S


THE PAINTED SKY - VOL 1 - 8 by Murray Pura (March 11 - Nov 13, 2013)

Brimming with adventure, romance, and faith, this exciting series is unparalleled to anything you've read!
These 8 volumes will be released in 2014 as a complete paperback. Be sure to look out for your friends from OWG starring as widows in this hot as the Mexican desert tale!



RETURN TO SHIRLEY PLANTATION by Carrie Fancett Pagels (March 26, 2013)

Return to Shirley Plantation is a charming historical romance that steps back in time in history to the Civil War, and the part that the still-standing Shirley Plantation played in it. This wonderful debut novella of Carrie's also carries the ever crucial message of listening to and obeying God. A sweet, interesting, and  thought-provoking story!


HEAVEN IS NOT FAR by Marian Baay (September 21, 2013)

This is a beautiful love story that embraces the heart that's called to serve God, and the strength of a deep and passionate devotion between a man and the love of his life while enduring the anguish of the Civil War. Including an inspiring message about following your calling, this debut novel of Marian's was an absolute pleasure to read!



A HIGHLANDER FOR CHRISTMAS by Jamie Carie (Nov 3, 2013)

Last but certainly not least, is 'A Highlander for Christmas'. This was the first story I'd read of Jamie's, and honestly, after reading this small masterpiece, I'm now on a quest devouring every other book Jamie has written! Jamie writes her intriguing stories eloquently and descriptively, and the romance passionately. In 'A Highlander for Christmas', there are awe-inspiring images and if you listen close enough, I'm sure you'll hear the bagpipes as well! A wonderful story at any time of the year, but if you haven't read it yet, give yourself a treat this Christmas!

* * * * * * * * * * *

Thank you to these and sooo many other authors that I've had the great pleasure of reading and reviewing their books this year. I look forward to spending time with you all in the New Year!!

GIVEAWAY: And for a belated little Christmas pressie, I'm giving away a Kindle copy of Jamie Carie's 'A Highlander for Christmas' to one person who leaves behind a comment. I'd love you to share which of the above books you would most like to read? And if you've read them all, which was your favorite? :)


55 comments:

  1. Great list, Noela! It makes me realize all of the good ones i missed. I still haven't read Melanie or MaryLu's newest! I need to get busy! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks KATHLEEN, and if I could have kept the list going, your Bachelor Buttons story would have been on there as well, as that was also a big favorite of mine this year! Definitely find the time to read Melanie's and MaryLu's latest Kathy, they are well worth your time!! :)

      Delete
  2. NOELA, thanks so much for including Heaven Is Not Far on your list. I'm humbled to see my name among such great writers - really! :) :) I'm looking forward to read Laura's and Melanie's books since I didn't have the time for them yet. But I'm sure they will be awesome as usual!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. MARIAN, your story 'Heaven is not Far' was so enjoyable to read and it still blows me away that you wrote such a beautiful story with english being your second language! Talented lady!!
      Oh yes, Laura's and Melanie's are awesome reads - you'll really enjoy them Marian!

      Delete
  3. Thanks so much for including my novella, Noella (hey I just realized with a v added your name would be...lol) Very touched that my story made your final list for the year and especially with such wonderful authors!!! My faves won't go up till later, with my brother visiting, which has been so nice. XOXOXO Carrie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Loved your story CARRIE, it was very impressive! I'm looking forward to reading the published copy of 'Snowed In' from 'A Cup of Christmas Cheer' very soon as well!! Lol Carrie, if I ever wrote a short story I guess we'd just promote it as Noela's novella! ;) Enjoy your day, your special lunch, and the rest of your brother's visit!! :)

      Delete
  4. NOELA what a wonderful list of books, I've read most of these and they are absolutely magnificent. :)
    Thanks for sharing them and making me want to add to my overflowing and falling over TBR "mountain range"! lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. TERESA, I love how your 'mountain' of TBR books has now become your TBR 'mountain range', lol. :) Sounds a lot like my book landscape.. ;) Enjoy your day!!

      Delete
  5. Great list Noela! I have read 4 of the 10 books and have 2 more of them to read. And I think the rest are all on my want to get and read list. Such good books it is hard to pick. Seriously! Each are unique and wonderful in their own way. I haven't read Carrie's novella yet, but it has been on my list as well to get. I do have Marian's in my Kindle to read. Great list of books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know what you mean NANCY, it can be quite impossible to pick a favorite sometimes! Sort of like picking your favorite child, lol. Enjoy Carrie's and Marian's when you get to read them!! :)

      Delete
    2. I forgot to give you my email. I don't have Carrie's book yet. I would love to win it.
      Nancycooks4u(at)gmail(dot)com

      Delete
    3. Thanks for coming back with your e-mail - I hadn't realized yet it wasn't there! :) I hope you get to buy or win Carrie's book sometime NANCY... the prize for this giveaway however is a copy of Jamie Carie's novella - A Highlander For Christmas! Do you have that one Nancy?

      Delete
  6. A great list, NOELA! It was so hard to choose faves as the authors totally outdid themselves this year! Can't wait to see what 2014 holds "bookwise!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree DIANA, it was really hard!!! I hated leaving books off the list but there were just too many!! I have a feeling Diana, that next year will be just as outstanding as this year... I'm looking forward to it too! :)

      Delete
  7. The only one I've read from your list was The Tutor's Daughter and loved it! I have Elusive Hope, Love at Any Cost, and Love's Awakening on my TBR list. I'm most looking forward to The Dancing Master in 2014. Great list!
    garfsgirl [at] hotmail [dot] com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Tutor's Daughter was fabulous wasn't it LIS? Just loved that story!! And those other 3 you have are just as awesome - you sure have some great reading ahead of you! I'm really looking forward to The Dancing Master also Lis, and how gorgeous is that cover?! :)

      Delete
  8. NOELA, BLESS YOU, MY FRIEND!!! What a TOTAL blessing to pop up on your list of faves, ESPECIALLY given this incredible list of faves that closely reflects my own -- THANK YOU SOOOO MUCH!! It's always fun to see the end-of-the-year lists so I can tackle the books I haven't read, ESPECIALLY when those books are recommended by my favorite reviewers!!

    HAPPY NEW YEAR, ALL!!

    Hugs,
    Julie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're more than welcome JULIE... I have never read a book of yours that hasn't left me shaking my head and thinking WOW!! :) Sooo excited to read the next one in this series, Dare to Love Again, soon!!
      Happy New Year to you as well Julie - and thank you, you are always such a blessing!!

      Delete
  9. Thanks, Noela!!! :-) Many blessings to you in 2014! I pray you have a wonderful new year!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank YOU for the incredible stories you write MELANIE!! :) Thanks also for the prayer and likewise, I pray you and yours have a fantastic New Year also! Praying also you and your family have a God-speed recovery from your winter flu's!

      Delete
  10. Noela, another great list of reads!! Thanks so much for sharing, I especially enjoyed how you split them into novels versus novellas, WELL DONE :) I also enjoyed The Tutor's Daughter (what a cover!), The Captive Maiden, Marian's story, Carrie's story and Jamie's A Highlander for Christmas.....they are each great reads that blessed me :) Elusive Hope, Love at any Cost, and Pioneer Christmas Collection are on my TBR list, for sure!!! I'm so glad I read and loved some of the same books as you did, what a great year of good books we've had! Happy new Year to you and happy reading my friend, hugs and blessings :)
    *not an entry, just love talking books with ya*
    *waving to my OWG sisters and to my beloved authors here*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's not many better topics than books though, is there KARA?! :-) We'll talk books anytime with ya!
      You're so right about it being a great year of books and it seems like we certainly do enjoy many of the same... You must be a romantic at heart like myself Kara.. ;) Happy New Year and God bless you!!

      Delete
  11. I read Traces of Mercy and absolutely loved it. I must admit I was sceptical, because I do not read alot of male authors. This was a wonderfully inspiring story. I have just obtained Burning Sky by Lori Benton and look forward to reading. I did see a few others I will be checking out now. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm with you KATRINA in not reading many male authors, but I think having Cindy Kelley co-write it with Michael Landon Jnr convinced me to try it, along with the amazing cover and the intriguing story-line as well of course!! You'll enjoy Burning Sky, and I'm so glad to have pointed you in the direction of some other amazing stories to check out! :-)

      Delete
  12. After reading your list of favorites, I'm making a list. Checking it twice. . . Wait, that's all over for this year, thankfully. But like the others, my TBR pile will be growing substantially. Love your reviews, Noela. They're always from the heart and so well written! I'm truly honored to be making the list this year with all my fellow Pioneer Christmas authors, and especially with "our" story. Thank you so much for the mention. This sort of thing keeps writers pumped and motivated. Keep doing what you do. It's a genuine blessing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL you made me laugh MARCIA with the line 'making a list and checking it twice'... Not a bad idea however when it comes to these great books - you don't want to miss out on ANY of these amazing stories! :-)
      Thank you so much for your kind and encouraging words Marcia (we need those too!), you are such a sweetheart and a huge blessing in my life too!!
      I am so sorry to all the other authors of A Pioneer Christmas Collection that I missed listing all their names... a result of leaving this post until just right before Christmas and finishing up on Christmas Eve! But I'd like to mention their names right if I may - SHANNON MCNEAR; KATHLEEN FULLER; ANNA URQUHART; MARGARET BROWNLEY; CYNTHIA HICKEY; LAURAINE SNELLING; VICKIE MCDONOUGH; and MICHELLE ULE!! All incredible authors that have contributed to make A Pioneer Christmas Collection a book not to be missed!!

      Delete
  13. I am wanting to read all of these, but the top 3 are Love at any cost, Elusive Hope, and Gun Powder Tea.

    wwchildren at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish I could give you a copy of ALL of these books WILANI... but since I can't, I wish you all the best with your entry in winning Jamie's book 'A Highlander for Christmas'!! You picked an awesome top 3 - were they to read or that you have already read? You know, I can't believe I actually asked people to let us know their favorite book lol, there's no way I could even just mention one!! ;)

      Delete
  14. Thanks for posting these books! I added the ones that I had not read to my wish list. A Highlander For Christmas is already on my list. I would love to win it!.
    Melissa Battles
    Battles2001@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wonderful MELISSA, you will enjoy each and every one of these I promise!! And all the best to you too in winning A Highlander for Christmas - a fantastic story!

      Delete
  15. I am on the waiting list at our library to read A Pioneer Christmas, so I am looking forward to reading it. Carol centraleast2 at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hooray CAROL, and make sure you look out for my name when you get to read it, lol! ;) They are ALL such fabulous stories in this collection, you'll absolutely love it Carol!!

      Delete
  16. Oh.. I made the list!! You put a huge smile on my face Noela! Thank you so much!!! And I'm in such GREAT company... love your other choices! Happy New Year to everyone!! Hugs and love,... MaryLu

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Always LOVE to make you smile MARYLU, you sure make me smile heaps with your swooning swash-buckling stories! ;) Elusive Hope was such an amazing read, I hope everyone gets to read this incredible story!! Happy New Year to you also with love and blessings from above!!

      Delete
  17. Hi, Noela!

    Always love your reviews/posts, & your kind comments! Thank you!

    ALL the books have wonderful story lines, & I would love to read them ALL. I'm currently working my way through Julie Lessman's books (absolutely LOVE her books), & then would like to start reading Laura Frantz's books! SO many wonderful books, & never enough time (LOL)!

    bonnieroof60(at)yahoo(dot)com
    OWG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much BONNIE, you are very sweet!! Ohh great reading you must be having with Julie's books - I could not believe when I first began reading the Daughter's of Boston series, how good they were!!! Laura's stories will equally stun you too Bonnie! And I know EXACTLY how you feel in regards to how many great books there are and not enough time... But it sounds like you're on the right track! :-)

      Delete
  18. Noela! Always amazed that the Lord connects us through our love of fiction! Am really honored to be on your list with these other fine authors. Mostly I'm thankful for your faithful spirit of encouragement - a ministry in itself. Thanks for the ongoing inspiration you provide. Prayers with you and others here as we move into another reading year:).
    In Him,
    Laura

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LAURA, thank you so much for your sweet sentiments. The Lord has blessed you with such a beautiful gift of words in your amazing stories, and I feel privileged to read and review them... And am continually inspired in my writing by reading yours!! May God continue to mightily bless your books and yourself!

      Delete
  19. Noela, this an awesome list:) I have read several of these new releases, and loved them:) There are a few on the lust I haven't read yet and will definitely have to check them out:)
    Rebecca
    Rebeccahartman07@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks REBECCA! I think it's a pretty awesome list too lol - and you can't half tell what my favorite genre is either, can you? ;) Enjoy all the ones you've added to your To Be Read pile - I know you'll love them just as much as the ones you've already read!!

      Delete
  20. Oh, wow, Noela, I'm honored and humbled that two of my books made your list. I can't THANK you enough. You put a smile on my face and a song in my heart. Talk about sending the old year out with a bang! Happy, happy New Year!

    Hugs, from California

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awesome MARGARET, and a Happy New Year!! :-) Both 'GUNPOWDER TEA', and 'A PONY EXPRESS' from A Pioneer Christmas Collection, were absolutely fabulous and big favorite's of mine!! God bless, and keep on writing Margaret!! :-)

      Delete
  21. Noela, Thanks so much for the shout out for Pioneer Christmas. I was honored to be a part of such a wonderful collection. I read Marylu Tyndall's Elusive Hope and LOVED it. She is a master at storytelling and weaving a wonderful plot with a yummy romance. One of the next books on my list to read is Margaret Brownley's Gunpowder Tea. I've added a few others you listed to my TBR pile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My pleasure VICKI, it truly is an awesome collection of wonderful Christmas stories!!! Oh and I fully agree with you re MaryLu and Elusive Hope! I know you would also know how enjoyable Margaret's stories are, and Gunpowder Tea is no exception!! Glad you were able to add to your TBR pile too... one can never have enough lol. Blessings and Happy New Year!

      Delete
  22. Wow, most of my favorite picks too !
    Blessings
    Linda Finn
    faithfulacresbooks@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cool LINDA!! :) Blessings to you and a very happy New Year also!!

      Delete
  23. I loved hearing your comments on each book... so many wonderful books to read! My picks would be Jody's, MaryLu's and both Julies'.
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you MERRY! Yes, sooo many amazing books out there to read! I love your picks of course!! :)

      Delete
  24. Thank you so much, Noela! What an honor to make your list, and to have gained so many new friends this year! <3 <3 <3 I loved Lori Benton's and MaryLu Tyndall's, as well ... so many others I haven't yet read, but I'll give them a closer look, now. Blessings!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome SHANNON, and thank you for your fabulous story 'DEFENDING TRUTH' from A Pioneer Christmas Collection... what an awesome story that was!! It's been really great getting to know you too Shannon! I'm so glad to hear you'll give these other ones a closer look now, you'll really enjoy them!! :) Hugs and Blessings!

      Delete
  25. Love most of these books. And the authors are wonderful too. God bless all of you
    Chris Granville

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They sure are! As you are also CHRIS!! God's blessings to you too!

      Delete
  26. I can't wait till I retire so I have more time to read these wonderful books! Life is too short!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol, I keep thinking the SAME thing SONJA!!! Blessings!!

      Delete
  27. I agree, I love Julie Klassen's style of writing and look forward to a Christmas present to myself each year! Seven years now to be exact! I may be too late for the drawing for Jamie's Christmas book ~ but... just in case ~ lanehillhouse[at]centurylink[dot]net is my e-mail address! Kathleen ~ Lane Hill House [I notice I use a lot of exclamation marks but they warrant them!!]

    ReplyDelete

Google Analytics