27 December 2013

Marian's Favorites of 2013

Favorite Novels

Whispers from the Shadows
by Roseanna M. White

Murder, spies, secrets, war, love, grief, forgiveness, faith... There’s so much to enjoy in this story. The characters and plot were very well developed and the writing is clear and exciting. 

The Heiress of Winterwood
by Sarah E. Ladd

I immediately fell in love with Amelia and Graham. Both are strong characters with flaws—which they must overcome. The storyline is strong and believable. The characters are real and likable. There was never a good time to stop reading—I kept turning the pages and the ending was satisfactory. I’m looking forward to Sarah Ladd’s next book!
The Rose of Lancaster County
by Murray Pura

A fantastic story with great characters and…oh, the romance!! Mr. Pura knows what a woman wants in a romance story and he happily pens it down for us all to enjoy.

Under a Blackberry Moon
by Serena B. Miller

Awesome story about two characters from Serena Miller's The Measure of Katie CallowaySkypilot and Moon Song.
An interesting story with unexpected twists and turns that kept me glued to the pages.

When the Clouds Roll By
by Myra Johnson

The writing style is excellent! After having read the first pages, I was so drawn into the story that I knew this was going to be a great read…and I wasn’t disappointed! This book has an original storyline and kept me guessing till the end. Highly recommended!

Widow of Gettysburg 
by Jocelyn Green

A well written, heart wrenching story set during the Civil War. Very well done!

Promise to Return
by Elizabeth Byler Younts

This author knows how to keep the suspense high and keep the reader guessing. I have shed several tears while reading this fantastic book, so I advise keeping the tissues handy. I’m going to keep my eye on this author and I’m surely going to read the next book in this series.
Misery Loves Company
by Rene Gutteridge

As a blogger and reviewer I was drawn like a magnet to the storyline in this book. What more fun can there be than to read about the main character being a blogger and reviewer, and who is being kidnapped by her favorite author? :-)
Ashton Park 
by Murray Pura

A wonderful first book in a trilogy about the Danforths of Lancashire. I've read the complete series and loved all the books. If you like to read books with many characters and various plots, then this series is for you.

The Well
by Stephanie Landsem

I enjoyed this book immensely! The writing is excellent; the author has a pleasant voice, the plot is very well done, the characters are so real, easy to love, and easy to identify with. From the first till the last page this book is a pure delight. 
A Heart Deceived
by Michelle Griep

This author really can write!! She has an unique way with words that drew me into the story right away. The descriptions are so rich and full, I could almost feel, hear, smell, and touch them. The emotions splattered from the pages—fear, despair, unfairness, hope, love, romance! Extremely well written, excellent research, and a brilliant plot!! 
Stealing the Preacher
by Karen Witemeyer

Not only a lovely cover, but an enjoyable story as well. This was such a treat!
Forsaken Dreams
by MaryLu Tyndall

A wonderful first book in a new series—I enjoyed this book very much. I love the author's rich descriptions and she always creates the best characters!
Favorite novellas & short stories:

Return to Shirley Plantation
by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Our very own Carrie surprised me with her wonderful debut novella. I loved reading about Angelina and Matthew—how they met at Shirley Plantation and how the first sparks of chemistry filled the air. But this is not only a love story—it is war and there are secrets and a mystery to unravel.
Bachelor Buttons
by Kathleen L. Maher

Another wonderful novella by a debut author. This is a sweet love story set during the Civil War. Bachelor Buttons is a lovely story about regular people's lives during the Civil War. Kathleen Maher has a fresh and pleasant writing-style which makes this story an enjoyable read.

All the Pretty Little Ponies
by Murray Pura

This is one of the sweetest short stories I have read in a long time. It tugged at my heartstrings and I sniffled through the whole story. It's so touching, so warm, so sweet, and awesome.
The Painted Sky
by Murray Pura

Make sure to check out this  wonderful series with great characters based on your OWG friends! :-) In this series Mr. Pura has given us an unforgettable adventure in the eight volumes of The Painted Sky!
A cup of Christmas Cheer
by various authors, including our own CARRIE!

I haven't read all the stories in this volume yet, but I enjoyed Carrie's story so much, that I can honestly say it is one of my favorite Christmas stories I've read this year!!—and I've read plenty!

Favorite devotional:

Majestic and Wild
by Murray Pura

Our friend Murray has published many books this year and I loved them all—fiction and non-fiction as well. All his books are among my favorites this year, but his devotional Majestic and Wild has blessed me the most of all the books I've read in 2013! 


  1. That's an awesome list of books you have listed there Marian!! There are many you've listed that I haven't read yet, but most of them are on my Kindle in my TBR mountain! And you have a few of my favorite's there I wished I could have put on my Favorite's List but for the fact it would have gone on forever lol... like Murray's 'The Rose of Lancaster County', Kathleen's 'Bachelor Buttons', and Karen's 'Stealing the Preacher'! All AMAZING stories!
    I'm really looking forward to reading A Cup of Christmas Cheer, A Heart Deceived, The Heiress of Winterwood... and Misery Love's Company which sounds quite intriguing! I've wondered also about Murray Pura's story 'All the Pretty Little Ponies' and what it's all about but haven't checked it out yet...
    Thanks for sharing such an interesting list of books Marian!

    1. MARIAN I love this list now if I only had the time to read all the ones on there I haven't read. :-) There were so many outstanding books this year, I hate I couldn't get to them all. Thanks for sharing your list.

    2. NOELA, I did't get to reading many of the authors I always like to read, like Laura Frantz, or her book would be on my favorites list too - I'm sure.

    3. TERESA, yes, there really were so many good books this year. It was hard to pick the ones to mention on this list. I'm sure I have forgotten some I might have read earlier in the year.

  2. Isn't this amazing how you like some of the same authors I do...smile You have some on there I have not read but are on my list to be read and are on my kindle fire...thank you for sharing your picks with us.
    Linda Finn
    Faithful Acres Books

    1. How nice that we have similar taste in books, LINDA! :)

  3. What a great list of books, MARIAN! I have read some on your list and others are calling my name. They are that close by. lol Some on Kindle---others in paperback. And I am itching to get to them! I am loving Under A Blackberry Moon, which I'm reading now. Don't know if I'll finish it by the time I post my faves, tho!

    1. I read Serena's book in two or three nights. I could hardly stop reading.

    2. I can hardly put it down either (it's so exciting), but out of necessity I have to! :P

  4. Great list of books, Marian!! I haven't read any of them, but there are definitely a few on my TBR list :) So glad to see what books you enjoyed this year, looking forward to see what 2014 brings us for more good reading!! I'm currently working on reviews for next month and reading a book/series by Rachelle McCalla, loving it!
    Hugs and blessings, Kara
    *not an entry*

    1. Thank you KARA. I haven't read much contemporary suspense this year. I wanted to, but then there was an unexpected turn in my life - writing - and not much time for reading anymore. I'm currently reading Brandilyn Collins' new book. I'm sure I should have included it on my list if I had read it earlier. :)
      I haven't read anything by Rachelle McCalla yet, but have some of her books. They sound so good!
      Thanks for dropping by!

    2. KARA, I feel pretty sure you had to have read at least one of these stories!!!

  5. Thank you, Marian! I am honored to be on such a stellar list. I completely agree on the ones I have read, such as Widow of Gettysburg, Whispers from the Shadows, and of course both of Carrie's stories.

    1. I really enjoyed your story and it certainly deserved a spot on my list! Blessings!

    2. Congrats on making Marian's list KATHY!!! And thanks for being such a great critique partner for me!!! Carrie

  6. MARIAN, Thanks so much for including my novella and short story on your list!!! I am SO honored especially with you being an editor! I am so glad you were blessed by the stories and I am thrilled to be on the same list with so many wonderful authors and so many amazing books!!!

    1. Even if you show up anonymous I know who you are. LOL

  7. Marian, just now seeing this! Thanks so much for including me in your FABULOUS list with so many Great books!! I'm truly honored. I love these lists at the end of the year cause I can see the books I missed and add them to my list. By the way Michele Griep is one of my favorite authors.. Hugs and blessings for the new year!

    1. How cool to hear that Michelle Griep is one of your favorite authors. Doesn't surprise me, because her writing is excellent! I very much enjoyed her book this year, just like I enjoyed yours!
      Blessings for 2014!


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