2017 provided us with a fantastic new library of books to devour! I’m somewhat slow to the game of finding new books, but I always appreciate an objective and reliable book suggestion. After pouring through many amazing books, traveling to new lands and distant times, these five came out as my favorite for this year’s reading list. Not all are new releases, but I discovered these five books this year, and they deserve a spot on the best books list.
From A Distance by Tamera Alexander
Fiery, determined Elizabeth Westbrook, a hopeful photojournalist, treks out west to the wild Colorado Territory. Using this new-fangled invention called a camera, she carefully manages the intricate process of capturing nature’s beauty in order to secure herself a new career in a field where women have yet to advance. As she hunts down stories and photographs the mountains’ majesties, she stumbles upon a murder. After Elizabeth finds herself the target of a breaking-and-entering, where her camera and all of her equipment are destroyed, her disgruntled guide unwillingly escorts her through dangerous territory to acquire a photograph that will determine her destiny.
Tamera Alexander takes her readers to soaring heights and harrowing lows on this Historical Inspirational Romance. She paints pictures and phrases the narration in a way that will take your breath away. I often found myself trudging with Elizabeth among the dusty old west town, chilled to the bone along the wintry mountain passes, and absorbing heart-wrenching scenes of the bloody battle fields of the Old South. Ms. Alexander offers a vivid homage to the hearty grit of those people who forged life out of the wily west.
Escape From Witchwood Hollow by Jordan Elizabeth
After losing her parents in the horrific terrorist attack on the Twin Towers, fifteen-year-old Honoria and her older brother leave New York City with their aunt and uncle, and move to the small town of Arnn. Honoria receives constant warnings of the dangerous forest outside Arnn, the forest named Witchwood Hollow. In the lure of Witchwood Hollow's perpetual darkness, Honoria finds hope, when she’s told to fear.
Honoria pushes boundaries and borders, venturing under the dark umbrella where so many have gone before, and never returned. She seeks the truth behind the madness, risking numerous lives in the process.
From the first page to the last, I couldn't put down this thrilling YA Fantasy. While we meet a different kind of heroine, we also meet a different kind of 'witch.' One poignantly considers titles and the boxes into which we put people after reading the stories tumbling from the impenetrable borders of Witchwood Hollow.
A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray
Marguerite chases her father's killer through multiple dimensions. She uses her father’s invention, called the Firebird, which allows users to jump into multiple universes.
Marguerite refuses to let the man who destroyed her family go free. She races after her father’s assistant, Paul, across the multi-verse, always leaping into another version of herself. But she also meets alternate versions of the people she knows—including Paul, whose life entangles with hers in increasingly familiar ways. Before long she begins to question Paul's guilt—as well as her own heart. She quickly discovers the truth behind her father's death is far more sinister than she expected.
A book reviewer friend of mine recommended this Young Adult Sci Fi to me, if anything because the cover is absolutely stunning. All three books in the trilogy have amazing cover art. What I loved most about A Thousand Pieces of You was the multi-verse premise, of moving through dimensions but not through time. Imagine if every possible version of your plotline could play out but the people would still exist in some shape or form. Ms. Gray explained the science behind it in a believable manner and then created a story so intriguing, characters so unique, and a romantic tension so thrilling, that I took my time devouring this feast of a novel and adored every second. But get ready. Here’s your warning. If you pick this one up, have the next two readily available.
The Librarian and the Spy by Susan Mann
Adventure-hungry librarian Quinn Ellington solves mundane mysteries for library patrons until handsome “insurance” agent James Lockwood appears at the counter. Requesting her aid, he quickly captures her attention and utilizes her problem-solving capabilities, the fruition of many years of work within the walls of a library. Together the two decode mysterious antique messages and unearth a priceless work of art. Unfortunately for the duo, a ruthless arms dealer has been tracking their movements. Among fast cars, heart-stopping intrigue, and international travel, the unlikely pair must crack the codes and solve the case before more people go missing…or end up dead.
From page one of this Contemporary—Fiction—I’m truly not sure of the genre, because it was a light romance, a sweet read, an action-packed escapade, and a thrilling mystery all wrapped in a fun package. The cover is not awesome and does not convey the puzzling adventure within. But this was probably one of my top reads for the year because of its fresh voice, fun story, and the captivating mystery that kept me laughing, guessing, and blushing until the final page turn.
Hope In Cripple Creek by Sara R. Turnquist
Katherine Matthews, a newly hired teacher, returns to her home of Cripple Creek to face her demons, a haunted past, and a future riddled with loss. A health scare quickly turns to epidemic, while Cripple Creek grows plagued with illness and death. Katherine finds herself volunteering to work among the sick, taking her career, and her life, in her hands. Within the borders of the classroom-turned hospital, she makes an irrevocable promise. As a result, her life—and others’—will never be the same.
Ms. Turnquist provides a delightful Inspirational Historical Fiction story of a girl following her heart, even when it forges into the wild unknown. About halfway through I just started grinning and almost couldn't stop, except a few times when my eyes widened in shock. I couldn't put this one down. Romance, heartache, a headstrong heroine, and some twisty characters who don't know how to keep their hands to themselves, the bunch of them make up the fascinating little town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. The challenges Katherine faces spoke to my heart, and I think a lot of women will appreciate the struggle and how she manages it. It's a quick read with great pacing, lovely characters, a fun setting, and I wanted it to be longer. Grab this one RIGHT NOW. You will love it.
May this coming year bring fantastic finds, electric discoveries, and stunning new territory to explore. You know you need a little more book magic in your life! I hope you will pick up one of these along the way to help carry you through time and space. Happy reading!
Fierce yet sparkly, Kadee Carder helps seekers find brave new worlds. The goal is magic, the medium is ink, and the fuel is coffee. And sometimes pizza. She teaches writing on the university level when she’s not dancing around the living room with her family, lifting heavy at the gym, traveling the planet, or bingeing superhero shows.
INSURRECTION, INCOMPLETE, INDELIBLE, HERE BE DRAGONS, and non-fiction inspirational IGNITE roll out perilous motives, twisty plots, and daring protagonists. Grab some real estate and your copy of her latest adventure, and follow along at KadeeCarder.com.
Author of the Landry's True Colors Series, the Cecily Taylor Series, the Star Series, and Dating the It Guy.