Monday, December 28, 2015

My Top Ten Reads of 2015

Michelle's Book Stop Top Ten 5-Star Reads of 2015
I read sooooo many great books this year, I couldn't stop at 5. So here are my top Ten. I have an eclectic reading taste. Not all the books listed are Christian Fiction. 

Honorable Mentions: The Forbidden Man by Elle Wright, The Stranger by Harlen Coben

#10 Righteous Ways by Rhonda McKnight
I finished this in hours. I got a little teary-eyed with this heartwarming tale. I can't wait to read more about Samaria in the upcoming novel, Shame on You. It was released late in the year but I had to add it to this list. Great read from an amazing author.

#9 Friction by Sandra Brown
Sandra Brown is one of absolute favorite authors. Once I started I could not put it down. I read this book in a matter of hours. The suspense, the improbable romance, vendettas had me on the edge of my seat. The title suited. Crawford's journey had me tear up. He was flawed, human but a hero. Truly enjoyed this read.

#8 Memory Man by David Baldacci
Excellent Read. The Memory Man had me turning the pages. I was caught up until the very end. There is a new hero, Decker and his mind is amazing. I have read several of David Baldacci's work. I love that Decker is flawed but phenomenal.

#7 Lady Elect 2 by Nikita Lynnette Nichols
I love a big woman confident in her skin who knows how to put herself together. The follow-up to Lady Elect made me laugh and definitely had moments where my eyes bulged. Lady Arykah has a mouth on her but she's fierce and loyal. The ending has me asking WHO said that? For me the Breakout Character was Myrtle. She is a treat.

#6 Jezebel's Daughter by Jacquelin Thomas

Whew! What a twisty-good read. My grandmother used to make soup and what was great about it was that she threw everything in there. But all the ingredients came together for some seriously good soup. Jezebel's Daughter was all that and then some. Jacquelin Thomas had romance, repentance, redemption, revenge, remorse, retaliation, religion which made for a sizzling read. She weaved multiple characters and their storylines toward a finale that left me stunned and wanting more. All I can say is nothing turned out how I imagined and there were a few "Oh, snap" moments in this soap opera. Great storytelling. And look at that cover. Can we say hot?

#5 Secret Places by Vivian Kay

Excellent writing. Vivian Kay should amazing skill when creating the characters. The plot line was so creative. She ventures into a topic that is so out there while weaving in God's redemptive plan. This book was so good I had to create my own event to talk about it.

#4 The Ultimate Betrayal by Kimberla Lawson Roby

The Ultimate Betrayal was the ultimate in writing craft. The dialogue between characters was one of the strongest elements in the novel. Kimberla is a master at dialogue that you can follow even without tags or beats. For me, there were so many life lessons to be learned from Alicia's story. Her battle was between her mind and heart. What she felt was expected versus her own desires. However, the breakout character was Melanie. Melanie battles something as an adult that we would expect to see in someone much younger. I felt her struggle scene by scene. The transformation of this character is glaring. Melanie is a living example of how crucial a role parents play in an individual's development. This wouldn't be a Reverend Curtis Black novel without the reverend appearing. One of the powerful sentiments he says, "there are so many times when we've done things that could have been prevented ... if only we'd kept our faith in God." Can I get an Amen?

#3 - The Favorite Son by Tiffany L. Warren

Tiffany L. Warren has crafted an edgy, meaningful Jacob-and-Esau cautionary tale with thought-provoking lessons and themes . The descriptive language brings the characters and scenes to vibrant life. Friends, all I can say is with all the drama going on, when God acts, He will leave you breathless. I imagine this will be a great discussion piece for many. I LOVED it.

#2 - Mama's Boy - ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Mama's Boy by ReShonda Tate Billingsley is one of the best books I've read this year. ReShonda creates characters with so many layers that you have to keep turning the pages to learn more about them. This was a remarkable journey of forgiveness and never say never. You never know what you would do until you're in a situation, so it's best not to judge. One of the most powerful lines I read was, "You can't help anyone face their demons, when you're helping justify their actions." How true that is.

#1 - Stand Your Ground - Victoria Christopher Murray

Victoria Christopher Murray is the mistress of first lines. From the very first sentence to the last I was drawn into the story of two women: Janice and Meredith. Two women from different worlds who share one thing in common: death. With artful descriptions, Victoria put me inside their hearts and minds. I did not just enjoy this read, I lived it. I lived every scene on BOTH sides! I finished it in hours. I had to. When I read the last line, I knew that I had been schooled. I had seen the impact of Stand Your Ground laws and I knew this book would stay with me, always. There is forgiveness, love, twists, turns but above all: Truth. Real. Insightful. Unadulterated and told without apology. A must read.

I had so so many to choose from but this pivotal MOMENT so eloquently described is my absolute favorite from Stand Your Ground.

"We weren’t friends. But we were something. We were two women. Two mothers. One with a son and one without. We were two people whose lives were forever linked and forever changed. We were Janice Johnson and Meredith Spencer. Forever hopelessly connected." Quoted with permission from Stand Your Ground.