Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Suzie’s Short and Sweet Top Ten Books of 2012

by Suzie Johnson
Many of the books on my list have been reviewed here, either by me or one of the other Inkies. So instead of recapping reviews, I’m simply giving the skinny on my top favorites reads of the year.

There are only a few rules for inclusion on my list, but they’re important rules if a book is to live long and prosper on my keeper shelf.
  • If a book is contemporary, I have to fall so deeply in love with the characters that I’m totally pulled into their lives. I tend to get bored easily, so this is vital to hold my attention. I have to be invested in the characters in order to keep reading.
  • If a book is historical, it must be so vivid that it sweeps me into the timeframe. I have to fall in love with the setting as well as the characters.
  • If the book is not women’s fiction or a romance, it needs to bring me to tears, split my sides with laughter, or keep me on the edge of my seat.
Each book on this list is a book I loved. They all had wonderful characterization, heart-tugging emotion, and an engaging style. I hope you'll find at least one book here that you'd like to read. This list likely would have ended up being longer, but my reading time was limited this past year and my 2012 TBR is still quite large.

Now that we have that out of the way, here is my list in order of category (for those who only read Christian fiction, please note that those marked with an asterisk* are not Christian fiction):

Historical Novels

Love in Three-Quarter Time by Dina Sleiman
Set in Virginia in 1817, a young woman with a heart for dancing sets out to use her talent to save her mother and sisters from poverty. A job teaching dance to two young women brings her face-to-face with her former beau. Getting to know each other again opens their eyes to new discoveries.

At Every Turn by Anne Mateer
It’s 1916 and Alyce Benson is the only woman in town with a car. With her sense of adventure and heart of gold, she ends up driving on a race track to try and win money she for children in Africa.

Glamorous Illusions by Lisa Bergren
After Cora Kensington’s parents die, she learns she’s really the illegitimate daughter of a wealthy man. When he sends her on a trip to Europe with her newfound siblings, they shun her and Cora finds herself turning to their handsome tour guide.

Contemporary Novels

The Mother Road by Jennifer AlLee
Infertility, a cheating husband, and a parent with Alzheimer’s, send Natalie on a road trip she really doesn’t want to take – especially with her pregnant sister. Their journey down Route 66 is of sibling rivalry, deep emotions and the perfect balance of love and humor.

Navy Rules* by Geri Krotow
It was really a joy to discover this romance novel set on Whidbey Island. A wounded Navy pilot and a widowed mother of two have much more in common than her therapy dog. When Max learns he’s the father of Winnie’s youngest daughter, he has to put aside his feelings of betrayal so he and Winnie can find their way back together.

Angels at the Table* by Debbie Macomber
This Christmas novel features mischievous angels, Shirley, Goodness and Mercy as they train a new angel while trying to keep out of trouble. The last thing they want to do is stir up trouble in the budding romance between a struggling restaurant owner and a food critic.

My Stubborn Heart by Becky Wade
In need of a break from her job as a social worker, Kate decides to spend the summer helping her grandmother restore an old house. With the help of her grandmother and some quirky senior citizens, Kate tries to get to know a man who’s hiding from life and from love.

Suspense Novels

Double-Blind by Brandilyn Collins
After Lisa agrees to enter a clinical trial for depression, she wakes up from surgery feeling great until she starts having visions of a murder – visions she sees through the murder’s eyes.

A Heartbeat Away by Harry Kraus
When she has an emergency heart transplant, Dr. Tori Taylor gets more than just a new heart. She starts having dreams and memories that send her on the trail of a murderer.

Submerged by Dani Pettrey
When Bailey returns to her hometown to bury her aunt, she plans to leave as soon as possible. She left town in shame, and never intended to come back. Before she can leave, she’s swept into a mystery along with her former boyfriend. Underwater secrets, murder, and Russian artifacts propel this novel set in Alaska.

What are some of your favorite books of last year? 

Suzie Johnson’s debut novel, No Substitute, a contemporary inspirational novel, is out now from White Rose Press of The Pelican Book Group. She is a regular contributor to the Inkwell Inspirations blog, a member of ACFW, RWA, and is the cancer registrar at her local hospital. Suzie and her husband are the parents of a wonderful grown son who makes them proud every day – even though he lives way too far away. Suzie and her husband live in the Pacific Northwest with their naughty little cat on an island that is definitely not tropical. You can visit her at the following places:


  1. nice list, Suzie. I think I have Glamorous Illusions on my Kindle. Yes, I have so many that I'm not even sure anymore (see previous post from Dina on Free Kindle Addiction...)

    I just started At Every Turn!

    Oh how I wish I had more time to read.

  2. Thanks for the great list, Suzie, and thanks so much for the honor of including me. I did this last week on my group blog. I thoroughly and completely enjoyed The Mother Road, awesome book. The only other one I've read on this list was "Glamorous Illusions." I really enjoyed it. I think if she'd gotten to the grand tour section quicker I would have enjoyed it more though. And I was surprised that she didn't tie much up and you have to read the sequel.

    Here's my list:

    But then a week after writing it, I read Jim Rubart's new Soul's Gate and decided that this is my new all-time favorite novel.

  3. Sorry, meant on my personal blog. This would be my group blog, duh.

  4. Dina, I was wondering if you had another group blog that you were keeping secret from us. Lol. I will check out your list during my lunch break, and I'll add Soul's Gate to my TBR.

  5. Deb, isn't it a shame that our bodies need sleep to function? We'd sure get a lot more books read if we didn't have to sleep.

  6. Nice list, Suzie. I haven't read Glamorous Illusions so I may have to visit Amazon later today. (Gorgeous cover, too.)

    I may be biased, because I love our Inky books you mentioned (and yours, Suzie--go Rufus!), but I also loved Jen's A Wild Goose Chase Christmas. It was a favorite this year, and is also one of my new favorite Christmas romances.


Share This Post

How Our Giveaways Work: The Official Rules

We, the ladies of Inkwell Inspirations, would love to give free stuff to everybody. Since we can't, we will often have a giveaway in conjunction with a specific post. Unless otherwise stated, one winner will be drawn from comments left on that post between the date it was published and the end of the giveaway as determined in the post. Entries must be accompanied by a valid email address. This address is used only to contact the commenter in the event that he/she is the winner, and will not be sold, distributed, or used in any other fashion. The odds of winning depend on the number of entrants. NO PURCHASE, PLEDGE, OR DONATION NECESSARY TO ENTER OR TO WIN. ALL FEDERAL, STATE, LOCAL AND MUNICIPAL LAWS AND REGULATIONS APPLY. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED.