2013's Best in Fiction

Six months ago, I declared on Twitter that I could already make a “best of” 2013 fiction list. Seriously, that is how wonderful the year had been – credit for that goes to authors and the publishing houses that have recognized all of this talent. The following six months were just as grand – full of adventure, romance and so much poignant “food for thought.” Christian fiction has challenged me this year in ways it never has, and as a result, I have many favorites to show for it; more than the “top ten” usually seen in these end-of-the-year memes.

Yesterday, I posted favorite movies/TV shows, I saved the best for last, here are the best of 2013's fiction.

Books:

Wow. Christian fiction basically blew me away this year. What’s below was spiritually challenging and some of these titles were merely “fun,” which mainly applies to secular fiction. Some of these weren't published in 2013, however that's when I read them, so I *had* to include them on this list plus there are more than just 10 below (who can keep it narrowed down that low) and I'm sure that even at that, I forget some novels!
 
 Against the Tide by Elizabeth Camden ■ Anomaly by Krista McGee
Barefoot Summer by Denise Hunter
Bleeding Heart by Amber Stokes ■ The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Hietzmann
 
Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay ■ The Elite by Kiera Cass ■ Glittering Promises by Lisa T. Bergren ■ Made to Last by Melissa Tagg ■ Once Upon a Prince by Rachel Hauck
 Rules of Murder  by Julianna Deering ■ Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks 
Shattered and Stranded by Dani Pettrey ■ Trapped by Irene Hannon
 Undeniably Yours by Becky Wade ■ When a Secret Kills by Lynette Eason
 
...and that's a wrap for 2013. Another year, another fabulous line-up.
 
Now, it's your turn; what are some of the books or anything else that made your favorites list.
I'd love to know! 

52 comments:

  1. I agree...this was an exceptionally good year for Christian fiction! :) Your reviews of Barefoot Summer and Undeniably Yours definitely make me want to branch out from my historical fiction comfort zone. :) And I want to give Kiera Cass' series a try this year, too. The covers are awesome.

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    1. ...I was seriously blown away by the fiction this year, Kristin. So many of these stories touched me where past years haven't. Here's hoping 2014 has that same momentum. :)

      Barefoot Summer was beautiful (one of THE best) and Undeniably Yours has Becky's trademark prose for being unique. If you liked, The Hunger Games, you should try Kiera's writing; it's a similar story (or concept) without the same gritty violence and gives the character's more free will.

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  2. Great list!! I know what you mean, there were so many good books released that I had a hard time narrowing it down. :D

    Happy New Year!!

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    1. I just couldn't hold it to the popularly coined "top ten" phrase, Rosie. It was quite impossible. Looking forward to reading your list - and same to you! Happy 2014. :)

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  3. Nice list, Rissi! I've read some of these, and some of them are on my "to read" list(which I can put blame on your good review of them).
    It's great that you had a good reading year- I hope next year is just as good for you. :-D

    Have a Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks for reading, Grace! I love reading everyone's favorites list at the end of the year. As you say, sometimes it can introduce us to fabulous new reads and that's always a plus...!

      It was indeed a great reading year. Looking forward to seeing what 2014 brings - and chatting more books with all of you. It's shaping up to be grand.

      Right back atcha, happy 2014! :)

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  4. Great list Rissi! I spy Dear Mr. Knightley in the mix ;)

    Happy New Year! Wishing you the very best for 2014 :) My TTT

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    1. Thanks for reading, Lianne - you betcha, DMK is on the list. It was... beautiful. ;)

      Happy 2014 to you as well, friend; 2014 is looking just dandy. So far. Off to read your list! :)

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  5. Happy New Year to you and your family Rissi!

    Wonderful list with some of my personal favourites too. Here is to another amazing book year :) 2014 is already shaping up to be a winner.

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    1. ...and to you as well, Lydia; hope you and your family are enjoying celebrating ringing in a new year. Exciting and scary, right!? ;)

      Loved your list (and will comment soon as Bluehost has a fix) as well. If the early news of 2014 is any indication, it's shaping up to be a great year, I agree. Cannot wait to read-along while it all unfolds. :)

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  6. Oh thank you SO much for including Made to Last. So happy you liked it!! I've read every book on your list but two...so those particular two have just moved up the TBR pile. :)

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    1. I LOVED Made to Last, Melissa. It was a sweet, compelling novel and I look forward to many years of great novels from your talented pen.

      Cool. Glad you found a couple to maybe read - new books are the best! :)

      Thanks for stopping by.

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  7. This is a great list, Rissi! I agree, I've read so many great books this year. :) I loved DMK, Shattered, and Stranded. I also just got Against the Tide as a Christmas present (yay!) and I have the ebooks of both Made to Last and Bleeding Heart waiting to be read. Almost all of the others are on my to-read list. Thanks for sharing, and hope you have a wonderful new year!

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    1. Me, too, Jillian - the line up of 2013 blew me away this year and there are still lots I didn't read. Hooray for Against the Tide, I think that's my favorite of Elizabeth's (so far) and am looking forward to reading her 2013 and 2014 books. So many good to come. :)

      Hope you enjoy Made to Last as well as Bleeding Heart. Both were really good albeit different genres.

      Same to you; Happy 2014, Jillian! :)

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  8. Awww, Rissi!!! This is such an honor - a special, special blessing to see Bleeding Heart on your list, my friend. :)

    I've read 5 of the other 12, and they were all wonderful! That would be Camden's (which made my Faves of 2012 list), Hunter's (which made this year's list for me, too!), Reay's (with many, many thanks to you!), Tagg's, and Wade's. I'm looking forward to reading The Elite sometime - just haven't gotten to it yet!

    Happy reading in the new year! :)

    ~Amber

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    1. Happy to have Bleeding Heart on the list, Amber. It's one of those books I'm going to get even more out of on a second reading. Of that I've no doubt.

      LOVED this novel from Camden. It's probably my favorite so far and leaves me anxious for her last and upcoming novels. Hunter's was BEAUTIFUL. I cannot express what that book stirred. Reay's was charming yet emotional and I'm so delighted it was a good one for you to read also. Tagg and Wade are the new winner's in rom-com. LOVE their writing. :)

      Confession: I'm not quite done with The Elite but I felt comfortable enough adding it in because I'm far enough along plus I can judge reasonably well 1/3 in if I'll like a novel or not. Hope you like it when/if you read the book.

      Yay! Happy 2014 reading to you as well. Cannot wait to uncover the treasures it will hold. :)

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  9. Great list, Rissi! I've read a few (Dear Mr. Knightley, Undeniably Yours, Made To Last, and Once Upon a Prince), all of which I loved....but man, I haven't read anything from your top row! Eek! However, Barefoot Summer is one of the next in my To-Be-Read pile. (I'm the next person in line for the library's e-book version.) I've seen so many positive things about it that I can hardly wait!

    "The Selection" series is on my list of things I want to read as well, but I'm waiting on it until the third book comes out (later this year, I think), then I can read them all in a row. :)

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    1. Thanks for reading, Valerie.

      ...the titles you did read are GREAT stories, right!? Loved 'em all for their wonderful messages or emotional impact or for being a sweet rom-com. As for Barefoot Summer, I hope you can read it SOON. It's a delight; one of the very best of 2013.

      You're smart. Yes, The One does arrive in May and considering the cliffhangers, it's a good bet to read the Selection books all together. Plus in February (or somewhere in there), the two companion stories are coming to print also. Hope you like them! :)

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  10. SO many must reads for me on this list!!! :)

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    1. Yay! Hope you enjoy them, Juju. It's the best to find new reads. :)

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  11. It really was a great year for Christian fiction! I read all but three books on your list - and really enjoyed them all, some of my absolute favorites are on that list! Rules for Murder is waiting on my kindle as I type, and I really do want to wait until the final book comes out before I start the Kiera Cass series. I think I'm the only woman in America who's never actually read a Nicolas Sparks book! I've seen several of the movies - saw Safe Haven, actually - but I've never actually read one of his books. I'm going to have to break down and give them a try. :)

    I have to say, several of the books I've loved this year I've read due to your recommendation - thanks! I'm looking forward to what's coming in 2014.

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    1. Rules of Murder is a fabulous book, Laura - especially if you like Marple or any of the 20/30's era fiction or television. The accuracy and dialogue is spot-on. You're on to something deciding to wait to read the Selection books. They will be more fun to read in a row rather than participating in the waiting game. I'm *dying* to get my hands on The One and am bummed they'll be no chances for an ARC review copy. Ah, well. I'll survive. I pick my Nicholas Sparks books/movies... carefully. Someone ALWAYS dies so if it's the hero or heroine, I steer clear. I read Safe Haven before seeing the movie and enjoyed the film SO much better having read the book first. Hope you enjoy them if//when you do. (The only other combination I've read is The Lucky One though I've seen the other movies.)

      Really!? Thanks for saying that, Laura; I'm just glad that those recommendations turned out okay. It's kind of nerve-wrecking because everyone likes something different. :)

      Me, too. Cannot wait for 2014.

      Thanks bunches for stopping in.

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    2. Finally read Rules of Murder - it was wonderful! Easily one of my favorites published last year. Loved the quick, 30's dialogue and the mystery was well done. Cannot wait for the next one. Honestly, I never would have read it if not for your recommendation. Thanks so much!

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    3. Wonderful! Glad you ended up liking Rules of Murder, Laura! It was one of the best from 2013 and left me anxious to see what comes for Drew and Company next. Cannot wait. :) The period authentic detail down to that dialogue was indeed spot-on.

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  12. Thank you so much for including Shattered and Stranded on your fav's list of 2013. I'm so honored you enjoyed both books so much. Thanks for all your encouragement and support. Hope you have a blessed New Year!

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    1. ...selfishly, I'm thrilled to have gotten TWO books from you this past year, Dani. Thanks for that. I did indeed enjoy Piper/Landon and Gage/Darcy's stories. Cannot wait for what's next and you make it easy to love this family. Thank *you* for sharing them with us.

      Happy New Year 2014! :)

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  13. Ooh, so glad to see you liked "Once Upon A Prince" and "Made to Last" enough to name them in your top ten. :) They're in my TBR, and I'm looking forward to getting to them soon! Lots of tempting titles here. Bless you Rissi! Happy New Year.

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    1. Cannot wait to read your thoughts on these two, Gwendolyn. Both are charming and very well written to boot. Hope you get to them both soon and enjoy. :)

      Blessings to you and yours also, Gwendolyn. Happy New Year - hope it's great for you!

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  14. I just love all these best-of-2013 lists coming past in my blog reading! Of your list I have Against the Tide on my Kindle already and I really want to get my hands on Once upon a Prince and Dear Mr. Knightley.

    Happy New Year, Rissi!

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    1. Me, too, Birdie. I LOVE reading everyone's favorites list. It's a break from the usual reviews plus can be a great way to discover new novels. :)

      Love Against the Tide (Elizabeth is a very talented lady) and I think you'll really like Dear Mr. Knightley. 'Prince' is a perfect fairytale rom-com so if that's your style, you'll like it - plus, oh my! The British accent is PERFECT. Rachel got that down JUST RIGHT.

      Happy New Year, Birdie!

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  15. Thank you, Rissi, for including TRAPPED on your list. What a great way to begin the first work day of the new year!

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    1. Thank *you* for writing Trapped, Irene. I thought it was absolutely perfect for its genre. Loved it and cannot wait for the third novel.

      Best of luck with your new work year, Irene. :)

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  16. I've only read 2 from your list, but I SO want to read the others!! There's just never enough time to read all the books I want! ;)

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    1. ...tell me about it! There are lots I've not read either. That's what 2014 is for, right!? ;)

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  17. I've read the majority of these books and am glad to see some of my favorites included. (#1, 3,4, 7,11). Here's to more reading fun in 2014!

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    1. Yay for shared favorites! It's fun to discover common reading interests. :) I agree; those I didn't get to in 2013 are on my to-be-read-in-2014 list! Cannot wait.

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  18. Such a wonderful list, Rissi. Only a couple that I haven't read yet and now I have them on my list! Thank you! Here's to wonderful reads in 2014...

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    1. Methinks 2014 is going to be as EPIC if not more for the fiction industry. I'm already giddy for the most readily known titles of the first half of the year... it stands to read "part 2" will be just as good. That also includes your follow-up book, Katherine! :)

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  19. Thanks, Riss! So honored you included Barefoot Summer on your list. Looks like I have some reading to do!

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    1. Thank you for sharing this beautiful story, Denise. It was a memorable novel... I'm anxious to read Dancing with Fireflies and do have a copy waiting on my shelf! :)

      Happy reading!

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  20. I have several of these on my tbr. It was a great year and I loved how good the books were. Dear Mr Knightly....Need I say more? ;) Thanks for stopping by!

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings

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    1. Cool! It's fun to meet bloggers with similar tastes, Tressa. I hope you enjoy them. Dear Mr. Knightley... no, you needn't say more. That book was just... well, perfect! Loved the whole thing.

      Thank *you* for stopping by, Tressa - and for ALL of the follows. I'm looking forward to reading your blog and chatting books. :)

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  21. Thank you, Rissi! I'm so glad you enjoyed Rules of Murder. With the sequel, Death by the Book, coming out in just a few weeks, it's so nice to have a fresh mention.

    Bless you for all you do and happy 2014!

    DeAnna (Julianna Deering)

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    1. Just a few weeks for Death by the Book!? Yay, cannot wait, DeAnna. :) So glad it's that close and the next chapter for Drew is near. Congrats on another book release.

      Blessings to you also - and happy 2014. Hope it's a great year.

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  22. Thank you so much, Rissi! I'm truly honored to see that Undeniably Yours made your 'favorites' list. I really appreciate all that you do to promote Christian fiction. I know that it must require a great deal of time, energy, and heart to maintain your blog the (excellent) way that you do.

    May God bless you in 2014! Here's to another year of terrific books.

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    1. Thank you for sharing these stories with us, Becky. Your novels are seriously some of the most heartwarming comedies I've read - I love the genuine nature of the characters and the infusion of comedy. Your debut novel was one of the books that reminded me how much I love contemporary romance - before reading it, I'd kind of fallen away from the genre. Glad to have re-discovered it! :)

      Thanks for the kind words. Blessings to you and your family. And I agree; 2014 is shaping up to be a great year!

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  23. Ohh, looks like you read a bunch of good reads in 2013! I also enjoyed Anomaly and Dear Mr. Knightly, and look forward to upcoming 2014 releases! Thanks for sharing!

    Blessings,
    Bethany

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    1. Both of those novels personified excellence, Bethany. It was refreshing to read a dystopian novel on the Christian market and Katherine's DMK debut was BEAUTIFUL. Cannot wait for both author's follow-up books.

      I agree; 2014 promises to be a fun year. :)

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  24. Missing a few of my 2013 faves:
    Sarah Ladd's debut The Heiress of Winterwood
    Anita Higman's Winter in Full Bloom
    Lisa Bergren's Glittering Promises... for starters ;)

    plus all the Jane Austen variations such as Shannon Winslow's Return to Longbourn

    Great to have all the varieties of writers to keep us all hapPy ;))

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    1. I definitely *need* to read Sarah's novels. I've heard such marvelous chatter about them, and Anita's cover art for 'Winter' was stunning. I do feature Lisa's novel on this list (just not pictured) and full-heartily agree, Faith. 'Promises' was a keeper.

      Thanks for the Austen re-telling/sequel link; I'm always a fan of those. :)

      ...I agree. The wide range of novels/authors is a grand thing.

      Thanks for the follow and all of the lovely blog comments. I appreciate it!

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  25. I've read six from your list! This year has been great where Christian fiction is concerned. I've really been leaning towards reading YA books this year but a good historical or a ww2 novel is always welcomed:)

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    1. I agree, Alicia. This year was incredible for Christian fiction. I was blown away by more than one novel and its message whereas prior years I wasn't. Wow.

      Same here! I'd love to read more YA fiction but I'm skeptical about them because so many are full of profanity; some is tolerable but when it seems like every other word is a swear word...? That's annoying.

      Thanks - again - for stopping by, Alicia. Great to meet you. :)

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