Because I love novels, I thought this post would be easy to write. But then I had to narrow down my list! Um, not so easy. I had to create a criteria for what would be listed here, and I finally decided to post a few of my favorite books that I've read more than once (and could still read again).
Piercing the Darkness
by Frank Peretti
I first read this novel when I was twelve or thirteen, and I was blown away. I'd never read anything like it. I credit Piercing the Darkness for inspiring me to write Christian fiction. I loved how Peretti created a compelling, suspenseful story ... and yet wasn't afraid to shine the light of truth. He wasn't ashamed to share the gospel in his novels either. I really admire that.
The main character in Piercing is Sally Beth Roe, an imperfect woman who's running for her life. Oh, and did I mention that angels and demons spend the book fighting over her (and others)?
I have read Piercing the Darkness at least five times, maybe more. It's probably time for me to pick it up again! If you haven't read it, you might consider reading the first book in the series This Present Darkness first. They can be read separately (I read Piercing first not knowing there was a book before it), but it's best to read them in order.
The Rivers Run Dry
by Sibella Giorello
Sibella is a new favorite author of mine. She was a reporter before turning to fiction, and she's even been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. Her first novel The Stones Cry Out won the Christy award for first novel.
The Rivers Run Dry is her second published novel, and it's been one of my favorite books to recommend these days. I love how she writes suspense that's character driven. The main character, Raleigh Harmon, is a woman who's strong but not to a fault. I wrote a book review of this novel that says in part:
The Rivers Run Dry is a rare gem in the suspense genre, paying as much attention to character development as to plot twists. Even minor characters are created with Giorello’s trademark attention to detail. Read the full review here.
Here's how much I enjoyed it. I read the book on a road trip, then as soon as I finished it I turned right around and read it out loud to my family. You can't read just any novel twice in a row and enjoy both times!
by Jenny B. Jones
I picked up this book and found myself laughing out loud (and I don't normally do that!) almost every chapter. It's that funny. And yet it isn't one of those fluffy YA novels you could take or leave. This one has depth and deals with some tough subjects.
Main character Katie Parker is a sixteen-year-old girl in foster care who's just been sent to live with a pastor and his wife in small town In Between. Her mom's in prison, and she's never really had parents who loved her. She's not all that sure about this God thing, either.
Every year my dad and sister take a camping trip to some remote area of the country where we can just veg out and not think about technology, work, or anything. All we do is sit around the campfire, eat and read. Lately our tradition has been to bring along a novel and read it out loud to each other. In Between was elected on our Idaho trip. I think the squirrels started wondering about us. We were all laughing really loud at times.
And the cool thing is, if you like In Between, it's the first book in the Katie Parker Production series. On the Loose and The Big Picture follow (and are also terrific).
by Renee Riva
Here's another one that came with us camping that we also loved. The main character's a ten-year-old, quirky girl who's kinda like Scout in To Kill A Mockingbird. She's an animal lover to a fault (her parents won't let her visit the pound ever again), has an animal cemetery where she gives proper burial to the various creatures she finds on her Idaho island home.
Her Italian family is also really quirky, but that's what makes us like them. They're eccentric yet love each other deeply.
I was so glad when Renee wrote a sequel to Saving Sailor in Taking Tuscany because I had fallen in love with the characters. I highly recommend both!
Well, you know I could go on and on talking about novels, so I better sign off now!