turn-the-page[1]The start of a new year often ushers in a sense of excitement—the anticipation and hope of all the possibilities that await. It can also bring a sense of loss, a grief over time that can never be regained or opportunities that weren’t fully realized. Either way, the flip of the calendar gives each of us a chance to turn the page in the ongoing narrative of our lives. While there are a myriad of ways to approach this perennial demarcation, I simply want to take this moment to express my thankfulness at having made my way through 2012. I cannot say it’s been a banner year for me, but it has marked a number of personal revelations, many of which will influence the way I think, act, and write. Though my blog experienced a short hiatus due to a number of pivotal personal changes in recent weeks, my focus now returns to reading the stories, writing the words, and sharing the joy (and sometimes the frustration) of it all with you.

And what better way to start the new year than sharing a good book? The following is a list of some of my favorite reads of 2012. Take the time to browse the titles then go to your local library or bookstore and check out a book to keep you company on those long, cold winter nights. I wish each of you a year filled with unforgettable characters, riveting storylines, and happy endings.

The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann offers a soulful look inside a successful man who has lost his first love. “Success guru” Morgan Spencer seeks refuge after his loss but, instead, finds a stirring of life and purpose when Quinn Reilly needs his help to avoid detection from a man determined to exact revenge. Morgan, who prides himself on having the answers, journeys into unfamiliar territory when his solution brings him face-to-face with his worst fear. Well-crafted and heart-touching, this story brings readers the best of romantic suspense. Definitely a don’t miss.

Another good suspense read is from debut author Dani Pettrey. Submerged transports readers to beautiful Alaska to uncover the secrets of a submerged church filled with ancient Russian relics. Plumbing the depths of mystery and a painful personal history, Bailey Craig, returns home to help find out how her aunt died and what secrets she was keeping that might solve this case. Dani’s second novel in her Alaskan Courage series is set to release in February. So now’s the perfect time to read up on the characters and get acquainted with an author sure to find her way to your bookshelf.

To Whisper Her Name by Tamera Alexander is a lovely book, perfect for those quiet nights by the fire. With the backdrop of Tennessee horse country and the blossoming romance between southern belle Olivia Aberdeen and westward bound Union soldier Ridley Cooper, this story is sure to make you smile. You can see my full review of this novel at LitStack.com.

Rebel by Linda Windsor is a great read for anyone who loves action and romance in the sweeping setting of Arthurian England. Filled with all the political intrigue and dramatic flair you’d expect from the legend and seasoned with the perfect balance of authentic faith, this is a great way to go back to another time where triumph is found in the midst of tragedy. Check here for my full review of this exciting read.

Travel back to the Revolutionary War with Siri Mitchell’s The Messenger and get a glimpse of the motives and dangers of those ordinary citizens who chose to work as spies for General Washington. With deep characters and a strong plot, this is a story well worth reading. Read my full review and guest blog here.

Find out what it was like to live in the ancient kingdom of Babylon with Tracy Higley’s Garden of Madness. Based on the story of King Nebuchadnezzar’s seven years of madness, the book revolves around how his wife and daughter battled to hold the kingdom together by closely guarding his secret. Discover how the biblical prophet Daniel and an ancestor to the Messiah helped play a part in restoring the peace. A historical read not to be missed. You can find more of my thoughts on this historical fiction title at LitStack.com.

I’d love to hear what 2012 books were your favorites. Feel free to share your recommendations in the comment section.

Happy reading!