Time to get back to book recommendations! This week I want to focus on contemporary fiction, and then I’ll wrap up the series on Friday with non-fiction.

Contemporary Fiction

Hold the Light and Shine the Light
by April McGowan

The second of these books released last spring, and while you could read them independently, they’re related, with best friends for heroines. Each book tackles hard subjects, but in a way that shows how God really shines through them. In Hold the Light, Amber is an artist who learns she’s losing her eyesight. What do we do when everything we thought was important is stripped away? Paired with a beautiful love story, this one was one of my favorites–so when April said she was writing best-friend Shannon’s story too, I couldn’t wait! And was totally blown away. Shine the Light highlights the homeless problem that Portland faces in a way that shows love along with reality, and also touches on PTSD and mental health issues. Most of all, though, they’re just fabulous stories with characters so real you’ll think of them at odd times forever after!
Hold the Light
Shine the Light
Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations and Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations
by V. Joy Palmer

Oh. My. Gracious. If you need a good laugh, look no further than these books! Gilmore Girls meets Say Yes to the Dress in these wedding-themed, snarky-voiced contemporary romances full of coffee addicts and potato-chip-obsessed heroines, and the men lucky enough to snag their hearts. The heroines are all best friends and roommates, so it’s super fun to follow them into “their stories”–In book 1, Izzy is a bridal consultant in her aunt’s bridal salon; in book 2, we actually get two romances as twin sisters Apryl and Courtney (reluctantly) accept the challenge of reviving their beloved grandmother’s antique shop, giving it a wedding-venue focus. So. Much. Fun!

Love, Lace, and Minor Alterations
Weddings, Willows, and Revised Expectations
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The If I Run series
by Terri Blackstock

This series actually finished up in 2018, but they remain some of my absolute favorite romantic suspense novels EVER, and the fact that you can buy the whole set makes them perfect for gifting. =) The storytelling is stunning, action-packed and thrilling, and the character development just left me thoroughly impressed. It’s hard to make the “romance” element as strong as I’d like it to be in romantic suspense novels because of how much action there is, but Terri Blackstock did a stellar job, building it over three books. Love these stories!!
Mind Games
by Nancy Mehl

This has to be one of the most unique reads of my 2019. The premise is that our heroine, a young FBI profiler, is the daughter a serial killer who was caught when she was a child. Needless to say, she has a few issues–and a burning need to catch others like her father. She’s legally changed her name, but her family’s past seems to be catching up to her when a new serial killer emerges and is pointed directly at her. A serial killer who clearly knows who her father was. Definitely a must-read!! The next book in the series just came out, and it’s my January book club read. I’m so looking forward to it!

A Secret to Die For
by Lisa Harris

This was another romantic suspense that left me thoroughly impressed. Lisa Harris writes a savvy heroine who holds her own against the bad guys she kind of inherits–she’s a psychologist, and one of her patients turns up dead…and has left her in possession of what the bad dudes are after. In addition to great characters, the plot of this one seriously makes you think.

Rachel’s Pick

Bradford Sisters Series
by Becky Wade

Sisters! Each with a challenge to overcome, a charming (and swoony) hero, hidden secrets, faith, redemption, and LOVE! Becky Wade’s series swept me off my feet and I am so in love with this family! There is even an accompanying Christmas story!
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