My Five Favorite Novels – Vacation Reading

My Five Favorite NovelsMy Five Favorite NovelsMy Five Favorite Novels

I’m always reading at least three books at once.  I’ve pretty much always been that way.  I’ll read one main book that I’m very interested in, typically a novel, and then two nonfiction books as well.  My love for books is why I created the Hello Gorgeous Book Club.  Just call me Rory Gilmore!

I come by my love for reading naturally.  My Mawmaw always had a Danielle Steel novel in hand.  She also passed along her love for classic films to me, but we can talk about that another day. 🙂

Before summer arrives, I thought I’d share five of my favorite novels, in time for your upcoming summer beach vacation.  One of my favorite things to do on vacation is to get lost in  a great book with my toes in the sand.  Personally, I’m an audio book fan, but there is something so delicious about holding a fresh new book in my hands.

These books aren’t in any specific order (except #1 will ALWAYS be my #1!) and they’re a mix of Christian and non-Christian authors.

Five Favorite Novels:

  1. Redeeming Love:  Be still my heart.  Francine Rivers wrecked me with this book.  There will never be another book I love more than this story of Angel and Michael Hosea.  “Redeeming Love” is a retelling of the Bible story about Gomer and Hosea.  The author uses the characters to show us how God endlessly pursues us.  I believe every woman hsould read this book before getting married!  I’m thinking I may just read it again as my next book…  Which will be at least my third time!
  2. Tattooist of Auschwitz:  Name a good book about WWII or the holocaust and I’ll read it every.single.time.  I first discovered this book because of the Goodreads awards, and I’m so glad I found it.  It’s truly a haunting story, depicting what life and love was like in concentration camps during WWII.  It’s not your happy-go-lucky romance novel.  It’s dark, it’s gritty, it’s heartbreaking…  But it’s also beautifully written and eye-opening.  You can’t help but immediately love the main character, Lale.
  3. Candle in the Darkness:  I read this book several years ago and it still sticks out in my mind.  It’s part one of a three part series, each book telling a story about a different woman’s journey through the Civil War and slavery.  The characters are all intertwined and the author does an amazing job of showing the same circumstances from different perspectives.  I fell in love with this author, Lynn Austin, after reading this book and went on to read many more of her books.
  4. Before We Were Yours:  This book was introduced to me through our book club, it was our February book this year.  It was slow to start.  In fact, I found the opening to be confusing and there to be a lot of characters.  The more I got into the book, I couldn’t get enough.  I was hooked.  It was based off true events and I can’t believe that people got away with things like this for as long as they did.  It feels a bit like a Nicholas Sparks book, but in the best way possible.
  5. Something Borrowed/Something Blue:  I watched the movie before I read the book, which is a BIG no-no in my book.  I never like to see the movie first because I feel like the movie almost never lives up to the book, with the exception of “The Notebook.”  That movie was just way better than the book in my opinion.  This book was another one that surprisingly lived up to the movie version for me and I just loved it so much….  Honestly, it’s probably because of John Krasinski, I love him so much.  The sequel was so good and I keep hoping that they make it into a movie as well.

These are just five of my favorite summer reads.  What is your favorite novel?  Let me know in the comments so I can add your suggestions to my want to read list on Goodreads. I love finding new books to read.  Currently, I’m reading “See Me” by Nicholas Sparks and I’m not obsessed.  I’m just getting through it so I can move on to something else, you know what I mean?

Photos by Kara Coleen.

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39 Comments

  1. Stephanie Christianson
    April 25, 2019 / 2:07 PM

    I’ve read 3 of your top 5 books – they are definitely good. I read a lot of different book genres including science fiction, fantasy, historical fiction, Christian fiction plus an occasional Christian non-fiction. My favorite book of 2018 was The Long Way Gone by Charles Martin. He is an amazing storyteller. I couldn’t put it down and cried on an airplane next to a stranger as I was reading it and I am not a crier. Highly recommend it. If you are looking for something more fluffy for a beach read, try Becky Wade’s Bradford Sisters series. They are cute and fun!

    • June 10, 2019 / 7:59 PM

      Thanks for these recommendations! Which three of my faves did you read?

  2. Kristan
    April 25, 2019 / 5:50 PM

    My favorite summer reads are the Summer trilogy by Jenny Han. The Summer I Turned Pretty, It’s Not Summer Without You, and We’ll Always Have Summer. Ive read them probably 3 times so far. They’re definitely in the young adult category, but I still love them in my late 20s!

  3. Angela Williams Baumann
    April 25, 2019 / 5:59 PM

    I am a big Rereader. It is a main reason I love physical books versus e-books. I see them on my shelves taunting me to pick them up, flip through the dog-eared pages and dive in. I just finished rereading Nora Roberts’ Morrigan’s Cross series. I am currently reading 2 non-fiction books (this is a new realm for me) “Girl, Stop Apologizing” by Rachel Hollis and a recently published book by my dear friend Benjamin P Olson “Selfless – Sufficient: Growing in Love by the Power of God”. They are fantastic.

    • Sara Cole
      April 25, 2019 / 9:10 PM

      I want to read Girl Stop Apologizing… I have her first one, Girl Wash Your Face to start reading. I’m curious what you think of it.

    • June 10, 2019 / 7:58 PM

      I only re-read if it’s a book I truly love like “Redeeming Love!” 🙂

  4. Christine Garant
    April 25, 2019 / 6:41 PM

    Hey hey! I could have posted this in book club or GG but my top 5 favorite books are: (1) Sisterhood Everlasting by Ann Brashares, which is the 5th book of the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series which were my favorite books as a teen, but the 5th is about the girls as adults so it is the one I revisit most! (2) The Opposite of Me by Sarah Pekkanen, it’s a total vacation read but to me it’s about changing direction in life when least expect to. (3) The Reader by Bernhard Schlink, post WWII novel, the movie with Kate Winslet was a good adaptation definitely a bit darker but I’ve read it a bunch first in high school as assigned. (4) The Giver by Lois Lowry, a quick read but thought provoking in new ways each time I read it. (5) Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler, follows a group of people in a book club and their past and present life story, I thought the movie adaptation moves the story along better, made me love the book more.

    • June 10, 2019 / 7:57 PM

      Love this list! Now I want to look all of these up!

  5. Roxanne Alden
    April 25, 2019 / 7:33 PM

    Have you read the book called The Red Scarf by Kate Furnivall? It is a wonderful book that I read years ago about a women that escapes a labor/concentration camp in Russia so she can find a way to save her friend. It’s a powerful story about a women and the strength that she has in the mist of war and hiding from the enemy. I think you would love it.

  6. April 25, 2019 / 8:17 PM

    Thanks for the book recommendations!

    Here’s what I would recommend:
    Fiction: WHere’d you go Bernadette
    Non-fiction: The Magnolia Story, Left to Tell, One Thousand Gifts, Love Does, Educated

    Reviews of each one on my blog: KathrynEgly.com

  7. Sara Cole
    April 25, 2019 / 9:07 PM

    Amen, any book about WWII or the concentration camps are must reads for me. I’m a wee bit of a history nerd, so anything history related catches me. I have a few more in the line up to read because of the Barnes & Noble clearance rack. 🙁 Another weakness, but totally building my book collection.

    One of my favorite novels of all times is Water for Elephants…and it’s one of the first I shared with my Mom. She recently retired and loves to read, so I read a book and if I like it, I’ll send her a copy. I told her to share it when she is done, since she isn’t as interested in collecting all the books.

    I’m also the book nerd who goes to a bookstore & has created a list in my phone of books I want to get. It’s ever growing, but handy to be able to add to, because sometimes, I can find better deal in digital version or somewhere else online.

    Also, I’m currently collecting the old Hardy Boys books. I’ll eventually start getting the Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins also. I don’t think I love anything more than an old book. The smell, the idea in my head of who else has felt the pleasure of reading a story and passing it to another. My favorites are the ones with notes.

    Books…”the thing about books, they let you travel without moving your feet”

    • June 10, 2019 / 7:56 PM

      I love your comment so much. Some of my favorite memories with my Mawmaw are related to reading and book shopping. Books connect people!

  8. April 25, 2019 / 11:07 PM

    Favorite books:
    The Fault in our Stars
    Between Shades of Gray
    The Longest Ride
    Anything Connilyn Cossette
    The Guernsey Literary and Potatoes Peel Pie Society
    The list could go on!

    • June 10, 2019 / 7:54 PM

      We read Guernsey in the book club earlier this year!

  9. becky
    April 26, 2019 / 4:58 AM

    Francine Rivers and Lynn Austin are two of my favorite authors!

  10. Brittany
    April 26, 2019 / 6:34 AM

    You should read books by Heidi Chiavaroli – I really think you would love them! They alternate between present day events and events that happen in the 1770’s and 1800’s. She does an amazing job of bringing the 2 stories together! The books she has out are Freedom’s Ring, The Hidden Side and her new book The Edge of Mercy!

  11. Allison Chute
    April 26, 2019 / 8:34 AM

    One of my favorite books is the Nightingale! I read it a couple of years ago after a friend of mine recommended it and I could not put it down, I just had to know what happened. If you like history novels there’s a book called Nicolas and Alexandra by Robert K Massie. It’s all about the last Russian tsar and is very well researched and accurate but while I was reading it, it felt more like a story then actual history. It was truly an amazing book to read and I recommend it to everyone I meet that likes to read history novels.

    • June 10, 2019 / 7:53 PM

      Such a great book! I need to check that one out, I haven’t read anything about the Russian empire!

  12. Shauna
    April 26, 2019 / 10:56 AM

    Hi Angela,

    Thanks for the vacation reading suggestions! Sitting on the beach with a book is my absolute favorite thing to do. It was hard being the momma of three little ones, but now that my kiddos are older, they take off with the other teenage cousins and I’m in beach book heaven. Have you read Outlander by Diana Gabaldon yet? I’m a sucker for a good historical fiction novel. I’m loving the GGs Community and Book Club Facebook chats. So fun and everyone is kind to each other and supportive. You’ve got a good thing going. I listen to the podcasts at night when my husband is snoring. 🙂 Enjoy your summer!

    • June 10, 2019 / 7:52 PM

      YES! Mine too! I haven’t read Outlander, but I’ve watched a few episodes and want to watch more!

  13. Brittany Blackburn
    April 27, 2019 / 11:32 AM

    One of my favorite books is Seventeenth Summer by Maureen Daly. It’s younger; I read it first in sixth grade for advanced reading English class, but it’s a classic about first love, first heartbreak and the summer both happened.

    I also enjoy Catherine Coulter’s FBI Thriller Series starring Savich and Sherlock. They’re a married couple solving crimes together.

    I’m currently reading It’s Not Supposed to be This Way by Lysa Terkeurst. She knows people so well, and this read is so comforting.

  14. Brittaney Smith
    April 28, 2019 / 11:42 AM

    American Drifter is a good one I have read it twice now. I normally read a book twice to really understand it fully but I guess I am used to doing that for school in my honors classes they encourage it. I like to read especially if it is a good book even though I am jam packed with reading my college books.
    Ps love you Angela I am a huge fan and I am happy for some new book suggestions.

    • June 10, 2019 / 7:50 PM

      I need to look that one up! I’ve never heard of it before. 🙂

  15. Tracy Meldrum
    April 28, 2019 / 11:19 PM

    One of my favourite books of all time would have to be Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden

  16. Mimi
    May 2, 2019 / 5:32 PM

    We have the same taste in books. I just finished Before We Were Yours, and share your thoughts. Something Borrowed/ Something Blue are my favorites. I am going to try redeeming love on your recommendation. Thanks for the list:). Happy you are feeling better.

    • June 10, 2019 / 7:49 PM

      Please let me know if you love “Redeeming Love”!!!

  17. Kelli Girolami
    May 6, 2019 / 5:09 PM

    Some book ideas for you I think you’ll love based on what you wrote. 😉
    1- “The Nightingale”….hands down fantastic book but sad, dark, & gritty set in France during WWII.
    2- Any of Shauna Niequist books…”Bread & Wine” has recipes!
    3- “The Snow Child”….something different & unusual for me but very good. Set in Alaska in the early 1900’s.
    4- “The Book of Joy” by the Dalai Lama & Archbishop Tutu…..two beautiful people sharing their wisdom.
    Regardless of what you decide upon enjoy your spring & summer! Thank you for your “real” talk and opening up the way you do.

    • June 10, 2019 / 6:36 PM

      I haven’t read 2-3, but I did read “Present Over Perfect” and LOVED it!

  18. Rachel Gunning
    May 8, 2019 / 8:59 PM

    I am right there with you on WWII books! The Nightingale by Kristin Hanna is a MUST READ!! It wrecked me in the best way… I just love books that take me away from reality and make me feel something deeply.

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