LDS (Mormon fiction): Shannon’s Mirror, by Luisa M. Perkins
- I think a girl/woman of any age can enjoy this book, LDS or not. Thirteen years ago, a friend of mine mentioned this book; the title stuck in my head until I finally bought it a few years ago. It is a very beautiful, but very sad story, about how the quest for perfectionism (which I, as a former LDS woman, struggled with) can lead to heartache and destruction.
Christian fiction: Any books by Linda Hall
- This is the kind of Christian fiction I like–where Christians are real people who question things. Rich in character, and description, too, but in a way that paints a picture as you read rather than slowing the momentum of the story.
Harlequin romance: Redeeming Claire, by Cynthia Rutledge
- Good Harlequin romances are as hard to find as an adverb in a Stephen King novel (or so I’ve heard), but this one is a gem because again, Christians are portrayed as regular people, not holier-than-thou or square as Wally Cleaver. And it’s actually funny!
Mainstream romance: Small Town Girl, by LaVyrle Spencer
- I’ve read this book several times, and will read it several more. It’s about a country music star who goes back home to help her mother and ends up falling in love with the one boy, now a man, whom she taunted all through high school. The fact that Poplar Bluff, Missouri, the little town I was born in, was mentioned, was a bonus.
Memoir: In My Hands: Memories of a Holocaust Rescuer, by Irene Gut Opdyke
- Though the subject matter isn’t unique, the voice was.
Biography: Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood, by Suzanne Finstad
- I’ve been a fan of Natalie ever since I saw her as a little girl in “Miracle on 34th Street”, for she reminded me so much of myself when I was at that age. She also personified physical beauty that did not come in blond hair and blue eyes (which I, and every other girl I knew, wanted growing up). This book read like creative nonfiction. I do think one would have to be at least a lukewarm fan to get pleasure from this book.
Chick lit: Confessions of a Shopaholic, by Sophie Kinsella
- Story and protagonist are hilarious (though I hope Becky learns her lesson by the end of the series).
Beach read: The Sunday Wife, by Cassandra King
- Though the author’s personal views are quite different from my own (and were presented in a very one-dimensional way), I enjoyed this because the friendship of two women was the focus, relegating the romance to the background. Again, a bonus was that Pensacola, Florida (“The Buckle of the Bible Belt”/”The Redneck Riviera”), the town where I live, was mentioned.
Gothic horror: Flowers in the Attic, by V.C. Andrews
- I first read this book in high school and was hooked on V.C., till her ghostwriter became a hack. I love this book because it’s just the kind of story I like to write.
Children’s book: Many Moons, by James Thurber
- I had read this book once, many years when I was in elementary school, and it stayed with me for almost 30 years, after I had my own daughter. It epitomizes one of my favorite scriptures, “…and a little child shall lead them.” (Isaiah 11:6)
On writing: Self-Editing for Fiction Writers: How to Edit Yourself into Print, by Renni Browne, Dave King and George Booth
- This book opened my eyes on how to break my stories up into scenes–how to show, rather than tell.
Best nonfiction/religious book (besides the Bible): What if Jesus Had Never Been Born?: The Positive Impact of Christianity in History, by Dr. D. James Kennedy and Jerry Newcombe
- This was an enlightening book. I’d never thought about how life might be different had Jesus not come yet. Whether or not you’re a Christian, I think it makes for a thought-provoking read.