2017 top fresh reads


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Faithfully Bookish

Happy Christmas Eve, reader friends! If you’re like me, you might need to slip away from the festivities every now and then to escape into a story (bathrooms are also helpful but closets are more stealth, just saying!)

Earlier this year, I was reading a stack of books within the contemporary romance genre and I was surprised by the variety of emotions the stories evoked. Amish sweethearts, heart-pounding suspense, romantic comedies, and sappy Hallmark-esque plots are all lumped together within the same category.

Genres, time periods, settings… we love them all! SO, what kind of fictional experience are y’all in the mood for?! Not sure? Can’t decide? I’m here for you! We’re dedicating this final week of the year to the swoof files! Seven lists of ten books each categorized by swoof, my experience of the reads!

2017 top fresh reads on Faithfully Bookish

First up… fresh! This file features outstanding books from debut authors and stories that excel outside of the box. Each of these books has been featured on Faithfully Bookish in 2017 so y’all can get the scoop by clicking the covers below for more about these lovely stories!


A Note Yet Unsung
by Tamera Alexander

A Note Yet Unsung by Tamera Alexander

Y’all, never have I ever experienced music leaping from the pages of a book… until now! This is a must-read for all music lovers and a Christy Award winner to boot!


A Season to Dance
by Patricia Beal

A Season to Dance by Patricia Beal

The artistry of dance and nature saturates every moment of this beauty from ashes tale while heartache, betrayal, and turmoil beg for redemption, restoration, and grace. This debut will give your heartstrings a workout!


Count Me In
by Mikal Dawn

Count Me In by Mikal Dawn

This debut is a delightfully adventurous opposites-attract romantic comedy! I love this author dearly and her story completely knocked my socks off!


My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah
by Angie Dicken

My Heart Belongs in Castle Gate, Utah by Angie Dicken

This culturally diverse story of romance and prejudice was inspired by the debut author’s own family history.


The Esther Paradigm
by Sarah Monzon

The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon

 As much as I adore this author, I was initially nervous about this review because of the sensitive nature of interfaith relations between Christians and Muslims. Everyone needs to read this story! I am so proud of this classy lady, y’all, she nailed it!!!


The Samurai’s Heart
by Walt Mussell

The Samurai's Heart by Walt Mussell

Here’s an outside of the box setting… sixteenth century Japan! Feast on that, historical fiction fans!


Out of Darkness
by Erynn Newman

Out of Darkness by Erynn Newman

This book has been featured on Faithfully Bookish no less than three times this year and no, I’m still not tired of telling y’all about it! Meet two leading CIA agents, one devoted woman, and a larger than life adventure! 


Lady Jayne Disappears
by Joanna Davidson Politano

Lady Jayne Disappears by Joanna Davidson Politano

Loaded with mystery and beautiful prose, this debut novel is completely captivating!


With No Reservations
by Laurie Tomlinson

With No Reservations by Laurie Tomlinson

Another lovely debut author here with her delicious food blogger meets restauranteur romance!


The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck
by Bethany Turner

The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner

I adore this fabulous story and it’s yet another debut! Attraction, dating, evangelism, grief, loss, gossip, LIFE and FAITH… it’s all packed between those adorable covers!


Where have all these fabulous debut authors been hiding?! Welcome, writer friends! Welcome!

Which one of these fresh reads have YOU experienced, reader friends?
What books would you add?



  1. // Reply

    Thought The Esther Paradigm pretty intense and well-written, though I have read critiques stating otherwise, especially regarding the topic of a faithful Muslim considering marriage to a faithful Christian.
    Bethany Turner’s book is waiting for me on my shelf. Erynn Newman’s book sounds absolutely fascinating, though I’m not a fan of love triangles. Still debating if I should give the book a try….

    1. // Reply

      I wouldn’t call Out of Darkness a love triangle. Two of the characters believe the third is dead. There aren’t any wishy-washy affections and relationships are pursued in a faith-centered manner. Just filling in the blanks a bit, not trying to twist your arm 😉

      1. // Reply

        Thanks, Beth Erin! For the record, I hate love triangles too! I like to think of this one as a love triangle for people who hate love triangles. There’s never really any question of what she’ll decide.

  2. // Reply

    Thank you for this fun post! Of these books, I’ve only read A Note Yet Unsung. I have the Esther Paradigm & Out of Darkness, but have not read them as of yet. I’ve been wanting to read Lady Jayne Disappears & The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck. Thanks for the other recommendations too! MY TBR pile keeps getting bigger 😉

  3. // Reply

    Ooooh!! So many good books here! And some I still need to check out. Thank you for including The Esther Paradigm. <3

  4. // Reply

    So many of these are on my TBR pile! Thanks for including mine, Beth! Merry Christmas!

    1. // Reply

      I’d say you have excellent taste! You’re welcome and Merry Christmas to you and your family, Angie!

  5. // Reply

    My addition would be You’re the Cream in my Coffee by Jennifer Lamont Leo. Definitely something fresh imo, and one of my favorites for the year. I’m so happy to see The Samurai’s Heart by Walt Mussell finally get its due. (Congrats to Walt!)

    1. // Reply

      Oh, thank you for the recommendation, Debra! I already have Jennifer’s book on my Kindle so I’m looking forward to it!

  6. // Reply

    Yes! What Debra said. You’re the Cream in My Coffee is really good. Thanks for including A Season to Dance on the list. What great titles and authors to be with… 🙂 Merry Christmas!

  7. // Reply

    Great list, Beth. I’ve read half of them, have 2 more waiting, and 3 on my wish list.

  8. // Reply

    Beth, thank you for the great list! I’ve read “A Note Yet Unsung” by Tamera Alexander. Amazing story 🙂
    Merry Christmas!!!

  9. // Reply

    Fabulous list, Beth! 🙂

    I’ve read and enjoyed Count Me In and A Season to Dance.

  10. // Reply

    EEP! I love this idea!! (as you know) And what a great crop of books!

  11. // Reply

    Each of these books I either loved or is high on my TBR. And I’m so honored that The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck sits there among them. SIGH! My cup overflows! Thank you.

  12. // Reply

    I DIE!!!!! Thank you SO much, Beth!!!!! I’m HUGELY honored!!!

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