I have read some really wonderful books this year and I’ve loved sharing so many of them with you all on Book Chat with Julie! With Christmas just around the corner, I’d like to recommend a few of the books I’ll be buying for the readers on my Christmas list this year.

Sarah M. Eden’s first book in her new Huntresses series, The Best of Intentions, is a book with lots of secrets, surprises, and swoon-worthy romance. Gillian Phelps is invited to a house party and while there she meets Scott Sarvol. She isn’t sure she can trust him at first, but as they get to know each other through a crisis, it soon becomes apparent that he could be someone she could love. But both Gillian and Scott are carrying secrets that could destroy their newfound relationship. They’ll have to find the strength to trust each other if they want a future together. This was a book I read nearly in one sitting and historical romance fans will enjoy the depth of emotion in the characters, as well as appearances of favorite characters from previous Sarah Eden books.

The Best of Intentions by Sarah M. Eden, published by Covenant Communications, 309 pages, available in softcover, audio, and ebook.

I don’t think I have ever read a Viking historical romance before, but The Call of the Sea by Sian Ann Bessey really brought that time period to life. Rhiannon’s life is about to change as her father has chosen a suitor for her. But before the betrothal can take place, her home is attacked by Vikings and Rhiannon is left without her father. Leif, one of the Vikings that was part of the raiding party can’t forget Rhiannon, and he crosses paths with her again as they are thrust into a possible conspiracy. They must work together, which is difficult as Rhiannon thinks of Leif as her enemy. They do come to trust each other, and feelings of love soon follow, but they will be fiercely tested and their future is in jeopardy. This beautiful historical romance will have you looking up everything Welsh and Viking and hoping for more Viking romances from Ms. Bessey! A must-read for historical romance fans.

The Call of the Sea by Sian Ann Bessey, published by Covenant Communications, 318 pages, available in softcover and ebook.

In the Shadow of a Queen by Heather B. Moore, was another favorite book of mine from 2022. It’s based on a true story and focuses on Queen Victoria’s fourth daughter, Princess Louise. This fictionalized account begins with the untimely death of Louise’s father, Prince Albert when she is a child and follows her into adulthood. Every facet of Louise’s life is overshadowed by her mother’s grief, and Louise clashes with her mother as she tries to find her own footing in a world that wants her to know her place. Readers will love this fascinating account that makes the history jump off the page.

In the Shadow of a Queen by Heather Moore published by Shadow Mountain Publishing, 416 pages, available in hardcover, audio, and ebook.

To Capture His Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen, was the perfect Victorian mystery romance and one of my favorite books of the year. Eva Caldwell is a photographer who has often assisted Detective Nathan Winston in his investigative work. When they both attend a house party and a murder occurs, Nathan and Eva must stay one step ahead of the killer who has set his sights on Nathan and anyone he cares about. A page-turner perfect for readers that love an intriguing whodunnit.

To Capture His Heart by Nancy Campbell Allen, published by Shadow Mountain Publishing, 278 pages, available in hardcover, audio, and ebook.

Do you have a romantic suspense fan on your list? Danger Unknown by Kathi Oram Peterson is perfect for a night in. It has a little bit of everything—romance, suspense, and a twist you won’t see coming. Brooke Steward is on the run with her daughter after her husband is murdered. Nearly at the end of her rope, she accepts help from Iraq war veteran Michael Calder. But the killer has found them. The suspense will keep readers up long into the night, the romance is tender, though Michael’s horses and friends will also hold a place in the reader’s heart as they root for a happily-ever-after for everyone.

Danger Unknown by Kathi Oram Peterson published by Covenant Communications, 310 pages, available in softcover, audio, and ebook.

Healing Hazel by Jennifer Moore was unique and memorable. It takes place in the middle of the Spanish countryside during a Civil War that I hadn’t heard of, but was interested in after reading this story. Hazel’s train is bombed and she’s called on to help the wounded. Dr. Jim Jackson isn’t sure about Hazel, but the medical crisis has him putting any misgivings aside. Their working relationship soon turns into something more, but they are in the middle of a battle zone and danger is around every corner. An exciting and unpredictable romance for fans of history, medicine, and unforgettable characters.

Healing Hazel by Jennifer Moore, published by Covenant Communications, 248 pages, available in softcover, audio, and ebook.

A Lady on the Chase was my surprise favorite this year. I hadn’t ever read anything by Jessica Scarlett before and I was so glad to have found her! Matthew Wycliffe is a reclusive and reluctant hero. Lady Alicia Kendall is a heroine who always seems to be in the middle of a scandal. Their unpredictable journey to love was expertly woven with chemistry, emotions and complex family relationships, generously sprinkled with witty banter. A gift every romance fan will love!

Lady on the Chase by Jessica Scarlett published by Redwing Publishing, 336 pages, available in softcover and ebook.

And finally, suspense fans will love the Sinister Secrets collection that includes novellas from fan favorites Traci Hunter Abramson, Clair M. Poulson, and Paige Edwards.  The stories cover money laundering in France that is action-packed from the first page to the last, to an ex-Army Ranger trying to keep his boss alive, and finishing with a undercover romance that will steal your breath and hope the hero and heroine make it out alive!

Sinister Secrets by Traci Hunter Abramson, Clair Poulson, and Paige Edwards, published by Covenant Communications, 304 pages, available in softcover, audio, and ebook.

I would also like to recommend a children’s book that introduces that beautiful culture of the Métis people. A Métis Christmas: Thelma’s Gift is a charming story of Thelma, a young Metis girl, who is getting ready to celebrate Christmas with her family including traditional food and stories of her people. But all Thelma wants to do is her best, most fancy, jigging dance. Stopping for a moment so her grandmother can read the story of the Christ child’s birth, Thelma wonders what she could have given the baby had she been there that special night—and then her heart tells her what gift she can give right now! This book won the Best of State in Children’s Books this year and is a project very close to my heart honoring my Métis heritage.

A Métis Christmas: Thelma’s Gift by Julie Coulter Bellon, illustrated by Mikey Brooks, published by Stone Hall Books, 48 pages, available in softcover and hardcover.

There were so many good books released this year. I can’t wait to gift these to my friends. There’s nothing better than snuggling up with a soft blanket and opening a new book. I wish I could highlight all of my favorites, but that would be a very long list. if you would like to add your favorite books of the year, please comment below. I’d love to hear your recommendations! Happy holidays!

After winning $10 in a second-grade writing contest, Julie Coulter Bellon knew she wanted to be a published author someday. That dream came true and she is now an award-winning author of thirty books. She is also a podcast host for Authors Off the Page and Book Chat with Julie.