Every year we look through the books we have read, and pick out our best finds. These adventures are sure to grow your faith and your imagination.

Check Out Our Past Year’s Winners Here

Children’s & Middlegrade Fiction

Shadow in the Dark by Antony Barone Kolenc

An atmospheric mystery set in a convent of Catholic England. A young boy attempts to adjust to his new home while discovering the secrets of his past. A promising debut of Kolenc’s Harwood Mysteries series. Good for fans of historical fiction.

General Fiction

My Son the Father by Jim Moore

The story of a young priest through the eyes of his father and friends. Moore’s writing style creates a very inviting story that makes you feel like you’re at the tavern, listening to Fr. Connally’s dad and friends celebrating the local boy that made good.

Fantasy

The City & The Dungeon by Mathew P. Schmidt

Who knew fighting monsters in a D&D dungeon could convince him that not everything can be attributed to a chance roll of the dice? The City and the Dungeon is a covert Catholic book that is an excellent introduction to the LitRPG genre for newcomers and a welcome relief to die-hard fans for its willingness to take on the theological implications of the world.

Historical Fiction

The Outlaws of Ravenhurst by Sr M. Imelda Wallace

Sr. Imelda Wallace skillfully recreates the turbulent world of 17th century Scotland, where political and religious conflicts test the virtue of men, women, and children alike—creating both courageous martyrs and treacherous villains. Originally published in 1923, this is a hidden gem of children’s literature.

Horror

Deus Vult by Declan Finn

Detective Nolan returns home for a well-deserved vacation only to find himself fighting hordes of gunmen, Lovecraftian monsters, and a demon straight from the pit. For those who have been reading Declan Finn’s St. Tommy books, this makes a truly epic conclusion to the story arc begun in book one. If you are already a fan, you will not be disappointed. If you aren’t, go back and read Hell Spawn, the first book in the series.

Memoir

Help from Heaven by Andrea Jo Rodgers

In this year of tragedy, Rodgers reminds us of the miracle of human kindness. These stories brutally confront the pains and beauties of life. The hope they give is no shallow thing.

Mystery

Murder Most Picante by Karina Fabian

Whatever happened to the dragon after George defeated it? He was put into the service of the Catholic Church… of course? Wounded pride aside, this dragon does pocess rare skills and wisdom of the ages, not to mention wit beyond measure. Now he uses them to find justice for fey and mundane alike. The sequel, If Wishes Were Dragons is a good read as well.

Perfect for fans of Terry Pratchett, or The Princess Bride.

Nonfiction

When Headlines Hurt Do We Have a Prayer by Bill Schmitt

In his reflections on the Pope’s Words of Hope for Journalism, Schmitt offers a helpful reminder not to connect and engage in today’s ways of communication, but to use thoughtfulness. His book is a great gift, for teenagers to adults, encouraging healthy communication and communion. Let change begin with each of us. Amen.

Poetry

Roses for the Most High by Ronnie Smith

I recommend this poetry anthology for those who love poetry as well as for people who are discerning contemplative religious life or just want to know more about contemplative prayer in general. If you are searching for serenity this year, stop and smell the roses with Smith.

Romance

Anyone But Him by Theresa Linden

There are two mysteries that Caitlyn must solve: How did she end up married to Jarret? And how did she lose her memory? One of the answers ties into her job as an investigative reporter. Caitlyn’s investigation of an abortion clinic becomes a potential lead to solving her own mystery. 

Science Fiction

House of War by Carlos Carrasco

In this refreshingly insightful dystopian novel, the United States has suffered a successful military coup. What makes this story different from the beginning is the fact that the coup is a religious one led by Catholics. While you might think that leads to a utopia, this book wisely explores the flaws in ourselves as well as our opponents.

 

Also in Science Fiction

Old Man and the Void by Karina Fabian

When Dex decides to catch the treasure of a century, he is pulled into a black hole and must fight the robotic ghosts of an alien war. A scifi reimangining of Ernest Hemingway’s Old Man and the Sea.

 

Young Adult

Desperate Forest by Cece Louise

This RomCom fantasy adventure explores a princess discovering the realities of life outside of her kingdom and what true love is really made of.

 

 

Thriller

Tortured Soul by Theresa Linden

Looking for a book that puts Christ not just back into Christmas but into Halloween too? Throw in a dash of ghost story, mystery, and romance and you have A Tortured Soul.

 

 

Bridge Books

Big in Heaven by Stephen Siniari

If you have read the classic authors of Russian literature—such as Tolstoy or Dostoevsky—you have likely seen Orthodox Christianity portrayed in fiction. What you may not have seen before is fiction that shows Eastern Christians living out their faith in a contemporary, American setting. Fr. Stephen Siniari, an Orthodox priest who worked for forty years in inner-city parishes, has crafted a brilliant collection of short stories that brings to light the hidden gem of the American Orthodox experience.