Over the years I read and review a lot of books. Those of you who have been here for a while know this. Reading is a hobby and very enjoyable to me. Each year I try to reflect over the books I’ve read for the year. I pick out 10 or 12 of my favorites to share with you. This year I read a lot of good books and just because I didn’t share one that you may have thought I should have it doesn’t mean I don’t like it. I try to pick my favorites. Below I have listed (in no particular order) 12 of my favorites from the year along with a description and a link to my initial review. I hope you enjoy checking out these books with me and I hope it gives you some great ideas of books to add to your reading list.
- It Will Be Okay by Lysa TerKeurst: Growing up brings change, and change triggers fears. How do kids learn that in the midst of these uncomfortable times, they don’t have to be afraid? Little Seed and Little Fox are facing fears, changes, and brand new things. And they don’t like it one bit! Through this unlikely friendship, children will discover that no matter how new or fearful their circumstances, God is always with them. Just as Little Seed and Little Fox learn to trust that the Farmer is good and kind, children will also learn to trust God.
- Steadfast Heart by Tracie Peterson (Brides of Seattle 1): Lenore Fulcher isn’t pretentious despite her spoiled upbringing. Her deepest desire at the age of twenty is to find true love. However, her father believes she’s wasted enough time searching for a suitable husband, and he wants to marry her off to one of his business partners–thirty-seven-year-old James Rybus. But the idea of marriage to a man so much older is out of the question for Lenore. Kolbein Booth, a lawyer from Chicago, arrives in Seattle looking for his headstrong sister who he believes may have answered an advertisement for mail-order brides. Sick with worry, he storms the Madison Bridal School, demanding to see his sister, only to learn she isn’t there. But Lenore Fulcher is, and something about her captures his attention. Is this the man Lenore has been searching for? She may not have long to find out…
- Rise of the Fallen by Chuck Black (War of the Realms Book 2): A six thousand year war rages and now the demonic Fallen are coming for him—the one man shrouded in mystery. Only Validus stands in their way. Validus is the last and least of God’s angels, but he’s seen much across the millennia since his creation. Empires have risen and fallen as angelic and demonic forces battle in a raging war that will determine humanity’s fate — and the fate of his defeated brothers. Validus finds himself suddenly demoted to a task of apparent insignificance considering the fierce war they are waging against the demonic Fallen, the covert protection of one unbelieving man. Validus soon finds himself on a mission that will push him beyond his abilities as he battles to protect Drew Carter, for the Fallen are coming for him. Legions of them. As Validus races against time to discover why Drew is so important to humanity’s survival, can he stand between Drew and all who would destroy him?
- Fairy Tale Romance Collection by Melanie Dickerson (Books 1-5 of the Hagenheim/Fairy Tale Romance Collection): Melanie Dickerson is the award-winning author of The Fairest Beauty, a Golden Quill finalist; The Merchant’s Daughter, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the Carol Award;and The Healer’s Apprentice, a Christy Award finalist and winner of the National Readers Choice Award for Best First Book. She is a member of Romance Writers of America (RWA) and American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW). Melanie lives with her husband and two daughters near Huntsville, Alabama.
- The Choosing by Rachelle Dekker (Seer Series Book 1): Like all citizens since the Ruining, Carrington Hale knows the importance of this day. But she never expected the moment she’d spent a lifetime preparing for—her Choosing ceremony—to end in disaster. Ripped from her family, she’ll spend her days serving as a Lint, the lowest level of society. She knows it’s her duty to follow the true way of the Authority.
But as Carrington begins this nightmare, rumors of rebellion rattle her beliefs. Though the whispers contradict everything she’s been told, they resonate deep within.
Then Carrington is offered an unprecedented chance at the life she’s always dreamed of, yet she can’t shake the feeling that it may be an illusion. With a killer targeting Lints and corruption threatening the highest levels of the Authority, Carrington must uncover the truth before it destroys her.
- Huntress of Thornbeck Forest by Melanie Dickerson (Thornbeck/Medieval Fairy Tale Romance Series 1): Jorgen is the gamekeeper for the wealthy margrave, and he is in pursuit of the poacher who has been killing and stealing the margrave’s game. When he meets the lovely and refined Odette at the festival and shares a connection during a dance, he has no idea that at night she is the one who has been poaching the margrave’s game. Odette is caught up in a ring of black market sellers of poached animals. She thinks the game is going to feed the poor, who are all but starving, both in the city and just outside its walls. However, most of the animals are being sold by the greedy leader of the ring-her stepfather. When Odette discovers what he is doing, she threatens to expose him, putting herself in great danger.
- Refining Fire by Tracie Peterson (Brides of Seattle 2) : Twenty-two-year-old Militine Scott is in training at the Madison Bridal School in Seattle, yet she has no intention of pursuing marriage. What respectable man would have her? But she has found the school provides the perfect opportunity to keep her unsavory past hidden. Thane Patton, though fun-loving and fiercely loyal to his friends, hides a dark secret, as well. He finds himself drawn to Militine, sensing that she harbors a haunting pain similar to his own. Will they allow God to make something new and beautiful from the debris of their past?
- It’s Good to Be Queen by Liz Curtis Higgs: Gain wisdom from a legendary royal! Longing to deepen her understanding of God’s ways, the queen of Sheba traveled to Jerusalem to sit at Solomon’s feet. In It’s Good to be Queen, Liz Curtis Higgs invites you to join this celebrated woman as she learns how to be bold, seek counsel, admit wrongdoing, and above all else, to honor the King of Kings. Includes Discussion Questions for a single session discussion, and an in-depth Study Guide for multiple session groups.
- The Girl From the Train by Irma Joubert : Six-year-old Gretl Schmidt is on a train bound for Auschwitz. Jakób Kowalski is planting a bomb on the tracks. As World War II draws to a close, Jakób fights with the Polish resistance against the crushing forces of Germany and Russia. They intend to destroy a German troop transport, but Gretl’s unscheduled train reaches the bomb first. Gretl is the only survivor. Though spared from the concentration camp, the orphaned German Jew finds herself lost in a country hostile to her people. When Jakób discovers her, guilt and fatherly compassion prompt him to take her in. For three years, the young man and little girl form a bond over the secrets they must hide from his Catholic family. But she can’t stay with him forever. Jakób sends Gretl to South Africa, where German war orphans are promised bright futures with adoptive Protestant families—so long as Gretl’s Jewish roots, Catholic education, and connections to communist Poland are never discovered. Separated by continents, politics, religion, language, and years, Jakób and Gretl will likely never see each other again. But the events they have both survived and their belief that the human spirit can triumph over the ravages of war have formed a bond of love that no circumstances can overcome.
- Love Everlasting by Tracie Peterson (Brides of Seattle 3) : Growing up in a Seattle bridal finishing school never prepared Abrianna Cunningham to become one of the brides, but now Wade Ackerman, who has always been the reliable boy next door, is indicating he wants to be more than friends. And even the people closest to Abrianna believe Wade is the man she should marry. So why is she having such a hard time choosing between Wade Ackerman and Priam Welby? Watching Welby’s relentless pursuit of Abrianna is making Wade’s blood boil. Welby can offer her wealth and security, but what about character and integrity? Surely Abrianna can see past Welby’s smooth tongue and fine clothes. Can’t she? Caught between the devil and the boy next door, either choice she makes will change Abrianna’s life forever.
- The Golden Braid by Melanie Dickerson ( Book 6 of the Hagenheim/Fairy Tale Romance Collection): The one who needs rescuing isn’t always the one in the tower. Rapunzel can throw a knife better than any man around. And her skills as an artist rival those of any artist she’s met. But for a woman in medieval times, the one skill she most desires is the hardest one to obtain: the ability to read. After yet another young man asks for Rapunzel’s hand in marriage, Mother decides they need to move once again, but this time to a larger city. Rapunzel’s heart soars—surely there she can fulfill her dream. But Mother won’t let her close to a man. She claims that no man can be trusted. After being rescued by a knight on the road to the city, and in turn rescuing him farther down the road, Rapunzel’s opportunity arrives at last. This knight, Sir Gerek, agrees to educate Rapunzel in order to pay back his debt. She just has to put up with his arrogant nature and single-minded focus on riches and prestige. But this Rapunzel story is unlike any other and the mystery that she uncovers will change everything—except her happily ever after.
- Money Making Mom by Crystal Paine : Entrepreneur, author, and popular blogger Crystal Paine shares the secrets of building income at home, using real life examples to from her own journey in becoming a money-making mom as well as the stories of other women from all walks of life. The nuts and bolts of how to make more money from home are revealed in clear steps that can be immediately and easily put into practice. But more than just a how-to book for earning extra income, The Money-Making Mom is a challenge to dream big and create a pathway for life. Paine offers examples and insights about what “finding your purpose” can look like in family, career, and service to others. Readers will find inspiration and hope for a life that’s more than “just getting by,” one driven by vision and the freedom to bless others generously.