Over the past year I have fallen in love with reading again. I’ve always been a reader – I even have a “Great Books” focus that I earned with my Master’s degree at Villanova. But in my work in online ministry and receiving so many books to read and review, I lost my love for it. It felt like part of my job, and I struggled to feel connected with the stories I was reading because I was reading books that “everyone” was reading and not the books I wanted to read.
So here are some of my favorites from the year, with little snapshot reviews & links in case you’re interested in grabbing a few for yourself. Some links will be affiliate links, which means that I’ll receive a small commission when you click through & purchase, at no additional cost or hassle to you. It keeps the lights on around here….lights that look different now that this WordPress update has happened, so my apologies if I’ve officially messed up everything. I’d insert a shrugging emoji if I knew how.
Samantha Spinner and the Super-Secret Plans: Excellent, fast-paced storytelling. Had a “National Treasure” vibe that I loved with a strong, witty, smart female lead. Definitely one I would have fun reading out loud to Madi – she would enjoy the plot as much as the expected (smelly) kid humor.
Jesus Always: Always a fan of Jesus Calling, this 365 day devotional is a beautiful edition that would make a lovely gift. Daily readings are short, which is great for a busy mom, and I appreciate Young’s ability to make Scripture to come to life in a new way.
Arlo Finch in the Valley of Fire: A perfect magical-realism middle grade novel that kept me intrigued without spending too much time on the awkwardness of being a teenager. Enjoyed the podcast with the author almost as much as the book, and am definitely looking forward to the next book.
Christmas Camp: As someone who loves ALL the cheesy Hallmark Christmas movies, this book was the perfect feel-good Christmas love story. It was sweet, relatively drama free, heart-warming, and had a happy ending. What more could you want for a Christmas book? Pairs well with hot chocolate and fluffy socks.
Everyday Holy: I bought this and the next one at the beginning of the school year with all the intentions of reading a devo-a-day with Madi before school. Well. We are on the 77th (?) day of school and probably on day 15 of these books, but I’ve really enjoyed it. I love a devotional that isn’t dated so I don’t feel so bad about missing a day…or 20…
Fearless Faith: Confession – I 100% judge a book by its cover and I ADORE this one. Madi loves how each devo has a practical application and a short takeaway to help her remember the lesson. Maybe we’ll get through this sometime before she turns 16.
Unicorn Rescue Society: Possibly the best series to come out this year – and Madi is getting the third one whether she wants it or not…because I want to read it. The books are full of adventure, folk lore, mythology, and some kids who are either incredibly brave or incredibly foolish. It’s a fine line. But watching them learn to see beyond outward appearances and rumors to discover the heart of a person is worth all the implausible craziness.
Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History: One of my goals this year was to introduce some diversity into our reading lives, so during that best-intentions-breakfast-routine, Madi and I would read about one of the women in this book after her devotional. She loved learning about writers, poets, doctors, musicians, actresses, scientists, and ballerinas – even more so when she found out that some of these women are still alive and she could learn more about them! We’ll definitely be getting the second book, Little Dreamers: Visionary Women Around the World.
All Things New: I love a Kelly Minter “Living Room” series Bible study, and this was no exception. Teaching this study was much more fun for me than teaching my own book (gah…awkward…) and there is something so special about Kelly’s ability to combine her knowledge of Scripture with exceptional storytelling and beautiful music.
Rick Riordan: From the original Percy Jackson series to Magnus Chase (and Trials of Apollo…Heroes of Olympus…) I absolutely adore these books. For as long as I can remember I’ve loved Greek and Roman mythology (and Egyptology…something Madi has apparently inherited from me since her last library book choice from school was about hieroglyphics). These books are fun, fast-paced, full of adventure and relationships and I will never, ever watch the movies. The end.
So, there you have it. A quick round up of the books I decided to read because I loved them, not because someone told me I “should.” What books did you love this year? I’d love to add some more to my TBR list!
Oh…and apparently if you use code GIFTBOOK18 at checkout on Amazon you can get $5 off your book order of $20 or more. Make sure you click over there to read all the details…happy reading!