I’ve always loved to read. From the time I was a young child, books have been a way to meet new people, explore new places and go on grand adventures.

In 2017, I was lucky enough to find some great books, both fiction and non-fiction. In the non-fiction categories, several of these books made a life-altering impact on me. Under the fiction category, I found several series that were wonderful and had me staying up way too late because I had a hard time putting them down (what every author wants to hear!). Keep in mind, I read a lot of young adult and middle grade novels because that is what I am currently writing. These series might be a great fit if you have tweens or teens in the house. 🙂

 

Non-fiction

The Real God by Chip Ingram

In this book, Ingram starts with several chapters on how important it is to truly know God. He then takes a deep look at seven attributes of God: sovereignty, goodness, holiness, wisdom, justice, love and faithfulness. While most of this information won’t be new for those who have been believers for any length of time, it was a great way to start my year in 2017. I actually spent quite a bit of time on each chapter, devoting an entire week to each one. I know not everyone will want to do that, but this book is such a great way to remind ourselves about who God really is and how He wants us to see Him. I wrote a longer review that you can find HERE.

All Things New by Jon Eldridge

I started the year with The Real God, and All Things New is one of the last non-fiction books I read in 2017. It was like a breath of fresh air. The whole idea of the book is that eternity is not some boring, eternal church service, but life as it was meant to be lived before the Fall. He backs up his thoughts with a lot of Scripture, and it is hard not to find his vision refreshing and invigorating. This is a great read if you are feeling a bit hopeless. I wrote a longer review that you can read HERE.

Nothing to Prove: Why We Can Stop Trying So Hard by Jennie Allen

I had heard a lot about this book from various bloggers. To be honest, I kind of resisted reading it at first because sometimes popularity doesn’t really translate into depth. When I found it on my library book shelf though, I decided to give it a try, and I am so glad I did. Her book points us from the exhausting and often discouraging efforts of striving to do more and be more, to resting in the life-giving reality of resting in Jesus. I wrote down pages of quotes from this book because it has so much truth on each page.

Reading People by Anne Bogel

I am a personality nerd. I have taken just about every personality test given, and I find it endlessly fascinating. I love to know why people do the things they do and why they are the way they are. Bogel goes into the major personality typing systems out there, and then she explains how they work and what they can do for you. I was particularly enthralled with her indepth explanation about the cognitive functions related to the Myers-Briggs types. I had so many ah-ha moments while reading this book. While personality typing is fun for me, it also serves a larger purpose. By understanding how different personality types deal with conflict, why they need alone time or even how they express joy, we can learn to love and get along better with those who are important to us.

Finish by Jon Acuff

This was not a Christian book, but as someone who struggles with follow through, I found this book both encouraging and practical. The book is enjoyable to read just because Acuff is so funny, but he also has a lot of hands-on research to back up his advice. Acuff offers a 30 Days of Hustle program, and when a researcher came to him to ask to study the results, Acuff was surprised at what helped people finish. Things like cutting goals in half, extending deadlines and having fun seem counterintuitive, but actually, they are ways people successfully reach their goals. This is a great read for this time of year when all those resolutions are still fresh.

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohllenben

I have always been a nature nerd. When I was a kid, I loved nothing more than to have my parents take me to the local plant nursery so I could wander around looking at all the various houseplants. I even had a bookcase filled with plants, with each shelf hooked up with special lighting. So, the idea that trees in a forest ecosystem can communicate to each other totally caught my attention. While this book might not be everyone’s cup of tea, I found the ways trees communicate, raise young trees and even sound alarms through their roots absolutely fascinating.

Fiction

The Ember Falls Series by S.D. Smith

If you love sword-wielding rabbits, this is the series for you! This is definitely a hero’s quest type of story. The series starts with The Green Ember and introduces us to the siblings, Heather  and Picket. The two are living an ordinary, peaceful existence until tragedy strikes their home, dragging them into a much bigger story that threatens their whole world.  The story picks up in The Ember Falls with the kingdom on the verge of war, and Heather and Picket are forced to once again play roles that feel too big and overwhelming for them.

 Fairytale Reform School series by Jen Calonita

This is a fun series that features plucky heroine Gilly. She isn’t bad, exactly, but with five little brothers and sisters, all living in a boot without enough resources, Gilly isn’t above stealing what she needs. She’s very good at it – until she gets caught and sentenced to three months at Fairytale Reform School where all the teachers are reformed villains. She soon finds that there is a battle brewing. The series includes Flunked, Charmed, and Tricked with a fourth installment, Switched coming out soon.

The Secrets of the Pied Piper series by Matthew Cody

There are three books so far in The Secrets of the Pied Piper series: The Peddler’s Road, The Magician’s Key, and the Piper’s Apprentice. Do you ever wondered what happened to the children led off by the Pied Piper? Pink-haired Max and her little brother, Carter, are stuck in modern-day Hamelin with their father . . . until they are also led away by the Piper to a place called the Summer Isle. There they meet the original stolen children, who haven’t aged a day and who have formed their own village, vigilantly guarded from the many nightmarish beings that roam the land. The series follows the saga of trying to get everyone back home where they belong.
So, what books did you love in 2017? I’d love to hear your suggestions!

 

 

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