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I’m a bookworm. There is nothing I love to do more than read, and I do as much of it as I can. I was strictly a fiction reader until after college, when nonfiction reading was no longer required and finally grew on me. These days, I try to read a good mix of both – fiction for relaxation, nonfiction for growth.
Here are the top 18 books I’ve read this year, with nine from each category. Some were released this year; others are older – they just happened to make this year’s reading list. Enjoy!
9. Anna’s Crossing by Suzanne Woods Fisher. This was a surprising favorite. I totally judged this book by its cover but received it for free, so I decided to give it a shot. I was riveted the whole way through! Even though I figured out the ending early on, it was a really good story with an unexpected twist.
8. Misery Loves Company by Rene Gutteridge. This is a crazy, unpredictable mystery about a woman who is kidnapped by her favorite author, and things just get weirder from there. A total page-turner that kept me reading into the early morning and reminded me of something Ted Dekker might write, if you’re familiar with his books.
7. Engaged in Trouble by Jenny B. Jones. Jenny B. Jones is the funniest fiction author I’ve ever read, and this book is no exception. What you will find in this (and every) novel of hers: witty dialogue, vivid descriptions, and hilarious shenanigans that emit literal LOLs.
6. Sunset Lullaby by Robin Jones Gunn. Any other Christy Miller fans out there?! Robin Jones Gunn started a series for teenage girls in the 80s and has continued writing sequel series as the main character, Christy Miller, has grown up, gone to college, gotten married, and now has a family of her own. I always loved the Christy Miller books as a kid and I unashamedly preorder each new novel as an adult as Christy’s story continues.
5. The Writing Desk by Rachel Hauck. This is a newer release that captivated me until the very end. Hauck has a unique writing style in which she weaves together two tales – one historical and one present-day – to create one compelling story.
4, 3, & 2. If I Run, If I’m Found, and If I Live by Terri Blackstock. These mysteries kept me on the edge of my seat and up way past my bedtime for three nights in a row! One of the best mystery series I’ve read in a long time. This is a three-book, super-compelling series about a young woman who is wrongfully accused of murder and creatively scrambles to escape the authorities. I’m so glad all three have finally been released because, trust me, you won’t want to wait to finish the series once you’ve started it!
1. Honeysuckle Dreams by Denise Hunter. I’ll freely admit it: I love me some good chick lit. This one delivers! I’ve never met a book of Denise Hunter’s I didn’t like.
9. Whisper: How to Hear the Voice of God by Mark Batterson. I love Mark Batterson’s conversational style of writing, and here he presents a very misunderstood topic in very easy-to-understand terms. Do you have trouble hearing from God or wonder if you even can? This is the book for you. There’s also a complementary video series on RightNow Media (which is basically the Netflix of Bible studies) if you or your church has access to that.
8. Spirit Wars: Winning the Invisible Battle Against Sin and the Enemy by Kris Vallotton. I’ve shared a bit about how I’ve been under intense spiritual attack this year, so this book actually got read twice in 2018 because I picked it back up during an especially tough week. Until I started reading about this topic, I never really realized how often I’m under enemy attack – I just thought life was like this for everybody, all the time. This book is a great tool that sheds light on what exactly spiritual attacks look like, what kind of strategies the enemy uses, and how to defeat him. I don’t look at hardships the same way after reading this book! As Ephesians 6:12 says,
“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.”
7. Dream Language: The Prophetic Power of Dreams, Revelations, and the Spirit of Wisdom by James W. Goll. This book makes my top list for the glossary in the back alone. I’m a regular dreamer who often dreams seemingly insignificant dreams, and James Goll’s resources have taught me that many of my random dreams actually have more meaning than I realize. God uses dreams to speak to us all the time; we just aren’t always aware of it! This book can help with that.
6. Opening the Gates of Heaven: Walk in the Favor of Answered Prayer and Blessing by Perry Stone. This is a reread. I first read it six years ago when it was released, and even though I took many detailed notes back then, I think I learned just as much reading through it a second time. This is a really interesting book about literal calendar seasons when our prayers are more powerful – a highly intriguing subject that few others discuss as thoroughly as Stone does in this book.
5. The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. I’m embarrassed to admit I had never read this classic before, but it’s true. I’m not much for classics of any kind (My apologies to any of my former English teachers!), but I’m glad I didn’t miss this one. I found myself unexpectedly relating to a lot of Corrie’s story, and I now admire her even more for what she encountered in the Holocaust and how she kept her faith through the darkest of circumstances.
4. The Voice of God: How to Hear and Speak Words from God by Cindy Jacobs. I think a lot of people struggle to hear God’s voice – not to mention hear it and then share those words with others, which is essentially the gift of prophecy – and this book really sheds light on how to do both of those things. Cindy Jacobs definitely knows how to hear from God, and her prophetic gift encourages many. It’s also helpful to hear her stories and get a feel for how God specifically speaks to her, because he often speaks to different people in different ways.
3. Secrets of the Seer: 10 Keys to Activating Seer Encounters by Jamie Galloway. This is another book that showed me how God speaks in so many different ways. As I read through Galloway’s examples, I realized that God actually speaks to me all the time, I just don’t always recognize when he’s speaking because he’s not communicating how I expect him to.
2. The Prophetic Voice of God: Learning to Recognize the Language of the Holy Spirit by Lana Vawser. I’ve really gotten into prophecy this year (I know it sounds a little different but I’m not a total weirdo, I promise! I’ll be sharing more of my prophetic journey in a post sometime in the future) and Vawser is my absolute favorite prophet to follow. Her prophetic words are always spot-on and so encouraging. This book of hers in particular describes her journey of learning to hear God’s voice. Though this can be difficult to learn for many (if not most) of us, she does a great job of simply and humbly teaching what she’s learned throughout the years and how God tends to speak to her.
1. 101 Questions You Need to Ask in Your Twenties (And Let’s Be Honest, Your Thirties Too) by Paul Angone. I wasn’t sure I’d love this book. I mean, I already have all kinds of questions; it’s ANSWERS I need, right?! But this book spoke to me on so many levels. It was the final push I needed to start this blog, and I’m not sure how much longer I would have procrastinated if I hadn’t read Angone’s book when I did. It’s encouraging, motivating, and helpful. Highly recommended!
Well, ladies and gentlemen, that’s my top list of recommended reads for 2018! What were the best books you read this year? What do I need to add to my Goodreads to-read list for 2019?