I didn’t get anywhere near my reading goal last year, despite including audio books in hopes of doing just that. Who knew living close to family could be so demanding? Well, okay, everyone knew but me, but there ya go. It’s demanding–and fun and rewarding and outright wonderful. But it wreaks havoc on my time.
However, I did read some goodies. I read a variety of books last year, but my favorites all land in the categories of Contemporary Romance, Young Adult, and Devotion-Inspirational.
Of the five devo/inspy books I read, I have three favorites and can’t choose a winner from among them. They were all wonderful for different reasons.
Jesus in Me by Anne Graham Lotz challenged me. Dared me to allow God to examine me closer and to heal what He finds. And, through her example, I learned how to let the Lord guide me through my Bible study. I’ve been rewarded with deeper, more satisfying studies ever since.
Keep a Quiet Heart was my first experience with Elizabeth Elliot, but it won’t be my last. Her no-nonsense approach to Christian living is edifying and comforting. Why do bad things happen to good people? Because this isn’t heaven. Don’t know what to do next? Do what is in front of you. Not getting your way? Give in to Him and do it His way. He’s God. You’re not–a comforting thought in itself.
This one took me totally by surprise. I wasn’t familiar with Lori Stanley Roeleveld, but I’ve met Jim Rubart and Jerry Jenkins and trust their recommendations, so Running from a Crazy Man climbed high on my TBR list in a hurry. Especially since the subtitle is “and other adventures traveling with Jesus.” Oh. My. Goodness! I laughed. I cried. I had epiphanies and head-smack moments. I was convicted and shamed and edified and pat on the back–all from a book with chapter titles of “Waiting for the Holy Abracadabra,” “Mom, Why are My Knees Foaming?” “My Precious! Why All of You Annoy Me!” and, one of my personal favorites, “Elephant Repellant.” (Seriously–just read the TOC to be convinced you need to read this one!)
My favorite young adult novel was both tons of fun and deeply impactful. Fifteen-year-old established actor, Jeralyn Rose, tries to keep her faith while working on set and on location. She battles all the typical teenage challenges and then some–and all in the public eye of teen magazines. But teen drama plus fame don’t equal anywhere near what her friend and new actor Mickey Keele faces. Only when he’s working is he safe from the dangers found in his own home. Pure Hollywood. An excellent read by Lesley Ann McDaniel.
My absolute favorite romance of the year was Practically Married, the debut novel written by Karin Beery–an exceptional freelance editor and no stranger to the publishing world. She wrote a refreshingly new plot and kept it twisting the entire time. Boy meets Girl–and tells her that her fiance, whom she’d never met in person, was killed. Fiance, through letters interpreted as his legal intent for the disbursement of his property, left his family home and farm to the woman he never told anyone else about, including his cousin and best friend–the “Boy” meeting the “Girl” who thinks she’s coming to town for her wedding. Twisty, I tell ya! Twisty! This one is juicy fun!