Books of 2017

Last year, I read 52 books – so many good ones – and so many written by author friends and acquaintances. Yay, guys! Good work, faithful servants of God! This year, with a newborn in the house at the very beginning, I thought maybe I’d read less… but no! I hit exactly 51 books this year! Hooray! And I had SO FEW duds. Seriously. 48 of them were very good. It was a great year of reading! I leave a star rating to show how much I liked a book so you’ll know if I recommend it or not. Still – READ AT YOUR OWN RISK. I take no responsibility for you picking up any of these books and being horrified. 😛 One of the 2-star books that I really disliked I left off the list this year so as not to hurt any feelings. For all of the books that I rated 4-5 stars, I went and left a review on Amazon. LEAVE REVIEWS! It helps an author immensely! 🙂


Stress: Peace Amid Pressure by David Powlison – 5 stars
A Gospel Primer by Milton Vincent – 5 stars
Because He Loves Me by Elyse Fitzpatrick – 5 stars
God’s Love: Better than Unconditional by David Powlison – 5 stars
Motives by Edward T. Welch – 5 stars
Managing Your Emotions by Amy Baker – 4 stars
How to Survive Your Pastor’s Sermons – 5 stars (Totally picked this one up and read it to the kids. I don’t need any help because Daniel is amazing! 😀 )
Awe by Paul Tripp – 5 stars
What is the Meaning of Baptism? by Robert G. Spinney – 5 stars

The RJ Award for Favorite Nonfiction Book of the Year…

When People are Big and God is Small by Edward T. Welch
EXCELLENT. Every single person needs to read this book probably every year. I know I will! All of us, deep down, are people-pleasers who fear man. Maybe some of us discuss it as “fitting into the social norms” or “fear of rejection” or “perfectionists” etc. But every Christian needs to have this idolatry/fear/wrong thinking cleansed from their minds. In gentle tones with so much depth, Ed Welch does just that!

Fiction – Middle Grade (chapter books read aloud to kiddos)

The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis – 5 stars
The Silver Chair by C.S. Lewis – 5 stars
The Traveler’s Tricks: A Caroline Mystery by Laurie Calkhoven – 3 stars
Benny Uncovers a Mystery by Gertrude Chandler Warner – 5 stars
The Last Battle by C. S. Lewis – 5 stars
The Magician’s Nephew by C.S. Lewis – 5 stars
The Secret of the Attic by Sheri Cooper Sinykin – 4 stars
Heather Goes to Hollywood by Sheri Cooper Sinykin – 3 stars
Keisha Leads the Way by Teresa Reed – 2.5 stars
The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum – 4 stars

RJ Award for Best Middle Grade Fiction of the Year…

Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
I laughed aloud reading this book. It was as good as I remember from my own childhood. I loved it so much, and the kids had so much fun listening to it as well. Peter is precocious, imaginative, and the writing style is comedic and artistic.

General Fiction

World War Take 2 by John Thomas – 4 stars
The One by Kiera Cass – 3.5 stars
Threadbare by Bethany Jennings – 5 stars
Shattered by Kimberly Rae – 5 stars
Good Spell Gone Bug by Laura VanArendonk Baugh – 4 stars
Spellsmith and Carver by H. L. Burke – 4 stars
The Girl Who Could See by Kara Swanson – 4 stars
Dragon Lyric by Bethany Jennings – 4.5 stars
Alan and Naomi by Myron Levoy – 5 stars
The Fisherman’s Lady by George MacDonald – 5 stars
The Dragon Lady by Angelique Anderson – 3.5 stars
Broken Like Glass by EJ McCay – 5 stars
The Marquis’ Secret by George MacDonald – 3.5 stars
My Friend Louie by J.J. Johnson – 5 stars
Seaglass by Kara Swanson – 5 stars
Coiled by H. L. Burke – 5 stars
Abiding Hope by Jennifer Hays Westall – 4.5 stars
Who Needs Reality? by Lia London – 3 stars
Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige – 2.5 stars
Gated by Amy Christine Parker – 4 stars
Lawless by Janeen Ippolito – 5 stars
The Shadow: Someone is Watching by Kimberly Rae – 4.5 stars
Restored: Never Give Up Hope by Kimberly Rae – 5 stars
Turtles All the Way Down by John Green – 4.5 stars
The Silver Bowl by Diane Stanley – 4 stars
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron – 5 stars

The RJ Award for Best Fiction of the Year is a Tie Between…

The Luck Child by Rebekah Shafer
This book isn’t even out yet! (sticking out tongue) but it’s GORGEOUS. I’m not a high fantasy lover at all – I’ve never even been able to finish one in the past because it’s so not my cup of tea. But I adored beta reading this manuscript so much that it was my favorite of the year. Rebekah is an artist, and her work is all so different that they could win the heart of any reader. She can write so many different styles, you might not even know it was the same author. The Luck Child was like reading a painting. In some of the most beautiful language I’ve come across since reading Inkheart, Rebekah takes us on the adventures of a daring young orphan who has a strange problem: When he leaves someone’s presence, they forget about him. It’s a fascinating premise, and he meets a variety of magical creatures. I adored this book so much and hope Rebekah puts it out soon so all of you can enjoy it.
Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard
The best allegory – bar none – in the history of allegories. I cried, bought souvenirs, painted a watercolor, made bookmarks for friends, and pretty much fangirled this story hard all year. My mom read it to me when I was a kid, but it really came alive for me this year re-reading it out loud to my girls. It was just what I needed this year as a new mom of three, and I drew closer to the Lord because of it. I highly, highly recommend this very accessible allegory. You will see yourself in it, for sure!

2 thoughts on “Books of 2017

  1. I do not agree with your personal policy of only leaving reviews for books you believe to be 4 or 5 stars. How do writers improve their craft? How does one decide whether to save their time and money? You’re too nice😋😘


    • Oh, and you should definitely do what you want!
      But here’s the thing. As a fellow author, if I have problems with someone’s book, I can contact them directly and tell them about it. I don’t have to leave an Amazon review for all time that hurts their ability to sell, advertise, etc. I can go to them directly and privately, and they can even take the book down (if they’re Indie) and make changes if they want.
      Also, as someone with a public image as an author, if I “play favorites” by leaving nice reviews for some, and negative reviews for others, I’m publicly isolating myself from other authors and picking sides. This isn’t a competition. If another author friend truly needs to learn and grow, I can contact them directly. I’d want other authors to do the same for me.
      We want each other to thrive! This is one for all and all for one! 🙂


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