Favorite Titles from 2017

Sometimes I wish I could just quit everything and read, don’t you? I wish I could earn a living simply by reading. Well, I do read a lot of manuscripts, but that’s a different job.

I read 24 books in 2017, not a lot, but as many as I could handle. Here are some that stuck in my mind as exceptional.

Nonfiction, devotional:

Copyrighted in 1993 and apparently out of print now, this book had been sitting on my Bible shelf untouched for quite some time. My “Bible shelf” is where I keep my resources, study guides, devotionals, etc. I apparently read this one sometime in the past, but pulled it out again thinking that I hadn’t.

In this, Kay Arthur addresses a multitude of emotional issues we as Christians face: “When God is Silent,” “When Your Joy is Shaken,” “When Your Heart Aches,” “When You’ve Failed” are just a few of the chapter titles, and the responses to all the titles are no-nonsense and scripture based. Kay doesn’t skirt issues. The book played a special role in the writing of Ice Melts in Spring (to release in November in the Southern Seasons Collection), so I’ll tell you more about it then, but suffice it now to say this ranks as one of my all-time favorite devotional books.

Nonfiction, business:

I wrote about this one before. It filled me with ideas for little brand-related extras to sell at events–one of which is the coloring book for the Circle Bar Ranch series (find it on the sidebar).

This gives a ton of ideas for authors to create and sell along with their books. My coloring book is just one of them. Devotionals, cookbooks, calendars—a host of other things that you can market or have as giveaways and promotional tools. This really filled my head with ideas, many of which are still in the works, but I’m looking forward to them.

Top Three Fiction—no particular order:

I’ve read Max’s devotions and heard him preach, but this is the first time I’ve read one of his novels, and it was well worth it.

Putting Christian principles into action, Max deals with estrangement in this novel and illustrates the effects of unforgiveness on those other than the actual parties involved–like the main characters’ children.

Along with the help of a totally charming angel, Chelsea Chambers faces some hard truths and learns that not all is what it seems. Terrific story.

Connilynn Cossette’s mastery at weaving in setting descriptions keeps this one forefront in my mind. Historical accuracy along with realistic human drama and emotion put this Biblical historical on the top shelf of novels I love.

The Hebrews have been brought out of Egypt and are now restless. It’s hard to understand an invisible God none of them seem to remember. But aside from the Biblical tale of the desert years, Connilyn reminds us of the humanity who lived in that era through the story of a simple, reluctant midwife—her work, her insecurities, and her secret love. One of the best Biblical historicals I’ve read in quite some time.

Sandra Orchard’s Serena Jones character is just fun. Real. As human and complex as any other person on the street, complete with a complicated love life, an overly concerned mother, and an underly concerned aunt who gets into everything and causes some amusing complications.

This is the first in a series of equally entertaining titles written by a woman who knows how to blend mystery with fun. Her art-crime investigator follows white collar crimes into blue line territory for gripping good-guy-versus-bad-guy tales.

Starting on a whole new list for 2018, as I’m sure you are. What are you reading now?

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