Books Read - 2011-2017

Now that I've discovered the new Pages widget here on Blogger, I thought it might be fun to share what I'm reading as I read it.

I know it isn't technically 2011 just yet, but it will be on Saturday, so I'll just start a little early and say this is my list for 2011.  I plan on adding to this throughout the year as I read books. I may or may not add comments about the books as we go, and this isn't necessarily an endorsement of any book but just a list of what I'm reading, and I'll note if it's Fiction (F) or Non-fiction (NF) also.  The Bible heads up the list every month so I'll list it here, because it is the most important book and before I read anything else each day it is my practice to read from the Bible first.

End of December 2010/January 2011:

  • Jayber Crow - Wendell Berry (F)
  • Atheism Remix - R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (NF)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J. K. Rowling (F) - reading this aloud with the boys.
  • The Disappearance of God - R. Albert Mohler, Jr. (NF)
  • Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross - edited by Nancy Guthrie (NF)
  • Brothers No More - William F. Buckley, Jr. (F)
  • Fall of Giants - Ken Follett (F)  Looking forward to this one.  Drew got it for me (and himself, truth be told) for Christmas because we really enjoyed Follett's Pillars of the Earth and World Without End.  *****So, now that I'm almost finished, I'll say I very much enjoy the story and the historical fiction and desperately wish Mr. Follet could have not been quite so explicit in the details of the sex lives of his characters. I understand that he's showing us how far many of them fell and the kind of trouble it wrought in their lives, but still, that, to me, would give me serious pause for recommending what was otherwise a good book.  Sadly, because of that, I probably won't read the rest of the series when it comes out.  And that's too bad, because, like I said, the story was good.
February 2011:
  • Leading Little Ones to God - Marian M. Schoolland (NF) - reading with all three kids in the evenings
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J. K. Rowling (F) - reading aloud with the boys
  • Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross - edited by Nancy Guthrie (NF) - Carrying over from January, I've been reading this one as a devotional, so taking my time with it.
  • Fall of Giants - Ken Follett (F) - Also carrying over from January; very long book.  See note from last month.  
  • Mere Christianity - C.S. Lewis (NF)
  • Anne of Green Gables - L.M. Montgomery (F) One of my all time favorites, reading again for the countless time. Looking forward to reading it with my little girl when she's just a little older.
March 2011:
  • Leading Little Ones to God - Marian M. Schoolland (NF) - Still working through this one with all three kids. 
  • The 39 Clues, Book One: The Maze of Bones - Rick Riordan (F) - The boys have been really interested in reading this Scholastic series so I decided to read them also along with them. So far pretty interesting as far as middle reader kind of books go. We'll see how the rest of the series is. I'm already a little lost with the interactive web game that seems to be part of the experience. Maybe I should go check it out before the boys get there.
  • Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling (F) - Reading aloud is slow going with Upward basketball games and trumpet lessons and homework and Wednesday night church in the evenings, so we don't get to read every night, but we really enjoy our read aloud times. I'm glad they aren't too cool to still enjoy it. 
  • The 39 Clues, Book Two: One False Note - Gordon Korman (F)
  • The 39 Clues, Book Three: The Sword Thief - Peter Lerangis (F) Thumbs up: story; Thumbs down: use of God's name in vain. Funny, they must think if you don't capitalize 'god' then it's not offensive. Wrong. None of the others did it....why did this author feel the need to? One of the drawbacks to having multiple authors write the series, I guess.
  • The 39 Clues, Book Four: Beyond the Grave - Jude Watson (F)
  • The 39 Clues, Book Five: The Black Circle - Patrick Carman (F)
  • The 39 Clues, Book Six: In Too Deep - Jude Watson (F)
  • The 39 Clues, Book Seven: The Viper's Nest - Peter Lerangis (F)
  • Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan (F) I am actually reading an edition of this classic allegory of the Christian life that has modernized the language while retaining as much of Bunyan's style and form as possible. 
  • The 39 Clues, Book Eight: The Emperor's Code - Gordon Korman (F)
  • The 39 Clues, Book Nine: Storm Warning - Linda Sue Park (F)
  • The 39 Clues, Book Ten: Into the Gauntlet - Margaret Peterson Haddix (one of my favorite authors for middle grade readers, by the way - should be a good one) (F)
  • The 39 Clues Black Book of Secrets - Forward by Rick Riordan (F)
April 2011
  • Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan (F). Carrying over from last month.
  • Valley of Dry Bones - Priscilla Royal (F). Didn't end up finishing this one after all. If a fiction book doesn't grip my attention by the first few chapters, I don't always feel it's worth it to continue. It wasn't bad, just not that interesting to me.
  • The Crocodile Bird - Ruth Rendell (F)
  • Deliver Us From Evil - David Baldacci (F) - One of my favorite authors.
  • Soul Depths and Soul Heights - Octavius Winslow (NF)
  • Sutter's Cross - W. Dale Cramer (F)
  • Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling (F) Another read-aloud with the boys. we've been pretty busy lately, but the boys have been begging to get back to it. We really enjoy our read-aloud time. I'm glad they haven't yet outgrown it. Maybe they won't.....
  • The 39 Clues, Book Eleven: Vespers Rising - Various authors (F)
May 2011
May looks empty so far, but that's because I'm still working on The New Pilgrim's Progress and Soul Depths and Soul Heights from last month, and I want to finish those before I start anything else. I'll add more when I get on to new stuff....
  • Slave - John MacArthur (NF).
June 2011
  • This Body of Death - Elizabeth George (F). I started this last month but didn't finish and don't want to list it twice, so I'll just put it here. May wasn't as empty as it looks, but still a slow reading month for me. This is the latest in her Thomas Lynley series, which is a favorite of mine. With No One as Witness in the series left me crying for days after I read it. Good characterization and intriguing stories mark these books, though, as crime novels, Ms. George holds nothing back with regard to the language and subject matter her detectives deal with, so it's probably not for everyone.
  • Christianity and Liberalism - J. Gresham Machen (NF). Reading along with Tim Challies' reading the classics reading group. I didn't get the first chapter read before June 2, so I'm playing a bit of catch up, but I don't think I'll have a hard time getting caught up.
  • Slave - John MacArthur (NF). Carrying over from last month. I tend to get too many books going at once.
  • Pendragon series, Book One: The Merchant of Death - D. J. MacHale (F). My oldest son discovered these and wanted to read them. I didn't know anything about them, and I reluctantly said he could, but I wanted to read them, too....just in case I needed to talk to him about anything. So far I'm finding this one interesting. I usually do find the books my son likes interesting. We seem to like the same kind of fiction. 
  • Pendragon series, Book Two: The Lost City of Faar - D.J. MacHale (F).
  • Pendragon series, Book Three: The Never War - D.J. MacHale (F).
  • Pendragon series: Book Four: The Reality Bug - D.J. MacHale (F).
July 2011
  • Pendragon series: Book Five: Black Water - D. J. MacHale (F).
  • Pendragon series: Book Six: The Rivers of Zadaa - D. J. MacHale (F).
  • Pendragon series: Book Seven: The Quillan Games - D. J. MacHale (F).
  • The Egypt Game - Zilpha Keatley Snyder (F). Summer reading assignment that my son has to read before the first week of school (cannot believe school starts August 3!Soooo not ready for them to go back yet!). I didn't like some reviews I read of it, so I read the book, too. I did find some worldview things I needed to discuss with my boy, but I guess it wasn't as bad as the review I read made it seem, but I'm still not sure I see why it was picked for an accelerated English class for 7th graders. Doesn't seem very 'accelerated' for a kid who reads The Lord of the Rings and enjoys it. Anywho.....
  • Counterfeit Gospels: Rediscovering the Good News in a World of False Hope - Trevin Wax (NF). Very, very much recommend this one. In fact, I will probably read it again and again. Refreshing reminder of what the true gospel is and how it impacts and transforms believers, and a sobering look at subtle counterfeits that creep in and to which I have found myself to be prone to allow to slowly take hold at times. May I continually preach the gospel to myself and my family and stay true to my Lord and Savior Jesus Messiah King. I want to be so gripped with the gospel of grace with my heart so full of gratitude to the Savior that I will faithfully live a life worthy of the calling He has placed on me when He made me His own. And I pray for my church that we would be a people so gripped with the gospel of grace that we as a body of believers will live that life of gratitude to our King that would lead us to be a glimpse of the restored heaven and earth as we live in true, biblical community, truly forgiving and loving each other and having our feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace and sharing that good news in our community and world.
  • Pendragon series: Book Eight: The Pilgrims of Rayne - D. J. MacHale (F).
  • Pendragon series: Book Nine: Raven Rise - D. J. MacHale (F).
  • Pendgragon series: Book Ten: The Soldiers of Halla - D.J. MacHale (F). Wow. Had I read the whole series first, I probably would have said, "No," to my kids reading it. The twinges I was having as I read the first books are confirmed in the last as the whole worldview is spelled out. Very humanistic, gnostic, New Age, yin-yang life-force balance view of the universe and mankind and the after-life. I did NOT like this. Much to talk about with the kids now that I have allowed them to read it. Knowing the truth - that God is, and that He is the Creator and we do answer to Him and there is 'right' and 'wrong', and that the only hope we have is to repent and bow before Him, trusting in Christ alone, this book series saddened me and left me depressed. Because I know so many people who, though they wouldn't describe it as vividly as what was fictionalized in the book series, think of spirituality in very eerily similar terms to what is presented in the series. 'Spiritual,' triumph of the human spirit as supreme, that is what most people think matters most. Here's a quote that sums up some of the book and was depressing to me: "We proved that the power of the human spirit is supreme. It will always triumph, no matter what the adversity. There are no simple answers in life. There is good and bad in everyone and everything. No decision is made without consequence. No road taken that doesn't lead to another. What's important is that those roads always be left open, for there's no telling what wonder they might lead to." Taken along with all that is said and 'taught'  throughout the book(s) it leads to a heart-breaking and impoverished worldview.  
  • Holiness (Abridged) - J. C. Ryle (NF). I am quite sure this is the best book I've read in a long time, and I know I'll be reading it again. I found it very thought-provoking, saturated with the gospel, and deeply encouraging. I found myself often stopping to think and pray over what I was reading, and found great encouragement to grow in love for Christ Jesus my Savior. I don't think I can recommend it highly enough. It is seldom that I find a book I can recommend without qualification or hesitation, but this is most definitely one. 
August 2011
  • King Raven Trilogy: Hood - Stephen Lawhead (F). Liked it!
  • King Raven Trilogy: Scarlet - Stephen Lawhead (F). Like it also, but taking a break so I can read the next book on this list.
  • The Help - Kathryn Stockett (F). Really liking this so far. A few of my friends said they are reading the book and want to go to the movie next week, did I want to join them? I decided that, yes, I do. So I got the book for my Nook and am having a hard time putting it down. It's one of those books that will stick with you. In one way it's an easy read in that I get so involved in it I almost forget I'm reading, but in makes me heart sick. It is a very good book.
  • A Praying Life: Connecting With God in a Distracting World - Paul Miller (NF). Reading this via the Kindle app on my phone. Liking it very much.
September 2011
  • King Raven Trilogy: Tuck - Stephen Lawhead (F).
  • The Princess Bride - William Goldman (F). 
  • Harry Potter and The Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling (F). Reading aloud with the kids. 
October 2011
  • Heat Wave - "Richard Castle" (F). Blah. TV series "Castle" is much better than this first book that was written to go along with the series. I'll skip the rest of the books but stick with the TV series, which I do like.
  • Found, first book in the Missing series - Margaret Peterson Haddix (F). Yet another fiction series my son was reading that I found interesting also. Very much enjoying this series. You get history mixed with the science fiction of time travel. Well done. I have liked everything I've read by this author very much.  
  • Sent, second book in the Missing series - Margaret Peterson Haddix (F). 
  • Sabotaged, third book in the Missing series - Margaret Peterson Haddix (F).
  • Torn, fourth book in the Missing series - Margaret Peterson Haddix (F).  - I can already tell we'll be anxiously awaiting publication of the fifth book.....
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling (F). Still reading aloud with the kids. It takes us a while to get through our read alouds since we don't get to read every night. It's been especially hard to have time this past few months with football practice, gymnastics, homework, AWANA, etc. and etc. 
  • Double Identity - Margaret Peterson Haddix (F). I know it's really an older kids' book, but I enjoy this author, and picked this one up while looking for books for my son at the library. 
  • The Eleventh Plague - Jeff Hirsch (F). Planning to write a post on my thoughts. Liked this book. It's kind of like The Road, but with more hope.
  • The First Counsel - Brad Meltzer (F).
November 2011
  • The Zero Game - Brad Meltzer (F).
  • God's Wisdom in Proverbs - Dan Phillips (NF).
  • Theodore Boone, Kid Lawyer - John Grisham (F). - Really like this legal thriller for kids. 
  • Theodore Boone, The Abduction - John Grisham (F).
  • The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins (F). Liked it, and am really enjoying discussing it with my oldest son as he's reading the books, too. He needs to hurry up and finish Book 2 as Book 1 left me hanging and I want to continue.....
December 2011
  • Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins (F). 
  • Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins (F). Wow. The whole series is powerful and very well-written. I cried for the last 124 pages of this book, and I find I'm needing a little time to process the ending. Ms. Collins does an outstanding job of taking a fictional setting and making it very believable. Her characters behave just as people would if growing up in such a situation. The ending is emotionally draining, but satisfying, too. I don't think it really could have ended any other way and still been believable. I like that you're left with hope in the midst of the trauma, though. Very well done. I have had excellent opportunities to talk to my son about things I'm sure the author didn't have in mind, too, such as how much the people in the story needed the gospel and how empty a world without it truly is, and what I think the author did intend to convey in how evil and repressive a totalitarian view of government is and how the desire for power is corrupting and many things like that. Quite an accurate picture of human nature is explored in the series, which is why it's so believable.
  • The World-Tilting Gospel: Embracing a Biblical Worldview and Hanging on Tight - Dan Phillips (NF). Recommended! 
  • The Tiger's Wife - Tea Obreht (F). Good book, strange, but good.
January 2012:

  • The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers: A King's Ransom (F) - Jude Watson. I started reading this series with the boys and this is the latest installment. It didn't hold my attention as well as the others, not sure if I'll be as interested in the rest of the series or not. The boys seem to like it.
  • The Limit (F) - Kristen Landon (F). I liked this one. It's another that I found through my oldest son. Definitely a book geared toward teenagers, with a chilling premise. It makes you really want to think carefully about the dangers of materialistic and unthinking uses of credit. The book is about a world where "kids are being taken away to workhouses if their families exceed the financial debt limit imposed by the government." Believable characters and a scenario that I think isn't really all that far-fetched - wouldn't be too hard to imagine a world where such things could happen. 
  • Jesus, Keep Me Near the Cross (NF) - Edited by Nancy Guthrie. This is a collection of writings pondering the cross. I've read it before, but I find it encouraging and helpful to read again.
  • A Journey in Grace: A Theological Novel (F) - Richard Belcher. I'm not sure this should really be classified as fiction, though it's a fictional story that seeks to teach true theology. Here's the first paragraph from the back cover: "This is the story of a young pastor with a typical twentieth century theology and his pursuit of a burning theological question which was triggered in his first experience with a pulpit search committee. He cannot and does not rest until he has answered the challenge of the question, "Young man, are you a Calvinist?"My dad loaned me this book back in October when we were visiting my parents, and I'm finally getting to reading it. I'm only in chapter 3 so far, and I find it fascinating. I am greatly looking forward to continuing to read. Thanks, Dad, and I'm sorry for taking so long with it! I do appreciate how readable it is and how I can see it will help me to think about the 'Doctrines of Grace' biblically and in a way I can understand. I can already tell it's going to be an excellent read. I'll update my comments here when I finish. **Now that I've finished - This was obviously not written to be a great novel, but as a vehicle to teach doctrinal truths, and as such, it succeeds well. I really liked this little book and appreciate having read it.
  • The Fifth Witness (F) - Michael Connelly. Yet another book by this author I enjoyed, though I have to add a language caution.
February 2012:
  • The Poisonwood Bible (F) - Barbara Kingsolver. Very, very well written, very, very sad on many levels. I enjoyed it, but it certainly made me think and even pray for wisdom and understanding as I read.
  • The Pawn (F) - Steven James.
  • The Third Twin (F) - Ken Follett. Liked the story, didn't like the language usage and suggestive subject matter. Too much sex detail, in other words. Wouldn't have minded a little more discretion. Made me decide this was my last attempt to read this author, as I've noticed this in other books I've read. 
  • I forgot to update much in Februrary, so I can't remember if I read any other good books this month or not. :-/
March 2012: 
  • Trackers (F) - Deon Meyer. Didn't end up finishing this one. Just couldn't get into it, and following right after the Follett book, too much language again. It probably was a good story, just couldn't get into it.
  • The 39 Clues: The Dead of Night (F) - Peter Lerangis. 
  • Radical (NF) - David Platt. Challenging.....
  • The Mill River Recluse (F) - Darcie Chan.
  • Zone One (F) - Colson Whitehead. Didn't finish. Did. Not. Like. It. Turned out to be a sort of zombie apocalypsish sort of thing. Read a little of the first part, got grossed out, did something I NEVER do - flipped to the end and read to see how it ended to decide if it was worth it to me to slog through, decided, nope, wasn't going to slog through for that ending. I'm sure someone who read the whole thing and likes it will take me to task and say I missed something important or blah, blah, blah. I didn't like it enough to find out. Took it back to the library and began reading something I'm enjoying much better. See next item on the list:
  • The House at Riverton (F) - Kate Morton. Really enjoying this one - not finished as I list it. It reminds me much of Downton Abbey - and we all know how much I like that show!
April 2012
  • Levi's Will (F)- W. Dale Cramer. I very much enjoyed this one. For all my griping about Christian fiction, this was one I truly liked. 
  • V is for Vengence (F) - Sue Grafton. 
  • Worship (NF) - John MacArthur. Another challenging read that I'm thankful to have found.
May 2012
  • Last Light (F) - Terri Blackstock. Another Christian fiction book that I very much enjoyed. 
June 2012
  • Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (NF) - Ross Douthat. Though I don't agree with the author in everything, I found this to be a sobering, somewhat depressingly accurate overview of the rise of heresy and decline of orthodox Christianity in America. Very interesting read. Made me think a lot, and pray a lot and do a lot of soul searching of my own. 
  • The Always War (F) - Margaret Peterson Haddix. Liked this one, and read it in a day after a trip to the library with the kids. I like this author of young adult fiction.
  • Fahrenheit 451 (F) - Ray Bradbury.
  • Only Time Will Tell (F) - Jeffrey Archer. Another really good book from one of my favorite authors. Enjoyed it so much I'm going to the library the day I finished it to find the second book in the series.
July 2012
  • Don't Call it a Comeback (NF) - Various Authors from The Gospel Coalition, Ed. by Kevin DeYoung.  Very much liked this one. I am appreciating reading gospel-saturated books that help me firm up my understanding of the gospel and what gospel-centered worship looks like and should be and how the gospel impacts all of life. The gospel is not just the ABC's of Christianity or the entry point, the gospel is everything. For too much of my life I have not really understood that well enough.
  • A Test of Wills (F) - Charles Todd.
  • Hour Game (F) - David Baldacci.
  • The Sixth Man (F) David Baldacci
August 2012
  • Satan in St. Mary's (F) - P.C. Doherty.
  • The Religion of the Founding Fathers (NF) - David L. Holmes.  Very interesting read. All the reclaim America people who say that the Founding Fathers were orthodox in their Christian beliefs and founded this nation as a Christian nation are, sadly, rewriting history. No doubt they were influenced by Christian morals, but many of the Founding Fathers actually held to some form of Christian Deism - not outright Deism, but not really orthodoxy, either. 
September 2012
  • Forgot to update much this month, but I'm pretty sure all I've read has been Atlas Shrugged (F) by Ayn Rand. I posted about it on October 1 if you want a few thoughts on it. As of October 2, I haven't finished it but hope to soon. It's long and September was a busy month so not a lot of time left for reading. 
October 2012
  • The Explicit Gospel (NF) - Matt Chandler. ** Recommended**
November 2012
  • Game Changer (F) - Margaret Peterson Haddix.   As with everything else I've read by this author, I liked this one and recommended it to my boys, as it's written for their age-range. 
  • The Associate (F) - John Grisham.
December 2012
  • The Litigators (F) - John Grisham
  • Caught (F) - Margaret Peterson Haddix. This is the fifth in the Missing series, and I enjoyed it. Looking forward to the next book, which I believe is due out in September 2013. 

January 2013:

  • Les Miserables (F) - Victor Hugo. I'm obviously reading a translation of this book since I don't know French, and I'm reading it on my Nook (actually started in December, but I'm so early in the book, I'll count it with January's reading). Really liking it so far. I've heard such good things about this being a great story about law vs. grace and about redemption, that I'm greatly looking forward to reading this. Drew and I went to see the movie and really liked it. It IS a great story about redemption and law vs. grace. Now I want to see the musical live sometime. I have a feeling I won't be updating this list for a while. It's a LONG book. 
Februrary 2013:
  • Still reading Les Miserables
  • The Gospel According to Jesus (NF) - John MacArthur. 
  • Stop Asking Jesus Into Your Heart: How to Know for Sure You are Saved (NF) - J.D. Greear. Highly recommended!
March 2013:
  • Still reading Les Miserables, about 75% finished as March begins.
April 2013:
  • The Inner Circle (F) - Brad Melzer
  • Kinsey and Me Stories (F) - Sue Grafton
  • Crucifying Morality (NF) - RW Glenn
  • The Forgotten (F) - David Baldacci
May 2013:

  • The Thirteenth Tale: A Novel (F) - Diane Setterfield. I really enjoyed this. It's reminiscent of the Jane Eyre type of gothic novel.
  • The Gospel is For Christians (NF) - Mitchell Chase. RECOMMENDED
June 2013
  • The Woman in White (F) - Wilkie Collins. I discovered this as a free book on Kindle and it's the first I've read by this 19th century author. It won't be the last - I enjoyed it.
  • The Misremembered Man (F) - Christina McKenna. I discovered this through the Kindle Daily Deal one day, and I very much enjoyed the book. It's one of those that had a perfect ending and it left me crying and satisfied at the end, a story that I'll remember.
  • What Does it Mean to Be Born Again? (NF) - RC Sproul. From the Critical Questions series. 
July 2013
  • What is Faith? (NF) -  RC Sproul. From the Critical Questions series.
  • The Moonstone (F) - Wilkie Collins
August 2013
  • All of Grace (NF) - Charles Spurgeon. Highly recommend!
  • A is for Alibi (F) - Sue Grafton.
September 2013
  • Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit (NF) - Francis Chan
  • The Testament (F) - John Grisham. I loved this book. 
  • When You Reach Me (F) - Rebecca Stead. I really liked this one, too. 
October 2013
  • B is for Burglar (F) - Sue Grafton.
  • The Giver (F) - Lois Lowry.  My son had to read this for school, and I decided to read it, too, to know what they were discussing. It lead to good discussions at home, and we enjoyed it. We also discovered the other three books in the series and I devoured them all.
  • Gathering Blue (F) - Lois Lowry.
  • Messenger (F) - Lois Lowry.
  • Son (F) - Lois Lowry.
  • Tower of Babel (NF) - Bodie Hodge. This was very interesting, though at times a bit technical, overall, I found it fascinating.
November 2013
  • Face of Betrayal (A Triple Threat Novel) (F) - Lis Wiehl with April Henry. I enjoyed this one, and will probably look for more in the series.
  • In Christ Alone: Living the Gospel Centered Life (NF) - Sinclair Ferguson.
  • Risked (The Missing series) (F) - Margaret Peterson Haddix.
December 2013
  • The Gravity of Birds (F) - Tracy Guzeman. I really liked this book. One of the side benefits from my Kindle is the daily and monthly deals. I've found several books I've enjoyed that I never would have stumbled across had I not clicked on the deals once in a while. This was one. 
  • Strange Fire (NF) - John MacArthur. Necessary discussion that is causing quite a stir, but I'm thankful for it.
  • Crucifying Morality (NF) - RW Glenn. This was a reread, since a small group of friends met together with me to read and discuss this book over about 2 months or so. I recommend reading this and really thinking about the premise that Jesus IS the Beatitudes. They are not rules for living, but a picture of what a life that has understood the gospel of grace will increasingly look like as you are conformed to the image of Christ. I cannot tell you how freeing it is to finally begin to understand grace and grace-centered, gospel-centered living and thinking, and this author (in this book as well as the sermons I'm listening to as I've subscribed to his Sunday sermons from the church where he pastors) has been instrumental in helping me learn to think biblically about the gospel-centered life.
  • The Darkest Path (F) - Jeff Hirsch. I just started this one, but I'm adding it to the list for 2013 because most likely I'll finish it before December is out. I'm reading this because my 7th grade son read it and wants to discuss it with me, so he begged me to read it. 
  • 11/22/63 (F) - Stephen King. I am not a Stephen King reader, normally. I tend to stay away from things that I know would encourage nightmares, since I am very prone to them, and his brand of thriller is something I think would probably be that for me. But I found this through the Kindle daily deals and the premise looked so interesting and from what I read it seems different from the scarier books, so I'm giving it a try. It's another one I've only just started but will probably finish, so I've added it not he 2013 list, too. 
A friend of ours that we met when we lived in St. Louis is hosting a challenge to read 25 books this year, and if we can't include more than 5 re-reads in the list. I was invited to join the Facebook group and I was excited about it, because this way I get to see what other people are reading, too, and hopefully get some suggestions for good reads, which I'm always hunting to find. At first, I thought 25 seemed a little daunting as a goal, but then I realized that's basically just two books a month, and just now as I was getting ready to clean up this page and move my 2013 reading list to the archive page and start this page for the current year, I counted what I'd read over the past several years, and I saw that even last year, which admittedly was a slower reading year than some for me, I managed to read 32 books without even setting a goal, so I think 25 is probably doable this year. Especially since I'm planning to spend less time on Facebook in general (except to post in the book group, I suppose), because I'm finding FB to be a grand time waster on many levels.

Anyway, I do feel the need to clarify something for the one or two people who may still read this sorry excuse for a blog anymore, and that is that just because I have a book on my list, it doesn't mean I necessarily endorse it. It just means I read it. I generally will note books I did really enjoy and feel good about recommending, and I also try to note books that I might want to put a caution on, but, as I said, just because it's in the list doesn't mean it's recommended for sure. I find book recommendations to be a tricky thing sometimes, because we all have differing tastes and understandings of what we like to read.

So, with that noted, I'll begin my list for 2014:

January 2014:

  • 11/22/63 - Stephen King (F). I had this at the end of 2013's list because I actually started right at the end of December, but since I've joined this challenge to read 25 books at least and since I read most of this in January, I'm counting it as my first book for 2014. Maybe that means to be technically honest I should make sure I read at least one extra book, but, really, the challenge is to get us reading and sharing with the group what we read, so, here we are. As to this book itself, I really enjoyed the story. Time travel stories are fascinating to me, and King addresses the 'Butterfly Effect' throughout this interesting story, and I just find that interesting and mind-bending. It did get me thinking about the time travel genre in general, in terms of worldview implications. In general, for time travel to make sense, the underlying assumptions have to be either evolutionary or that we are ruled by some blind force or generic, unfeeling 'universe' or 'fate'. However, as a Christian, I know that God is sovereign, and that He is Lord even over time, and that there is nothing outside His control. So, for that reason, I believe time travel may 'work' in a fictional book, but only with care to never forget what is true, but it is totally a fictional concept. I believe we are created to be in time, and we will never be able to travel through time the way the people in some of the science fiction books and TV shows (Dr. Who, which has a decidedly evolutionary worldview, so we enjoy with caution) that I enjoy, and I watch and read these things with my discernment on. Time happens just as God intends, and we would never be able to 'change' the past, but it is interesting to read how secular people wrestle through the implications of changing the past or even if it would be possible, and I find it fascinating that in almost every instance of time travel books/shows/movies I've experienced, there are severe consequences when people mess around with the past. The only time travel books I've read where the author seems to have some belief in God are the Margaret Peterson Haddix Missing books, and, again, I read with caution, but it does lend itself to interesting discussions with my boys who are also reading those books. The key to reading time travel books is to totally understand you are reading fiction. I say all that because the book I mention as my second book read this year has really helped me to think carefully about what I read. Overall, I liked this book and would recommend it more highly except that in good conscience I have to note some language concerns and some subject matter concerns. I haven't read any other Stephen King novels because I am wary of the horror genre in general. I'm prone to nightmares, so I try to steer clear of things that feed that. However as I read the reviews on this, it seemed that it didn't fit the type of novel I assumed he usually writes, and that was right. I didn't find this scary in the horror sense or nightmare inducing. And the language and such and violence, for me, were not a major stumbling block as it wasn't as in-your-face as some books I've not been able to finish for that reason. I don't automatically dismiss a book for those things, but I am careful about it. In fact, the second book I'm reading deals with worldview and pop culture and how to engage with pop culture as a Christian, and I'm finding it a very, very fascinating read, so I can't wait to say more about it once I finish it. Back to this book, I think I'd recommend it with caution, remembering that recommending doesn't mean I agree with everything in it. You know your own temptations and limitations, so be forewarned there is some bad language and some living situations that aren't really what we would promote, but overall I did like this book. 
  • Popologetics - Ted Turnau (NF). Here's what I said about this on my Facebook page the day I finished it (with some minor edits): I just finished a book that I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated. My brother and sister-in-law gave it to me for Christmas, and I have to say it's one of the few nonfiction books I've read that I had a hard time putting down. "Popologetics: Popular Culture in Christian Perspective" by Ted Turnau. I LOVE this book and highly recommend it. I resonated with it because his approach is very much how I look at popular culture and it helped me to think through and deepen my understanding of how to engage with books I read, movies I watch, Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of popular culture with a gospel-centered mindset, thinking it through biblically, and with an eye for witnessing and sharing Christianity with friends and neighbors by finding the grace and the idolatry, knocking down the idols, in popular culture and exploring how the gospel applies. I really appreciated the fact that he sees popular culture choices as more complex than simply pulling out and avoiding everything or counting numbers of cuss words or violent instances, and he presents a very thoughtful and gospel-honoring approach to how to think through the popular culture we live in, rather than simply floating along with it. I tend to read and watch everything through my Christian/biblical filter and really enjoy finding what's good and what's not good in them and discussing them with a gospel-centered mindset. In fact, now that my boys are old enough to be watching 'older' types of movies and books, this type of approach has been really helpful as we discuss themes and ideas woven throughout the books and movies, etc. that they encounter. We've had some great discussions, and this book is a wonderful tool for helping me think through worldview implications in the pop culture even more, with an eye toward recognizing what's good and also toward recognizing hidden idolatries and deceptions in underlying world views. I especially appreciated his discussion about postmodernism and its fallacies in part 2. Thanks, T and L, this was by far one of the best Christmas presents I received this year. Y'all really spoke my heart language with this gift!
  • "Another Jesus" Calling - Warren B. Smith (NF). The subtitle of this book tells you what it's about: "How False Christs Are Entering the Church Through Contemplative Prayer." I got this book for my Kindle because I had heard the author on the Janet Mefferd show discussing it, and I've been concerned about the book "Jesus Calling" by Sarah Young for a long time now. SOOOOOOO many of my friends quote from that book uncritically and it is ALL over the Christian bookstores and catalogues in various forms, and I find it disturbing that something so questionable is just accepted as ok just because it's marketed by the Christian bookstores. This author raises serious and thoughtful questions about the book that I very much recommend at least hearing and thinking about. One thing I don't understand is how defensive people get if you even mention that caution should be taken about this (and other) books or teachers (Beth Moore, for example, hello?) that are so prominently displayed just about everywhere. Why do we cling so hard to 'devotional' books that kind of mention the Bible or may use a Bible verse taken out of context to make us unquestioningly  accept its non-inspired devotional for the day as biblical, but are unsatisfied with the actual Bible? These days, I am extremely wary of 'devotionals'. In fact, I'm wary of the Christian bookstore and pop-Christian culture and Christian books (especially fiction ones) in general. Pretty much if it's popular, I'm immediately wary and sense the need to check it out carefully. I think things that are 'Christian' but steeped in bad or questionable theology are actually more dangerous than secular books/movies that we know aren't written from a Christian perspective because with the secular things we KNOW we need to discern, but with something that's prominently displayed in Christian bookstores or websites or by Christian friends, we seem to let our guard down. But bad theology baptized as 'good' is way more dangerous to my way of thinking. We have been given the Word of God in the Bible - why are we not as defensive about steeping our thinking in that and reading it and knowing it. Why do we run to this or that author to tell us about the Bible but we don't spend MORE time reading the actual Bible? EVERYTHING we read or experience needs to be examined and tested through the lens of the Bible. THAT is the Word God gave us. THAT is the book we must defend above all others. So, yes, I recommend this critique of what is a widely popular 'devotional' book. Please read it if you are someone who has "Jesus Calling" or know someone who likes it.
  • Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue - Matthew C. Mitchell (NF).  Highly recommended. See my brief review.
  • Cutting for Stone - Abraham Verghese (F). This was so well-written with such richly drawn characters that I often forgot I was reading as I was swept along with the story. 
  • Alone Yet Not Alone: Their Faith Became Their Freedom - Tracy Leininger Craven (F). This is a great story, the writing seemed a little clunky at times to me, but I think it was written for kids, but I very much liked the story and want to see the movie.
February 2014
  • Unintended Consequences - Marti Green (F). A legal thriller that I enjoyed ok. 
  • Spiritual Warfare: A Balanced and Biblical Perspective - Brian Borgman and Rob Ventura (NF). I really appreciated this book. I've encountered some strange ideas about spiritual warfare, especially in Christian fiction books dealing with the topic, and this book was a breath of fresh air. It does what it sets out to do with the subtitle and presents a Biblical and balanced perspective, using Ephesians 6:10-20 as its text. I found it very helpful, and would definitely recommend.
  • Dispensationalism: Rightly Dividing the People of God? - Keith A. Mathison (NF). My dad gave me this because of some questions I was asking him as I read my Bible. For most of my growing up in Evangelicalism, I wasn't even aware that there was any other way to think about eschatology and history and prophecy than the 'left behind' dispensationalist view, which was pretty much all I'd ever heard, but I did know that as I was reading the Bible, things I'd been taught and heard most of my life didn't seem to match up with what I was reading. Now I've got some more thinking and pondering and studying to do, but I appreciated this book very much for helping me to begin thinking it through.
  • Eleven - Patricia Reilly Giff (F). Because I'm the mother of a tween who loves to read, I often get book suggestions from Amazon for that age group. This book is one of those, but the story sounded so interesting I went to the library and checked it out. Though it's written for a younger audience than even my son's avid reader level, I really liked the story.
  • The Racketeer - John Grisham (F). Grisham is one of my very favorite authors and he didn't disappoint with this one. I liked all the twists and turns.
  • God's Wisdom in Proverbs - Dan Phillips (NF). Excellent study in how to effectively read and study and teach the book of Proverbs. 
March 2014
  • The Orphan Master's Son - Adam Johnson (F). Wow. Powerful story. This is one that will stay with me. I don't know how accurate his portrayal of North Korea is, but I suspect it's quite a good idea of what such an oppressive regime is like to live under. Terrifying.
  • The Medea Complex - Rachel Florence Roberts (F). Story was interesting, but the misspellings, punctuation errors, and other grammar errors in the the Kindle version were very distracting to me. But I was able to borrow it for free, so I suppose I can't complain too much about a free book.
  • How the Gospel Brings Us All the Way Home - Derek W.H. Thomas (NF). This is excellent. It's a look at Romans 8 and I very much recommend it.
  • Sycamore Row - John Grisham (F). I've liked John Grisham since I read A Time To Kill during stolen free time that should have been spent studying during college, but I have to say I've really enjoyed seeing his maturing as a writer. I like his newer things even more, and this was no exception. I liked this book very much.
  • A Time of Departing - Ray Yungen (NF). This was a disturbing discussion of the subtle ways the so-called "New Age" spirituality is creeping into the evangelical church. I wish more people would be alerted to this danger. It is real and not good.
April 2014
  • Divergent - Veronica Roth (F). I've mentioned before that I enjoy dystopian fiction for some reason. I really liked this one, better than The Hunger Games, maybe. We'll see after I read the rest of the trilogy. But I did find it hard to put down and had to hurry and finish it during spring break so we could go see the movie, which was very close to the book, so I enjoyed that, too. I'm working on the second book now.
  • For Many Shall Come in My Name - Ray Yungen (NF). I'm not sure I could stress enough how important the warning in this book is. Like the book I read earlier by this author it is a look at how New Age spirituality is taking over every part of society these days. It's not just for the fringe elements anymore, and the author makes a compelling case for meditation (of the 'spiritual' or 'New Age' type) being a vehicle for a world religion and for the fulfillment of many coming in the name of Christ or claiming to be Christ. I really wish more of my friends were aware of this and could see that things they think are innocent are really not and are opening them up to deception. Like I said, I think it would be hard to overstate the seriousness of the situation and the warning.
  • Insurgent - Veronica Roth (F). Second book in the Divergent Trilogy. Interesting story, and I am interested to see where she goes with it in the third book.
  • Allegiant - Veronica Roth (F). What a disappointment. This book so ruined the rest of the trilogy for me that I wouldn't recommend the series. It's not so much what happens to a main character that bothered me, but the fact that it seemed avoidable in the context of the story and what she sacrifices herself to accomplish doesn't seem to fit her character in my opinion. Something she thinks is wrong for one group to do is right for her to do, and that came across as unethical and regrettable and out of character to me. I've read the author's reasons for why she wrote the ending, and I'm trying not to be overly critical, but I wish the sacrifice could have seemed more unavoidable to me. It just seems that there could have been another way. I would have understood it better if I'd felt the sacrifice wasn't a bit hollow. Another of my favorite characters acts so out of character during this last book as to be unrecognizable and makes choices that he just wouldn't have made had he been the person he was in the first two books that it made the whole book feel wrong to me. Overall a disappointing and frustrating ending to a series that I had enjoyed up until I read the final book. What could have been a powerful ending dealing with the subject of sacrifice and grief ended up feeling hollow and unnecessary and even wrong to me. I read a review of the book that, though full of spoilers - so don't read if you don't want spoilers, very much echoes exactly what I found wrong with the book. Anyway, overall, this final book spoiled it for me, and I sadly don't recommend the series.  It's totally up to the author how she wanted to end her series, and she can write it however she wants, but I would have loved a completely different ending, or at least a more satisfying one. I think the idea of sacrifice was important, and that part of the ending is actually very fitting for the book and the character, I just felt that the story didn't convince me the character's sacrifice was as necessary as we're supposed to think, since there were other ways the situation could have been handled, and I felt that what she sacrificed herself to accomplish was just as wrong as what she was attempting to stop. If I had believed what she accomplished through her sacrifice was right, I think I would have found the ending more satisfying, but ultimately it was just as morally and ethically wrong as what the 'evil' people were going to do.  Here's a link to the review I mentioned that I read on Amazon, and I agree with the major points.
  • Found: God's Will - John MacArthur (NF). I really needed this book. Recommended.
  • Safely Home - Randy Alcorn (F). I mostly liked this one. I get a little uncomfortable with some of Alcorn's speculating about Heaven, but the storyline about the persecuted Christians in China I very much was glad I got to read. Overall, I liked this book. A friend of mine who knows me rather well in the Facebook book group asked me what I thought about this one after I said I had read it, because, as she said, it's not one she would have recommended for me, knowing me as she does. I told her she was right - there are some things about it that made me uncomfortable, but overall, I'm glad I read it.
  • Captivated: Beholding the Mystery of Jesus' Death and Resurrection - Thabiti Anyabwile (NF). I really liked this one.
  • A Land More Kind Than Home - Wiley Cash (F). I very much liked this. It's well-written, with a somewhat eerie feel that makes for a good Appalachian novel. I'll be looking for more by this author. 
May 2014
  • All God's Children and Blue Suede Shoes: Christians and Popular Culture - Ken Myers (NF) This was excellent. Lots to think through and process, and reinforces for me how vital the need to choose wisely and intentionally as I interact with popular culture and to think and recognize how very much it affects how I think and even feel. Highly recommend this.
  • Satan Cast Out: A Study in Biblical Demonology - Frederick S. Leahy (NF). This was a good, helpful, biblical view this topic. I found it especially interesting in light of the books I've been reading and what I've been learning about the New Age/New Thought/Contemplative thinking that is infiltrating and taking over our culture and churches.
  • The Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine in Christian America- Candy Gunther Brown (NF). Eye-opening, and I highly recommend this. Again, I cannot stress enough how important I believe it is for Christians to be aware of the world views and assumptions behind practices they often do not take enough care to investigate before participating in. Here's the blog post I wrote after reading this book. 
    June 2014
    • The Dead Secret - Wilkie Collins (F).
    • Last Light - Terri Blackstock (F). I don't always like much Christian fiction, but I did like this one, and I'm enjoying the rest of the series, too. 
    July 2014
    • Night Light - Terri Blackstock (F).
    • True Light - Terri Blackstock (F).
    • Dawn's Light - Terri Blackstock (F). I loved this series. And I don't say that about Christian fiction very often, but this one was really good.
    • The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Elizabeth George Speare (F). I very much liked this book. I remember seeing this offered in book orders as a kid and very rigidly wouldn't even consider it because it had witch in the title. Surely it must be bad, that's what all the culture warrior Christian leaders said about so many things all the time. I have come to realize that there are different types of discernment, and not all is helpful. There's the knee-jerk kind that assumes something is bad because of a word here and there without really looking at the thing, and then there's real discernment that learns to not make snap assumptions based on little knowledge and to appreciate what is actually good and to recognize what is truly bad. That kind is a lot harder. I've known a lot of the knee-jerk kind in my time, and I would have missed out on a great book here had I never learned the difference. We Christians shouldn't be the people always know for what we're against, and we need to be more intelligent and thoughtful in our critiques. I'm glad someone on the book group I belong to on Facebook read this and liked it and listed it, because that was how I came to read it this time. It was nothing like my self-righteous, legalistic self way back then had thought it would be, and had I been mature enough to actually look past that word in the title I would have known that. Now I do. 
    • The Gospel Call and True Conversion - Paul Washer (NF). I highly recommend this and the other book in the series, which I am reading now. I accidentally read them out of order, as this one is actually the second book, but both are excellent. 
    August 2014
    • The Gospel's Power and Message - Paul Washer (NF). I recommend this one also, now that I've finished it.
    • Timebound: The CHRONOS Files, Book 1 - Rysa Walker (F). I found this one through Kindle deals. It's young adult fiction, but I enjoyed it. I seem to be drawn toward time travel stories, even though they kind of hurt my head. :-) This one is written well enough I found it easy to suspend disbelief and go with the story, and I found it interesting how the author kept the varying timelines and story lines organized. I have enough unanswered questions and I'm interested enough in the answers that I want to read the next book, and it's a little hard to wait for it since it's on preorder at the Kindle store - it doesn't release until October. I may have to preorder it. Until then I'm reading a novella the author wrote that fills in a little of the backstory from the first book. 
    September 2014
    • Time's Echo: A CHRONOS Files Novella - Rysa Walker (F). 
    • True for You, But Not for Me: Overcoming Objections to Christian Faith - Paul Copan (NF).
    • The Missing: Revealed - Margaret Peterson Haddix (F). This is the seventh in The Missing series, and my 8th-grade son and I have very much enjoyed the series from one of our favorite authors. We were glad when this one was released this month, as we've been following the series from the beginning.
    • Kindred - Ocatvia E. Butler (F). My 10th-grade son had to read this for summer reading for school this year, and he wanted me to read it and discuss it with him, so I waited until they were done with it in class and I just finished it. I read it in two days. It was quite interesting and we've had some good discussion. It wasn't what I expected, in a good way. Funny enough, it's another time travel story, in a way, though really, the time travel was more a device to explore slavery in the South from a modern black woman's perspective, and I found it a good, thought-provoking read. It's a book that will stay with me, I think.
    • Jesus Unmasked - Todd Friel (NF). This is very good. Todd Friel takes a look at the types and shadows of the Old Testament that all point to Jesus. It is excellent, and very readable. Recommended!
    • How to Bring Your Children to Christ....& Keep Them There: Avoiding the Tragedy of False Conversion - Ray Comfort (NF)
    October 2014

    • The Hole in Our Holiness - Kevin DeYoung (NF). This is a great book. I will be thinking over what I've read for a long time. If I could only recommend three of the non-fiction books I've read this year (besides the Bible), this would be on that list. I really wish all my friends and family who profess Christianity would read and seriously ponder the truth taught here. DeYoung does a great job of discussing and describing justification and sanctification and how we are saved, called, and redeemed to holiness. 
    • Right Ho, Jeeves - P. G. Wodehouse (F). The dialogue is funny in a British humor kind of way, and that's what drives these stories, since not really a whole lot happens, but it was funny, anyway. Nice for a bit of lighter reading after some of the weightier things I've been reading.  
    • Stepping Heavenward - Elizabeth Prentiss (F). This is a reread. I don't know how many times I've read this book, but I love it more each time. It's a treasure. One of my very favorite books.
    November 2014
    • Expository Listening - Ken Ramey (NF). Very, very good. 
    • John Newton: From Disgrace to Amazing Grace - Jonathan Aitken (NF). I very much enjoyed this book. John Newton is a fascinating man, who never forgot the amazing grace God had shown him and how God had so transformed him by His grace through Jesus Christ, and I'm glad I got to read about him here.
    December 2014
    • Unfriend Yourself: Three Days to Detox, Discern, and Decide About Social Media - Kyle Tennant (NF). I'm not trying to overstate things, but this may be the most important little book I've read this year, personally. I found it on my son's nightstand while I was straightening up in his room the other day, and he said it's something his small group from church had worked through together. Wow. It's funny, too, because just the night before I had been saying that I was thinking about logging out of Facebook until after Christmas because I just felt I needed a break from it. I devoured the book on Thursday afternoon and found that MUCH of what he discusses brutally honestly addresses what I've felt for a long time is unhelpful and in many cases even sinful in how I use Facebook. I am now in the midst of going back and re-reading it, a chapter a day from Friday through Sunday as it's actually designed, and staying logged off Facebook completely for these three days to detox and assess my use of Facebook. I needed this book. I needed the time to reassess how and why I use social media, especially at what has been a very lonely time in my life, moving here to Ohio for just a year. This book could probably benefit every Christian who uses Facebook a lot. I would HIGHLY recommend it to any of my Christian friends who are active on social media. While it's a short book, so it necessarily can't go into extreme depth of the subject, this is a much needed pondering - how, or even should, I be using social media? He doesn't actually end up calling for leaving Facebook, after all. In the end, he is just asking that we think through how and why we use it and to be careful that if we choose to use it, we use it as a tool, not let it control us, and certainly not think that substituting online networking can ever truly replace real, face-to-face communion and community. My take: Facebook can be a helpful tool for keeping in touch with friends, especially when you move often as we do, but it can also be a danger if we get too involved with endless self-promotion, all-day scrolling and speculating and knowing too much personal information about people we probably aren't all that close to in real life, and forget that these online 'friendships' can't offer what real, face-to-face relationships do, and as long as we don't get dragged into thinking all our inane thoughts and activities are worthy of shouting online all day long. As with any technology, Facebook can offer some good, but we need to guard our hearts and be careful how we use it.
    • Time's Edge (The Chronos Files, Book 2) - Rysa Walker (F).
    • The Blessing Way (Navajo Mysteries, Book 1) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • Dance Hall of the Dead (Navajo Mysteries, Book 2) Tony Hillerman (F).
    • A Practical View of the Prevailing Religious System of Professed Christians, in the Middle and Higher Classes in this Country, Contrasted with Real Christianity- William Wilberforce (NF). This was difficult to read, but once I got into the old-fashioned sentence structure and language, what he is saying could very well have been written about our church culture among professing Christians in America today. Very thought-provoking and worth the read, even if it isn't the easiest thing I read this year.


    January 2015

    • Taking God at His Word: Why the Bible is Knowable, Necessary, and Enough, and What That Means for You and Me - Kevin DeYoung (NF). Very good book.
    • Listening Woman (Navajo Mysteries, Book 3) - Tony Hillerman (F). Enjoying this series.
    • Name Above All Names - Alistair Begg and Sinclair B. Ferguson (NF). This was excellent. So much I'm still thinking about and I am very glad I read this one. On Sunday as I worshiped at church I was brought to tears thinking about what I'd just read about Jesus standing with His people when we worship and offering our worship, making it acceptable to the Father. That has changed how I sing and worship when we gather together in a profound way, causing me to think much more carefully and richly and deeply about worship. 
    • Risky Undertaking - Mark de Castrique (F). My brother-in-law happens to know this author and gave me a signed copy of this book for Christmas, which is a very thoughtful gift knowing how much I love to read. I enjoyed this one and will look for more by this author. 
    • Standing Strong: How to Resist the Enemy of Your Soul - John MacArthur (NF).
    • People of Darkness (Navajo Mysteries, Book 4) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • The Dark Wind (Navajo Mysteries, Book 5) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • Be Right (Romans): How to Be Right with God, Yourself, and Others (The BE Series Commentary) - Warren W. Wiersbe (NF).
    February 2015
    • The Ghostway (Navajo Mysteries, Book 6) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • Law & Liberty: A Biblical Look at Legalism - General Editor Dr. Don Kistler. This was very good.
    • Light at Rat Pond - Richard Newberry (F).
    • The Most Misused Verses in the Bible: Surprising Ways God's Word is Misunderstood - Eric J. Bargerhuff (NF). 
    • Skinwalkers (Navajo Mysteries, Book 7) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    March 2015

    • The Maze Runner - James Dashner (F). One of the benefits of being mom to teenage boys is reading books I probably wouldn't have even known about otherwise. I read this one because one of my boys is reading the series and I try to keep tabs on what they're reading. As I told a friend who asked if I liked it, I think 'like' is too strong a word for how I feel about this one. It was interesting, but frustrating and pretty violent. I'm starting the second one, but not really enjoying it very much so far, and it won't be making onto any lists of favorites for me, I don't think. 
    • Knowing the Truth About Jesus the Messiah - John Ankerberg and John Weldon (NF).
    • The Scorch Trials - James Dashner (F).
    • The Death Cure - James Dashner (F).
    • A Thief of Time (Navajo Mysteries, Book 8) - Tony Hillerman (F)
    • The Kill Order - James Dashner (F). 
    April 2015
    • Alas, Babylon - Pat Frank (F).
    • The Biography of Robert Murray M'Cheyne - Andrew Bonar (NF). This was excellent. I was in tears at the end, such an encouraging and convicting life. May I strive to love Jesus and long for holiness even half as much.
    • Beneath Bone Lake - Colleen Thompson (F). Probably wouldn't recommend this one. I took a gamble on this as a Kindle free borrow through Amazon Prime, and the story itself was interesting enough, but some of the language I thought unnecessary. This isn't my usual choice in genre, but from the reviews I thought it might be ok. It was ok, but won't be a favorite and I probably won't choose more from this author. Just not my thing, but interesting enough that when I came across the things I found somewhat objectionable or unnecessary, I was far enough into the story that I wanted to finish it.
    • If I Should Die Before I Wake: What's Beyond This Life? - K. Scott Oliphint and Sinclair B. Ferguson (NF). I very much liked this. It is biblical and well-written, and as our family is in the process of grieving the death of a young cousin and praying for her family daily as they walk this difficult road, I found this book quite encouraging and comforting. 
    • Talking God (Navajo Mysteries, Book 9) - Tony Hillerman (F). Another good one in this series that I'm continuing to read my way through.
    • The Transforming Power of the Gospel - Jerry Bridges (NF). 
    May 2015
    • A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Iriving (F). This was a reread, and I'm glad I did. I liked it when I read it years ago, but I understood it much better and liked it better this time. It is very well-written and quite a story. I had to sit and cry for a bit when I finished it.
    • Coyote Waits (Navajo Mysteries, Book 10) - Tony Hillerman (F). I'm very much enjoying this series.
    • Trail of Broken Wings - Sajal Badani (F). This was good, but very sad.
    • The Lincoln Lawyer - Michael Connelly (F). Connelly is one of my favorite crime/detective fiction writers. Plus, he's a University of Florida graduate. Go Gators!
    June 2015
    • Galatians for You (God's Word for You) - Timothy Keller (NF).
    • Sacred Clowns (Navajo Mysteries, Book 11) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • The Fallen Man (Navajo Mysteries, Book 12) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • Who is Jesus (Crucial Questions Series) - R.C. Sproul (NF).
    • The First Eagle (Navajo Mysteries, Book 13) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • A Murder is Announced (A Miss Marple Mystery) - Agatha Christie (F).
    July 2015

    • Hunting Badger (Navajo Mysteries, Book 14) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • The Forgotten Trinity - James White (NF).
    August 2015
    • To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (F). This was a re-read (don't know how many times I've read this book!) because I thought I wanted to read the new sequel that's just been published, but after reading some reviews, I decided I don't want to read it after all.
    • Loving Jesus More - Phil Ryken (NF). This was very good. I found it through Truth for Life, and I very much recommend it.
    • Amazing Grace - Eric Metaxas (NF). William Wilberforce is one of my heroes, and this was a great biography.  I was in tears at the end.
    September 2015
    • The Wailing Wind (Navajo Mysteries, Book 15) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • The Secret They Kept - Juliet D. Jones (F). Honestly, sorry to say not one of my favorites this year. I saw it promoted on a band moms website I follow, and since I am a band mom thought I'd try it when I found I could read it free on Kindle. It has the bones of an ok story, but it suffered from poor editing and inexperienced writing.
    • The New Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan, with notes updated text and notes by Judith E. Markham and Warren Wiersbe (F). This was a re-read of a favorite. 
    • The Sinister Pig (Navajo Mysteries, Book 16) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    October 2015
    • Skeleton Man (Navajo Mysteries, Book 17) - Tony Hillerman (F).
    • The Shape Shifter (Navajo Mysteries, Book 18) - Tony Hillerman (F). I very much have enjoyed this series. This was the last book Mr. Hillerman wrote in the series before he died, and his daughter took up the series later.
    November 2015
    • Depression: Looking Up From the Stubborn Darkness - Edward T. Welch (NF). I very much needed this one. I found it extremely helpful, especially as I was surprised by a slip into what I think must be minor depression this year. I will be keeping this one on my shelf for future reference. It is biblical and wise and practical counsel.
    • Spider Woman's Daughter (Navajo Mysteries, Book 19) - Anne Hillerman (F). It will take a little getting used to Ms. Hillerman's different style of writing, but I think she did a nice job taking over this series.
    December 2015
    • Judge Not - Todd Friel (NF).
    • The Short Drop - Matthew FitzSimmons (F).
    • The Red Harlequin - Book 1 Of Masks and Chromes - Roberto Ricci (F).
    January 2016

    • Ross Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1783-1787 (The Poldark Saga) - Winston Graham (F). I'm greatly enjoying this series, and I like the PBS adaptation too. 
    • Beauty for Ashes - Jasper Rains (F). This was written by a dear friend of ours from St. Louis. It's his first book, and he is planning to use the proceeds to help fund their international adoption. You can find it on Amazon. :-)
    • Name Above All Names - Alistair Begg and Sinclair B. Ferguson (NF).
    • The Other Worldview: Exposing Christianity's Greatest Threat - Peter Jones (NF).
    • Demelza: A Novel of Cornwall, 1788-1790 (The Poldark Saga Book 2) - Winston Graham (F).
    February 2016
    • 50 People Every Christian Should Know: Learning From Spiritual Giants of the Faith - Warren Wiersbe (NF).
    • This Dark Road to Mercy - Wiley Cash (F)
    • Jeremy Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall, 1791-1792 (The Poldark Saga, Book 3) - Winston Graham (F).
    • The House at Riverton - Kate Morton (F)
    March 2016
    • Warleggan: A Novel of Cornwall, 1792-1793 (The Poldark Saga, Book 4) - Winston Graham (F)
    • Rock With Wings (Leaphorn and Chee Mysteries, Book 20) - Anne Hillman (F)
    • The Distant Hours - Kate Morton (F)
    April 2016
    • The Black Moon, 1794-1795 (Poldark Saga, Book 5) - Winston Graham (F)
    • Keeping Your Kids on God's Side: 40 Conversations to Help Them Build a Lasting Faith - Natasha Crain (NF)
    • The Escape - David Baldacci (F)
    • The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert - Rosaria Butterfield (NF)
    May 2016
    • The Four Swans: An Novel of Cornwall 1795-1797 (Poldark Book 6) - Winston Graham (F)
    • Resisting Gossip: Winning the War of the Wagging Tongue - Matthew C. Mitchell (NF) This was a reread because I felt the need for the refresher. Once again, I still highly recommend this one.
    June 2016
    • The Angry Tide: A Novel of Cornwall 1798-1799 (Poldark Book 7) - Winston Graham (F)
    • The Forgotten Garden - Kate Morton (F). Kate Morton has become one of my favorite authors, and this may just be my favorite book of hers that I've read. Every one of them leaves me needing a moment to sit for a moment before going back to real life once I finish. 
    • The Hole in Our Holiness - Kevin DeYoung (NF) This is a reread, and I appreciate just as much as I did the first time I read it.
    • War Brides - Helen Bryan (F) I got this one free from a Kindle promotion and actually chose it by accident. I did not expect to enjoy it as the description did not capture my interest. I ended up enjoying it very much. 
    July 2016
    • The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro (F). What a subtly written, and poignantly sad story. Ishiguro masters the art of "Show, don't tell," as much of the beautifully unfolded story of regret is told between the lines, in what is not said. Very well-written, and the narrator's sense of painful regret stays with me as I put the book away. 
    • Never Let Me Go - Kazuo Ishiguro (F). This was depressing, and I didn't like it as well as his first book, though it was interesting.
    • The Stranger From the Sea: A Novel of Cornwall 1810-1811 (Poldark Book 8) - Winston Graham (F)
    August 2016
    • Respectable Sins: Confronting the Sins We Tolerate - Jerry Bridges (NF)
    • Does Prayer Change Things (Crucial Questions Series) - RC Sprout (NF)
    • Harry Potter and the Cursed Child - J.K. Rowling (F)
    • Through the Dark Clouds Shining: A Saga of Families and the Great War - A. R. Homer (F)
    • The Heiress of Linn Hagh (The Detective Lavender Mysteries Book 1)  - Karen Charleton (F)
    • The New Pilgrim's Progress - John Bunyan, with notes updated text and notes by Judith E. Markham and Warren Wiersbe (F). This was a re-read of a favorite. 
    September 2016
    • Under Our Skin: Getting Real About Race. Getting Free From the Fears and Frustrations That Divide Us - Benjamin Watson (NF)  This is a great book. I recommend it highly. He is saying hard things, but things that need saying and ultimately this is an encouraging book, finding our only hope in the gospel of Christ. Many tears as I read this, and praying for wisdom to think and act in light of the truth and to learn to see things through others' perspectives. 
    • The Miller's Dance: A Novel of Cornwall 1812-1813 (Poldark Book 9) - Winston Graham (F).
    November 2016
    • The Loving Cup: A Novel of Cornwall 1813-1815 (Poldark Book 10) - Winston Graham (F).
    • The Twisted Sword: A Novel of Cornwall 1815 (Poldark Book 11) - Winston Graham (F). This, to me, was probably the saddest book of the series. I cried a lot.
    December 2016
    • Bella Poldark: A Novel of Cornwall 1818-1820 (Poldark Book 12) - Winston Graham (F). It's always a little said to say good-bye to characters you've grown to like when you finish a long series, and this one took me pretty much the whole year to finish, so there is some of that for me. However, the ending is satisfying, and since I read these with other books interspersed along the way, maybe not as sad about saying good-bye as I always am at the end of, say, The Lord of the Rings. I definitely recommend this series, though the last book is probably my least favorite of them all and the 11th is the saddest. 
    • Loving Jesus More - Philip Ryken (NF). This was a reread, but good again.
    • The Sans Pareil Mystery (The Detective Lavender Mysteries, Book 2) - Karen Charlton (F).
    • Sisters One, Two, Three - Nancy Star (F). I got this one free with Kindle Prime, and I'm always a little wary of the free books, because many times I find them to be not well edited or just not as good. This was a pleasant surprise. I really liked this one - it's sad, but well-written, and hopeful at the same time.  Good story, and I'm glad I chose it for my monthly free book.

    January 2017

    • Openness Unhindered: Further Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert on Sexual Identity and Union With Christ - Rosaria Champagne Butterfield (NF) This is such a wonderful book. She has helped me to think well about the power of the gospel and to glorify God as I do. I highly recommend this and her first book, as well
    • We Have Lost the President - Paul Matthews (F) This was a quirky little book I borrowed for free on my Kindle. It was ok, but not terribly memorable and I don't feel the need to read further in the series. 
    • Chosen by God - R.C. Sproul (NF) This was a reread, but so very good. It's important to read good, theological books, and this is definitely that. Recommended. 
    • No Little Women: Equipping All Women in the Household of God - Aimee Byrd (NF) I liked this book, especially the chapters on being discerning with what we read and listen to. I think it is a necessary addition to the discussions that led to her writing of it. Recommended. 
    • A Great Deliverance (Inspector Lynley, Book 1) - Elizabeth George (F). I've read this one before quite a while ago, but I see she has written several more since I last read the series, and I wanted to reread. I like this series, but I believe I should probably caution it does get a bit rough with language and such - it is a secular detective/murder mystery type of series. 
    February 2017
    • Payment in Blood (Inspector Lynley, Book 2) - Elizabeth George (F). See comment on Book 1 from the series.
    • World Religions and Cults: Counterfeits of Christianity - Bodie Hodge and Roger Patterson (NF) This is very much written from a conservative, Bible-believing Christian worldview, and I found it quite helpful. It is the first volume in the series, and I intend to try to read the next volumes at some point, too. 
    • Well-Schooled in Murder (Inspector Lynley, Book 3) - Elizabeth George (F)
    • What is the Trinity? (Crucial Questions Series) - R. C. Sproul (NF) These little booklets are a very helpful series for understanding doctrines of the Faith. 
    • A Suitable Vengeance (Inspector Lynley, Book 4) - Elizabeth George (F)
    March 2017
    • Eric Liddell: Pure Gold - David McCasland (NF). I like to read biographies, and this one was such a great example of a life well-lived. It was encouraging to read of Eric Liddell's deep love for Jesus and his care and compassion for people.  
    •  In Fairleigh Field: A Novel of World War II - Rhys Bowen (F).
    April 2017
    • For the Sake of Elena (Inspector Lynley, Book 5) - Elizabeth George (F)
    • Loving Me: The Hidden Agenda of Self-Esteem - Rick Thomas (NF)  This was very short, but I found it quite helpful, full of biblical wisdom in retraining our thinking away from the worldly wisdom of the self-esteem bent of our culture. We do not need to think more about ourselves, but less - we need to be thinking more about GOD. Highly recommend. 
    May 2017
    • Missing Joseph (Inspector Lynley, Book 6) - Elizabeth George (F).
    • The Healing Gods: Complementary and Alternative Medicine In Christian America - Candy Gunther Brown (NF).
    June 2017
    • The Religious Beliefs of America's Founders: Reason, Revelation, and Revolution - Gregg L. Frazer (NF)
    • Playing for the Ashes (Inspector Lynley, Book 7) - Elizabeth George (F).
    • Honest Evangelism: How to talk about Jesus even when it's tough - Rico Tice (NF) Excellent book and I pray I will take it to heart and cross the "pain line" and learn to be bold in a way I have not been before. 
    July 2017
    • What is Faith? (Crucial Questions Series) - R.C. Sproul (NF)
    • In the Presence of the Enemy (Inspector Lynley, Book 8) - Elizabeth George (F)
    August 2017
    • Deception on His Mind (Inspector Lynley, Book 9) - Elizabeth George (F)
    • Reset for Parents - Todd Friel (NF). I loved this book. I wish I could have read it before our children were born, but I'm thankful that by God's grace, much of what Todd discusses we sort of fell into doing some of the time, but I do wish we had been more intentional through the years. I think this would be an excellent book to give as a gift to young or expecting parents. Quite practical and biblically based.
    • The Prestige - Christopher Priest (F). I very much enjoyed this one. I may want to look into other books this author has written.
    September 2017
    • The Naturalist - Andrew Mayne (F).
    • In Pursuit of the Proper Sinner (Inspector Lynley, Book 10) - Elizabeth George (F). I didn't end up finishing this, and I am not planning on continuing the series. Though I had read this before and had made it further in the series and was just rereading so I could look at newer books in the series that I have not read, I've decided not to continue with it.  I just got to the point where the description of the depravity of some of the characters in the cases the detectives were investigating was something I no longer want to spend my time reading about and filling my mind with. It just got to be too much for me. Moving on.
    October 2017
    • The Twelfth Imam (The Twelfth Imam Series, Book 1) - Joel C. Rosenburg (F).
    November 2017
    • Eve in Exile and the Restoration of Femininity - Rebekah Merkle (NF).
    • The Tehran Initiative (The Twelfth Imam Series, Book 2) - Joel C. Rosenburg (F).
    December 2017
    • The Damascus Countdown (The Twelfth Imam Series, Book3) - Joel C. Rosenburg (F).
    • Internet Inferno: A Contemporary Warning and Reminder Regarding this Ancient Truth - "The Tongue is a Fire, the Very World of Iniquity, and is Set on Fire by Hell" James 3:6 - Michael John Beasely (NF).
    • The Circle - Dave Eggers (F). This one was disturbing and a good commentary on how dangerously dependent we as a society are becoming on social media. It's made me want to share much less and spend much less time interacting on social media, something I've thought a lot about in recent years. It does seem we are destroying things that we don't really want to lose  and developing scary new ways of interacting that are not good for us in this new era of living online. Caution: language and some subject matter.
    • The Holiness of God (NF) - R.C. Sproul. Very highly recommend.
    • How to Think: A Survival Guide for a World at Odds - Alan Jacobs (NF).