Happy weekend, friend!
I felt like sharing a post about some of the very best books I’ve ever read today, so here they are, in no particular order…
1. The Ministry of Ordinary Places by Shannan Martin. Incredibly beautiful, thought-provoking, and relatable writing, and jam-packed with one-of-a-kind wisdom and important personal stories that made me feel like I was sitting RIGHT next to Shannan and she spoke…I mean, wrote. 😉 In this book, Shannan “shows us that no matter where we live or how much we have, as we learn what it is to be with people as Jesus was, we’ll find our very lives. The details will look quiet and ordinary, and the call will both exhaust and exhilarate us…but it will be the most worth-it adventure we will ever take!”
2. The Hole In Our Gospel by Richard Stearns. I read this one several years back and remember feeling SO positively impacted and informed when I was done that I immediately wanted to read it again! I sent it to several friends and family members that year. In this book, World Vision president, Richard Stearns explains that “if our individual faith in Christ has no positive outward expression, then our faith has a hole in it. As Christians when we committed our lives to following Christ we also committed to living our lives in such a way that those watching would see a reflection of God’s love, justice, and mercy through our actions. As Frederick Buechner once said, God calls us to a place where “our deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.”
3. The Wedding by Nicholas Sparks. This oldie but VERY goodie that was a follow-up to Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook. I haven’t read in it at least a decade, but I have a feeling it will always be on my list of Top 5 Favorite fiction books! In it, “a hardworking but distant husband vows to win back the love of his life by looking to Noah and Allie’s legendary romance.”
4. Everything You Ever Wanted by Jillian Lauren. This one should probably be rated MA-14 (there is some “language” if you’re turned off by that sort of thing) but I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed reading this gal’s book. She’s an incredible storyteller and I appreciated her brutal honesty and transparency. Voted “Best Memoir of 2015” by AdoptiveFamilies.com, this book “explores complex ideas of identity and reinvention. In her younger years, Jillian Lauren was a college dropout, a drug addict, and an international concubine in the Prince of Brunei’s harem. In her thirties, Jillian’s most radical act was learning the steadying power of love when she and her rock star husband adopted an Ethiopian child with special needs. After Jillian loses a close friend to drugs, she herself is saved by her fierce, bold love for her son as she fights to make him—and herself—feel safe and at home in the world. It’s a must-read for everyone, especially every mother, who has ever hoped for a second act in life.”
5. Summer Rental by Mary Kay Andrews. If you’ve followed along with my blog for any length of time, you probably already know I LOVE an MKA novel. Their all great, but this still stands out as my very fav. Multiple intriguing plot lines + a historic house = a real page-turner for me! 😀 It’s about “five people questioning everything they ever thought they knew about life, five people on a journey that will uncover their secrets and point them on the path to forgiveness…five people who each need a sea of change, and one month in a big, old beach rental that might just give it to them.”
6. High Tide Club by Mary Kay Andrews. This one is SO well written too! I could practically smell the low-country air as MKA unraveled the mysterious story. It’s a “compelling novel about the people and places that shape a life, and the secrets that create ripples for generations. With a unique setting, mysterious flashbacks, romance, and a surprising twist, this book will not disappoint readers looking for a juicy, seaside escape.”
7. No Greater Love by Levi Benkert. This book “documents Levi’s journey and the challenges he faced establishing and running the orphanage and finding adoptive homes for children in Ethiopia.” Although there are plenty of parts that will make you smile, it’s not a warm & fuzzy feel-good story. It leans more real, honest, raw and authentic as he details the nitty-gritty of what it means to physically go and make a difference in the world of someone you don’t even know.
8. Little Princes by Conor Grennan. “Little Princes is the epic story of Conor Grennan’s unexpected battle to save the lost children of Nepal and how he found himself in the process. His remarkable memoir is gripping, inspirational, heartbreaking, and heartwarming, and it carries us deep into an exotic world that most readers know little about.
9. Lake House by Kate Morton. “Living on her family’s idyllic lakeside estate in Cornwall, England, Alice Edevane is a bright, inquisitive, and precociously talented sixteen-year-old who loves to write stories. One midsummer’s eve, after a beautiful party drawing hundreds of guests to the estate has ended, the Edevanes discover that their youngest child, eleven-month-old Theo, has vanished without a trace. He is never found, and the family is torn apart, the house abandoned. Decades later, Alice is living in London, having enjoyed a long successful career as a novelist. Miles away, Sadie Sparrow, a young detective in the London police force, is staying at her grandfather’s house in Cornwall. While out walking one day, she stumbles upon the old Edevane estate—now crumbling and covered with vines. Her curiosity is sparked, setting off a series of events that will bring her and Alice together and reveal shocking truths about the past.”
10. Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. Forgotten Garden is “a spellbinding tale of mystery and self-discovery, set on the Cornish coast, that will take hold of your imagination and never let go.” I will never forget how it took me on an unforgettable journey through generations and across continents as two women tried to uncover their family’s secret past!
11. Hope Heals by Jay & Katherine Wolf. Hope Heals is “a raw yet refreshing testimony to the unshakable trustworthiness of God amidst the unimaginable trials of life. This book reminds all of us where hope can be found in a world where none of us know what the next day holds. Do not assume you’ve “heard it all before”. Theirs is a story so raw, visceral, and impossibly real that you can’t help but identify.”
12. Jantsen’s Gift by Pam Cope. “Pam Cope’s story is on one level a moving, personal account of loss and recovery, but on a deeper level, it offers inspiration to anyone who has ever suffered great personal tragedy or those of us who dream about making a difference in the world.”
13. Miracle on Voodoo Mountain by Megan Boudreaux. This book is “an inspirational memoir of an accomplished and driven 24-year old who quit her job, sold everything, and moved to Haiti, by herself—all without a clear plan of action. She had visited Haiti on a few humanitarian trips but each trip multiplied the sense that someone needed to address the devastation—especially with the children, many of whom were kept as household slaves on the poverty-stricken and earthquake-devastated Caribbean island. God guided her every step as she moved blindly to a foreign land without knowing the language, the people, or the future.”
14. Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom. “Corrie ten Boom was a Dutch watchmaker who became a heroine of the Resistance, a survivor of Hitler’s concentration camps, and one of the most remarkable evangelists of the 20th century. In World War II, she and her family risked their lives to help Jews and underground workers escape from the Nazis, and for their work they were tested in the infamous Nazi death camps. Only Corrie among her family survived to tell the story of how faith ultimately triumphed over evil.”
15. Hope And Help For Your Nerves by Dr. Claire Weekes. This book was a REAL game-changer for me when I was in one of my worst seasons of panic and anxiety to date. Through her writing, Dr. Weekes (who passed away in 1990) had a powerful way of simultaneously completely understanding, putting things into perspective, equipping me with answers, and helping me to feel less alone. In this book, she “offers the results of years of experience treating real patients—including some who thought they’d never recover. With her simple, step-by-step guidance. You learn how to understand and analyze your own symptoms of anxiety and can quite possibly find the power to conquer your fears for good.”
16. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows. Oh, how I loved this story! It is a “small masterpiece about love, war, and the immeasurable sustenance to be found in good books and good friends.” Do not forget to absorb this one!!! It’s even better than the Netflix film and I give it to folks who love to read all the time!
You can click on any of the book covers or (affiliate) links above to purchase or read more about them. I really can’t recommend each of them highly enough and I look forward to hearing about the last great book you read in the comment section, too!