I know most of you are readers and like to hear about great new books or authors. Every couple of months I try to help you out by updating you on something in the publishing world.

In February, I listed ten excellent authors you may not have heard of, and if you missed that post, you can find it here.

This month, I want to share with you the eight best books I’ve read so far this year.

Fiction Books

AD 301. A.D. 30 by Ted Dekker. Phenomenal. More than once I identified with the thoughts of the main character, although our lives are tremendously different. I love her interactions with Jesus, but more than that, I was particularly struck by her conversation with Stephen. The other characters are wonderful (or terrible, as appropriate), the timeline shows hours of research, and story moves along at a good pace. I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, A.D. 33.

Spy of Richmond2. Spy of Richmond (Heroines Behind the Lines: Civil War #4) by Jocelyn Green. Full disclosure: Jocelyn is a friend and I love her dearly. But, I also love her writing! Like the other three books in this series, the characters were excellent, and the tension mounted steadily with the tensions of war. None of these books are light-hearted, but they are all excellent fiction and worth your time to read.

Yankee-1253. Yankee in Atlanta (Heroines Behind the Lines: Civil War #3) by Jocelyn Green. The characters were painfully real. Sometimes I wanted to slap one of them, sometimes I wanted to wrap them in my arms and offer comfort, and once or twice I could have rushed to a character’s defense! Before reading this book, I truthfully knew little about the siege on Atlanta during the American Civil War. I knew the city was a focal point, knew it got hit hard, and deduced that this caused untold hardship. However, Mrs. Green brought those realities to life, and I hurt for the people who lived through those days.

book cover: Full Steam Ahead4. Full Steam Ahead by Karen Witemeyer. I’ve found Karen Witemeyer’s writing to be delightful in the past, and this book met my expectations. I love that she doesn’t back away from bad guys acting like bad guys, yet manages to keep things clean. Perhaps my favorite part is that she made the hero rough around the edges — rougher than many in today’s romances — but still realistic and someone I would want to know. She tackled a sensitive topic within the storyline, and I loved how she redeemed the man touched by it while relaying history’s answer to solve the problem.

Nonfiction Books

7 Practices of Effective Ministry1. 7 Practices of Effective Ministry by Andy Stanley, Reggie Joiner, and Lane Jones. If you lead any ministry or group within your church, are you achieving the results you want? Are you focused on the assignment God gave your church, supporting it within your piece of the bigger picture? Do you know what success in your ministry looks like? If you have trouble answering these questions, this is the book for you.

Stopping Stress before It Stops You: A Game Plan for Every Mom2. Stopping Stress before It Stops You: A Game Plan for Every Mom by Kevin Leman. I enjoy reading Kevin Leman’s books because he has a great ability to communicate science and psychology in a non-intimidating, humorous, and highly practical way. This book made so much sense to me, and his examples gave me real life perspectives to help me apply his principles to my own life more easily. This is an excellent book–one of the few that I recommend all women read.

Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want3. Living Forward: A Proven Plan to Stop Drifting and Get the Life You Want by Michael Hyatt and Daniel Harkavy. Many people think at some point that they want to live life to the fullest. I agree, but to me that means reaching the end of my life with as few regrets as possible. Which means I need to be purposeful in how I am living now. I’ve heard Michael Hyatt speak on this before and I’ve put many of his suggestions into practice. I love that he and Daniel Harkavy have taken the time to write the steps so I can easily refer back to it and share it.

Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships that All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward4. Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships that All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward by Henry Cloud. I’d heard some good things about this book from online mentors, and I’m so thankful I picked it up. Dr. Cloud does an excellent job of laying out the problems and solutions for why some relationships — in business and in life — just need to end. Then he goes into detail about how to do it clearly, effectively, and professionally (or lovingly).


Now that I’ve shared my best books of the year, will you share yours in the comments below? I want to know what I may be missing out on!


THE FINE PRINT: The federal government is concerned about businesses getting money from you without you knowing it, so the Federal Trade Commission dictates that I must tell you when you are giving me any money. So, for your full information, many of the links above are affiliate links. That means that if you click on one of the links, allow your browser to load Amazon, and then buy the book from Amazon before destroying my link by going to another place, then Amazon will pay me about five pennies. Okay, maybe a little more than five pennies, but truly not much more than five pennies. You’ve been advised.  

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