UPDATE: The Winner of the giveaway was L. Cumby. She has been notified and her book of choice has been mailed. Congratulations to her and thanks to everyone for participating!
It’s my favorite post of the year!
Here it is! A list of all the best books I’ve read in 2017. Although working full-time sort of put a damper on my reading, I still managed to squeeze in 55 books this year, and I’ve got some good ones to recommend. This list contains quite a variety so I think everybody can find something they would like to read.
Comment below (or on Facebook) with the one you would like to read and you’ll be entered to win that book of your choice. Comments will close Sunday, December 17, 2017, at 3:00 CST and I will draw one name that evening – It could be you!
- Hope Heals: This was one of the first books I read in 2017 and it was truly an inspiring story. I heard Katherine Wolf on a podcast and then a friend recommended her book to me. I encourage everyone to read this story of love and sacrifice, struggle and faith.
- The Magnolia Story: Do you love Chip and Joanna Gaines as much as I do? They are absolutely precious and their book is no different. As I read their story, I could hear their voices and I felt as if I were right there with them on their journey. I will say this though – Joanna is a saint and Chip is a nut! I can’t imagine being married to that man. Ha! (Peter listened to the audio book and he highly recommends doing that because Chip and Joanna each read their own chapters.)
- When We Were the Kennedys: Maybe it was because this book is a memoir, but it really resonated with me. Set in the ’60s, this book follows the story of one family living in Maine – their struggles and pain and love. I highly recommend this one.
- Killing the Rising Sun: Alright. This book was written by Bill O’Reilly and I don’t know how you’re feeling about him these days. I read this book before he was accused of whatever he was accused of so… Anyway, this book is set in World War II but it’s all about the fall of the Japanese Empire. I didn’t know much about the Japanese culture before reading this book but I found the whole thing to be fascinating. If you love history, you will love this book.
- A Fall of Marigolds: I think I downloaded this book for free, and sometimes those freebies are not very good. But this one did not disappoint. The story takes place in two different centuries, alternating between September 1911 and September 2011. I love how the author interweaves the two stories – I became invested in the characters and couldn’t wait to see how they fit together. This book is also a great depiction of what it was like to live through Sept. 11, 2001.
- Tell Me Three Things: This book is billed as a YA novel and I picked it up because my daughter wanted to read it. I try hard to read “iffy” books before she does so I can make a judgment call about whether they are appropriate or not. (Yes, I’m “THAT” mom.) This book didn’t fit the appropriateness bill (for a 13 year old) because of a couple scenarios but I think it would be a great read for older teens. The storyline evolves around a teen girl who has been forced to move cross-country after the death of her mother and remarriage of her father. It’s all about fitting in, discovering who you are, and finding deep friendships. I really liked it a lot!
- Different: This book right here completely changed my mindset on Jonah’s autism diagnosis and all of his little quirks and habits. Sally Clarkson and her son Nathan really stressed how each child is unique, created in the image of God, and how it is our job as parents to pull out the qualities in our children that will help them be successful adults. It’s true that the quirks and qualities we might think of in a negative light can be nurtured into something positive. I was also reminded that we need to love our children exactly as they are. If you are the parent of a child who might be considered “different,” this book is for you!
- I Let You Go: I love a good mystery and this one did not disappoint. This novel begins with a mom losing her grip on her son’s hand and watching as he is hit and killed by an oncoming vehicle. This book contains a twist with an unexpected ending – the best kind of read, in my opinion!
- 13 Reasons Why: I do realize there is controversy surrounding this book and the subsequent Netflix series based on it. Here’s the deal: the tv series seemed to focus too much on the actual act of suicide, glorifying it and making it seem an appealing option for depressed teens. The book, however, really focused on the friends and acquaintances of the suicidal young woman. It highlighted how everything we say and do has a consequence. I think it would be a great book to read together with your older teenager (there is a rape scene in the book so beware) and you could discuss in-depth how our words and actions affect others, even when we don’t realize it.
- Bringing Up Bebe: This memoir-ish book released several years ago and was an instant hit. It is the story of an American woman who moved to France with her husband and it follows their journey to understand Parisian culture as it relates to raising children. I found the whole thing to be very interesting and I kept running to Peter with interesting tidbits. His answers were always something like “Yeah but France’s tax rate is 50%” or “Yeah but their whole society and healthcare system is based on socialism.” (I guess he wasn’t as enamored with the French culture as I was.) The whole time I was reading this book, all I wanted to do was surround myself with delicious breads and cheeses and shoo my kids to another room. You know, like the Europeans do. Ha!
- The Women in the Castle: I am a sucker for a good historical novel, particularly one set in the time frame of World War II. (What is it about that period of time that draws me in?) This book revolved around one woman who returns to her husband’s ancestral home, which is actually a castle, after the fall of the German empire. Many characters enter this woman’s life and surprising storylines unfold. I think everyone will enjoy this book – check it out!
- The Forgetting Time: Let me first say that this novel has a little language in it so if this is something that offends you, you might not want to pick it up. The story follows a young boy who believes he has lived a past life and his mother who will do anything to help him. Although I definitely do not believe in reincarnation, the story was captivating and I couldn’t put the book down.
- The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: Peter downloaded this book to my kindle (without my permission, mind you) because he said it sounded like something I would like. That man certainly knows me because I absolutely LOVED this book. It’s super quirky and filled with interesting and not-so-ordinary characters. Also, each chapter is written as a letter from one character to another, so at first, I thought I was going to hate it. But suffice it to say, I didn’t hate it. Check it out and tell me what you think!
- Glory Over Everything: Best read of the year!!! While this is a follow-up to The Kitchen House, which is also amazing, you don’t need to read the first one to pick up this one. Set in the late 1800’s, you will follow the life of a young man as he comes to terms with his past. So good, y’all!
- The Dry: This novel was mysterious in all the right ways and the ending was quite unexpected. My favorite kind of story! Plus, it was relatively clean and kept me on the edge of my seat. It follows the story of a federal agent who returns to his hometown after the strange murder of his best friend. I absolutely loved this book and I can’t wait to read the author’s newest release!
- The Girl From the Train: Not to be confused with the novel and movie “The Girl On the Train,” this story begins as World War II is ending and follows the story of an orphaned Jewish girl named Gretl. It is a redemptive yet heartbreaking look at the struggles endured as she attempts to figure out who she is and where she belongs. This is a good one, y’all.
- A Man Called Ove: Ok. This one might give Glory Over Everything a run for the best book of the year. The story began a little slowly but I quickly got sucked into the main character’s world. Y’all. This story is heart-wrenching and humorous at the same time. And I think we all know someone just like Ove – a grump who is set in his ways. I love the way his neighbors interact with him. It’s just such a great story and a reminder to all of us to be mindful of those we come in contact with.
That’s it for my 2017 Favorite Books. Which one would you want to read? Leave a comment to be entered to win the book of your choice. Happy Reading!!