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Sunday, December 22, 2013

My Favorite Books of 2013

I read to unwind, for information, and for a different take on familiar subjects. My reading is an eclectic mix of fun, mysteries, historical, medical, how tos, and inspirational. You won't find me reading many that are purely romance. Mostly, I want to be inspired in some way. A few books did that for me this year. (An asterisk means you can find the review on my Book Reviews tab. Two asterisks are for Bible Study Reviews, on a separate tab.)

Best Writing Style—tied between two very different books:

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp, for its poetic and somewhat quirky style. I loved the way she says things backwards. For example: "clean sheets smelling like wind." It includes some spiritual teachings, "Joy is the realest reality, the fullest life, and joy is always given, never grasped. God gives gifts and I give thanks and I unwrap the gift given: joy."

Rain Song by Alice Wisler,* for its folksy language (not overdone), recipes, and Southern charm. You have to read it!

Most Inspirational: A Place of Healing by Joni Eareckson Tada,* for her genuine and thoughtful testimony. It's effective teaching about suffering, endurance, and God’s sovereign purpose in lives.

Best Bible Study: Grace for Every Trial by Betty Henderson.** A study of the book of Job, this is rich. Mrs. Henderson’s study is encouraging, fresh, and it helps you delve into the truths all through the book, and even learn from the “miserable” speeches. I got more out of this Bible study than any of the others I did this year. Wonderful! I recommend it.

Best Historical—tied between two:

Wounded Spirits by April Gardner,* which is historical fiction, believable and very well researched. An exciting story, beautifully written.

While the World Watched by Catherine Maull McKinstry* is the true autobiography of a young girl who survived the Birmingham bombing where her friends were killed. Poignant and very, very educational. I highly recommend this book.

Best for Women—several here that I found helpful, for different reasons:

Confessions of a Crack(ed) Pot by Elise Vazquez* is a revealing personal testimony by a woman who had been through several marriages, trying to do right, and abusive situations—in the church. Her journey leads her to appreciate who she is in Christ and to rebuild a totally broken life. This book is an encouragement to any woman. (Available for Kindle only.)

Sexy Christians by Dr. Ted Roberts and his wife Diane* teaches how to achieve intimacy in marriage. This is not a manual; it’s about learning to overcome the obstacles to intimacy. Excellent for anyone, especially for Christian counselors.

I’m No Angel by Kylie Bisutti* is the personal testimony of a woman who made it to the very top of the modeling world, chosen as a Victoria’s Secret Angel. It’s about how she quits the modeling business and understands the real value of women. There are some short, meaningful devotionals at the end. Great for young women (sixteen and over) and for Christian women of all ages who are interested in fashion. An eye-opener.

Most Fun: Ivory and Ice by Sandra Barker.* It’s a delightful glimpse into a world 5,000 years ago. There’s a parallel modern story, too, with a little bit of fantasy.

Most Off the Wall—tied between two:

Prime of Life by P. D. Bekendam,* about an ex-doctor, now a janitor, who has an obsession with prime numbers. Loved it!

Unseen by John Michael Hileman* is about children who aren’t really there. Who are they, and why is Jake Paris the only one who sees them? I loved this one, too. It has a strong pro-life message without preaching. I think you’ll be surprised by this book.

. . . . Drum Roll . . . .

My Pick for the Best Book Read This Year: Wounded Spirits by April Gardner. I'm getting the sequel for Christmas!

What were your favorite books this year?


  1. Thank you so much, Lou Ann, for including my book in your Favorites! I am so honored!! Sounds like some other good ones you read that I'd like to check out myself. I can't wait to try find some of them. Happy reading to you (: Luv, Sandra

    1. I loved it! Thanks for reading my blog, Sandra. Have a wonderful Christmas!

  2. I'm planning to do a post like this after Christmas. I want to read I'm No Angel and A Place of Heavenly Healing.

    1. I'll look forward to your post! I know you will enjoy those books! Good!

  3. Oh wow! I'm so honored! These are some great books, so even being on the list is a privilege. Thank you!
    Sadly, these books can only be purchased used now. Even so, I continue to be blessed with reviews. One day, I trust God will put them back on the market!
    You've been my first New Year's gift, Lou Ann. Thank you!!

    1. I totally enjoyed your book and am excited about the sequel. You are a gifted writer, and you really do your homework.


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