My Top 10 Books From 2018

2018 has been an incredible year for books. I read over 50 books, and it’s been hard to narrow them down to a top 10. I was impacted by each novel, biography, and personal growth book I read. It was an extraordinary literary year!

I hope you find your next read or a book to gift from my 2018 Top 10 Book List!

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1. The Problim Children by Natalie Lloyd

The Problim Children is the first book in a trilogy that Natalie is working on. It revolves around seven unique siblings trying to save their family while their town is trying to tear them apart. These seven kids will warm your heart and open your eyes to the power of embracing who you are. Life is too short to be like everyone else. We all belong just the way we are: weird, crazy, and awkward.

2. What Blooms From Dust by James Markert

What Blooms From Dust is a beautiful reminder that no one and nothing is too far gone to experience new life and second chances. Jeremiah Goodbye is set to meet his fate in the electric chair, but he is given a second chance at life. I enjoy stories where the author takes an inanimate object—in this case dust—and turns it into a character. The story blooms with the truth that hope can be found in the darkness and kindness is what makes it grow.

3. A Million Junes by Emily Henry

A Million Junes is a beautifully crafted story about how the past shapes our present. For as long as Jack “June” O’Donnell has been alive, her parents have had only one rule: stay away from the Angert family. One night at the local fair changes everything as June literally collides with Saul Angert. June and Saul’s stories are connected in a divine sense; going into the past and learning to let go of it helps both of them embrace love while honoring their loss. It is a beautifully haunting and enchanting book.

4. Engraved On The Heart by Tara Johnson

I was pleasantly surprised by Engraved On The Heart. Keziah Montgomery lives imprisoned by the high expectations of her Confederate family. Everything changes when an old schoolmate, Dr. Micah Greyson, shows her a life-changing truth that opens the door to a new way of life as a conductor in the Underground Railroad. I have never read a story that has roots in the past, but applies to current events. I highly recommend this book; a strong female lead and a potent reminder that God made every man in His image—so every person should be treated with reverence—are what make Engraved On The Heart a treasure of a read.

5. The Heart Between Us by Lindsay Harrel

I laughed, cried, and got lost in the pages of The Heart Between Us.  All Megan Jacobs has ever wanted is to see the world and write travel blogs next to her photography loving friend Caleb, but she couldn’t. Until three years ago Megan lived in an out of hospital waiting and hoping for a new heart. While her twin sister, Crystal, lived the life she never got to live—friends, boys, and success. Twins separated by a heart. While this story does have an uplifting ending, the path to get there is messy and filled with brokenness that I relate to all to well.

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1. 13 Days In Ferguson by Captain Ronald Johnson

Everyone remembers Ferguson in one way or another. They remember Michael Brown. They remember the riots. They remember the chaos witnessed as an outside observer through screens, news stories, and opinions. Captain Ron Johnson remembers these things, but in a way the rest of the country cannot relate to. He was there. If you too only saw politics—instead of humanity—during those 13 days and beyond, I highly recommend Captain Johnson’s story. 13 Days in Ferguson is written with a vulnerability, honesty, and human perspective that has encouraged me to see and hear the people in front of me and reach out to them always.

2. A Light So Lovely by Sarah Arthur

I love reading books about the real-life influencers that have rocked my world as well as the generations before me and the generations to come. Fiction will always have a sweet place in my heart, but profiles and biographies take me deeper into the human experience. A Light So Lovely is laid out the way Madeleine L’Engle viewed life; she was not an either/or lady, but a both/and believer in the depth and dynamic of this world and the One who is over all. From discussions on “Sacred and Secular” to “Fact and Fiction” this book is a beautiful picture of not only Madeleine the author, but Madeleine the woman and life explorer.

3. Preach To Yourself by Hayley Morgan

I was blown away by Preach To Yourself because Hayley is bold enough to say it takes work to believe and live out what the Bible says. It is not a legalistic type work, but a disciplined decision to digest it and hang on to it every day. It will never look perfect, but that is not the point. The point is transformation—the continual process with the Lord of renewing our minds—and it is daily and forever. I highly recommend Preach To Yourself. It has challenged me and stretched me—still processing it all—this will be a book in my permanent collection.

4. Remember God by Annie F. Downs

Is God really kind? This is the question Annie F. Downs explores in her new book. Remember God is real talk about faith and the choice we each face daily to choose him over our circumstances. For centuries people have been building temples, cathedrals, altars, and markers to God. They built these beautiful symbols to remember God and the moments they were in; they wanted to remember that moment they believed in God’s goodness, kindness, and faithfulness to them. Because when life goes every which way and we can’t see what’s happening, we forget and it’s hard to hold onto and believe the truth. I’m a fan of Annie’s writing; I’ve been uplifted by her humor and heart for years. Her books read like an authentic and magical coffee conversation.

5. How To Be A Perfect Christian by The Babylon Bee

How To Be a Perfect Christian is completely and fully Christian satire and so is the majority of my review. As I laughed through each chapter I had to take a hard look at my own beliefs and what I am shining a light on in my life. Am I pointing to Christ or to my own works? Am I accepting God’s grace or am I striving for perfection by my own merit? I enjoyed this guide to becoming a perfect Christian. I was disappointed that the Babylon Bee guys did not include instruction on how to distress your Bible to make it appear worn in. I want to achieve the “super holy” Instagram/Facebook post of my quite time, but without the worn in Bible my holiness points will go down. I need those tips.

Bonus!

Favorite Devotional of the Year:

Always Enough/Never Too Much by Jess Connolly and Hayley Morgan

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Always Enough/Never Too Much is not just for you, but it is for all the hers in your life. For every girl that is feeling trapped, alone, and stuck between the pull and tug of not being enough and being too much. This devotional is a flip book; there are 50 devotionals on being Always Enough and 50 on being Never Too Much. A total of 100 devotionals that speak to a wide variety of insecurities, comparisons, and lies that women have taken in as truth about who they are. Through scripture and bold encouragement Jess and Haley do not hold back in speaking life into the numb places. I found some deep unwavering truth and encouragement through this devotional this year.

Thankful for another year of great reads and authors who are willing to go into the vulnerable and hard places in their writings.

What was your favorite book you read this year? Let me know in the comments.

- Hannah