Friday, December 29, 2017

Best of 2017

via Pixabay
This year has been a feast of reason. This post, however haltingly, is an attempt to look back on it all.

I read more books than I expected to (full list coming next week). And it's interesting to look back and remember the circumstances surrounding some of them. No More Faking Fine was begun on a night of distressed soul earlier in the year. August found me flipping through the gripping pages of Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry while being driven past miles of Canadian fields. The famous trial in To Kill a Mockingbird was read in the family van during a day with morning and afternoon church services. The Blue Castle was read on my bed on a leisurely Saturday.

One of the themes winding through this year was just how much enjoyment I found in modern authors. I love classics so much, but historical fiction like Johnnie Alexander's WW2 drama Where Treasure Hides, Stephanie Morrill's 1920s mystery Lost Girl of Astor Street, and Joanne Bischof's 1800s circus tale The Lady and the Lionheart, provided a wealth of intrigue, character personalities I adored, and quality storytelling that provided much joy as I read them.

And another really cool theme for this year? The Reformation 500! While I haven't featured those books on my list below, Erwin Lutzer's Rescuing the Gospel and J.H. Alexander's Ladies of the Reformation helped me mark the occasion. I'm also almost through Michelle DeRusha's Katharina and Martin Luther--learning about Martin and Katie's marriage was truly a delight this year.

Those things have been mind-enriching and soul feeding. But there was one more cool thing--and that was to add a book of my very own to the literary world. War of Loyalties was a dream come true, and I'm so grateful to have this story and all of my fictional friends inside it available in paperback and Kindle. It's amazing to skim through it all, and hear the reactions of people reading it.

Below, as per tradition, I've done a round-up of favorite book reviews and articles from this year. There are thoughts on adulthood (The Blue Castle), thoughts on truth and homosexuality (A Room with a View), thoughts about Tolkien, about dealing with differing convictions among friends, and a couple of articles about love and The Young Victoria. There are also light-hearted posts about book deals and Schuylock and Hobbits. And there is a journey of thankfulness for the path the Lord blessed with War of Loyalties.

I hope you enjoy browsing through them. And don't forget to keep scrolling for the top books of the year!

Top Book Reviews
No More Faking Fine, by Esther Fleece
The Blue Castle, by L.M. Montgomery
Adorned, by Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth
Death Be Not Proud, by Suzannah Rowntree
A Room With a View, by E.M. Forster
The Maggie Bright, by Tracy Groot
Where Treasure Hides, by Johnnie Alexander
The Lost Girl of Astor Street, by Stephanie Morrill
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, by Mildred D. Taylor
Carry On, Mr. Bowditch, by Jean Lee Latham
To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

Top Articles
Of Frodo Baggins, Temptation, and Community 
How Writing Offers Healing 
How to Buy a Whole Book Series in One Afternoon 
Dr. Who, Beauty and the Beast, and How to Talk to Friends About it All 
Meet Schuylock
A Very Important Update About War of Loyalties 
The End of the Kickstarter Chapter in War of Loyalties 
How to Deal With Shame in Receiving Feedback
Happy Birthday to the Hobbits! 
The Young Victoria: What Young Love Should Look Like
On Queen Victoria and Eligible Young Men
Why Protestants Need to Understand Catholics 
The War of Loyalties Tour {my heart is filled with Thankfulness} 

Nonfiction of the Year

book cover via goodreads

Present Over Perfect

While I haven't reviewed this yet on the blog (thoughts coming January 2018), I picked this book for my favorite because of the amount of impact it ministered to my mind. Present Over Perfect hits me smack in the middle of a workaholic perfectionistic place and draws me back to a mindset of grace, love for the small gifts of life, and what my key priorities are. I've read it almost twice this year (hoping to finish it before January 1st) and while I'll add the caveat that I have some major theological and lifestyle differences with portions of it, the core of its heart is something I very much agree with.

Fiction of the Year

book cover via goodreads
The Lost Girl of Astor street was absolutely everything I had hoped it would be. I read it twice on ebook and found it in print copy earlier this month. The mystery is suspenseful, the characters are so endearing, and I absolutely loved Mariano and Piper's dynamic together. Containing the yummiest sounding pizza in print, it provided so much enjoyment that it's easy to remember this book as a favorite of 2017. I'll definitely be returning again and again.

Author of the Year

Tracy Groot

I actually started The Maggie Bright in 2016, but in 2017 I got my own review copy and read it.Tracy Groot's book charmed me instantly. It's variety of character personalities, testimony to the power of prayer (even through the perspective of unbelieving characters), the hilarious Shrew, and the beaches of Dunkirk all combined to give me a reading experience that captured the core of my fiction-loving heart. Her book is historical fiction just the way I like it, and I enjoyed not only reading it on my own but also reading it a second time this year out loud with my mom and sister. I'm officially sold on anything else she writes.

What were your favorite books from 2017? Do you have any special memories of reading books in certain places this year?

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