As 2017 draws to a close, I looked back at the books I read this year (nearly 200 of them!) in order to choose my favorites. I sorted out the books I had given 5 stars to on GoodReads, and there weren’t very many. I’m super stingy with my 5 star reviews, it has to be exceptional in order for me to rate it that high. I dropped two from my list that release in 2018 (they are eligible next year), and I discovered that with only one exception, The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, they were all Christian titles. So here is my list of the books I adored this year, hopefully you will find something that whets your appetite enough to give it a try.
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1. The Esther Paradigm by Sarah Monzon
My review of this spectacular book can be found here: Life Fully Booked Review of The Esther Paradigm This book is a modern-day re-imagining of the book of Esther, set in a Muslim country. Filled with love, excitement, and spiritual truth, I highly recommend this novel.
2. Walk it Out by Tricia Goyer
I don’t read much non-fiction, but this one was an exception. Challenging, heartfelt, and very applicable to life, this book gave me a new and fresh perspective on what it means to live out my faith. Life Fully Booked Review of Walk it Out
3. Though I Stumble and If I Believe by Kim Cash Tate
Ok, yes, I’m cheating a little bit, but I did read both of these books in 2017 and they are amazing. They are part of a series, so I can count them as one. I reviewed If I Believe: Life Fully Booked Review of If I Believe but I think you should start with the first one to get the full impact of the books (and get ready for the next book in the series coming out soon) These books feature a group of women, some related and some not, who are navigating their ways through life, love, and faith. So applicable to any reader, even if they are fiction.
4. Perennials by Julie Cantrell
Everything Julie Cantrell writes is uniquely detailed and meaningful. This one explores family relationships and family dynamics, even the messy, uncomfortable ones. GoodReads link to my RT review of Perennials
5. The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck by Bethany Turner
I cannot gush enough about how much I loved this book. Turner has such a fresh, original writing voice. This book is equal parts funny and meaningful, and its fun plot, coupled with fantastic “a-ha” spiritual moments make it one not to miss. GoodReads link to my RT review of The Secret Life of Sarah Hollenbeck
6. Looking Glass Lies by Varina Denman
I’ll admit, this is not an easy read, but it’s so very timely and also relevant and powerful. Denman explores aspects of identity, self-worth, and beauty that will make readers reflect on their own lives, and yet doesn’t give any pat answers. GoodReads link to my RT review of Looking Glass Lies
7. High as the Heavens by Kate Breslin
I am not generally a historical fiction fan, but I make some exceptions. This fabulous book is set during World War I and has adventure, a love story, intrigue and mystery. I was gripped from the first page and it was pretty much non-stop until the end. GoodReads link to my RT review of High as the Heavens.
8. Life After by Katie Ganshert
April was an amazing month for releases that knocked my socks off. Months later I am still thinking about this one, it’s the story of an elevated train crash in Chicago and the aftermath featuring the sole survivor trying to make sense of why she lived. So incredibly moving and powerful. GoodReads link to my RT review of Life After
9. Home by Ginny Yttrup
A stunner of a novel dealing with many types of pain: infertility, grief, mental illness, and marriage issues. It sounds heavy, but it’s so heartfelt and reflective. GoodReads link to my RT review of Home
10. A Fragile Hope by Cynthia Ruchti
Everything Ruchti writes is moving and original, and this is no exception. She pens a story about a troubled marriage and the aftereffects of a terrible incident. GoodReads link to my RT review of A Fragile Hope