Monday, December 22, 2014

Favorite Books of 2014

This has been a great reading year for me. I finally recovered from the chaos of college, graduation, and the career change that last year brought. After struggling to get back into reading, I found my groove again. Between my writing groups and my personal reading, I got through a lot of books this year. I found some amazing writers this year! Of course, this list doesn't include the great books I got to critique through my ACFW groups, Some of those will be on my 2015 favorite book list, I'm sure. Here are my favorites for this year:


Praying for Boys: Asking God for the Things They Need Most by Brooke McGlothlin
I read the original book, when it was a self-published ebook. I loved it then, and I love it even more now. Brooke added so much content. This is one of my favorite books on prayer. I love the emphasis on praying Scripture over your children.

Grace for the Good Girl by Emily P. Freeman
Technically I'm still reading this one, but I'll finish this week. Emily P. Freeman could have written this for me. If you deal with perfectionism and feeling like you never quite live up to the ideal, pick this one up.

The Nesting Place by Myquillyn Smith
This was no so much a home decorating book, but a making-a-home book. It's about creating a home no matter where you're at or what circumstances are in your life. Great read that made me look at my home in a completely different way.

One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp
I got so far behind on my reading list when I was in college. I love Ann's blog, so this book had been on my list for a while. I wasn't disappointed. I don't say this lightly - this book was life changing. If you haven't read it yet, put it on your list for 2015.


The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
Yes, I know I'm seriously behind, since I just read these in May. For the past fifteen years, I've stuck with Christian fiction, but I heard so much about these books that I decided to check them out. I'm so glad I did. They are amazing. I read them all in a matter of days.

Operation Zulu (5 part serial novel) by Ronie Kendig
I'm a die-hard 24 fan. I was so thrilled when Fox brought it back for a mini-season this year. But as always, when Jack Bauer's bad day ended, I found myself in withdrawals. It was perfect timing for the release of Operation Zulu. I made the mistake of starting this series in the middle of a major renovation project. I couldn't stop. It was like reading a 24 episode. I was sneaking in a few pages anywhere I could, hanging on for the next week when the new installment came out. My only suggestion? Clear your calendar before you start this one.

Stone and Spark by Sibella Giorello
I've been a fan of fan of Raleigh Harmon since the first book in Sibella's adult series about the FBI agent and forensic geologist. This YA novel, though, is her best yet. So much of Raleigh's drive comes from her dad's unsolved murder. In this new spin-off series, we get to see her life before everything shattered. Getting to know her dad makes her story even more compelling. I can't wait for the second novel in January!

The Giver by Lois Lowery
I don't know how I made it through childhood without reading this classic. Of course, I'm not sure I would have grasped the full meaning of the story as a child. Wow. Just wow. Not a light read - I sat on our balcony on vacation and cried as I read. The second book in the series is on my 2015 reading list.

Learning to Die by Amryn Cross
I may get myself in trouble with my critique groups here, but I'm going to confess: romantic suspense isn't usually the first thing I'll pick up. I'm more of a straight mystery/suspense girl. This debut novel from Amryn Cross has changed my mind, though. Realistic story, imperfect characters, tons of action - this book grabbed me from the opening scene.

(On a side note: the sequels to Stone and Spark and Learning to Die will both release next year - I can't wait!)


  1. Love your recommendations here, Amanda! I have been wanting to read One Thousand Gifts, so will order it with my Christmas money. Hope you'll give my novels a look at Perfect for you and your sons!
    Blessings always!

  2. Love your book list! I really need to start keeping track of everything I read so that I can make a list like this at the end of the year. Usually, I'm saying things like, "Yeah, that one book was really good--if I could only remember the author/title" ;).

  3. The Nesting Place and The Giver were two of my top five. Reading Grace for the Good Girl now. I loved the Hunger Games, too, despite their intensity. Thanks for your list!

  4. WOW!! Thank you so much, Amanda, for listing Operation Zulu!! Made. My. Day!!

    1. You're welcome, Ronie! I really loved Zulu. Looking forward to reading more of your books!

  5. I love love love The Giver! Glad you enjoyed it, even reading it as an adult. :)

  6. Awesome list! The Nesting Place made my list too and I loved Praying for Boys; I need to revisit it soon! I loved the Hunger Games as well and The Giver is one of my favorites. I have both Grace for the Good Girl and One Thousand Gifts on my bookshelf, might have to make them a priority this year.

  7. Love both The Giver and 1000 Gifts. Definitely read the other three books in The Giver quartet. I have The Nesting Place on my Kindle waiting to be read. I loved seeing your book list!

  8. It looks like we enjoyed some of the same books this year. I love Ronie Kenig's book so will be looking at the serial novel. I will also be checking out the Stone and the Spark. Thanks for sharing.


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