Fiction and Nonfiction Reads for You

About twice a year I try to give a book review(s) of current or recent-past reads. Obviously, your taste may not be my own, but many are just looking for a good recommendation. I read across several genres and receive incredulous looks over the craziness of reading several books at once. Yes, I’m one of those. 🙂 So, here’s what I’ve digested so far this year:


Nonfiction (I think people look at this subtitle and automatically think “boring”, but not so. Some of the most inspiring and life-changing books I’ve read are nonfiction).

  • Love Does by Bob Goff Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World by [Goff, Bob] Perhaps you’ve already read Goff’s book (as it’s 6 years old), or some of his more recent ones, but if you haven’t, I’d encourage you to do so. His philosophical and highly humorous storytelling saturates you with hope and motivation. Goff engages the reader with humble and easy-to-digest chapters, and his wit and captivating insights propel you forward with ease.

  • Switch On Your Brain by Dr. Caroline Leaf Switch On Your Brain: The Key to Peak Happiness, Thinking, and Health by [Leaf, Dr. Caroline] illuminated concepts I’ve never pondered. Her neuroscience explanations reached beyond my cognitive abilities of comprehension, but the research and science is there for the proving (if you can comprehend it). 🙂 Her practical application for retraining your mind (self-induced brain surgery) rewires your cognitive flow and allows you to live a more positive and healthy mental lifestyle.

  • The Peace God Promises by Ann Spangler   should be at the top of your list. If you don’t read anything else this year, pick up this book. Not only do her stories shift perspective, but she employs techniques that are easy to apply and life-altering if you do.

  • Embraced by Lysa TerkeurstEmbraced: 100 Devotions to Know God Is Holding You Close

    is on my Kindle in large part because Prime was running a deal for a couple bucks and because Terkeurst will remain one of my favorite authors. She knows how to get under my skin and clean out what’s festering. Her devotion will be one I’ll keep going back to again and again.



  • The Broken Road by Richard Paul Evans is one of the most delightful novels I’ve read this year. His philosophical, unassuming approach to life carves out deeper questions: do I live like this? What purpose does my life reflect? I usually read his books in 2-3 nights and am always sad when they are finished.

  • Red Berries, White Clouds, Blue Sky by Sandra Dallas is actually written for youth, but the historical and poignant implications make it adult-worthy reading as well. Dallas explores the sad ramifications of Executive Order 9066 (the federal decision to incarcerate some 120,000 Japanese Americans during WWII).

  • Sleep Like a Baby by Charlaine Harris is a fluffy Aurora Teagarden Mystery. So, if you enjoy the occasion Hallmark-variety mystery, this one is for you. The excessive homelife narrative of caring for a newborn became a little tedious to me, but Harris knows how to paint a picture and capture a scene.

  • Chasing Fireflies by Charles Martin wasn’t my favorite Martin novel (even though he’s one of my favorite authors), in large part because the underlying thread dealt with abuse and neglect, usually at the hand of a parent. Since child abuse (especially of the sexual nature) angers and overwhelms my spirit, I often avoid these books if I can. Obviously, the ending carried redemption of sorts, but still left me feeling heavy-hearted.

  • The Illusion by Frank Peretti confused me at parts. His play with time and space seemed to leave the reader slightly dazed, but maybe that was the goal. Since I’ve not read a Peretti book in some 20 years, I’d say his decision to avoid the spiritual realm might have carried him to a genre he wasn’t quite prepared to tackle, still I applaud him for the effort.

  • The Masterpiece by Francine Rivers captured me within the first few chapters. Although I’m not a big fan of romance novels, Rivers develops characters with layers and unique motivations. She doesn’t shy away from the gritty of what some people endure. However, the first half of the book reads better than the second. Her formulaic romance plot line takes over and the last half becomes rather predictable and forgettable. Not her Mark of the Lion series, but still, overall, a book worth reading.

  • The Midwife’s Revolt by Jodi Daynard takes some liberties with historical conspiracies during the Revolutionary War (no pun intended), but her plot line sparks with a few surprises and her characters are delightfully flawed and likable. This 3-part book series allows you to read the first one for free on your Kindle.

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