Do you have specific memories from your past? You know, where you remember the time, the place, the feeling or thoughts of the moment like it was two days ago? Well, reading is not one of those things for me. I’ve loved to read as long as I can remember, but I have no idea when I read my first book – for pleasure, not school (yuck).
I guess I don’t need to know all that. Reading is just one of those things that’s part of me. Even when I don’t get to read as much as I’d like, because stuff happens, it’s there waiting. It’s like a good friend: you hardly see your best friend now that you both have families of your own, but you pick right up where you left off when you finally stumble across her.
I’ve been trying to get back to my love of reading lately, which is what inspired this post. I thought you might like to see some of my favorites in case you’re looking for something new.
#1: Redeeming Love – by Francine Rivers
I’ve lost count I’ve read this book so many times. That’s just how good it is.
Redeeming Love was inspired by the story of Hosea. As I’m sure you know, Hosea was commanded by God to marry a prostitute. She betrayed him many times to return to the life she’d known since she was a child in a heartbreaking picture of God’s love for Israel.
In the book, Michael Hosea has waited for his God’s chosen a long time, but he’s pretty surprised when God directs him to Sarah, a beautiful but cold soiled dove. How can he possibly convince her to marry him when he can’t even approach her without looking like every other man she’s known?
Sarah knows Michael is different, and that’s what scares her. She can’t put him in any box she’s known. But no one gives anything without wanting something in return. What will Michael want from her, and can she give it to him?
#2: The Mark of the Lion series – by Francine Rivers
There are three books in this series. And I couldn’t put any of them down until the end.
A Voice in the Wind begins with Hadassah, a young Jewish girl taken captive when Rome destroys Jerusalem. She’s sold to the Valerian household to serve the pampered Julia. Will she have the strength to proclaim her faith when the time comes?
An Echo in the Darkness showcases Marcus Valerian who is haunted by his love for Hadassah and the treatment of her by his sister.
As Sure as the Dawn features Atretes. He’s earned his freedom from Rome’s gladiator arena, and now he just wants to take his infant son home to Germania. Unfortunately, he needs the child’s nursemaid Rizpah. Can the skills he learned in the arena help him face a harrowing journey home and a woman his complete opposite?
FYI – This series is best if you read them all. You might enjoy just one but the overall story is a big one and best with all three.
#3: Diamond of the Rockies series – by Kristen Heitzmann
This series is a historical romance featuring Carina DiGratia and Quillan Shephard.
In The Rose Legacy, Carina moves to the mining town of Crystal, Colorado in her attempt to get back at her childhood sweetheart and start over. Crystal isn’t what it was advertised to be, but she’ll die before she crawls back to Flavio. She could just get her wish.
The Sweet Boundless finds Carina married to Quillan Shephard. All she wants now is to make a home with her quiet husband, but can he get past his haunting childhood to give Carina the love and protection she needs?
Carina is reeling from the death of a beloved friend in The Tender Vine. She longs to return to her close-knit Italian family in Sonoma. There’s a problem: she’s marred an outsider without her father’s blessing.
FYI – This series can be stand alone – I think. It’s best, though with all the books.
#4: The Sword and the Staff series – by Patrick W. Carr
This is a series of three Christian Fantasy books. It follows the journey of Errol Stone, an orphan dealt a hard life by fate and the actions of others.
Errol Stone in A Cast of Stones doesn’t want much in life. He does the odd job now and then to earn enough money to bury his memories in ale. Other than the occasional dumped in the dirt after too much ale, his life is pretty uneventful. But he find danger when he accepts the job of delivering a message to a fat priest and the subsequent journey. Can he figure out who wants him dead and why?
The Hero’s Lot finds Errol still in trouble. King Rodran will die soon with no heir, and when he does, the kingdom of Illustra will be invaded by dark forces. Although Errol is needed in the capital, a plot to circumvent God’s choosing of the new king forces him to travel to the ungodly country of Merakh. How can Errol survive this journey when the odds are so stacked against him?
Errol returns to Illustra in A Draw of Kings to find King Rodran has died. The turmoil created by those vying for power may cause a civil war at a time Illustra doesn’t need. Invading Merakhi and Morgols will test their strength without power struggles within. Will they save Illustra and what will be asked of Errol this time?
FYI – I know. I know. Another series to be read together. BUT IT’S AWESOME.
#5: Not a Sparrow Falls – by Linda Nichols
Mary Bridget Washburn is almost glad her Mama can’t see how far she’s fallen in Not a Sparrow Falls. Almost.
How different would her life be if Mama was there to guide her? But she’s not, and she must survive, leaving her on the run from a meth-head and the law.
She doesn’t expect to find shelter with a Reverend and children hurting from the loss of their mother. What can she possibly teach a preacher about hope?
#6: Blink of an Eye – by Ted Dekker
Miriam is a Saudi princess whose circumstances will shift the balance of power in the Middle East for better or worse.
Seth is a genius who learns he can see all the possible outcomes of a situation.
Together they must survive the impossible.
Blink of an Eye is an action-filled glimpse into the power of prayer.
#7: Red River of the North series – by Lauraine Snelling
If you like Christian historical series, this one won’t disappoint you.
In An Untamed Land, the Bjorklunds are tempted by free land in North Dakota. They travel from the fjords of Norway to start a new life, but their land will exact a price. Can they survive it?
A New Day Rising finds Ingeborg Bjorklund fighting to survive the unforgiving prairie and her grief, but help is on the way. Can she afford it?
They’re finally seeing things come together in A Land to Call Home. They’ve made it this long. Now they just need to prove up the homestead. Mother Nature has other plans.
FYI – There are several more books in this series I haven’t read, but I didn’t even know that until now. You can read these as stand-alone books. Yay!
#8: Handbook for Christian Living – by Dr. Charles Stanley
Do you ever wonder what the Bible says about some things but don’t know where to start? Well, this book is a great way to figure it out.
Dr. Stanley covers everything from baptism to personal growth, from sexual pressures to parenting, from relationships to end times. And yes, all these topics and more are covered in the Bible.
The Handbook for Christian Living will help you figure out what’s what based on the truly reliable source: the Bible.
#9: The Case for Christianity Answer Book – by Lee Strobel
Lee Strobel is an atheist turned Christian. As an investigative journalist, he presents The Case for Christianity in an easy to follow, easy to digest, question and answer format.
Strobel addresses questions like:
- Stories about Jesus were passed along verbally before being written down. How can we be sure the gospels are reliable?
- Are God and science at odds?
- What about the people who have never heard about Jesus or the gospel – how will God deal with them?
- Jesus called himself the “Son of Man.” Doesn’t this mean he was merely human?
- You’ve said you came to realize you didn’t have enough faith to maintain your atheism. Can you explain what you mean?
#10: Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus – by Nabeel Qureshi
This book hits on issues that are very much going on right now: East versus West.
Nabeel was a Pakistani American, grandson of Muslim missionaries, who believed in the Islam of his upbringing and wanted to disprove Christianity. In his quest, he researched both Christianity and Islam but only one held up under such intense scrutiny: Christianity.
Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus details his findings and gives a loving look into the Muslim mindset.
#11: The Five Love Languages – by Gary Chapman
My husband and I were given this book to read as part of our premarital counseling, and I’m so thankful.
Ever wonder why you received a lackluster “thank you” from a loved one when you went out of your way to buy them something? Or why Grandma just can’t keep her hands off your cheeks?
We all have ways we show love and receive it. It’s so important in all relationships – not just in marriages – that we understand what makes others feel loved. The Five Love Languages shows you how.
#12: The Life Principles Study Bible – by Dr. Charles Stanley
Well, duh. Of course the Bible should be on the list, but my absolute favorite right now (and for the last several years) is The Life Principles Study Bible. It contains Dr. Stanley’s 10 life principles and notes on various topics.
I think Dr. Stanley has a way of explaining things that’s simple yet wise; in the past, I’ve avoided reading Revelation because it doesn’t make sense to me. Not anymore.
I hope you enjoyed this list; I sure did. What are some of your must-read books? Now…I’ve got to find me a book to read.