Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Favorite reads from 2018

My Goodreads account claims I read 127 books in 2018, which doesn’t include the many short children’s novels I started and finished in one hot bath or the zillions of picture books I read to my monkeys. About half of the books I recorded on Goodreads were written for adults and the other half for children/teens because I’m working on a good book list for homeschool purposes. Of all those books I chose ten favorite adult books, ten favorite children’s novels, and ten favorite picture books. Happy Reading!


Breaking Free… I started this bible study with Ryan’s cousin just after my cousin Barbara died and I can’t even begin to convey how amazing and life-changing it has been for me. I’ve lost a lot of weight (and am still losing it) because of this book, I have healed from some painful past regrets and hurts because of it, and I have found myself loving an even deeper relationship with God because of it. I just wrote in my prayer journal yesterday that I’m sad and almost nervous to be done with the study. I hope I can find something just as powerful to do next, but I honestly think I’ll start Breaking Free all over again once I’ve moved on to something else! Seriously, read this book!!

Dirty Genes… I plowed through this book after I found out I have the MTHFR gene defect and it was so insanely helpful and enlightening! I have always loved books like these and actually seriously considered becoming a geneticist for a while in my younger years so it was very fun to geek out over it. I implemented a ton of changes because of it and have found them all insanely helpful. I still don’t feel 100% after being in the sun and I still feel a lot of those same old symptoms when I have big pain days since my tubal ligation but on my “good” days I find that following this doctor’s recommendations makes my life so much more enjoyable.  

Eat Better, Live Better, Feel Better… Ryan ate alkaline for quite a big chunk of this year and cleared up some fairly serious health conditions in doing so. He read Alkalize or Die and found it not only helpful health-wise, but also spiritually inspiring. I didn’t at all dislike that book but I did dislike the meal plans so I was pretty excited to find an inexpensive copy of Eat Better, Live Better, Feel Better after drooling over the author’s pretty blog. Also, it’s seriously the most beautiful cookbook you’ll ever see.  

MotherStyles… I wrote a whole blog post about this book on mothering styles using the Myers-Briggers Type Indicator. It was so enlightening, helping me to see my strengths as a mom and to play to those rather than stressing myself (and my family!) out by trying to be good at all the mom things at once. I am great at one-on-one dates, awful at all four kids talking to me at once. I’m so much less stressed and disappointed in myself as a mom after reading this book and I have had so much fun typing every friend and family member who has been curious about her (or his!) personality type too!

Only Love Today… I really liked Hands Free Mama last year (or was it two years ago?) so I went ahead and bought this book for the Kindle when it was $.99. It was nice to wake up each morning and read one sweet blurb with my devotional each day and I just really like Rachel Macy’s Stafford’s prose-y writing style.

Raising World Changers in a Changing World… This was definitely my favorite review book this year. I wrote a longer review earlier in the year, but in short, this book is written by the woman who founded Mercy House Global and learning about her family, and the way her teenagers respond to the world around them, was insanely inspiring.   

Reading People… I wrote a super long blog post about this one, too. This is like MotherStyles on steroids and I had such a blast reading about all these many personality types. My poor husband knows all there is to know about personality types now too (but we’re the same minus one letter so he is actually pretty interested too) and I even convinced my friend Nicole to read this one. She loved it too!

Teaching from Rest… I just adore Sarah Mackenzie! I loved Read Aloud Family and I love her podcast, Read Aloud Revival, but Teaching from Rest is her homeschool book that just so deeply touched my heart this year. I would love to buy my own copy one of these days because this gem will be so precious to revisit any time I am feeling burnt out in my homeschooling journey (which currently seems impossible but which I know will probably happen sometimes?)

A Very Modest Cottage… This is a really fun, photo-heavy book. This couple moved an old ramshackle cottage and then fixed it up into their dream cottage. For obvious reasons, this one really appealed to us during the start of our cabin adventure. We don’t at all have the author’s same style but Ryan and I both really enjoyed this book any ways and hope to put together our own fun scrapbook when the time comes!

Voracious… I can’t remember how I stumbled upon this library book, which is an avid reader’s fun recipes pertaining to the books she reads. It’s very geeky I suppose but I just loved it! I hadn’t read all the books she reviewed and don’t have any interest at all in some of them but that doesn't matter to me! I look forward to digging this out when my kids and I read certain books, too, because I  happened to find it a the Dollar Tree a couple of months after I’d finished and loved it!


Amelia LostMy brother casually mentioned that many people think Amelia Earhart was likely taken as a prisoner of war after crash-landing on or near one of the islands held by Japan in WWII and I was honestly kinda shocked. I had never heard that before! I was suddenly very interested and quickly requested a library book. I almost didn’t read this one when it came in, since it was a middle grade-young adult book, but I ultimately found it to be written well and hold my interest to the very end.

Anne of Green GablesWho doesn’t love Anne?!

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind… My five-year-old picked this book as his library prize and I found that I really loved the book. William Kamkwamba is definitely quite a force to be reckoned with! What an inspiring young man.

The Green Ember… It seemed like every Christian homeschooler I saw on Instagram was at one time or another singing the praises of this book. I finally read it and I loved it! It’s filled with

The Hiding Place… I’m not sure I would have placed this book in the young adult category myself but so many others have that I’ll just go with it. Corrie ten Boom’s story is so insanely inspiring!

The Long Winter… Definitely my favorite book of the Little House series. I can’t even imagine how harrowing that situation must have felt at the time, with no food and no way to get it… people were so much tougher back then!

Love Does for Kids… I haven't actually read Love Does or Everybody, Actually,  but I absolutely loved this book! I definitely want to read one to my kids each morning in the next couple of years.

Moon Over Manifest… For me, this book was a genuine page-turner. I was dying to know how it would all pan out in the end, never mind that it was written for sixth graders. They say a good book is a good book regardless of the age of its reader and Moon Over Manifest hits that mark.

The Railway Children… I never read this (or any of E. Nesbit’s other works) as a kid but this one was such a delight to me now! The siblings were sweet to each other, their life seemed quite adventurous, and I again was really excited to see how it would all pan out in the end.

The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street… I just finished this one a few days ago after hearing Sarah Mackenzie’s glowing review on the Read-Aloud Revival podcast. What a great Christmas read! The Vanderbeekers’ landlord is refusing to renew their lease which means they have to move out December 31st. What a Christmas! The children take it upon themselves to convince him to let them stay which is both funny and heart wrenching in turns.  


Because I Love You… We’re big Max Lucado fans over here and this was my five-year-old’s favorite book for most of 2018. He was completely captivated the first time we read the library book and then he wanted to read it again and again. My mom ended up buying it for his birthday and we’ve read it a couple times a month ever since.

Bernice Gets Carried Away… This super simple birthday book is the whole family’s overall favorite picture book of 2018. We read it before each of our birthdays and many times when it wasn’t a birthday. We bought our own used copy and are all so happy to have it before each and every birthday for the rest of forever. The story is sweet and meaningful even if it’s super short, but the illustrations! My word! Even Ryan spends several minutes admiring all the detail on each page. It’s a hit and I recommend every family of little ones own a copy to read on their birthday.

Boxes for Katje This sweet true story about a little girl in America helping a community in Holland during hard times was very touching. My five-year-old loves this book and was quite inspired by it himself.

Everyone a Child Should Know… This little book of Christian heroes has been so perfect for this age group. We learn about a new Christian hero on each page and it’s written in a way that is simple but fascinating so my son is always excited to hear about the next one. My three-year-old isn’t really interested in it at this point but my five-year-old is a big fan.

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore… This book held everybody’s attention really well. Both its words and illustrations were captivating and we read it several times before it had to be turned back in.

In November… I cannot think of a better book to read on November 1st. Cynthia Rylant definitely has a way with words!

Pie is for Sharing… I am all about themed books and my nerdy children are, too. This one was so fun to read on July 4th and I immediately wished we'd read it a few times before the holiday, too. Independence Day, despite its existence being in the middle of summer, is definitely my favorite holiday. This book captured all that I love about the day!

The Quiltmaker’s Gift + The Quiltmaker’s Journey… We just love these books around here. They are definitely long picture books but their messages are wonderful and their illustrations are crazy detailed and delightful. There is always a lot of good discussion after we read one of these. 

The Story of Holly and Ivy… although this looked like a picture book, it was far too long and read much more like a read-aloud. We enjoyed a few pages each day for a decent little chunk of December and all three of my oldest kids (two, three, and five years old) adored this sweet Christmas story about an orphan girl and a Christmas doll.

Who Sang the First Song… My sweet friend Nicole got me Ellie Holcomb's CD after Barbara died and I immediately loved the album. I found the singer's blog and was so excited to discover she had written a children's book, too! This was Baby D's first birthday gift from us and not only do we all six love the message, we also all six adore the sweet illustrations.

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