I'm generally not a big music-person, but as I've found better and better songs, I've come to look forward to putting on my music and praising the Lord. I generally only listen to Christian contemporary, so that's what all these are. Over the last few months, I've been listening quite often to K-Love, a Christian radio station. I've enjoyed almost every song they've played. The lyrics are absolutely incredible. To mention a few I'd recommend:
"When We Pray" Tauren Wells
"O Lord" Lauren Daigle
"Control" Tenth Avenue North
"Point to You" We Are Messengers
"Different" Micah Tyler
"Jesus I Believe" Big Daddy Weave
"Miracles" Audio Adrenaline
I've also enjoyed several songs by King and Country, the Newsboys, Jordan Feliz ("The River"), and Hawk Nelson ("Diamonds," "Words," "Drops in the Ocean"). "Courageous" by Casting Crowns is powerful. A Christmas song that really spoke to me this winter was "The Night Before Christmas" by Brandon Heath.
I could list a hundred more, but these will suffice for now. :) I'm eager to discover more great songs this year. I've already found a few!
~Reading~Now for the best section of my 2017 recap. :) It's been a wonderful year as far as finding some fabulous authors. This marks my third year keeping meticulous track of the books I read. Often, I can tell my mood from each month simply by which books I read. Here are my reading stats:
15,600+ total pages
1300 average pages/month
294 average pages/book
4.4 average books/month
Best month: March (9 books; 2,633 pages)
Worst month: October (2 books; 749 pages)
Longest book: 486 pages (Exiles, Jaye L. Knight)
Shortest book: 108 pages (Befriending the Beast, Amanda Tero)
Number of rereads: only 3 (When Dreams Come True, Eric and Leslie Ludy; Dare, Tricia Mingerink; Deny, Tricia Mingerink)
Number of authors: 33
Fiction books: 50
Nonfiction books: 3
January (1,894 pages total)
- Red Rock Mysteries: Hollywood Holdup, Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry (208 pages)
- Out From Egypt: Shadow of the Storm, Connilyn Cossette (346 pages)
- The Blades of Acktar: Destroy, Tricia Mingerink (165 pages)
- Adventures of the Northwoods: The Vanishing Footprints, Lois W. Johnson (156 pages)
- Dragons in Our Midst: Tears of a Dragon, Bryan Davis (363 pages)
- The Staff and the Sword: A Cast of Stones, Patrick W. Carr (428 pages)
- Red Rock Mysteries: Wind Chill, Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry (228 pages)
February (1,135 pages total)
- Land of Shining Water: The Icecutter's Daughter, Tracie Peterson (331 pages)
- Chiveis Trilogy: The Gift, Bryan M. Litfin (407 pages)
- Ilyon Chronicles: The King's Scrolls, Jaye L. Knight (397 pages)
March (2,633 pages total)
- Out of Time: A Time to Die, Nadine Brandes (389 pages)
- Circle C Milestones: Courageous Love, Susan K. Marlow (186 pages)
- A Seven Wonders Novel: Shadow of Colossus, T. L. Higley (384 pages)
- Left to Die, Ivy Rose (116 pages)
- Martin Generations: Martin Hospitality, Abigayle Claire (386 pages)
- Circle C Adventures: Andrea Carter and the Long Ride Home (expanded edition), Susan K. Marlow (195 pages)
- Ranger's Apprentice: The Ruins of Gorlan, John Flanagan (249 pages)
- Ranger's Apprentice: The Burning Bridge, John Flanagan (262 pages)
- Ilyon Chronicles: Samara's Peril, Jaye L. Knight (464 pages)
April (1,283 pages total)
- Ranger's Apprentice: The Icebound Land, John Flanagan (266 pages)
- Red Rock Mysteries: Hidden Riches, Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry (249 pages)
- Red Rock Mysteries: Dead End, Jerry B. Jenkins and Chris Fabry (235 pages)
- The Blades of Acktar: Deliver, Tricia Mingerink (239 pages)
- Ranger's Apprentice: The Battle for Skandia, John Flanagan (294 pages)
May (1,164 pages total + Romeo and Juliet)
- Ranger's Apprentice: The Sorcerer of the North, John Flanagan (295 pages)
- When Dreams Come True, Eric and Leslie Ludy (265 pages)
- Ranger's Apprentice: The Siege of Macindaw, John Flanagan (293 pages)
- The Omega Trilogy: Unbound, J. B. Simmons (311 pages)
- The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, William Shakespeare
June (947 pages total)
- Steadfast Love: The Sound of Diamonds, Rachelle Rea (276 pages)
- Dandelion Dust, Faith Potts (178 pages)
- Outrageous Courage, Kris and Jason Vallotton (154 pages)
- Out From Egypt: Wings of the Wind, Connilyn Cossette (339 pages)
July (1,471 pages total)
- The Staff and the Sword: The Hero's Lot, Patrick W. Carr (437 pages)
- The Atonement Child, Francine Rivers (372 pages)
- The Homelanders: The Last Thing I Remember, Andrew Klavan (336 pages)
- Michael Vey: The Prisoner of Cell 25, Richard Paul Evans (326 pages)
August (835 pages total)
- Michael Vey: The Rise of the Elgen, Richard Paul Evans (335 pages)
- Michael Vey: The Battle of the Ampere, Richard Paul Evans (320 pages)
- Autobiography, Benjamin Franklin (180 pages)
September (1,469 pages total)
- DragonKeeper Chronicles: DragonKnight, Donita K. Paul (393 pages)
- Michael Vey: Hunt for Jade Dragon, Richard Paul Evans (319 pages)
- Ilyon Chronicles: Exiles, Jaye L. Knight (486 pages)
- Michael Vey: Storm of Lightning, Richard Paul Evans (271 pages)
October (749 pages total)
- The Blades of Acktar: Dare, Tricia Mingerink (334 pages)
- The Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper (415 pages)
November (1,080 pages total)
- The Blades of Acktar: Deny, Tricia Mingerink (328 pages)
- Michael Vey: Fall of Hades, Richard Paul Evans (328 pages)
- Michael Vey: The Final Spark, Richard Paul Evans (316 pages)
- Tales of Faith: Befriending the Beast, Amanda Tero (108 pages)
December (949 pages total)
- Heroes of Quantico: Against All Odds, Irene Hannon (332 pages)
- Alaskan Courage: Submerged, Dani Pettrey (310 pages)
- The Beautiful Pretender, Melanie Dickerson (307 pages)
If asked to choose a favorite book from the year, it'd be a difficult decision. The nominees are:
The Atonement Child, Francine Rivers
This is an extremely powerful, and well-written story. Rivers is among my favorite authors, and I'd highly recommend this book to all mature readers.
Dare and Deny, Tricia Mingerink
If you've kept track of my blog and favorite books for any length of time, you'll know that Mingerink is my top favorite author, thus why Dare and Deny absolutely had to make the favorites list.
Exiles, Jaye L. Knight
Book four in the series, Exiles was a fast-paced, thrilling fantasy that kept me turning the pages. Knight is also one of my favorite authors.
When Dreams Come True, Eric and Leslie Ludy
Another reread, the few books I've read by the Ludy couple are very well done and appealing to the intended audience. This particular book is the story of their courtship.
Martin Hospitality, Abigayle Claire
As Claire's debut novel, you can't tell it's her first publication. The story line is deep but written with a tasteful sense of humor. I'm eager for book two.
Dandelion Dust, Faith Potts
Also a debut author, I've been following Faith for several years on her blog. I was thrilled for her book's release, and thoroughly enjoyed the tale. Heart-wrenching as it is, Faith succeeded in making me cry. Excellent characterization and plot.
Submerged, Dani Pettrey
A new author to me, Pettrey's first book in her Alaskan Courage series was thrilling. A suspenseful romance, it was also a story of redemption that kept me flipping pages.
In my winning envelope is a tie between Mingerink's Dare and River's The Atonement Child.
I didn't have too many disappointing reads this year, but there were still a few that didn't quite tickle my fancy. I'd really been looking forward to Nadine Brande's A Time to Die, but the style just wasn't what I'm used to, and I felt the characterization and plot left room for some improvement. I found the ending of Dead End, the fifteenth and final book in the Red Rock Mysteries series by Jenkins and Fabry, to be a personally disappointing close to a wonderful series. And finally, Cooper's Last of the Mohicans was just too difficult for me to read style-wise. I've never been a big fan of the "classics."
On the other hand, my top three favorite series of the year would have to be the Blades of Acktar by Tricia Mingerink, Ilyon Chronicles by Jaye L. Knight, and Michael Vey by Richard Paul Evans. I read all seven books of the Michael Vey series this year and they were fantastic! Although not a Christian series as all the other books I've specifically mentioned so far have been, the series was still clean and greatly entertaining.
In addition to my favorite authors already mentioned above, some authors new to me who are now on my list include Faith Potts, Abigayle Claire, Ivy Rose, Richard Paul Evans, Melanie Dickerson, and Dani Pettrey. Another new author I found enjoyable was John Flanagan.
Top 5 favorite book covers:
This year, several books left me thinking and had quite an impact on me. The first was (once again) Francine River's The Atonement Child, which addressed the abortion issue. A similar novel was Martin Hospitality. Then Ivy Rose's story, Left to Die, kept me considering situations missionaries face in foreign countries. A nonfiction book that challenged me was Outrageous Courage about missionary Tracy Evans. I found her incredible story powerful and entirely inspiring. It's a great reminder of God's power in present, day-to-day life.
A giant thank-you to everyone who recommended books for me to read this year, and who gave me books for Christmas or my birthday. (My parents, grandparents, the Martin family, Alex, Samuel—thank you all!) It's because of you that I can keep reading and discovering amazing books and authors! :)
Be sure to pick a few of my favorite books from the year to add to your 2018 TBR list, and check out some of the songs! Have you read any of these? Or listened to these song artists? Thanks for reading!