I know I haven’t been keeping up with my blog lately (I hope to be here more this year), but I couldn’t
miss out on my annual top books post, especially when I’ve enjoyed
reading several other bloggers’ great lists. For my 2018 countdown
of books that impacted me the most out of all those I read, I’m
doing the top 13 plus some honorable mentions. I read 66 books, short
stories, plays, and editing manuscripts this year.




First, the honorable mentions: Shakespeare’s The Tempest and
MacBeth, Mary Stewart’s This Rough Magic, and Leif
Enger’s So Brave, Young, and Handsome.




And now the countdown:



https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16299.And_Then_There_Were_None?ac=1&from_search=true 
#13
And Then There Were None
Agatha Christie



This
pulse-pounding mystery made it to the list of America’s 100
best-loved novels, according to the Great American Read put on by
PBS. It was eerie in a psychological, character-driven sort of way,
and like everyone else who reads it, I asked myself in every chapter,

“Who will be next? Will there
be anyone left at the end?” Definitely a memorable whodunit that
satisfied my thirst for a thought-provoking mystery.





https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/25643863-celia-s-house 
#12
Celia’s House
D. E. Stevenson



I
was introduced to a new-to-me author this year, D. E. Stevenson, a
niece of Robert Louis Stevenson. Her books are light, cozy, and
heart-warming, the types of novels you picture reading with a cup of
tea in a British cottage garden.
Celia’s House
focuses on a growing family who inherits an estate in the Scottish
Border Country from their aunt Celia in the early 1900s. It follows
them as the children are born, grow up, and have adventures, all the
while emphasizing the importance of family ties.






https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35187184-the-not-quite-states-of-america?from_search=true 
#11
The Not-Quite States of America
Doug Mack




Few of us who live in the States often think about the U.S.
territories—American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the Northern Mariana
Islands, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. This book was enlightening and
entertaining as it delved into the history and current conditions of
the five territories. I found value in being informed about these
far-flung islands and discovering what we share. (Warning: language
in a few chapters.)






https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/3079278-anna-and-the-king-of-siam 
#10
Anna and the King of Siam
Margaret Landon




A semi-fictionalized biography, this tells the story of Anna
Leonowens, an amazing Englishwoman who taught for five years in the
Siamese court in the 1860s. Beloved movies were based off this book.
I was inspired by Mrs. Leonowens’s faith in God and courageous
perseverance to make a difference, and I was fascinated by the
glimpse into this exotic country I knew little about.






https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35138417-reading-the-bible-with-rabbi-jesus?ac=1&from_search=true 
#9
Reading the Bible with Rabbi Jesus
Lois Tverberg




The Jewish roots of Christianity are very important to me, and I
found this book to be an accessible study of the Jewish understanding
of the Bible and how it seamlessly fits Jesus’ worldview. Tverberg
excels at explaining Hebraisms and making them relevant to
Christians, enriching our reading of the Bible and reigniting our
excitement for God’s truth. Read my review here.






https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13531815-jerusalem 
#8
Jerusalem: The Biography
Simon Sebag Montefiore




Admittedly, this book was hard to get through at times, between being
graphic and pessimistic. I gave it only 3.5 stars because of that.
But I was impressed with the author’s objectivity and thoroughness.
In my opinion (and the opinion of many others throughout the
centuries and millennia), Jerusalem is the most important city in the
world, and I love learning about it, even if it’s impossible to
cover every detail of its history. This book did a fine job and
filled in the many holes in my historical knowledge. Read my review here.






https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31168.Shirley?ac=1&from_search=true 
#7
Shirley
Charlotte Brontë


Shirley
is a very different novel from
Jane
Eyre
,
but they both demonstrate Charlotte Brontë’s genius and make her
one of the classic novelists I admire the most.
Shirley
is full of richly developed characters and complicated relationships
set against a backdrop of early nineteenth-century England, when the
Napoleonic wars raged abroad and conflicts between mill owners and
mill workers raged at home. My favorite part of the book, however,
was the friendship between vivacious landowner Shirley Keeldar and
gentle minister’s niece Caroline Helstone. It’s one of the best
literary female friendships I’ve ever read. Read my review here.









https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/46793.Uncle_Tom_s_Cabin 
#6
Uncle Tom’s Cabin
Harriet Beecher Stowe




Although it may not be as respected now as it has been over the past
century and a half, I saw a lot of great things in this book. Before
slavery was abolished, when half of America supported it and hardly
any white person considered black people as equals, Uncle Tom’s
Cabin
entered the scene and became the best-selling novel of the
19th century. It profoundly moved the United States. It
was one of the first novels to put African Americans in heroic
positions, and though there was still a long road ahead and we’re
still working on race relations now, this book was groundbreaking.
Uncle Tom’s faith in God and his life witness were inspiring.






https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/229123.Christy 
#5
Christy
Catherine Marshall




I read this book for the first time about ten years ago and found it
influential as I struggled with my faith and what it means to follow
God. This year, the second time through was almost as rich and
affected me in slightly different ways. Above all, I found conviction
and encouragement to live and love selflessly. Catherine Marshall’s
writing is mature and beautiful as she word-paints images you can
experience with the senses of your mind and creates characters you
can know and understand.






https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/31242.Bleak_House?ac=1&from_search=true 
#4
Bleak House
Charles Dickens



Dickens
always amazes me. In every novel, he creates a whole world—full of
intriguing fictional characters as individual and quirky as real
people; situations that seem disparate but intertwine as the story
progresses, revealing mysteries and tying characters together in
satisfying endings; and details that make everything come alive.
Bleak House
is no exception, but the best part in my opinion is Esther Summerson.
I learned valuable lessons from her sweet, unconscious humility and
charity. In fact, every single character and puzzle piece of this book was interesting to me. It’s sad, funny, intriguing, and inspirational by turns. It could have been longer and I wouldn’t have minded. Read my review here.






https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/40694143-he-s-making-diamonds?ac=1&from_search=true 
#3
He’s Making Diamonds
S. G. Willoughby




The title says it all. God uses our suffering to make us into
diamonds.
None of us choose to go through hard circumstances, but
we can choose how we cope and nurture our relationship with God in
the midst of them. This book is geared toward teens who are
chronically ill, but any Christian can read it and benefit. Sara
Willoughby is the perfect person to write it, as she is a teenager
who suffers from Lyme disease and other health issues. She shares how
to navigate chronic illness with a healthy perspective fixed firmly
on God, demonstrating how trials like that can bring us closer to
Him.






https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11138.Mere_Christianity?ac=1&from_search=true 
#2
Mere Christianity
C. S. Lewis




This spiritual classic has been on my to-read list for years, and I
was not disappointed when I finally read it this year. From the
existence of God to the rationale for morality to the root of sin, it
wades deep (but not too deep) into the beautiful mysteries of
Christianity. Not only a logical defense for belief, it’s
compelling and convicting, inspiring love and awe for God and the
desire to be a better follower of His. This is worth reading over and
over.






https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/561909.The_Hiding_Place?ac=1&from_search=true 
#1
The Hiding Place
Corrie ten Boom with John and Elizabeth Sherrill




Corrie ten Boom is one of my heroes. This well-written book (which I read for the second time) tells the
story of how she and her family, in obedience to God, risked their
lives in the Dutch resistance, saving the lives of His people the
Jews when the Nazis sought to destroy them. Her story is incredibly
faith-building as she tells how the Lord worked during those
excruciatingly difficult years. She and her family learned many
lessons—love for enemies, joy in the little mercies, faith that God
knows what He’s doing and will bring His children triumphantly
through trials they could never survive on their own.






Have
you read any of these books? What are your top reads of 2018?
Welcome!
I wanted to tell you about a HUGE sale that is going on this weekend that I’m participating in. My three books are on sale, and there are over 150 other titles available for either $0.99 or
FREE! There’s also a long list of paperbacks for sale at incredibly
discounted prices. And the good news is they are all clean
reads! Be sure to go check out this amazing sale here.

 Giveaway


There is also an amazing
giveaway going on! Grand Prize winner receives 20 paperbacks and the
2nd place winner
gets 20 e-book titles from the sale for free!



You can sign up for the
giveaway here.


Giveaway runs from
November 22nd till
November 26th
@12AM ET Grand prize open to US winners only. 2nd
place prize is open Internationally.


2nd
Place Winner Receives 20 E-books


Gather
Round the Fables
by Erika Matthews


The
Case of the Tabloid Tattler
by Perry Kirkpatrick AudioBook


The
Twelve Cats of Christmas
by Perry Kirkpatrick Audiobook


Coffee
Shop Christmas
by Ryana Lynn Miller


The
Land of Cotton
by Ryana Lynn Miller


Entertaining
Angels, Entertaining Angels Book 1
by Emerald Barnes


Secret’s
Kept
by Jennette Mbewe


The
Firethorn Crown
by Lea Doue


Beyond
Broken Pencils
by Julie C. Gilbert


Ashlynn’s
Dreams
by Julie C. Gilbert


Soldier
On
by Vanessa Rasanen


Burning
Rose
by Hope Ann


Iced
and Nailed
by Avery Daniels


Imani
Earns Her Cape
by Bokerah Brumley


October
by J. Grace Pennington


Disowned
by Sarah Addison Fox


My
Compass Home
by Michaela Bush


Summer
Shadows and Necessary Evil
by Killarney Traynor




Grand
Prize Winner Receives 20 Paperbacks


Mythical
Doorways
by Jenelle Schmidt


Faith
is the Victory
by Faith Blum


Kiera
by Kate Willis


Because
Anonymous
Diana L. Sharples


After:
Book One in The Neverway Chronicles
by Savannah Jezowski


Specter:
Book Two in The Neverway Chronicles
by Savannah Jezowski


Leandra’s
Enchanted Flute
by Katy Huth Jones


Eagle
Eyes
by Tammy Lash


London
in the Dark
by Victoria Lynn   


When
Beauty Blooms
by Victoria Lynn


Aerisia:
Land Beyond the Sunset
by Sarah Ashwood


Iced
and Nailed
by Avery Daniels


There
Was Always Laughter in Our House
by Sarah Holman


Bridgers:
A Parable
by Angie Thompson


Love
Blind
by Angie Thompson


Code
by Angie Thompson


Christmas
Eve at the Backdoor
by Rebekah Morris


The
Seven Drawers
by Kendra E. Ardnek


He’s
Making Diamonds: A Teen’s Thoughts on Faith Through Chronic Illness

by Sara Willoughby






Participating
Authors

Kate Willis


Hope


C.B. Cook


Vincent Trigili


Malachi Cyr


E. J. Willis


Diana L. Sharples


Sarah Addison-Fox


Annie Douglass Lima


Marc Secchia


Katy Huth Jones


Savannah Jezowski


Kandi J Wyatt


Joan Lightning


Angela Watts


Ava Mallory


Sara Bourgeois


Jaye L. Knight


Sarah Ashwood


Killarney Traynor


Zanna Mackenzie


Valerie Howard


Bokerah Brumley


Kat Bellemore


Faith Blum


RJ Conte


Abigayle Claire


Tayla Alexandra


Kristen Iten


Emily Selby


Stephanie Damore


Erika Mathews


Frances Hoelsema


J. Grace Pennington


Rebekah A. Morris


Frankie Bow


Martha Fuller


Lena Karynn Tesla


Allison Tebo


Sarah Monzon


Victoria Lynn


Sonia Parin


T.I. Lowe


Lia London


Tammy Lash


Maria grazia swan


Deany Ray


Paige Sleuth


Jenny Berlin


Annie Louise Twitchell


Jordaina Sydney Robinson


Kelsey Gietl


Kendra E. Ardnek


Frances Hoelsema


Stacy Juba


Laura Guenot


Michaela Bush


Tricia Mingerink


Hailey Rose


Ryana Lynn Miller


Angie Thompson


Nadine C. Keels


Kellyn Roth


Angie Thompson


Vanessa Rasanen


Julie C. Gilbert


Jennette Mbewe


C. S. Johnson


Amy Williams


April Lynn Newell


Lauren Lynch


Lea Doue


Kelsey Bryant


Avery Daniels


Sarah Holman


R.M. Archer


Emerald Barnes


Jenelle Leanne Schmidt


Cathy Perkins


Laura Jackson


P.D. Workman


Emily Hinkle


Hannah Loviisa


Claire Banschbach


Rebekah Jones


Faith Potts


Sara Willoughby

Today is an exciting day because we’re celebrating the release of Jessica Greyson’s latest book, Waiting for Isaac. I beta-read this little gem and found it extremely touching for me in my current life circumstances as I, too, am waiting for my Isaac. I’d love to tell you all about the lovely person Jessica is and how Waiting for Isaac is so encouraging, but you can glimpse that for yourself in this interview I was privileged to have with her.


  1. How and when did you feel led to write Waiting for Isaac?
It
was something that was laid on my heart to write this spring as I was
wading through some things in my soul. I wanted to write something for
young women by a single young woman. So much of the literature I have
read over the years has been by married women writing after they have
passed the threshold of marriage—I wanted to write to my fellow soldiers
in the midst of battle to uplift their hearts, encourage them onwards
and towards the light of Christ.


  1. What do you hope young women gain from reading it?
Hope,
joy, peace. This battle of singleness and loneliness we feel as if we
fight alone, and each of our battles is custom designed by our Creator
to draw us closer to Him. They are not alone; not only do they have Jesus
Christ—they have a sister in Christ cheering them on to fight the good
fight and follow Christ; a sister who weeps with them over their aching
hearts and rejoices with them over their joys they have received. 

  1. What do you think are some of the best Bible verses for women who are struggling with being single?
There are a few of my favorites.
Weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning.” (Psalm 30:5b)
Song
of Solomon 2:10-13
While I know these verses are written by a king for
his bride, I often like to meditate upon them as my King calling me His
bride into a deeper, sweeter relationship.

  1. If you could give one piece of advice from your heart to another single woman, what would it be?

Don’t
be afraid to wrestle this battle. There will be tears, there will be a
fire to one’s soul, and even holding on to hope might feel like burning
agony, but it is worth it. Press into Christ; you are loved with an
everlasting love that has no beginning and no end. 



This is beautiful, Jessica! Readers, if you’re encouraged just by her interview, check out her book!

Kobo 





About the Author

Jessica Greyson is a homeschool graduate
who loves words, first as a hungry reader, and now as a passionate
writer. She seeks to write for the glory of God, and be the writer He
has called her to be.

You can learn more about her and her books at www.jessicagreyson.com.

Welcome to Kelsey’s Notebook! Today I’m taking part in Sarah Holman’s Choose Your Own Story event. This is to celebrate the release of her latest book, Escape and Endurance. In this event, you get to pick the outcome of the story by making choices. A lot of different things can happen. What are you waiting for? Start your adventure by clicking the image below.

https://www.thedestinyofone.com/2018/08/choose-your-own-story.html



Andrew blinked and then sat up straight. What was he doing on the ground? He felt dizzy. Why was he dizzy?
He forced himself to stand, using a tree to steady himself. Something poked into his foot, and he saw that his boots had been removed. It was then he remembered! Thieves had attacked him and taken his horse and shoes. This would make things more difficult.
He looked around, and there didn’t seem to be any choice in the matter. Despite his aching head, he started walking.
He soon was faced with a choice. He looked at the two paths and decided to head…



www.jessicagreyson.com


Are you interested in reading about a knight, a tower, a princess, and a servant? Pick up a copy of Escape and Endurance! Haven’t read the other books in the Tales of Taelis series? Not to worry. Each book can stand alone.

About Sarah
Sarah Holman is a not-so-typical girl, a homeschool graduate, sister to six awesome siblings, and lives in the great state of Texas. If there’s anything adventuresome about her life, it’s because she serves a God with a destiny greater than anything she could have imagined. You can find out more about her at her website: www.thedestinyofone.com

You can join the Adventurers (her newsletter) by going here: http://eepurl.com/bitBIf

Some
of you may know I’m a classical music nut. I love music in general,
so I’m thrilled every summer to teach at a music day camp for kids.
This year’s theme just so happened to fit in with the story I’m preparing for
publication (
a
retelling of the fairy tale “The Bremen Town Musicians”) as it
was Animals, specifically the “Carnival of the Animals” by
Camille Saint-Sa
ëns. This lighthearted orchestral suite, written in
1886, is comprised of fourteen entertaining movements, each depicting
a different animal taking part in a carnival. I’ve loved it since I
was a kid, but teaching about it at the music camp was the first time I actually studied it.




If
you haven’t heard this fun, fast-paced piece, give it a listen and
let me know which movement is your favorite! Mine are 1) Aquarium
(which sounds similar to the prologue from
The
Beauty and the Beast
);
2) Fossils (that iconic xylophone piece that sounds like dancing
bones); and 3) Swan (probably the most recognizable movement from the
suite).






What
music have you been listening to and loving recently?
Photos of Music Camp