I read some fantastic books in 2015. Really, really good. So grateful for the brave, faithful writers out there who sit down and put in the work for our benefit.

My goal was to read a book a month, and I rounded out the year with a grand total of 16 books. Not many compared to some, but I’m satisfied.

Here are the books I read in 2015:


Three nonfiction covers 2


Fear and Faith: Finding the Peace Your Heart Craves by Trillia Newbell {Review & Video Author Interview}

Such a helpful, biblical resource for all who battle with various fears, anxieties, and insecurities.

Until We All Come Home by Kim de Blecourt {Review}

A page-turning, suspenseful account of one family’s harrowing journey to adopt from Ukraine.

Dragons and Dirt: The Truth About Changing the World – and the Courage it Requires by Dalene Rayburn {Review}

One of my favorite books I read this year. So much wisdom and food for thought on a wide range of topics and issues. A short read, but full of gems.


Three more nonfiction titles


For the Love: Fighting for Grace in a World of Impossible Standards by Jen Hatmaker

This is the first Jen Hatmaker book I’ve read. There are a few chapters I wish I could mass produce and distribute all over the country. I didn’t write a review, but my friend Bronwyn wrote a good one here.

Every Little Thing: Making a World of Difference Right Where You Are by Deidra Riggs {Review & Video Author Interview}

Inspiring and motivating. That’s how I would describe this debut book by Deidra Riggs.

Girl Meets Change: Truths to Carry You through Life’s Transitions by Kristen Strong {Review}

Encouraging words for all who have experienced change.


Nonfiction Titles 3


Nobody’s Cuter Than You: A Memoir about the Beauty of Friendship by Melanie Shankle {Review}

A funny and heartfelt tribute to friendship among women.

Let’s All Be Brave: Living Life with Everything You Have by Annie Downs

I underlined copious amounts of this book. So many challenging words; highly recommended.

Dance with Jesus: From Grief to Grace by Susan B. Mead

Susan Mead kindly sent me a copy of this book, and I read the whole thing in one evening. It’s a quick read, but a moving testimony of a mother who has found grace in the midst of grieving the loss of her son.


Three fiction titles


Secrets of a Charmed Life by Susan Meissner {Review}

Beautifully written historical fiction about two sisters during the London Blitz of World War II.

Dear Mr. Knightley by Katherine Reay

I adored this debut novel by Katherine Reay. A series of letters written by a Jane Austen-loving journalism student to her anonymous benefactor. Captivating and cleverly written.

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner

This latest novel by Susan Meissner releases on January 5th, 2016! I was privileged to read an advance copy of this story set in the Hollywood period when Gone With the Wind was filmed. Review coming soon. Pre-order now by clicking here!


On Writing:

Writing book covers


On Being a Writer: 12 Simple Habits for a Writing Life that Lasts by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig

A wonderful resource for writers. I was challenged and guided in my personal writing life, and had such fun leading a six-week online discussion on this book with several other writers. Catch up on the discussion here. I’ll be referring back to this book many times in the years to come.

Writing Down the Bones: Freeing the Writer Within by Natalie Goldberg

This book is pure gold. Natalie cuts right to the chase in this no-nonsense, down-to-earth book that will make you want to pick up your pen and write like crazy. She covers all the bases and then some.



Advent devo covers


The Greatest Gift: Unwrapping the Full Love Story of Christmas by Ann Voskamp

Another gorgeous book from Ann Voskamp. This one offers daily Advent readings which carry the reader through biblical history, starting with Adam and Eve. So much spiritual food here; definitely worth reading at any time of the year, not just Christmas.

Unwrapping the Names of Jesus: An Advent Devotional by Asheritah Ciuciu

My friend Asheritah wrote this wonderful resource focusing on the names of Jesus. I read it aloud to my kids to start each of our homeschool days in December. Again, this book could be read and benefited from at any time of the year, not only during Advent.



Still busy reading:

Still reading covers


Rhinestone Jesus: Saying Yes to God When Sparkly, Safe Faith is No Longer Enough by Kristen Welch

Making It Home: Finding My Way to Peace, Identity, and Purpose by Emily Wierenga

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Annie Barrows and Mary Ann Shaffer


Related Post: My Top 14 Books of 2014

What are you reading now? What do you hope to read in 2016?


Note: This post contains affiliate links.


It’s your turn! I’d love to see what you read this past year. Either share a direct link to a blog post using the InLinkz button, or type your list of titles into the comments below!

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If you want to know what Five Minute Friday is all about, I could send you the same place I always suggest and tell you to click here.

But if you *really* want to know — like, really — what the Five Minute Friday community looks like, all you have to do is click over here and read the 76 comments that went down last week over at Andrew’s place.

The way you all rallied around this faithful FMF community member while he battles terminal illness flat out astounded me. And I have no doubt that your many kindnesses buoyed up Andrew’s spirits again and again.

Thank you.

Thank you for showing me — and so many others — what the body of Christ looks like in action.

As we said last week, we are not alone — we are one body, and each of us is a vital part of the whole.


Needless to say, if you missed last week’s Five Minute Friday, you missed a lot — including the announcement that we’re gearing up for a brand new round of 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes … and YOU’RE INVITED!

31 Days logo - 2015We’re linking arms with the Write 31 Days community, and adding our own FMF twist to the challenge — namely, to write a post every day in October in just five minutes or less!

I even created a new page just for the 2015 edition of the madness — ahem, fun that is going to take place here in October!

Click HERE for more info!


YOU get to help VOTE on which words you’d like to write on in October!

Click HERE to give three prompt suggestions!


(Voting closes Saturday, September 5th. Prompts for the whole month of October will be announced on Tuesday, September 8th!)

I hope YOU say YES to the challenge!

Which leads me (not so subtly) to this week’s Five Minute Friday prompt:



I’ve been thinking lately about the power of yes.

I say “no” far more often than I say “yes,” at least to myself and my kids.

These past few days, I’ve been pushing the “no” out of my head to make room for the “yes.”

I wrote an article about this recently. In it, I shared a story about an evening a couple weeks ago, when I stood sweltering in a non-air-conditioned kitchen, cranky from the discomfort of summer heat and humidity.

Then I got a crazy idea.

Let’s go to the beach, I thought.

Everything in me tried to reason in favor of “no.”

It was getting late. We still had to eat supper. If I took the kids to the beach after dinner, it would mean a late bedtime, sandy showers and more laundry.

But the “yes” in me fought to rise to the top.

It elbowed its way past every “no” and won the fight.

So we went.

I stepped into my bathing suit after dinner, grabbed a pile of beach towels, and told my kids, “Let’s go!” We picked up my sister on the way, and had the most amazing time.




The beach was empty, the water was perfect, the sunrise breathtaking.

If I’d let the “no” in me prevail, I would have missed these shouting displays of the glory of God.

Brave coverIn her book, Let’s All Be Brave, Annie Downs has a whole chapter called, Yes.

In it, she writes:

“Say yes to the open door.

Say yes to the situations that stretch and scare you and ask you to be better than you think you can be.

Say yes to the moments that will only come once.

Say yes to serving.

Say yes to Jesus in every way – every chance you get.”

Put on your brave, and make it your best yes — and be prepared to see the glory of God.


For the whole article I reference in this post, click here to read The Powerful Thing that Happens When You Say Yes.”

What does YOUR “yes” look like? Share in the link-up below!

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