Hello, all! I feel like I might be a little bit late to the game this year, but I don’t think that matters too much. I think this must be one of my most favorite posts of the year—there’s something about talking about books that is just fun. It’s also fun to go back and see what I read over the course of last year, and remember all the fun stories.
Note: Some links in this post (especially book covers) will be affiliate links. They help support this blog at no added cost to you. Also, some of the books mentioned here were ones I got for free in exchange for my honest review. All opinions expressed here are entirely my own.
First, some stats:
Total books read: 51
Total nonfiction: 12 (24% of total)
Total audiobooks: 20 (40% of total)
New-to-me authors: 19
Most read author (most books by one author): A tie between Valerie Tripp (the Josefina series I read to my younger sister), and A.M. Heath, reading 4 books from each author
2022’s reading goals:
Read 50 books — YES!
At least 7 physical books — 7 read — YES!
At least 5 nonfiction books — 12 read — YES!
I thought I had done a lot worse on my reading goals before I reviewed these, so it’s actually encouraging that I hit these goals!
I decided last year to have a sliding goal for the last two (physical books and nonfiction), so I would have a lower number to aim for, and then if I met that, I could aim for a “higher level” later. For the physical books, my ultimate goal was 20 books (which I obviously did not meet), but the baseline goal was 7, which is what I did manage to read. For my nonfiction books, my ultimate goal was 10 books, with a baseline goal of 5 books.
The other thing of interest from this list is how many audiobooks I listened to this year. Without them, I wouldn’t have made my goal, and I know I wouldn’t have gotten through some of those books without being able to access them in audio.
Now, on to my favorite part—my top 10 reads!
. . . and for once, somehow, it wasn’t hard to pick my top ten for the year. There are others that are excellent, too, but when I look back, these are the ones that stand out the most.
#1: Favorite Fiction Read: When the Day Comes by Gabrielle Meyer
I couldn’t stop thinking about this book after I read it, and I’m pretty sure whenever I was discussing reading in general with a friend for a few
weeks months after finishing the story, this would invariably come up in the conversation somewhere. Mystery, sacrifice, history, and romance all combine to make this a great read (so long as you can stand some time travel, that is). I cannot wait until book #2 comes out, and plan on starting a read-a-thon as soon as it comes available.
#2: Favorite Nonfiction Read: Kidnapped in Haiti by Katrina Hoover Lee
This is only in second place because I couldn’t have two first-place winners. My brother and I took turns reading it aloud on a recent family trip and wow . . . it’s an incredible story. If you enjoy true stories of hope, determination, courage, and faith, this is well worth a read. An unforgettable story.
#3: Drawn by the Current by Jocelyn Green
It’s hard to choose my third-place pick because I feel like several of these fiction titles deserve the same spot. This was the second book I read in 2022, and I was completely blown away by the story. It’s a mixture of mystery, history, and romance, and I don’t know that I’ll ever forget the name Eastland again. I was shocked by the tragedy, and completely invested in the mystery, and the characters were spot-on and relatable. This is a book I want to read again one day.
#4: Turtle Heart by Lucinda J. Kinsinger
This goes down as one of the most memorable memoirs this year. Granted, I didn’t read very many memoirs, but I think this would have been in my top five, regardless. A beautiful story of love, faith, and growth, as the author learned to know a spunky old lady with a colorful background. This is one of those stories that sticks with you long after you read it.
#5: The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews
Once I started this book, I had a hard time putting it down. This is one of those stories that you wish you knew for sure how much of it is real and how much was made up. There are so many elements of this book that feel real—all while being encased in an engaging, novel-like writing style. History, a mystery, second chances, forgiveness, and hope intertwine to make this one of my favorite historical fiction reads of the year.
#6: The Extraordinary Deaths of Mrs. Kip by Sara Brunsvold
I was dubious of the description I heard of this book at first, but since it came highly recommended by several people whose opinions I value, and I wanted something to listen to, I started it . . . and could barely make myself stop when I needed to. This is something of a modern-day mystery, but it’s so much richer and deeper. I came away with a higher appreciation for and delight in life, and an inexplicable love for an old lady who never existed but I’d like to think has influenced my life in a very good way.
#7: The Persecutor by Sergei Kourdakov
There’s something about the stories of people who are willing to give up everything for Christ that grips me. Sergei’s story is one that once you read it, you don’t really forget it. It’s brutal, downright awful at times (it never ceases to amaze me how one person can hurt others so terribly), but when Christ touched Sergei’s life, he experienced an incredible transformation that was a blessing to be able to read about.
#8: Think No Evil by Jonas Beiler
I read a book about this schoolhouse shooting years ago but didn’t really remember the story. When I read this book, though, I was blessed by the power of forgiveness displayed in these pages and the amount of hope this story contains, even though the event was a tragedy. It’s not an easy read, but it is an excellent one.
#9: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear by A.M. Heath
There’s something about a redemption story that gets me every time. The decision the main character made was wrong, and there are no excuses made for it, but what she did after that mistake was what I enjoyed reading about. I read this short story in one afternoon—once I got started, I couldn’t stop. Gripping, hope-filled, romantic, and with a delightfully Christmasy atmosphere, I thoroughly enjoyed the book.
#10: A Voice in the Wind by Francine Rivers
I both loved this book and was slightly annoyed at it. But I loved it enough that it made it to my top ten list. The part that I really appreciated was that the main character was willing to count the cost for Christ, no matter what. The story was also well-written and gripping, both things I value in books. I didn’t appreciate the amount of sin alluded to in the story, which is why it’s not at the top of this list; even though it was fairly tactfully done, it was still there. Rivers is an excellent author, and it’s easy to see why her books remain popular.
So there you have it! My top ten books this year.
My goals for 2023 are similar to last year:
- Read 50 books
- Complete at least 1 book reading challenge (I’ve started Chantel Klassen’s challenge, and I’m loving it—join me?)
- Read 15 paperback books
- Read 7 nonfiction books
- Read 4 books from my classics list (which I’d love to make a post about one day . . . we’ll see!)
What were your favorite books from last year? I’d love suggestions, especially if I can get them in audio, since that seems to be a great way for me to read right now! Also, what are your reading goals for 2023?