Books

If you don’t know already, you do now:  I am a nerd.  I’ve always LOVED books, and I’ve read far more than I could ever remember.  I’m going to use this page to help me keep track of what I’ve read recently and what I thought about each book, as well as share some books with anyone who is interested.  I’m going to keep on adding more genres as I have time.  Feel free to leave book suggestions in the comments!

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All-Time Favorite Books:

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Christian Fiction:

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Ted Dekker—he is the best suspense author I have ever read.  But more than that, his books make you think.  I’ve learned more about God through some of his books than I have through theology books.  Look for the deeper meaning/theme as you read his books.  Some of the material may be too much for young readers. (I’ve read a lot of his books, and I’ll give my thoughts on them whether I liked them or not)

  • Black, Red, and White (Circle Series)—our all-time favorite books!  They tell the story of creation, fall, and redemption as one man goes to sleep and wakes up in two different worlds.  I can’t say enough about them.  (Part of the Books of History Chronicles [BoHC]—they all weave together in one way or another.  They can be read as individual series as well, though.)
  • Green (Circle Series)—neither of us liked this.  Even though it “completes” the Circle Series, you don’t need it to enjoy the others.  In my opinion, it’s Dekker’s worst work. (BoHC)
  • Thr3e—this was the first Dekker book I read, and it is still one of my favorites!  It’s a suspense/thriller, and I can’t say much more without giving something away.
  • BoneMan’s Daughters—this one is good, but it’s a little too much for me.  It’s about a serial killer in search of the perfect daughter.
  • Kiss—(with Erin Healy) We read this together and it kept us hooked the whole time.  It’s about a girl who loses part of her memory after a car wreck and realizes she can steal memories from others.
  • The Lost Books (6 in all)—these are the kid books that accompany the Circle Series.  The first four are really good, but it gets weird in the last two. (BoHC)
  • Blink of an Eye—this one is great!  It’s about a Saudi Arabian princess and a genius who are running from people who are after the princess.
  • Adam—this is our favorite serial killer-type Dekker book.  He weaves “newspaper articles” throughout the novel to help the story unfold.
  • Skin—I liked this one, but I read it too fast and don’t remember a lot about it.  Michael really liked it.  I do remember that there is a huge twist at the end. (BoHC)
  • Showdown, Saint, and Sinner (Paradise Novels)—we really liked these.  Michael liked them more than I did because it was a little much for me at times, but we loved how they tied to the Circle Series.  (BoHC)
  • Thunder of Heaven (Martyr’s Song Series)—this is the only Martyr’s Song book I’ve read but I loved it!  It’s suspenseful, but it reminds me of some of the less intense (as in not serial killer) books.
  • House—(with Frank Paretti) Michael read this and liked it, but I haven’t finished it.  I think it’s about a haunted house. (BoHC)
  • Burn­—(with Erin Healy) We started this one together and never finished it.  I think I’ll like it when I actually read it again though.  It wasn’t as gripping from the beginning.

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Francine Rivers—she tells an amazing story.  Most of her stories have to do with love, but some of them are filled with action as well.  I feel like I know the characters (especially the ones from Bible stories) after I read her books.  Some material may be too much for young readers.

  • Redeeming Love—this is by far my favorite of hers!  It is the story of Hosea set in the old west times.
  • The Mark of the Lion Series (3 books)—this is an amazing series.  The books take place soon after Jesus’ time on earth in the Roman empire.  They are filled with love and action and I saw SO many similarities between the Roman world and ours.
  • The Scarlet Thread—I liked this, but it wasn’t my favorite.  This is a book about marriage and trials.  The main character finds a journal from an ancestor and their stories are so similar.
  • The Atonement Child—I cried a lot in this book.  It’s a wonderful (yet tough) story of a girl who is assaulted and becomes pregnant and deals with God’s plan for her life and the baby’s life.
  • A Lineage of Grace (5 small books)—I feel like I know these Bible women so much better now.  This book is comprised of five small novels about the five women listed in Jesus’ lineage.  Even though a lot of it is fiction, I loved reading about their lives.

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Janette Oke—her books are great for when I want something more low-key.  They’re all historical fiction (which I love), and while they aren’t really exciting, they are good stories.  They’re also easy to read and younger readers can enjoy them.

  • Love Comes Softly Series (8 books)—these are good stories, but I had to break them up between some more fast-paced books.  They start in the times of wagon trails and they follow the Davis family through all of their children growing up.
  • A Prairie Legacy (4 books)—these were the first Janette Oke books I read (in late junior high) and I loved them.  I read them again after I read the Love Comes Softly Series because I realized they’re about one of the Davis grandchildren.
  • The Meeting Place, The Sacred Shore, and The Birthright (3 of 5 Song of Acadia Books)—I don’t remember much about these, but I know I really liked them in high school.  There were only three at that time, and I haven’t gone back to read the others.
  • The Centurion’s Wife—I really enjoyed this.  It’s the (fiction) story of the girl who marries the centurion who asks Jesus to heal his servant in the Bible.

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Various Authors

  • The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis—I read these as a girl and Michael and I are reading them now.  We love them!  CS Lewis has such a great sense of humor, while relating Biblical truths to the fictitious stories.
  • Even Now & Ever After by Karen Kingsbury—I couldn’t put these down.  They are very emotional, but they’re such good stories.  One is about a couple, and the other is about their daughter.
  • Unlocked by Karen Kingsbury—This story was incredible.  In fact, I wrote a whole post about it here.  It’s the story of a boy who’s trapped in autism and his path crossing with his childhood friend.
  • Never Let You Go by Erin Healy—this is the story of a single mom whose daughter is being threatened because of a secret in her past.  It has a lot of supernatural/spiritual forces things in it, and it’s full of suspense.  It’s Healy’s first work on her own, and she did a great job.
  • Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss—this is about a young lady and her journey to becoming a woman of God.  I was really challenged with this book.
  • This Present Darkness by Frank Peretti—I didn’t enjoy this much at all.  I did like how the unseen forces of good and evil were displayed, but I though it drug out too long.
  • The Shack by William P. Young—The story was amazing, but the writing wasn’t very good.  The only thing I can compare it to is a movie with a good plot but bad acting.  But I would still recommend it because of the powerful display of God’s love for us and how our views of God are skewed.

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Classics:

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Jane Austen—I read my first Jane Austen book my senior year of high school, and I’ve loved her books since then.  The first book was hard to read at first, but I got (more or less) used to the language after a while.

  • Emma—my favorite Jane Austen book!  Emma is about a young lady who tries to play match-maker for everyone else, and is oblivious to her own love life.
  • Pride and Prejudice—my first Jane Austen novel, and the reason I started reading the others.  This book is about a family of all girls and all of the misconceptions and events that lead up to the main two sisters finding love.
  • Sense and Sensibility—this is another great book.  It’s the story of two sisters who are drastically different and both have unexpected things happen to them and their love lives.
  • Persuasion—I loved this as well.  It’s the story of two young people being split up because one is not “good enough” for the other, and then their paths crossing once again.
  • Mansfield Park—this has been my least favorite so far, but I still enjoyed it.  I feel like it didn’t get truly interesting until the end, and then it seemed to all happen quickly.  It’s the story of a poor girl moving in with her relatives and falling in love above her “class”.
  • Northanger Abbey—I haven’t finished this one yet, but it seems good so far.
  • Lady Susan—this one wasn’t my favorite either.  It is a shorter story, comprised of letters, and it just didn’t draw me in like the others.

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Various

  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott—my mom made me read this when I was in junior high, but I read it again later and absolutely loved it.  She does an amazing job describing all of the sisters and what they each go through.
  • Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe—I had to read this for the Forge, but I ended up loving it.  It’s the story of a man who ends up on a deserted island.
  • The Anne of Green Gables Series by L.M. Montgomery—these are some of my very favorite books!  I’ve read the first three at least three times.  I love “watching” Anne grow up throughout the books.  (I haven’t read the ones about her daughter—books 7 and 8.)
  • The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis—(I know I already listed this under Christian Fiction, but it fits here as well.)  I read these as a girl and Michael and I are reading them now.  We love them!  CS Lewis has such a great sense of humor, while relating Biblical truths to the fictitious stories.

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Other Fiction (A lot of these are young adult books.  I’ve gone back and re-read a lot of them, and others are just some I remember liking):

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Various

  • The Tillerman (Homecoming) Series by Cynthia Voigt—these were some of my favorite books in junior high, and I read them all again recently.  They’re about siblings who are abandoned and have to find a home, and then their lives after that.  These are some of the best books I’ve ever read.  Their depth is amazing.  After each book, I was blown away all over again.
  • Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling—I read the first four when I was in junior high and loved them.  Then I went through a time where I thought they were bad and got rid of them.  I read them again in the fall of 2010.  I don’t think they’re appropriate for little kids (parts are scary—but not as scary as some of Dekker’s stuff), but I loved them!  The stories are so well developed, and there’s just something about them that sets them apart.  They’re some of my favorites.
  • A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks—this is a really sweet story.  I think I like the movie better, though.  They’re very different!  But I probably would have liked the book better if I’d read it first.
  • The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks—I really, really enjoyed this.  It is a story of first love, family, and growing up.  It’s definitely a tear-jerker, but it’s great.
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry—this is another that I loved when I was younger and recently read again.  What would our world be like if we didn’t think for ourselves and we were all the same?
  • The Time Travelers (4 books) by Caroline B. Cooney—junior high favorites.  A girl somehow travels back to 1890 and falls in love.
  • A Wrinkle in Time Series (3 of 5 books) by Madeline L’Engle—I absolutely loved these when I read them.  They’re science fiction but they don’t seem like it.  I’ve only read the first three, but I want to read them all.
  • The Hatchet by Gary Paulsen—I liked this one a lot too.  It’s about a boy who crashes on a deserted island.
  • A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett—this was my favorite book when I was in late elementary school.  Most girls will love this book.
  • The Boxcar Children Books by Gertrude Chandler Warner—I don’t remember much about these other than the fact that I LOVED them growing up.  I think I have a thing for books about abandoned kids or deserted islands…
  • The Baby-sitter’s Club Books by Ann M. Martin—I’m kindof embarrassed that I loved these as much as I did, but I think I read all of them growing up.  The Mystery ones were my favorite.  I also read the Baby-sitter’s Little Sister Books.
  • The Night of the Twisters by Ivy Ruckman—this was a favorite of mine in 4th grade.  My friends and I really creeped ourselves out after we read it in class because it was tornado season.
  • Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine—I read this way before the movie came out, and I absolutely loved it.  It’s a different Cinderella Story.

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Non-Fiction:

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Christian:

  • Crazy Love by Francis Chan—I can’t say enough good about this book.  It talks about God’s crazy love for us and how we should respond to Him and His love/what it really looks like to live as a Christian.
  • Celebration of Discipline by Richard Foster—This book radically changed the way I think and act.  I recommend it to ALL Christians.  He goes through all of the Christian disciplines (prayer, study, etc.) and the basics of how to go about implementing them.
  • Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller—This is an excellent book that I would recommend to almost anyone.  He has a lot of non-traditional views, which can be a good thing that challenges you to think outside the box.  But at the same time, I wouldn’t recommend it to some people because they might take everything he says as the way it must be for everyone.  I think you definitely need to be in college or older to read it.  Overall, though, it’s great.
  • A Hunger for God by John Piper—is a book about fasting.  The whole premise of the book is that fasting is saying, “God, I want your will and I want you more than I want ______ right now.”  It really changed the way I view fasting.
  • An Unstoppable Force by Erwin McManus—this is a book about the church as God created it to be.  He challenges Christians to get outside the box of what church has become and start being the church God intended.  I really got a lot out of this.
  • The Divine Conspiracy by Dallas Willard—this book was over my head.  I really liked some of the things he had to say, but I had to re-read each paragraph about 4 times before I could understand what he was trying to say.  It was just too theologically worded.  It’s about the Sermon on the Mount.
  • Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer—this book presents Christian community in a way that I’d never thought of before.  Even though it was written years and years ago, it is still very applicable.  I will caution you, however, to not try to copy his plan of community.  It was easy for me (and the other Forge students) to get trapped in trying to re-create his plan instead of simply taking the ideas and allowing God to do what He wanted in our community.
  • Get Out of That Pit by Beth Moore—first of all, let me say that I absolutely love Beth Moore’s Bible Studies.  God has grown me SO MUCH through the ones that I’ve participated in.  That being said, I did not really enjoy this book.  I feel like she writes like she talks, which doesn’t really translate well.  I heard her message with the same title, and it was fantastic, so the content is great, but I didn’t care for the book as much.
  • The Sacred Romance by John Eldredge—this book is about God’s love for us and the way we should respond to Him.  However, I really didn’t like it.  I feel like John Eldredge is too emotional for me.  I’m just not a fan of his writing.
  • Stuff Christians Like by Jonathan Acuff—I started reading Jon’s blog in 2009, and I loved it!  The book has a lot of the same material, but it’s definitely worth buying.  It’s a hilarious take on things Christians do, say, and think.

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Marriage/Dating/Gender-Specific Books:

  • Love & Respect by Dr. Emerson Eggerichs—Michael and I sometimes say that this book saved our marriage before we got married.  We read it while we were engaged, and it is incredible.  It has the missing key that so many books and speakers leave out: women need love and men need respect.  I recommend this to anyone, whether married, planning to be married, or even as a son, daughter, or friend.
  • His Needs, Her Needs by Willard Harley—this book takes the main things women need and the main things men need and discusses each topic.  It’s all about knowing your spouse and investing in them and their needs, and in doing so, building an affair-proof marriage.
  • This Momentary Marriage by John Piper—this is more “marriage theory” than practicality, but it is phenomenal.  It talks about how marriage is a picture of Christ and the Church and what that means for us.
  • Lady in Waiting by Jackie Kendall—I read this twice: as a senior in high school and a sophomore in college.  It talks about becoming a woman of God and focusing on Him instead of worrying about “finding the one”.  It radically changed my views on being content and waiting on God.
  • Passion and Purity by Elizabeth Elliot—this is one that I didn’t enjoy.  I feel like her view of a woman’s role is skewed.  I had to read it for the Forge, and none of us girls liked it.  She does make some good points on being patient and trusting God, though.
  • Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge—I felt the same way about this as I did “The Sacred Romance”–It was just way too emotional for me.  I liked some of the points, but most of it was just over the top.  The book is about being a woman.

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Other Non-Fiction:

  • Marathoning for Mortals by John Bingham and Jenny Hadfield—I loved this book!  It’s very easy to read, inspiring, and down-to-earth.  It gives all of the basics to distance running and it even includes training plans.  I highly recommend it.
  • Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey—read this book.  It is such a good, needed book about finances.  It helped us to see the importance of managing our money and taking steps to be financially fit.
  • Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler—I could go on and on and on about this book.  My only regret is that I didn’t read it years ago.  It discusses the Fertility Awareness Method and teaches you to chart your cycles.  I feel like it’s a book all women should read!

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Children’s Books:

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Various

  • Purple, Green, and Yellow by Robert Munsch—I can still quote this book.  It’s a really cute story about a girl who loves coloring markers and gets into a big mess.
  • Underwear by Mary Elise Monsell and Lynn Munsinger—this was my brother’s favorite, but I loved it too.  It’s about animals who love underwear.
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.—this is another one I have memorized.  I love the story and illustrations.
  • My Mommy and I & My Daddy and I by P.K. Hallinan—these are really sweet stories about a kid and their mommy/daddy.
  • You Are Special by Max Lucado—this book is fantastic.  I read it to our youth, and it’s a new favorite.  It tells the story of our self-worth in God, our Creator, through the story of a little wooden boy and his creator.
  • I’ll Love You Forever by Robert Munsch—now this book makes me tear up.  It’s a really sweet story, though.
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carl—this was another one of our favorites.  I love that it was illustrated with cut up paper.
  • Reckless Ruby by Hiawyn Oram and Tony Ross—this one is so cute!  It’s about a girl who is completely reckless and who doesn’t want to be princess.
  • Spot’s First Walk by Eric Hill—this is the first book I can remember playing with as a kid.  My copy is falling apart, but I still love the story.
  • Ivy Cottage by E.J. Taylor—this one is a little longer than most children’s books, but I loved for my mom to read it to me.  It’s about a lady and her dolls.
  • Two Dog Biscuits by Beverly Cleary—this is a cute story about two kids and their dog biscuits.  It’s another one that’s a little longer, but it’s really good.
  • The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka—this is a really cute spin on the 3 Little Pigs story.  My mom loves this one.
  • Carmine: A Little More Red by Melissa Sweet—I just bought this one, and I love it!  It’s an alphabet story of Little Red Riding Hood, and the illustrations are fantastic.
  • The Snack Smasher: And Other Reasons Why It’s Not My Fault by Andrea Perry—this is another one that I bought recently.  It’s a very creative story, and I can see little boys loving it.

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–Staci

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10 responses to “Books

  • reneamac

    If you like children’s books — and you clearly do — [The Jesus Storybook Bible] is a must own. I also think you’d really like [A Tree Grows in Brooklyn]. And, if you like CS Lewis, you may enjoy his Space Trilogy. Okay. That is all for now. :]

    • mselizondo

      Hey Renea!

      I’ve heard of “The Jesus Storybook Bible” but I’ve never seen it. It’s actually been in my Amazon cart for a few months. I guess I need to order it! And I’ll check out the others too! Thanks 🙂

  • Rachel(Ninja)

    A great Christian historical fiction book is The Bronze Bow (it bothers me that I can’t underline or italicize that, haha!) by Elizabeth George Speare.

    It’s a book about a boy named Daniel who is basically waiting for someone to come to save the Jews from their bondage to Rome. He’s loyal to this guy named Rosh who saved him when he ran away from a cruel, abusive master. They live in the mountains doing things to stop Romans in a violent manner. However, things are thrown upside down in his life when someone from his old town mentions someone named Jesus. The strange thing is, this Jesus fellow is preaching that Daniel needs to love the Romans. He doesn’t know who to follow.

    Speare brings in so many stories from the Bible and weaves it in seamlessly with the fictional aspects. It also helps bring the historical context of Jesus’ times to light. It “answered” some questions for me, like why Jesus only chooses to heal some people. There’s no direct reply to a question like that, but some of the characters discuss it. When I read it the first time, I was dealing with more health issues than I am now, so it really hit close to home. I teach this book with every 8th grade class, so I’ve done it 3 years in a row already. It’s a must read before the students graduate.

  • Ian Webster

    That’s a great summary. I’ve been wanting to do “something” about the books I read; putting them on one’s blog is a great idea.
    Ian

  • Jenny105

    I just saw this lol. I used to read BSC too. Stacey was always my favorite. I was more of a fan of Sweet Valley High though 🙂

    • mselizondo

      She was my favorite too! I think since we have the same name 🙂 I actually never read any Sweet Valley High books…

      • Jenny105

        I probably read at least one book from each of the major series, most of them coming from Sweet Valley High, the series that started it all. There was also Sweet Valley Kids (2nd grade), Sweet Valley Twins (6th grade), Sweet Valley Senior Year, and Sweet Valley University. I even had the board game! lol

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