2016 Book Reviews

Did I say I wanted to read 24 books for 2016 ???
I meant 15 …. Lol.

Instead of wallowing in that completely unrealistic expectation I had for myself, I want to mention a few good things that happened before I get to the reviews of the books I did read!

  • I finished going through the Bible!  (This was probably one of the biggest reasons I didn’t hit my goal, which is probably the best reason I could have. ) It feels like such an accomplishment to have read through the entire Bible and makes it feel less intimidating to read now. Not that I completely remember everything, but it’s cool to be in church and be somewhat familiar with a given passage!
    I have said it many times before, but it bears repeating : Reading through the Bible has drastically changed my life!!!
  • I realized that there is a direct correlation between reading books and getting things done. This was something I discovered as I went through my power sheets. The months that I failed to read any books, were the months I accomplished less and was just flat out lazy! It feels like such a game changer for me to recognize this as I realize that more hinges on me reading than just finishing a book, but that it also helps to keep me motivated, no matter what the topic of the book. It is like the sheer act of making progress on something builds the desire to keep moving forward and growing in all areas of life.
  • I discovered my new favorite author : A.W.Tozer ! I was feeling a little bit stagnant halfway through the year and all the books I started were beginning to feel redundant. Then I picked up “The Pursuit of God”. I was hooked immediately. If you have been here long enough, you know that I am all about the truth, the hard truths of the Word. I don’t like the flowery spin people can put on difficult ideas to make them sound better, and I get bored with the popular topics of today. Tozer brings the truth in a straightforward way and doesn’t soften the gospel. He puts things into a perspective that is unique and fresh, even though he is a writer from 60 years ago. So many times he said things that I have always thought, so I feel like we are twin brains –  which is sort of weird, because I actually do have a twin and she is not a man from the 1950’s.
  • I accepted when I wasn’t feeling a book and just quit it. This was actually harder for me than you might think. As someone who likes to see the progress in things accomplished or checked off a list, it was hard to just chalk those pages read as a loss or that they would never “count” toward a book read. But I saw about half way through the year that trying to push through a book that wasn’t really speaking to me, actually resulted in me picking up those books more and more infrequently, and resulted in less books read anyway! Sooo in that way, it was better to quit it, and start a new book that would make me excited to pick it up every morning and read as long as I could!

Ok, now onto the reviews! And if you are a book nerd like us, then you have to check out the Good Reads App and get connected with us on there! It literally changed my book reading life last year!


The Freedom of Self-Forgetfullness by Timothy Keller

This is a little booklet or pamphlet type size, so it is super short and easy to read! It is so packed full of wisdom, I think I’d like to read it annually. Cultivating a selfless or self-forgetting attitude has got to be the key t making relationships happy & healthy.

This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence by John Piper

While I really loved a lot of points John Piper made, I felt like my thinking style did not match up with his writing style. At times it felt jumbled to me and and also EXTREMELY repetitive, which could be a good thing for reinforcement, but I felt myself not actually wanting to read this book, but just pushing myself to finish it. I’m glad I did because he did bring up some unique points, but it is not my first choice for marriage books.

Check out my 2015 Book Review post for my favorite marriage books and others I wouldn’t recommend.

Who Moved My Cheese? by Spencer Johnson

Thanks to the allegorical story, I feel that the lessons shared will definitely stick with me!
As short as it is, there is a wealth of encouragement and hope for us to be proactive and not just reactive to changes, to anticipate changes and watch for them, and to make modifications where we need to to succeed.
I think the people who don’t agree with this story are just the people who need to hear it the most. There is a strong sense of entitlement growing and I believe that will only stagnate people and progress. Like the allegory shows, fighting responsibility and growth will only hinder progress for your own self.
It honestly gave me an excitement for the “new cheese”.

Driven by Eternity by John Bevere

This book was life changing. Y’all know I am all about an eternal perspective, so I had high hopes for this book and they did not disappoint. The book starts out with an allegory (in the style of Pilgrims Progress) about our short time on earth and what happens when we get to heaven. Having this story in my head will forever influence my view of how short our time on earth is and how important it is to do things now for eternity. My copy of this book is highlighted to no end and when the author came out with a new cover for the book, I bought that too, just so I could go through it again with fresh eyes. So you know I really loved this book!

My only hesitation or critique of this book, came when he talked about the idea of walking away from salvation. I had always grown up believing “once saved, always saved”, so this was a bit disruptive to my views. But the truth is that the scriptures he presented did seem to back up this idea. I still am seeking the truth about this particular issue, but regardless of what I find, this book has made me dig deeper into scripture and given me a new understanding of how we all can interpret scripture differently, and why it is so important to seek the counsel of the Holy Spirit as we read.

Financial Stewardship by Andrew Wommack

The author brings up some very good principles about finances, although it is extremely repetitive. Also, there are some interpretations of scripture that I’d like to do some more research on, I’m not totally sure I agreed with everything he said.

Sheet Music: Uncovering the Secrets of Sexual Intimacy in Marriage by Kevin Leman

Really great book! Great insight into how sex was designed by God to be and what it is intended for in a marriage relationship. Lots of practical ideas for making the most out of your sex life.

Rework by Jason Fried

I thought this was a great business book with lots of gems of thoughts! I highlighted the time and plan to go back through and make a list of things I’d like to do based off of the recommendations. The picture quotes were very helpful to remember for this photographic brained person and the short little snippets of info were so concise and informative.
A lot of the ideas go against traditional business thinking which is great, but I think some of them may be a little too off. However it was great to see them making a case for certain “against the grain” ideas and gave me a lot to think about.

The Power of a Praying Wife by Stormie Omartian 

I really loved all that this book showed me about how much opportunity I have to influence my husband’s life through prayer. I plan to type out the 31 topics and pray for them every couple of months. (I did! It’s in my Freebies Library!)
There were some parts when she talks about her husband that made me a little uncomfortable, almost like I was eavesdropping or shouldn’t be hearing it! But I think her intention was to let you know that it doesn’t matter how bad your marriage (or husband) is, there is hope through prayer.

How to Style Your Brand: Everything You Need to Know to Create a Distinctive Brand Identity by Fiona Humberstone

This was just what I needed as I prepared to rebrand this year! The book was not only beautifully designed and inspiring visually, but it asked great questions and took me through a process I really needed to go through to be able to figure what would represent me most as a brand. If you are planning to brand (or rebrand) for business I would highly recommend it! It will give you confidence to make decisions with a strong yes, because you will have more insight into what different colors, types, etc represent!

The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer

This book is now in my top #3 books ever!
Such foundational truths that every Christian could benefit from studying! He describes traditional Christian concepts in a deeper, but at the same time simplistic way. This book has recharged my heart to genuinely pursue God with everything I have. And it is relatively short, so although the material is pretty thick, it would be a good place to start with Tozer. Plus, it is probably his best selling book.

Born After Midnight by A.W. Tozer

Another favorite from Tozer! It’s hard to even describe his books, because they are mostly just his thoughts on its of different aspects of the Christian life. And somehow, even though the chapters are short he makes you think deeper than some full books on a subject. (This one has really short chapters – like 3 pages long, so you get that accomplished “I just finished a chapter” feeling like every 5 minutes. Lol!)

Culture: Living As Citizens of Heaven on Earth by A.W. Tozer

I selected this to read because of it’s emphasis on Heaven over Earth which has been a big themes for me lately. While this was a good read, it wasn’t my favorite of his. It is more of a collection of his sermons that was put together by someone else, which may be the reason I connected less to it. But still a really great read!

People Over Profit by Dale Partridge

I had been seeing this book all over and as I desire to place the women that I serve in my business at the center of what I do, I felt it would be a great book for me. Unfortunately it seemed to be more from a bigger business type perspective. There was lots about employees, which I don’t have, and big industry leader type stories, which I couldn’t connect with. Most of the book was stories, as opposed to practical advice, which others may be more inspired by. I get more excited about seeing the actual process, a list of to-dos, or a game plan, than stories so it was a little lost one me.

Awe: Why it Matters for Everything We think, Say, and Do by Paul David Tripp

I loved this book! I loved it so much that I made one of my goals (I’ll share all them this week!) to cultivate a heart of Awe & Worship of the Lord this next year. This book made me realize that I was leaving this out of my relationship with the Lord. He takes 13 aspects of life and explains how our issues are actually all centered around our failure to experience AWE in who God is. It was definitely eye-opening and I had never read a book on this subject, so I really enjoyed that aspect of it.
I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars because it became a little repetitive, but overall I would highly recommend this book!

From Heaven: A 28-Day Advent Devotional by A.W. Tozer

With my new Tozer obsession, I was excited to see that he had an advent devotional! Like all Tozer stuff it was really different than most writings about Christmas which challenged me. I gave it a 4 because while some days knocked me off my socks, other days were just ok. I read some of the days with Josh and it made me realize how difficult some of his writings are until you are used to the older format of speech. Each chapter was like 2-3 pages, so it was easy to keep up with and stay on track!

Books I Quit :

Spark Joy – I wanted to like it, but it was so fluffy!!!!! There are some practical tips, but I feel like I could get that from a blogpost and printable!

Lioness Arising – I loveee Lisa Bevere. Hearing her speak is powerful! But I think this wasn’t what I needed in the moment. It was more inspirational than the rock hard solid truths that I like, but I definitely feel like I will pick it back up when I need to be inspired.

Every Good Endeavor – Y’all know I love Timothy Keller too, but this was not sparking my interest at the time. I may have to go back and give it a try later, but it wasn’t grabbing this time.

Did you read any of these? If so, what were your thoughts?
And tell me what you read this year that you loved! I need some help making my list for 2017!

Last year was the first year for Val & I to do our #GoodtoGoals blog series and we loved it (and so did you apparently!), so stay tuned for more goodness this week, as we continue the tradition. We hope to help inspire you to make next year the best year yet :)

#GoodToGoalfor2017 Series

2016 Book Reviews & (Vals)
2017 Word of the Year & (Vals)
2017 Goals
2017 Book List
2017 My Year

And for even more even more goal setting goodness greatness , check out Lara Casey’s series this week! She is the creator of the power sheets we use ever year to make our goals!

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  • Thank you for sharing. Now I have a great list of potential reads for next year. I agree, when I read I am much less lazy, which feels ironic, since it seems like such a luxury.

    • I was shocked when I realized how connected the 2 were!!! I literally did not read a book for like 3 months and did not accomplish much, then other months I read like 4 books! I think its like it just builds this momentum to progress, but now that I see that it is a catalyst I am going to be much better about making a point to read!

  • Okay, so I LOVE listening to Timothy Keller’s sermons, but I totally feel you on “Every Good Endeavor”. I picked it up in 2015 and still haven’t been able to finish it. Recently, I purchased his latest book, “Hidden Christmas” for my boss (he’s Catholic, I’m such a riot) and couldn’t put it down. I wanted to keep it for myself. I’m going to have to give his other books another shot in 2017.