This is the spot where the best Christian books to read will be housed. Whether it’s on my “Christian books to read (TBR)” or if I finished and loved it, it will be here. If I shared about it in an email, or I’m still thinking about it 5 books later, you get to hear about it!
Christian book reviews are my way of spreading the Good News. When a Christian book successfully accomplishes the goal of fully using the talents God gave the author, inspires me to be a better person or reminds me that I’m forgiven, and need to act like it, it’s a win. Then I have to share it with someone, and you all are the winners!
Please note that this post contains affiliate links for your convenience. If you make a purchase through one of the links, I may make a small commission. I only recommend books and resources that I’ve enjoyed personally, or believe that you would like. You can read my full disclosure here. You will also find information on Scripture translations there.
Inspirational Christian Books on My 2022 TBR Shelf
- Pretense by Lori Wick: I read this one a dozen times as a teen, and it’s time to revisit one of the top Christian books I’ve ever read. The story of 2 girls who live heartbreaking lives but still discover a father’s love, and THE FATHER’S love.
- The Mark of the Lion Trilogy by Francine Rivers: I’ve been hearing about it for a couple of years. An early church history series that from all I’ve been told, may just be the most inspirational Christian fiction ever written.
- Blended Lives by Melissa Wardwell, and Sweet Rivals by Kari Trumbo, two more Independence Islands books releasing soon.
- The Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning: Showing how God’s grace is there expressly for the misfits, mess-ups and ‘me’s of life.
Must Read 2022 Christian Books
January 8, and I just completed my second read-through of In Search of a Prince, by Toni Shiloh. It officially releases February 1, and I had the privilege of being on the launch team. Can I just say WOW!!!? This is a top ten, worthy of as many inspirational Christian books awards as possible! In a Princess Diaries spin, a 25-year-old New Yorker and middle school teacher finds herself off to Africa, to become a princess, as the grandfather she’d never met is dying.
Themes of forgiveness, discernment, value, love and trust are beautifully woven through this story. And what a great sense of humor!
The main characters, and by default, the reader, are frequently reminded of their worth and value, not for any accomplishments, but simply as a person that God loves.
I especially love how they frequently turn to prayer, when they don’t know what to do or how to cope.
Reclaiming Hope by Carolyn Miller: Callie’s organized life is about to heat up! In addition to managing the billionaire author’s business, and the Greener Gardens office, there’s a kind-hearted surfer on crutches pulling at her heart. I fully enjoyed this one! Full review at that link!
Unknown, by Vanessa Hall: A romantic suspense story set in Russia, about the son of murdered missionaries, and his ballerina friend. You can bet this one keeps you on your toes! From intrigue at the Ballet to the string of attacks that just don’t add up-especially when the police say they couldn’t possibly be related, you will enjoy the ride!
Digital Detox by Molly DeFrank: A step-by-step guide to a digital detox, packed with the science to build your WHY. The combination of guidance, science, and strategy, paired with stories of success and slips, make this a wonderful resource. I haven’t taken our kids off screens cold turkey yet, but I have implemented a few things, and plan to do more in the near future.
The Prince and the Prodigal by Jill Eileen Smith: A fully immersive journey into both Joseph and Judah’s lives, written with grace and hope. I couldn’t put it down! Joseph had the foundation of faith and character to see him through his time of slavery, and Judah had his guilt and regrets, which eventually soften his heart, and strengthen his character.
The Barabbas Legacy by M.D. House has pretty much left me speechless. I couldn’t put it down. Book 3 of a trilogy following Barabbas, before and after his encounter with Jesus, where Jesus took his place on the cross. The growth and transformation, and the true legacy of faith passed on both in the community and in the family is beautiful. It’s messy and complicated, and makes you think of Nero with a bit more compassion, believe it or not. I HIGHLY recommend this story!
Holy Hot Mess by Mary Katherine Backstrom: I think the subtitle says it all- Finding God in the details of this weird and wonderful life. She tells it like it is, and emphasizes kindness, even if you disagree with someone’s life choices. Looking for God’s Grace in the midst of hard things, because it’s there.
I had so many “a-ha” moments while reading this book, it spoke to my heart in a way the more ‘proper’ books on Christian living don’t. I’m incredibly grateful to the author for sharing her mess, and helping me see through mine a little bit better. I also thoroughly enjoy following her on Facebook, where she’s not afraid to step on toes to get the point across that we are to treat everyone with kindness. (it’s a fruit of the Spirit, and not to be reserved just for people like “us”, or the people we want to be kind to)
Top Christian Books to Read: My 2021 Favorites
These are the top Christian books that I read in 2021. I found them to be inspirational Christian books to read, that left me encouraged, curious, and hopeful.
Top Christian Books: Historical Fiction
I was Called Barabbas: This one is fascinating. To follow Barabbas in what caused him to be in that position of notorious, or infamous prisoner/insurrectionist. And to have his encounter with Jesus leave him a changed man? Priceless.
I loved the journey we were taken on with Barabbas. His inability to process and accept that Jesus had given his life, in Barabbas’ place, and that he could become a new person. This book could be the story of any of us, struggling with our value, our worth, our mistakes, etc.
It’s towards the end of the book, but my favorite scene was Barabbas and Paul’s heart to heart conversation. This is absolutely beautiful, these two men who were very definitely NOT CHRISTIAN when Jesus encountered them, coming to grips with the fact that Jesus forgave and accepted them both.
Speaking of Paul, the one small issue I had with the story is the idea of Paul being married. (1 Cor 7:8) Supposedly his father in law took his wife and kids and disappeared when Paul became a Christian. A well done and believable plot, but not Biblically accurate.
I found the Cornelius thread of the story great as well. Getting a look at his before and after possibilities was fun!
Note, book two is just as impressive!! I would highly recommend both of these inspirational Christian books to you!
I received a copy of this book from the author, and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.
Moonlight School: Okay, I am officially in Awe. This book is fantabulous! And that the backstory is true, is even better. Taking the time to make it more than possible for adults to learn to read, in a respectful way, making accommodations with both time and teaching materials to treat them as adults and not children, took a lot of courage, planning and effort.
The story in this book, well, Lucy could be any one of us, whom life circumstances left us wanting to be invisible. Having people who care, and an appropriate challenge placed before us can have amazing results, as in Lucy’s case. She’s an inspirational heroine, having to be pushed past her insecurities, to becoming someone she could be proud of.
Getting to ‘know’ the mountain people, both respecting their traditions, personality struggles and honor, and wishing more for them, was so well done.
Finley James and Angie and Wyatt stole my heart from the beginning, and never let it go.
I would recommend this book to anyone 14+ and say it might even make a good family read-aloud with middle schoolers.
Topics include a missing/stolen child, superstitions, ‘iffy’ business practices, incredible faith, perseverance, prejudices, and the power of learning to read.
I received a copy of this book from #netgalley, and chose to review it here. all thoughts are my own.
No Journey Too Far is book two, and while I’m eager to go back and read book 1, I didn’t feel lost or overwhelmed with details. It’s a gripping story, with several high hope points. There were several ‘other shoes’ that drop, keeping the pace of the story high. An Orphan ship, a World War, and a lot of interesting dynamics in this story.
I sympathized with Garth and all of the angst he has to deal with, between his two missions of finding and reuniting with his sister and his sweetheart. His strength, determination and quick thinking, and the fact that he knows his limits makes this story shine, especially when it comes to Emma’s situation.
I didn’t like Grace’s ‘adoptive’ parents, and that plotline was awkward, but I enjoyed watching Grace figure out how to be her own person, learning how to care about and for others, and be a ‘regular person’ instead of being a princess in a gilded cage.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley, and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.
The Hope and Glory Trilogy from Elizabeth Camden is my reward for cleaning out my email inboxes 🙂 (I filed/deleted 24k emails!) The Spice King, A Gilded Lady, and Prince of Spies take place in high society D.C. during the start of the 1900s, revolving around a sibling group, the fledgling ‘packaged food/food safety industry’ and D.C. politics.
This trilogy is absolutely amazing!! They should go to the head of every Christian books to read list. There are some deep subjects like doing the right thing no matter what it costs you, and protecting loved ones, and looking out for the wellbeing of others. And there are 3 fun romances, one for each book/sibling, of course. For the most part, the romance isn’t the focus, it’s a natural progression of their interaction in the story.
I learned quite a bit of the history of the time, and found the characters inspiring, as they dealt with the kinds of challenges we do today.
Blood Moon Redemption: A Split-time romantic suspense with a dash of humor to keep the mood light enough to handle. This was hard to put down, I am happy to say!
Top Christian Books: Contemporary Fiction
Heart Pressed: A Romeo and Juliet style family feud on the Independence Islands. With a couple of matchmakers who are uninformed on the impossibilities involved. You can read my review, and learn about the rest of this series here.
Regaining Mercy, a story of generational consequences, individual responsibility, and judging what you don’t even grasp, without any empathy at all… (let’s just say I read the first chapter over breakfast yesterday and was so mad I could have thrown the book. But Dermott! YES!)and so much more! Part of the Independence Islands series.
The Unlikely Yarn of the Dragon Lady: Ooh Boy was this quite a book. A knitting prayer group gets booted from the church to the mall, in a last ditch effort to save a church. And it’s a powerful story of healing and the power of prayer, on multiple fronts, and even among the unwilling!
The Prayer Warrior: Suspense, fantasy, and spirtual warfare all wrapped up into quite an adventure, it looks like!
Surviving Carmelita: A tear-jerker full of hope-and healing. Yes, it’s possible to find hope in a tragic story. This tragedy, a 4 year old child lost far too soon, triggers an understandable meltdown. Fear, sadness and isolation tend to do that. And yes, Josie runs away. But you know, just like when we run away from our problems, God is waiting for her, and us.
Coincidence, fate, chance, or the hand of God? Josie ends up with Carmelita’s extended family, and is given the space and anonymity she needs, to find her balance again. And I think her encounters with Jesus, while more tangible than most of us experience, really represent well the conversations we could be having with Him.
The story is well written, and effective. I laughed a few times, and thought a lot. I would recommend it heartily.
I received a copy of this book from the author and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.
Thornton Trucking Company Trilogy is a tricky trilogy to read. It deals with some difficult subject matter, but does so with grace. There’s disapproval of the sins, without condemnation. There’s redemption and hope, and there are a few threads left untidy, because that’s what real life is like. I just finished book 3, and What a finale!! I would definitely add this to your Christian books to read list, with the following disclaimer of sensitive issues:
There are a few words I wouldn’t use, but not many, and not just for effect. There’s premarital activity, human trafficking, and people struggling with inappropriate viewing habits. Never explicit, but clear, and to good purpose. I really like how “real” the characters are, and the reasons for their struggles, but especially the believable growth!
Inspirational Christian Books: Futuristic and Fantasy Fiction
My first encounter with steampunk fiction blew me away. Secrets in the Mist is book one of an epic challenge to a few good characters, to roll back the darkness of greedy men, and quite literally save the world. I have my suspicions on a few things that are coming, and cannot wait for book two to see if I’m right. Definitely one of the top Christian books to read this year!
Brimstone 1: is a fun story. It’s a secret race to space, to meet an incoming alien artifact, sent in response to scripture being broadcast into space. There’s enough mystery that you’re a good way through before you really know who’s ‘good’ and who isn’t. There’s a hint of romance, without being the main focus.
Science fiction at it’s finest, because it honors God instead of pretending he isn’t there. This book is well written, entertaining, and includes scripture. Conversations and choices occur, with a reference to ‘because of _‘ with a scripture reference so you can look it up. I loved this, because it ties everyday actions to God’s Word, and encourages us to do the same. And somehow, the author does this without it feeling preachy.
I am looking forward to the sequel. This one is satisfactory in its ending, but leaves just enough clues to know that book two is coming, and it’s going to be good!
While it isn’t written for teens, I would recommend it to anyone 14+ to read with a trusted adult, as it might lead to some important discussions related to viewing materials, getting caught up under a charismatic leader whose goals are less than honorable, what it’s like to be a mole when it hurts the ones you care about…
I received a copy of this book from the author, and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.
Castle of Refuge is quite a story. It keeps you on the edge of your seat most of the time, and touches some really sweet places in your heart. This young lady is in a tough spot, through no fault of her own. And while she does have a few people who care about her, she doesn’t have anyone who can truly help.
Until. Until she finds herself in a castle of refuge. Surrounded by decent, compassionate people. Still afraid to trust, but recognizing she’s safe. Until the past comes knocking.
I found the sense of honor and determination of certain characters beautiful, and it left me wondering about my own honor. That’s what makes the best kinds of books, when they leave you happy, but looking for areas of your own life to bring before God for strengthening.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own. You can read about some other fantastic Christian fairytales here.
Jagarcho: The Greatfang Tests is brand new fantasy adventure featuring the great cats (Lions and leopards and Jaguars, oh my), and is written by a 15 year old girl with some real talent.
Azolla has a lot going on in her life. Between the sudden loss of her father and the separation from her mother, her best friend and her homeland, she’s on totally unfamiliar ground.
Having been raised by parents who have emphasized compassion and character, she finds herself in company with some who share her standards and others who view life from a position of entitled privilege just because of who their parents are. Learning to deal with bullies and temptation, danger and change isn’t easy, but we can certainly learn a lot from her experience!
I just finished this, and really want to start the next one. It’s got that epic/saga feel to it, and ends with the transition to another location. No definite conclusion, just the start to something big.
I loved the creation story as told here, and thought the whole story well written. That a 15 year old wrote it is impressive and I look forward to seeing where she goes from here.
The growth, confusion and struggles Azolla and her blind sister endure are encouraging and I would highly recommend it to anyone teens and above.
I received a copy of the book from the author and chose to review it here. All thoughts are my own.
Top Christian Books to Read: Nonfiction
I Prayed for Patience, God Gave Me Children well, the title kind of says it all. This one should be good for me both as a mom, and as a child of God! You can see my review here. Short devotions that have practical application in a parent’s life. A heart-based book worth reading if you have kids in your life, whether your own, or ones you have influence over.
When my advance copy of The Great Sex Rescue arrived, I put everything else on hold for a few days. I highly recommend everyone read this book, and you can read my full review here. Sheila Gregorie surveyed 20,000 women, to see how the teachings in the top Evangelical Christian marriage books have had harmful consequences in countless marriages. She shows that we can expect so much more good! Untangling the lies and damaging teachings, giving you practical tools to work through things, both small and large.
Make Me Like Jesus: The Courage to Pray Dangerously is a challenging book, convicting in many ways, but full of hope. Full review here. This one is well worth your time.
Over Christmas, I finished reading Unraveling Fairy Tales, a 10 week (x5 days each) devotional based on some favorite fairy tales, and I would definitely recommend it to anyone, especially teen girls and young adults who would benefit from some grounding, and women who’ve been through a lot and need a reminder of God’s love. You can read my full review, and some other great Christian fairy tale retellings.
GodSchooling, How God Intended Children to Learn: A homeschool parents guide for a more relaxed/unschool method of teaching based on developmental readiness and not worrying about ‘keeping up’ or ‘falling behind’ arbitrary standards that change on a seemingly random basis. One of the top Christian books for homeschoolers I’ve ever read. Learning is all around us, and doesn’t need to look exactly the same as what others are doing.
Beyond the Behavior: 4 Steps to Capture & Influence Your Child’s Heart, Beliefs, & Behavior is one of the most helpful Christian books to read if you’re a parent, or if you spend much time with kids. Especially the ‘sensitive’ ‘overly emotional’ type.
Lindsay reminds you first, of some important Biblical truth about God’s position, and yours as a mom (or any parental person) Then she gives you practical steps to short circuit some meltdowns, and equip your precious kids to handle their big emotions.
The brain science lessons are fascinating, and truly helped me understand a few things in my own life, and about several loved ones as well as changing how I deal with my elementary son.
What Is On Your Christian Books To Read List?
I’d love to hear what’s on your Christian Books to Read list. Have you read any of the ones I’ve mentioned?
Do you need a reading challenge to help you pick what you want to read this year, or a do-it-yourself faith and fiction devotional to help you grow with each book you read?