Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Books I Loved in 2013

Happy 2014, y'all! :)

As I've been making my Reading List for 2014 (come back to see that tomorrow!), it's been fun to look back at what I read last year. I chose to share the ones that truly helped me or stuck with me. Hope this helps with your list for the year!

All links are from, which I've found to have some better deals than Amazon. 

I'll start out with the books in the picture. Let me just say that I thoroughly enjoy reading an actual book with real pages that I can write on and flip through. But I also LOVE my Kindle. It's so easy to carry around, look up words in the dictionary, highlight and bookmark, and I've gotten so many books on there for free or really cheap. I truly love both real and digital!

Books I Loved in 2013:

1. The Greatest Gift by Ann Voskamp

This is an Advent devotional for the Christmas season, but I could honestly read it again if I didn't have such a long list of new books to read. It pertains to our lives year round for sure. I will definitely be reading this during in December for years to come! It even comes with Jesse Tree ornaments you can print out and use with your family.

387086: The Greatest Gift: An Advent Devotional The Greatest Gift: An Advent Devotional

By Ann Voskamp

2. A Million Little Ways by Emily P. Freeman

Talking about how God created us in His image to make art, this book was extremely inspiring. I think that anyone with any occupation can benefit from reading this book, but if you are a writer you absolutely MUST READ IT. It addressed so many issues I struggle with and I highlighted almost the entire chapter on criticism. Seriously, you can ask Jordan - entire pages were colored blue. It's because instead of making it all about self-reliance and strategies, Emily brings all topics back to the heart of the matter - who we are in Christ. READ THIS. 

722440: A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live A Million Little Ways: Uncover the Art You Were Made to Live

By Emily P. Freeman

3. Embracing Obscurity by Anonymous

I picked this book up at a Beth Moore conference and read it pretty quickly. It's interesting that the author actually embraced obscurity and wrote it anonymously. Focusing on how Jesus was a humble servant, it is quite convicting. It made me look at many Bible passages in a new way. It also talks about the freedom in losing one's self to follow Christ.

677816: Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God"s Everything Embracing Obscurity: Becoming Nothing in Light of God's Everything

4. Kisses from Katie by Katie Davis

You may have heard of Katie Davis - the teenager who moved to Uganda and adopted 13 children. Yeah. So you already know this is going to be an awe-inspiring book. It definitely made me think about how precious each life is to our Lord and how we can make a difference for His kingdom as individuals. Sometimes thinking of the problems of this world can be so daunting and overwhelming, but this book gave me hope and inspiration!

612097: Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption

By Katie Davis with Beth Clark

5. Multiply by Francis Chan

You absolutely must read this book and go through it with someone else. Seriously, do it. I'm still going through it with my friend Brittany. We meet on a weekly basis to discuss a chapter at a time and we have LOVED it. It's great for someone who's new in Christ because it goes through the basics of what it means to follow Him, but it's also perfect for long-time believers because it makes you get to the core of why you are a Christian and how the Bible says to follow Jesus. It's not a short book -- it has 24 different sessions, but it encompasses SO much. I recommend this to everyone!

408233: Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples Multiply: Disciples Making Disciples

By Francis Chan with Mark Beuving

6. One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp (and study guide)

You've probably heard of this book too as it's been a game changer in Christian reading. It focuses on being thankful in everything and how often that's really mentioned in the Bible. (Hint: it's A LOT.) It inspires you to actually LIVE your life in full joy because all is grace. It's not an easy/quick read in my opinion due to Ann's eloquent writing style, but it is beautiful and captivating. I did the study with the DVD in a small group of girls and learned so much. 

321910: One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

By Ann Voskamp

684404: One Thousand Gifts Participant"s Guide with DVD: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are One Thousand Gifts Participant's Guide with DVD: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are

By Ann Voskamp

7. Start by Jon Acuff

This book addresses how life has changed so much in recent times. People usually don't stick with one career/job for their whole lives anymore, and the internet has brought a whole new world of opportunities. Jon offers some excellent advice and motivation for doing what you love with passion in an awesome way.

077594: Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do  Work That Matters Start: Punch Fear in the Face, Escape Average, and Do Work That Matters

By Jon Acuff

8. James: Mercy Triumphs study by Beth Moore

This one is kinda different from the rest of the list as it is a Bible study book/guide. I haven't used it with the DVD's yet, but I have loved going through the book of James. It covers so much! And of course, Beth has her usual challenging and sister-like spirit all throughout her writing.  

871710: James: Mercy Triumphs--Member Book James: Mercy Triumphs--Member Book

By Beth Moore

9. The Duggars: 20 and Counting! by Jim Bob & Michelle Duggar

This was such a random read but I got it at the library and read it at the beach this past summer. It was SO interesting to read their story from when they started dating, their early years of marriage, and some parenting tactics they use. It even addresses why they've chosen to have so many kids. Whatever your opinion is about this family, I bet you'd be inspired by their trust in the Lord and interested in how they've handled their finances throughout the years. This was their older book, and the next one is on my list for 2014!

585633: The Duggars: 20 and Counting! The Duggars: 20 and Counting!

By Michelle & Jim Bob Duggar

10. Gospel by J.D. Greear

It is SO important to dwell daily on the gospel. That's what this book is all about -- allowing the truth and wonder of the gospel to sink deep into your heart, changing the way you think and act. The "Gospel Prayer" that he uses to remind himself of God's grace each day is an awesome example for us. J.D. is a pastor of The Summit Church here in North Carolina which has campuses all throughout the state. I've visited this church numerous times and have many friends who go there -- it is definitely a gospel-focused church! I have another one of his books on my list for 2014 (that you can see tomorrow!).

673122: Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary Gospel: Recovering the Power that Made Christianity Revolutionary

By J.D. Greear, (Foreword by Timothy Keller)

11. Feminine Appeal by Carolyn Mahaney

I LOVED this book. I think it is excellent no matter what your relationship status is or if you have kids or not, probably because it is all about truths directly from Scripture. It goes through the list in Titus 2 that I've actually never really studied. Books like this have usually focused on Proverbs 31 (which is great), but Titus 2 is a chapter that has shaped my life immensely this year, all because this book pointed me to it. I think this is a must-read for all women! 

534140: Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother Feminine Appeal: Seven Virtues of a Godly Wife and Mother

By Carolyn Mahaney

12. The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman

Another one that you've probably already heard of or read, I was a bit late to hop on this train. But, y'all, I am glad I did. It taught me so much about myself, my husband, family, friends -- pretty much everyone I know. It's NOT just about marriage. I tend to think that people want to be loved the same way I do, which is usually not the case! We are all so different. This book made a light bulb go off, especially concerning the differences between me and my husband and me and my immediately family members. I need to read it again as a reminder!

473158: The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love That Lasts

By Gary Chapman

13. Quitter by Jon Acuff

This book kinda goes hand in hand with his aforementioned book Start. It depends on where you are in life, but this book has a lot of good advice about going for your dream job when you feel stuck in your day job. Including some advice that's not fun to read (like how you shouldn't quit yet!). It was intriguing to read about his story of quitting multiple jobs and landing his dream job. 
14. A Million Miles in a Thousand Years by Donald Miller

The author of Blue Like Jazz wrote this book about what he learned through making a movie of his book. So it's a book about a movie about a book. Haha. I haven't read Blue Like Jazz yet (it's on my list!), but this was a refreshing, easy read that made me look at my life in a new way. Each day I'm deciding to live my "story" -- what kind of story is it?
That's all I've got for ya right now. I know what you're thinking -- Where's the fiction? -- but I've been on such a nonfiction kick. I did read the Divergent series by Veronica Roth which I liked a lot, but not as much as The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins which I re-read this year also. There were a few other fiction books I read, but didn't like them enough to recommend. I'm hoping to read some compelling fiction this year so all of your recommendations are welcome!

Which reminds me, please do give me book recommendations in the comments! I may add some of them to my 2014 Reading List that I will be posting tomorrow. I may have to make it into two posts because it's seriously SO LONG. 


Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post, but all opinions (as always) are my own. 
Also, I do not support everything each author mentioned says or writes. The only book that is completely all truth is the Bible!


  1. Great list, Ashley! I need to get the Francis Chan one - I love him and his other books have been so good. I'm also happy to hear you liked Start by Jon Acuff - I want to read that too!

  2. I have A Million Little Ways and Kisses from Katie on my bookshelf waiting to be read! Multiply and Mercy Triumphs look so good!

    1. You of all people must read A Million Little Ways NOW. Like don't wait another second. You'll love it. :)

  3. i can not wait to read a million little ways this year! this is a great list, and one i'll be referring to :)

  4. Can I please "check out" a few of these at a time from the Shelley Library?

  5. Hey girl! I just stumbled across your blog today for the first time. I also married a Jordan and am in the pursuit of holiness rather than happiness in our marriage. I can also relate to the topics you write about so I will be sticking around! I am LOVING the book A Million Little Ways. I am about 3/4 of the way through it and have felt so inspired by her writing. I will have to read some of these other ones once I finish the 2 I am reading haha! Blessings to you!

  6. If there were more women that didn't consider respecting their husbands as a form of weakness, the worls would be a better place. SO MANY women claim to be Christians but have NO CONCEPT of respecting men, or their husbands.



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