Ten Books That Have Touched Me

Some memes deserve more than just a status update. Based on a friend’s answer to this question, I discovered a new book, so I thought I’d pass mine along in hopes of inspiring the same.

In no particular order, here are 10+ books that have stuck with me.

1.     The Guardian by Jane Hamilton (no, not that Jane Hamilton, this one–the publisher made her use a pseudonym)

Tabris, a guardian angel, has killed his human charge.

When I first read the premise in a local bookstore catalog back in 1994, I knew I had to read it. But since I was a poor high school student at the time, it would be another 10 years before my husband helped me find it again. So very glad I read it. It’s an amazing story of God’s love and forgiveness. In fact, it’s time to read it again…

2.  Besieged Heart by Jennifer Blake

A wizard takes his princess 800 years into the future.

I really don’t like this cover for this book, but it is what it is. I read this story 3 times in the month after I got it. The language is just beautiful in its economy and imagery (“…endless tents topped by snapping battle flags.”), and the author did a fantastic job of showing how a princess from the medieval time period would view a glimpse of modern, rural America, as well as her own station in life. Two proud but passionate people, confined by their restricted roles. *le sigh*

3.  The Testament by John Grisham

Moments before jumping to his death, multi-billionaire Troy Phelan, pens a new will and leaves his entire fortune to a missionary in Brazil.

A patient left this at the doctor’s office where I worked, and I stayed up all night to finish it. Then read it again a few years later. Just an incredible story that I’ve never been able to forget. The book follows the lawyer, fresh out of rehab, as he tracks down the mysterious woman, while the family reacts to being cut out of the will.

4.  Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

Someone is building the world’s first truly accurate clock. But if the Perfect Clock starts ticking, Time — as we know it — will end.

I read this just before my first nano, and it influenced my story quite a bit. Granted, mine is nothing like this, and even the similarities are different enough that I doubt anyone would have known had I not mentioned it. For many reasons, this will forever hold a big place in my heart. There’s a fitting death scene at the end (by chocolate) as well as the perfect moment. 😉

5.  Demon: A Memoir by Tosca Lee

“I’m going to tell you my story, and you’re going to write it down and publish it.” What begins as a mystery soon spirals into chaotic obsession as Clay struggles to piece together Lucian’s dark tale.

And what an amazing tale. Randomly picked this up at Barnes & Noble and have been raving about it ever since. Such a deep, thought-provoking story.

6.  Behind the Glittering Mask by Dr. Mark Rutland

The archangel Michael vs Lucifer on the seven deadly sins.

I still remember the service Dr. Rutland preached when the congregation voted him in as the new senior pastor of the church where I grew up. He’s a gifted preacher and writer. This book is an amazing look at the sins from the ways that sound right, to the ways that are right.

7.  Whispers by Robin Jones Gunn

Teri meets three incredible men in Maui…but which one is the man of her dreams?

While I enjoyed the Glenbrooke series, this book was one of my favorites. I LOVE the hero in this book and many of his lines have stayed with me over the years.

8.  Unveiled by Courtney Milan

Revenge and betrayal in the name of family.

Usually, the end is a foregone conclusion in a romance, but the conflict here is at such cross purposes, I honestly wasn’t sure who to root for. It’s one of the best examples of amazing writing and character development that I’ve come across in the entire genre.

9.  The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis

Seven fantastic books of epic battles between good and evil, fantastic creatures, betrayals, heroic deeds, and friendships won and lost.

We owned the individual series, and I read them young. I never finished Prince Caspian because I lost it on the walk home from second grade. I wrapped it in my coat with my other books, but soon discovered it missing. I retraced my steps all the way to the school and back, but never found it. I finally read it the day we saw the movie – have to say I like the movie better. Glad to hear they’re working on the script for The Silver Chair. =)

10.  Treehugger by Kea Alwang

Planet-hopping is a gift. Being Earthborn? Well, that simply bites. But does it really matter what world you’re on when trying to find yourself–especially when a lunatic is trying to find you first?

I met Kea while waiting in line at a writing panel at Star Wars Celebration VI. Learning she’d self published a book, I asked about it and got a cool book card to take home. I marveled at experiencing true marketing at it’s finest. The cover drew me in, the story hooked me. Between the time I sampled it and finally bought it, she added a prologue that made it all the more intriguing. Fantastically imagined story and story world—count me a fan for life!

Bonus:Stand-In Groom by Kaye Dacus (Truthfully, the entire Brides of Bonneterre series, including A Menu for Romance, and A Case for Love)

When wedding planner Anne Hawthorne first meets George Laurence, she thinks she’s found the man of her dreams. But when she discovers he’s a client, she knows planning his wedding will be no honeymoon.

I was drawn to the unusual covers for this series (normally, it’s the hero’s face—specifically the eyes—that draws me in), but I’d become burned out on tired, cliched Christian romance. It took the premise of the second book to convince me to pick these up.

This is anything but tired or cliched. For the first time, the conflict wasn’t that one character wasn’t a Christian. In fact, her characters are refreshingly real as they try to work through their lives with God’s help—Anne is even a size 18 (love that she wears an eggplant-colored suit at one point). It read a lot like a My Big Fat Cajun Family.

It gave me hope again at a time when I was just finishing a new version of my own novel. I wonder if I’d have considered a spiritual warfare version if I hadn’t read this series.

It’s also the first time I friended an author after reading their books. Turns out she’s also a great writing coach, and I learned a lot from her posts about what to expect from my first conference—where my full manuscript was requested.

Images are from (and link to) Amazon. Please let me know if they don’t work, and I’ll fix them.