April's Friday Fifteen
1. Beverly Cleary.When I was a child, I ducked into the school library every chance I got to read about the adventures of Ramona and gang. I can still remember sitting between the shelves, praying that I would get through another chapter before the bell rang.
2. Safely Home by Randy AlcornI have given this book to more people than I can count. It’s brilliant in that it uses the novel format to expose the persecution that Chinese Christians go through just to worship God. This book caused me to see so many things in a different light.
3. This Present Darkness and Piercing the Darkness by Frank PerettiI read these two books shortly after I became a Christian, and they continue to shape my worldview.
4. Mark of the Lion series by Francine RiversThis trilogy was literally impossible to put down once I started reading it. I loved the emotions the story triggered and how the main character grew in faith and strength.
5. A Grief Observed by C. S. LewisThis is one of the most honest, unflinching books I’ve ever read. Reading about C.S. Lewis’ battle with faith after his wife’s death help get me through some of my own very tough times.
6. The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich BonhoefferI read this book when I was a new Christian, and although it was unsettling to me at first, I also believe it helped me mature in faith more quickly than I would have otherwise.
7. Four Letters of Love by Niall WilliamsAlthough this isn’t a Christian novel, it’s the book that started me on my journey of writing. I’ve wanted to write since I was ten-years-old and this book finally made me believe I could take all my bottled up feelings, put them on a page, and create a story that would touch other people’s lives. The artful use of language in this book is spellbinding.
8. When Crickets Cry by Charles MartinBecause who doesn’t love a book about a cardiac surgeon and a little girl with heart disease who heal each other? With God’s help, of course. This is one of those books I never wanted to end.
9. In God’s Underground by Richard WurmbrandMr. Wormbrand was imprisoned for his faith for 14 years in Romania, and this the story of how his faith endured in the most challenging of circumstances. I copied the poem he wrote to Jesus in this book in the front of my Bible as a reminder of what it truly means to love Him.
10. The Screwtape Letters by C.S. LewisYes, it’s another C.S. Lewis book, but so different than the other one! Screwtape and Wormwood are perfect examples of how the enemy attempts to distract us and lead us down the wrong path.
11. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John BoyneThis book affected me so much I’ve never been able to get it out of my head. I won’t spoil the ending in case some readers haven’t read it, but the message is so stark and on point. I truly believe this book could change the world if more people read it.
12. While We’re Far Apart by Lynn AustinI loved this book for two reasons. First, it was so emotional—and I definitely love a good cry when reading. But I also loved the message—just because God is silent, that doesn’t mean He doesn’t love us.
13. The Prayer Box by Lisa WingateThis author truly puts her heart on the page, and this book left me with a longing that is difficult to describe. It’s a beautiful story, and I loved to watch the characters grow as the story progressed.
14. Redeeming Love by Francine RiversI mean, really, how could I leave this book off the list? A beautiful story of how God can redeem even those who run from Him. I love this book.
15. Jimmy by Robert WhitlowThis book is a little different than the author’s usual stuff—it’s quieter, more thoughtful, and highly emotional. He uses understatement and practicality to draw out your emotions. It’s difficult to explain, but this is another book that’s still on my mind years after reading it.
About April Geremia
April Geremia has made her living as a professional writer for 20 years, and has recently turned her attention toward her true love--fiction. She loves God, her family and friends, the sea, mysteries, and stories of people battling impossible situations. The books in this series, Souls of the Sea, all have those elements in common.
When she's not writing, you'll find her coaxing vegetables out of the ground, playing with her chickens, or whipping up a simple gourmet meal in her tiny house by the sea. Her favorite part of any day is connecting with her readers.
You can connect with April at:
A Fragrance of SurrenderWhat would cause a woman to stand on the edge of a cliff deciding whether to slip over it or to live another day?
How bad would it have to be?
And what if she couldn't turn to God because she believes He's the root of all her problems?
Set among the fragrant sweet smell of ripening orange tree blossoms, this emotional story is about a woman who battles God for the right to determine how things should be. Gabriella's life has been filled with tragedy, including the mystery of why her own parents disappeared one night, leaving her alone at a tender young age. Soon after her husband dies, she and her son move to her childhood home--a house on a cliff by the sea in a village time has left behind. It's there that she and some local villagers begin the process of bringing her parent's old orange grove back to life.
As Gabriella begins to put together the pieces of why her parents abandoned her, she soon learns they were victims of powerful forces that threatened to tear apart the quiet little village by the sea. And that knowledge, along with all the other losses she's experienced, causes Gabriella to view God with great suspicion and fear. So when her young son experiences a dramatic conversion and begins to serve Him, an all-out battle ensues.
During this time, Gabriella often feels called to the edge of the cliff, torn between letting herself slip over it and ending the pain, or fighting for a happiness she's not even sure exists. Will Gabriella continue to do battle with God? Or will she come to have faith in the God she blames for all the tragedies she's suffered?
And what role will her young son play in her decision?