By Adrian Stewart, author of stewartstyle.com
Can you believe we are officially in the holiday season already?? I surely cannot.
I wanted to compile a list of a few of my favorite finds over the last year, in hopes of giving you a few ideas for the gift giving season. I always love seeing gift guides put out by people I follow, so I hope this is equally as helpful and fun to you!
Because I seem to have several categories of favorites, I thought it best to keep things divided up into separate blog posts. Today I give you my top 10 favorite things to READ. Most of them are personal favorites of mine, but I also included a few awesome tried-and-true toddler favorites from our household too!
I purchased this book a few months ago when it released and I love it! It’s the perfect coffee table book for the farmhouse style lover. I loved reading and looking over each and every page and picture. In a world of Pinterest, it’s actually refreshing to pick up a book and find just as much inspiration.
Ok, this isn’t technically something you “read” but…it’s too fun NOT to share. My hubby surprised me with this last year for Christmas. It’s a book full of beautiful botanical prints ready for you to tear out and frame. Instant Wall Art — as the title explains. He knew I was really digging botanical print anything, so it was such a thoughtful gift for him to get me!
This is one of my favorite books I’ve read in a long time!
In this gripping New York Times bestseller, Kathleen Grissom brings to life a thriving plantation in Virginia in the decades before the Civil War, where a dark secret threatens to expose the best and worst in everyone tied to the estate.
Orphaned during her passage from Ireland, young, white Lavinia arrives on the steps of the kitchen house and is placed, as an indentured servant, under the care of Belle, the master’s illegitimate slave daughter. Lavinia learns to cook, clean, and serve food, while guided by the quiet strength and love of her new family.
In time, Lavinia is accepted into the world of the big house, caring for the master’s opium-addicted wife and befriending his dangerous yet protective son. She attempts to straddle the worlds of the kitchen and big house, but her skin color will forever set her apart from Belle and the other slaves.
Through the unique eyes of Lavinia and Belle, Grissom’s debut novel unfolds in a heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful story of class, race, dignity, deep-buried secrets, and familial bonds.
The sequel ( Glory Over Everything ) is just as good, too!
4. Hope Heals
This is another favorite book of mine! The testimony of faith of this couple will bring you to tears.
On April 21, 2008, as their 6 month old son slept in the other room, Katherine collapsed, suffering a massive brain stem stroke without warning. Miraculously, Jay came home in time and called for help. Katherine was immediately rushed into micro-brain surgery, though her chance of survival was slim. As the sun rose the next morning, the surgeon proclaimed that Katherine had survived the removal of part of her brain, though her future recovery was completely uncertain. Yet in that moment, there was a spark of hope. Through 40 days on life support in the ICU and nearly 2 years in full-time brain rehab, that spark of hope was fanned into flame.
Love following Katherine and Jay on Instagram ( @hopeheals ) too!
If I am ever asked what my favorite books are, this series (of 3 books) by Francine Rivers ALWAYS comes to mind.
The first book , A Voice in the Wind , brings readers back to the first century and introduces them to a character they will never forget—Hadassah. Torn by her love for a handsome aristocrat, this young slave girl clings to her faith in the living God for deliverance from the forces of decadent Rome.
I read these while in college and could not put them down. You really can’t go wrong with anything written by this author, but I highly recommend starting with these!!!
Here’s another great book for the decorator in your life! Popular blogger Myguillyn Smith ( @thenester ) takes you inside her home and shares all her pointers for creating a beautiful home. “In The Nesting Place, Myquillyn shares the secrets of decorating for real people—and it has nothing to do with creating a flawless look to wow your guests. It has everything to do with embracing the natural imperfection and chaos of daily living.”
Here’s one of my son’s FAVORITE books right now! We bought it several months back when we were potty training. The pictures and simple story line is so cute; making Mama and Dada crack up too!
9. Little Pea
Leo got this as a Christmas gift last year, and it is such a sweet little book! Little Pea has to eat all his dinner so he can have dessert. What’s his dinner? CANDY–eww! What’s for dessert? His favorite– SPINACH! Leo loves making the “yuck” sounds while reading through this silly book!
We love any and all books by Sandra Boynton. This one in particular was one of the first books we would read to Leo every night. He can now read it all by himself, and even makes up his own little motions to it.
Hope you found this list to be a helpful guide to some gift ideas this year! I would love to know your thoughts! Did you find something worth reading??