There are dozens of fantastic books releasing this summer, and I’m excited to share these 14 with you—perfect to bring along on vacation, give as a graduation gift, or consider for a summer book club or fall Bible study.

After several years of compiling these lists, I’ve started splitting them into three posts due to the number of great releases each year. (Here’s the list for January-April of 2019.)

As you know, I’m kinda maybe sorta just a little bit (ahem…) obsessed with books. And based on the number of shares and pins on previous book round-up posts, y’all feel the same way.

The books below are listed in order of release date and include a blurb pulled from Amazon descriptions.

At the end, I’ve listed a children’s book and a devotional I think you might enjoy, as well as a special “stay tuned” section. Consider it a small sneak peak of the September-December can’t-miss books list that I’ll share later on!

My "to be read" list just got so much bigger...

If you’d be so kind, would you consider sharing this list on Facebook or pinning to Pinterest? And I’d love to hear what book(s) you’re most looking forward to in the comments! P.s. a helpful tip: if a book grabs your attention—for yourself or a friend—you might want to preorder a copy.

Why I love preordering through Amazon: First, you’re guaranteed to pay the lowest price advertised. (For example, if you preorder on May 17th when it’s $13.00, then it drops to $10.00 mid-June and is $15.00 when it releases on July 9th, you’ll only pay $10.00) Second, you aren’t charged until the book releases. Third, if you’re going to buy the book anyway, you might as well preorder it so you can submit your receipt and receive free gifts (most authors now offer freebies on their site to anyone who preorders).


14 Can’t-Miss Books Coming May-August of 2019


We Will Feast: Rethinking Dinner, Worship, and the Community of God by Kendall VandersliceWe Will Feast: Rethinking Dinner, Worship, and the Community of God :: Kendall Vanderslice

The gospel story is filled with meals, opening in a garden and culminating at a feast. Records of the early church suggest that believers met for worship primarily through eating meals. Over time, though, many churches have lost focus on the centrality of food—and with it a powerful tool for unifying Christ’s diverse body.

But today a new movement is under way, bringing Christians of every denomination, age, and race together around dinner tables. Men and women nervous about stepping through church doors are finding God in new ways as they eat together.

We Will Feast shares stories of churches worshiping around the table, providing vision and inspiration to readers longing to experience community in a real, physical way.


The God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible and the Journey to Belong by Karen GonzalezThe God Who Sees: Immigrants, the Bible and the Journey to Belong :: Karen González

Immigration advocate Karen González recounts her family’s migration from the instability of Guatemala to making a new life in Los Angeles and the suburbs of south Florida. In the midst of language barriers, cultural misunderstandings, and the tremendous pressure to assimilate, she encounters Christ through a campus ministry program and begins to follow Him.

González weaves the sweeping epic of immigrants and refugees in Scripture into her story, including Abraham, Hagar, Joseph, and Ruth, who also crossed borders seeking refuge. As witnesses to God’s liberating power, they name the God they see at work, and they become grafted into God’s family tree. Grounded in her own experience and work with World Relief, González empowers readers to welcome immigrants in their community and speak out about a broken immigration system. Find the power of Jesus, a refugee Savior who calls us to become citizens in a country not of this world.


Scoot Over and Make Some Room: Creating a Space Where Everyone Belongs by Heather AvisScoot Over and Make Some Room: Creating a Space Where Everyone Belongs :: Heather Avis

Heather Avis has made it her mission to introduce the world to the unique gifts and real-life challenges of those who have been pushed to the edges of society. Mama to three adopted kids―two with Down Syndrome―Heather encourages us all to take a breath, whisper a prayer, laugh a little, and make room for the wildflowers.

In a world of divisions and margins, those who act, look, and grow a little differently are all too often shoved aside. Scoot Over and Make Some Room is part inspiring narrative and part encouraging challenge for us all to listen and learn from those we’re prone to ignore.

Heather tells hilarious stories of spontaneous dance parties, forgotten pants, and navigating the challenges and joys of parenthood. She shares heartbreaking moments when her kids were denied a place at the table and when she had to fight for their voices to be heard. With beautiful wisdom and profound convictions, this manifesto will empower you to notice who’s missing in the spaces you live in. This is your invitation to a table where space is unlimited and every voice can be heard. Because when you open your life to the wild beauty of every unique individual, you’ll discover your own colorful soul and the extraordinary, abundant heart of God.


All My Friends Have Issues: Building Remarkable Relationships with Imperfect People (Like Me) by Amanda AndersonAll My Friends Have Issues: Building Remarkable Relationships with Imperfect People (Like Me) :: Amanda Anderson

Amanda Anderson spent many exhausting years trying to find and become the perfect friend until she a made an illuminating discovery: all of her friends had “issues,” including herself. But she found that her closest friends admitted and talked about them―and loved each other in spite of them.

Conversational and funny, All My Friends Have Issues shares practical relationship advice, biblical insights, and psychological truths that help women form the kinds of friendships they long for. The key, Anderson says, is to build those relationships on the three pillars of healthy Christian friendship: authenticity, encouragement, and accountability. By cultivating those characteristics in friendship, women will discover the safe, satisfying relationships that lead to personal flourishing, deep well-being, and spiritual growth. Blending Scriptural teaching with personal stories, All My Friends Have Issues is a liberating guide to finding and becoming the best kind of friend.


Open Hands, Willing Heart: Discover the Joy of Saying Yes to God by Vivian MabuniOpen Hands, Willing Heart: Discover the Joy of Saying Yes to God :: Vivian Mabuni

From a veteran Cru staff member, Bible teacher, and popular speaker comes an invitation for Christian women to discover how yielding ourselves wholly to God, especially in the midst of challenging circumstances, lends new purpose to our lives.

We know that the center of God’s will is the best place to be, but surrender is easier said than done. A host of hurdles, from busyness and bitterness to complacency and control, can prevent us from moving where He directs. In this challenging yet warmhearted book, Vivian Mabuni provides an authentic look at what it means to willingly risk saying yes to whatever God asks―and highlights a practical path to the deeper joy of a yielded life.


No More Holding Back: Emboldening Women to Move Past Barriers, See Their Worth, and Serve God Everywhere by Kat ArmstrongNo More Holding Back: Emboldening Women to Move Past Barriers, See Their Worth, and Serve God Everywhere :: Kat Armstrong

In Mark 12:30 Jesus answers a question asked by the teachers of the day. They wanted to know which commandment was the greatest, the most important. He said, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (NIV).

What does that really mean in how we approach and assume our daily roles? What does loving the Lord with your all actually look like? In a day when our church culture has limited the terms of Jesus’ command to the perceived strengths of each gender, a woman trying to love the Lord beyond her heart and soul, with her strength and mind, can be thought of as crossing some line or unspoken boundary. But that is not what Scripture says.

No More Holding Back opens the doors to this important conversation with a personal challenge Kat faced while attending seminary. From there, she unpacks the four areas of how to love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. The goal is for the entire body of Christ, as His image bearers, to flourish and work toward the common good of our homes, communities, and the world around us.


Just. You. Wait. by Tricia Lott WillifordJust. You. Wait.: Patience, Contentment, and Hope for the Everyday :: Tricia Lott Williford

Everybody waits. We wait for a spouse, wait for a baby, wait on our children, wait for our parents. We wait for clarity and direction. We wait on a job, a promotion, a new direction. We wait for hope, for healing, and for miracles. We wait on God. And when we misunderstand what waiting is about, we can get confused about what God is up to.

Waiting is one of God’s favorite tools. He can do certain things in our hearts, our lives, and our relationships while we wait―things we cannot experience once we’ve opened the gift we have been waiting for. Everyone takes their turn in the waiting room. It’s a long and painful fact of life, but shortcuts and microwaves aren’t the answer. God is at work behind the scenes in invisible ways you can’t see . . . yet.

In these pages, Tricia discusses the joy hidden in the discipline of waiting, and the practices of believing God is for you and working on your behalf, even when the work of His hand is hard to find.

This list is SO good. 14 can't miss books coming in 2019.

The Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You by Lisa-Jo BakerThe Middle Matters: Why That (Extra)Ordinary Life Looks Really Good on You :: Lisa-Jo Baker

The best-selling author of Never Unfriended opens up about midlife and what it feels like to have outgrown those teenage jeans, but finally grown into the shape of our souls.

In these intimate reflections on midlife, Lisa-Jo Baker invites women to get a good look at their middles and gives permission to embrace them―beyond what the media, the mirror, the magazines, or our teenagers say. Through gutsy, beautiful storytelling, she admits out loud what most women are thinking about marriage, parenting, failure, and how badly we all want to buy those matching Magnolia Market mugs.

Her delicious stories come from not being afraid of who she is (Your Age is Not a Dirty Word) because she has finally grown comfortable in her own skin (The Scale is Not the Boss of You). She’s not asking you to seize the day, just to make sure you actually see it; for all its wildly ordinary glory (Sobbing in my Minivan Over Honor Roll). Lisa-Jo knows that the middle might be the best part of the love story of life, muffin top included.


Back Roads to Belonging: Unexpected Paths to Finding Your Place and Your People by Kristen StrongBack Roads to Belonging: Unexpected Paths to Finding Your Place and Your People :: Kristen Strong

At one time or another, shifting seasons in family, friendships, employment, and communities will bring each of us face-to-face with the feeling of being on the outside looking in. Because we are made for connection, this will often lead us down one of two roads. Either we will hop on the popular but crowded highway that asks us to do whatever it takes to get noticed, or we’ll stand still, paralyzed by the fear that we’re not important, loveable, or worth other people’s time and attention.

But what if there is another way? With an understanding voice that will speak into your own circumstances, Kristen Strong walks beside you along the less traveled but more satisfying third way―the back road way―to belonging: remaining in Christ and relaxing into the unique role God has for you. Along the way, you will learn simple, doable actions that not only will help you feel and know that you belong but will welcome others in as well.


Breathe Again: How to Live Well When Life Falls Apart by Niki HardyBreathe Again: How to Live Well When Life Falls Apart :: Niki Hardy

No one gets to skip the tough stuff and when life threatens to drown us we’re left gasping for air, merely surviving a life we never ordered. Niki Hardy has been there.

Life might not be fair, but through loss, grief, and cancer, Niki discovered life doesn’t have to be pain-free to be full. With sensitivity and without Christianese or stock answers she invites women to replace the lies they believe about themselves and God with sound Biblical teaching and His unwavering promises. Through 7 practical steps, with hands-on questions, actions, and prayers, she equips readers to grasp the full life Jesus came to give them, right where they are.

No matter how broken a life might seem, the abundant life Jesus promised is available―now and always. Let Niki show you the way.


Finding God's Life for My Will: His Presence Is the Plan by Mike DoneheyFinding God’s Life for My Will: His Presence Is the Plan :: Mike Donehey

“Perhaps God isn’t giving me the plan because He wants to be the plan.”

This was the aha moment for Mike Donehey after years of wrestling with his obsession to know God’s specific plans for his life. He came to the realization that waiting for absolute certainty from God before making decisions may seem uberspiritual, but it can lead to a life of intense stress, paralyzing fear, and crushing regret―just the opposite of the freedom granted to those living a Christ-filled life.

“This is my story…how I gave up begging to know God’s will and began to ask His life to come and change my will.”

With his signature humor and relentless hunger for God, Mike will show you that discovering the Father’s purpose and plan for our lives is not the shell game that we all too often make it out to be. If you’re unsure what to do next, take heart and accept the ultimate invitation: learn to see God as the plan, not simply the formula to the plan.


We Too: How the Church Can Respond Redemptively to the Sexual Abuse Crisis by Mary DeMuthWe Too: How the Church Can Respond Redemptively to the Sexual Abuse Crisis :: Mary DeMuth

We like to think the church is a haven for the hurting. But what happens when it’s not?

Author and advocate Mary DeMuth urges the church she loves to rise up and face the evil of sexual abuse and harassment with candor and empathy. Based on research and survivors’ stories, along with fierce fidelity to Scripture, DeMuth unpacks the church’s response to sexual violence and provides a healthy framework for the church to become a haven of healing instead of an institution of judgment.

In the throes of the #MeToo movement, our response as Christians is vital. God beckons us to be good Samaritans to those facing trauma and brokenness in the aftermath of abuse and provide safe spaces to heal. DeMuth advocates for a culture of honesty and listening and calls on the church to enter the places where people are hurting. In the circle of that kind of empathetic #WeToo community, the church must become what it’s meant to be—a place of justice and healing for everyone.


A Redesigned Life: Uncovering God's Purpose When Life Doesn't Go as Planned by Tracy SteelA Redesigned Life: Uncovering God’s Purpose When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned :: Tracy Steel

The very existence of HGTV, the DIY movement, and Pinterest proves we love great design. We adore plans and perfectly staged rooms. But what happens when we discover we are living a life we did not design? When our dreams lie in tatters or when we experience loss of any kind? What happens when life feels like one big Pinterest fail? Where is God in the midst of what doesn’t make sense? Does He care?

Drawing from time-honored design principles such as movement, contrast, and pattern, former interior designer and Bible teacher Tracy Steel offers frustrated and discontented women the assurance that God is their ever-present, caring Designer. With a mix of wit and wisdom, Tracy proves through biblical examples and personal testimony that God remains true to His plans and purposes, accomplishing them in and through us in every season of life. She helps us recognize God’s design principles, enabling us to embrace our sometimes messy lives, especially when they’re ones we never would have designed for ourselves.


Nice: Why We Love to Be Liked and How God Calls Us to More by Sharon Hodde MillerNice: Why We Love to Be Liked and How God Calls Us to More :: Sharon Hodde Miller

What happens when we replace courage with compromise, honesty with likability, conviction with clichés, discipleship to Christ with a devotion to nice?

We live in a culture that prizes niceness as one of its highest virtues. Niceness keeps the peace, wins friends, gains influence, and serves our reputations well, but it also takes the teeth out of our witness and the power out of our faith. When we choose to be nice instead of faithful, we bear fruits that are bland, bitter, empty, and rotten to the core.

In this life-changing book, Sharon Hodde Miller explores the seemingly innocent idol that has crept into our faith and quietly corrupted it, producing the bad fruits of cowardice, inauthenticity, shallowness, and more. Then she challenges readers to cultivate a better tree, providing practical steps to reclaim our credibility as followers of Christ, and bear better, richer, more life-giving fruits.


A Children’s Book and Devotional…


Rivers OverseasRivers Overseas :: Sarah Nunnally

Take an incredible journey with the loveable and adorable puppy Rivers as he travels overseas with his adoptive dad. Rivers, through his own journey, experiences the world through God’s eyes and finds joy in God’s faithfulness as he encounters new people, places, and things.

A delightful story of adventure and learning to love something new. Colorful illustrations make this a must-read for young children who are just forming their understanding of love in action and different cultures.


Always We Begin Again: Stepping into the Next, New Moment by Leeana TankersleyAlways We Begin Again: Stepping into the Next, New Moment :: Leeana Tankersley

None of us wants to be sidelined, stuck, shamed, or silenced. But the difficulties of life have a way of putting us in a corner, and we don’t know how to move forward. We see brokenness in our communities, our relationships, and our spirits. It’s so easy to blame ourselves or our circumstances, to get bogged down in discouragement and toxic thinking. But that’s not what we were meant for, and that’s not how God wants us to live.

Leeana Tankersley has good news if you’re struggling: each new day is an opportunity to begin again. In her warm tone and with her signature humor she offers 100 short readings to encourage and motivate you to begin again in your relationships with God, your family, your friends, and yourself. Because there is always a hand reaching toward you, there is always grace available, and there is always a chance to begin again.

Stay Tuned…


Am I already working on compiling the list of can’t-miss books releasing in September-December? Of course I am. (There are 21 books already bookmarked on my computer. Bless it. I promise to narrow the list down before then.) For now… let’s just say there are several amazing books coming from Ruth Chou Simons, Holley Gerth, Latasha Morrison—and many more.

P.S. I bookmarked a dozen other titles that will release this summer but have decided not to include them here for a few specific reasons. I’ll preorder, read, and (potentially) share them on social media after release… but the titles above are from authors I personally know and/or have read before, or first-time authors who come highly recommended by people I trust. I truly think you’ll be encouraged and challenged through these books (many of which I’ve already read and enjoyed).

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13 Can’t-Miss Books Coming in 2019: January-April :: CLICK HERE to read
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