It has been a loooong time since I have shared an update of what I have read, what I’m currently reading, and what I plan on reading next.
This summer was busy, busy, busy but despite being busy, I did manage to read some, 13 books to be exact. To date, I have read 22 books, which obviously means I will most likely not meet my gigantic reading goal for the year, but that’s ok.
On Goodreads, I sat a more realistic reading goal of reading 50 books and I’m about halfway there, although I have high hopes for fall reading which hopefully won’t be as intensive with my time as summer was. We shall see though! 😉
In case you were curious how I make the time to read so many books while still managing time with family, my home, and running my business, I wrote a post a few years ago about I manage to read despite being busy.
If you are on Goodreads also, you can follow along as I am constantly adding new books. For now, here is a recap of what I read, the great, the good, and the “just OK”
My Fun New Rating System
Instead of just sharing if I liked it or not, I’m also going to be assigning my own star system.
One star means it was a dud whereas 5 stars mean it was out of this world amazing.
I’m going to be totally honest, it takes a lot for me to give a book a full 5-star rating. It has to be a book that has me still thinking about it, wanting more, or challenged me.
Alright, ready to take a trip down summer reading memory lane with me?
What I Read this Summer
Erin, from The Humbled Homemaker, has a brand new book that is coming out in just a few weeks! I’ll admit that when I picked it up to read an advanced copy I wasn’t sure what to think. I have personally never really experienced financial hardships but God used Erin’s words to change me
When I first read this book a few weeks ago something didn’t sit right with me if I’m being honest. I put the book down feeling frustrated and I couldn’t put my finger on why. Over the last few weeks, the feelings have been festering. I finally picked the book back up over the weekend and it was then that I realized it was MY own pride and prejudices that have been brought to the surface through Erin’s words. I went in thinking this was going to be a quick read about finances and frugality.
I went in thinking this was going to be a quick read about finances and frugality. Instead, it was a book that challenged and convicted my heart in a really uncomfortable way…. and sometimes we need to be pushed to discomfort for real change and healing to take place.
I’m still pondering my feelings and emotions after reading this but one key thing I took away from her message is that we need to refine the “American” dream.
My take 4.5 stars: Read it but be prepared to be challenged, convicted, and changed.
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary-Ann Shaffer
This was the first of 4 WWII era fiction books I have read recently. (I don’t know why but I really do love WWII fiction!)
This was a delightful story for book lovers. I’ll admit, it took me about 50 or more pages to really get into it but once I hit the sweet spot, I was hooked.
It is written as letters written back and forth between the characters but each letter unfolds the story of this group of extraordinary characters that come together over the love of books. It was very sweet and heartfelt. It left me wanting more but then I found out that this was Mary-Ann Shaffer’s one and only book, she passed away shortly after writing it)
But then I found out there is a movie being made that also includes just about half of the cast of Downton Abby! Who wants to go to the movies together? 😉
My take 5 stars: Yep, I LOVED it! 🙂
Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
I added this book after one of Anne’s (Modern Mrs. Darcy) recommendations. It’s the first in a series and it sounded entertaining. Unfortunately, it left a lot to be desired in my opinion.
I personally thought it had some unnecessary language (I’m sorry, but why do movies and books have to fill the dialogue with so much cruel language. I can’t think of a single person who regularly speaks that way.)
The plot was also a little stretching. I about gave it up halfway but then there was a plot switch that made me continue reading but I wasn’t wowed by anything. I will probably not be reading the remainder of the books in the series.
My take 2 stars: I just didn’t love it. The mid-way plot twist is the only thing that kept me reading.
Practical Theology for Women: How Knowing God Makes a Difference by Wendy Horger Alsup
This is a little book but don’t be fooled into thinking that since it’s little, it’s not deep because this was a mighty little book to read!
I was challenged to think about my faith, convicted, inspired, and encouraged all within the pages. Theology seems like a hard word and not one for everyone but Wendy does a great job of defining what theology is, why we should understand it, and how this helps us grow stronger and deeper in our faith.
My take 5 stars: I really think every Christian woman should read this book!
Long Days of Small Things: Motherhood as a Spiritual Discipline by Catherine McNeil
Different than any other Christian books I have read on motherhood, this one had more a peaceful and graceful tone. Not a “what you should be doing” type of book but more of what your soul needs to cling to in these days of long small things.
Catherine lays it out, motherhood is hard but God is right there in it with you in every mundane moment.
My take 4.5 stars: It was a refreshing spiritual growth book written for young mothers in the trenches which is right where I am.
The Magic of Ordinary Days by Ann Howard Creel
I first watched this story as a Hallmark movie (which I’m not afraid to admit I loved… I kind of have a thing for Hallmark movies!) 😉
The book is much darker and heavier than the feel-good sappy movie but I was still drawn into the story of an arranged marriage and how love grows slowly. We tend to rely heavily on the “love at first sight” notion we always see in movies in books but this story was a real, and raw, account of how their love developed over some devasting consequences.
There were some mature themes in the book but they were written well into the story and never felt I had to skip pages or passages. This book also explores the dark history of how Japenese Americans where treated during the war, which lead to a tragic choice by two of the characters.
My take 4 stars: It was compelling and entertaining, as well as insightful into how an arranged marriage was decided and the slow, steady pace of real love and respect blooming.
While You Were Mine by Ann Howard Creel
After I read The Magic of Ordinary Days, I picked up the next novel Ann had written for adults and I really enjoyed this one. It’s the third of four WWII fiction I read this summer.
A woman who unexpectantly gets guardianship over a baby girl grows to love her as her own. Then her father returns home from the war, and things get complicated, then sweet, then really complicated again. I read it in a weekend then wanted more.
There is one mature scene that involves premarital sex, which I kind of thought out of place based on the time and morals practiced back in the day but it was wasn’t graphic or overly written. You could skip two paragraphs and be done with it.
My take 4 stars: If you like a good love story with complications and developments, this one will satisfy.
While We’re Far Apart by Lynn Austin
The final of WWII fiction I read this year weaves three different character stories together into one and I couldn’t put it down. It shares the effects of the war from those who were affected stateside and it includes both a Christian and Jewish perspective, as well as the prejudices and beliefs many had.
My only complaint is that I felt the book ended too quickly by not truly wrapping up the stories, but it left me wanting more which is a key in a well-written story.
My take 4.5 stars: I really appreciate the perspective and history from the Jewish character’s point of view. It’s also eye opening to read about how the start of the conflict in Israel is a direct result of the Jewish people being displaced during the war.
Crossing to Safety by Wallace Stegner
I picked this up at the recommendation of Modern Mrs. Darcy. A tale of friendship that spans a lifetime between two couples.
It’s been a while since I have read fiction written by a man or from a man’s point of view but I felt the story of friendship bloomed nicely and I even felt his depiction of female friendship, the attachment, and bond, was pretty spot on.
My take 4 stars: It ends in sadness, so beware of that, but it’s a very well-written story.
Funny, but I found this one on Amazon as one of those “recommended for you selections”. I’ve been craving simplicity for a while, so the title alone appealed to me.
Both a guide to simplicity and an account of Amish history, customs, and what we can learn about simplicity from the Amish, Nancy shares her love for being a good steward of the earth and how we can slow down and savor each day.
My take 3.5 stars: Outside of the history and customs of the Amish, a lot of this book is what I have read I just about every other book about simplicity and slowing down. It did help to have the perspective of how the Amish continue to thrive by living in this lifestyle.
Oh, how I love sitting under Sally’s wisdom and getting a fresh, Biblical perspective on motherhood and pouring into our children. A lot of what is covered here in this book is expanded on in more depth in both The Ministry of Motherhood and The Mission of Motherhood but this shorter book is more compact and quicker to read.
I have a majority of it highlighted and dog-eared with notes in the margin. It’s a grace-filled parent manual I’ll refer to often.
My take 4.5 stars: If you have wanted to read Sally’s other motherhood books, start with this one. It’s an easier read and gets right to the point but I still HIGHLY recommend everything Sally writes!
First off, this book is stunning. It’s a thick, coffee-table style hardback book with beautiful photos, recipes, and ideas for simple, natural living. I checked it out from the library but it’s a book I want to own.
Marissa shares easy recipes (with simple easy to find ingredients) to make natural beauty and facial products, kitchen staples, cleaning supplies, and home hacks.
My take: 4.5 stars: It’s more of a recipe book with sweet stories weaved within but the book is stunning and the recipes appear simple and easy. It’s a book I want to purchase now.
I’m heading into a kid-free Labor Day weekend with these four books going, along with the 4 “What’s Next” titles below waiting impatiently to be read in September on my nightstand.
A Homemade Year: The Blessings of Cooking, Crafting, and Coming Together by Jerusalem Greer
I skimmed through this one last year but I have been really drawn to understanding the liturgical calendar lately and Jerusalem has written this book based on the church calendar, Advent through Autumn.
50 Women Every Christian Should Know: Learning from Heroines of the Faith by Michelle DeRusha
Not going to lie, this one is hard to read because so many of these stories are about real women in times I can not even imagine or fathom. I’m about halfway through, I try to make it a goal to read one chapter a day. (Each chapter is a short biography, 4-5 pages, about each woman’s life.)
Different: The Story of an Outside-the-box Kid and the Mom Who Loves Him by Sally and Nathan Clark
I’ve wanted to dig into this once since it came out this spring and I pretty much had tears in my eyes just reading the introduction. Outside of this being different than Sally’s other books (more a personal memoir account between her and her son), I have a child who is on my radar of being “different”
The Emily of New Moon Trilogy by L.M. Montgomery
I’ve been told to read the Ann series in the spring and the Emily books in the fall so I’m going to take that to heart this year!
I’ve only read the first two Ann books, but it’s been on my list to go back and read the entire series but for now, I’m going to be spending the fall devouring these books.
This is the highly anticipated yet-to-be released new book from Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs. Darcy that I am thrilled to be given an advanced reader’s copy. And it’s a gorgeous book too!
My number came up on this one on the hold list at the library. I honestly can’t remember where I first heard about it but it looks like a fun (and enormous) home textbook 🙂
Keeping House: The Litany of Everyday Life by Margaret Kim Peterson
I’ve heard a lot about this one too and since fall is the perfect season to get back into the swing of things when it comes to home keeping, now seems like the perfect time to read!
The Women in White by Wilkie Collins
This classic just came on my radar from Elsie’s Tea & Ink society newsletter. I can’t believe I’ve never heard of it before but I’m intrigued. Fall seems like the perfect time to read a creepy classic.
I’m slowly making it through my reading list from the year and library “For Later Shelf” but it doesn’t help that I keep adding more books to the mix! 🙂
So there you have it, a recap of all the books I read this summer, what I’m currently reading, and what I plan to read this fall.
What did you read this summer and what’s on your fall reading list?
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