10 Wonderful Summer Reads (2014 Edition) and $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

10 Wonderful Summer Reads (2014 Edition) and $100 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway
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THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

No new recipe today, gang. It’s time to talk books. Hot. Diggity!

If you have been following my blog for a while now, you know that every January and June  I publish a post with 10 book suggestions, complete with my review of each one. You can see this year’s winter post here. Posts from 2013 are here and here. I love putting these posts together, not only because I LOVE talking about books (slightly obsessed with books and reading, mind you) but I absolutely love the book suggestions you readers leave in the comment section.  I come back to your comments again and again when searching for something wonderful to read and have come to know of many fabulous books and authors through you all. Thank you thank you!

To me, reading a well written, fabulous book is one of life’s great pleasures. I love reading for at least 101 reasons.  Top on the list is the small window it gives me into another’s life, viewpoints, perspectives and experiences. It is a wonderful relief to leave my own problems and discouragements for a while and venture somewhere new for an hour or two. My favorite books are those that entertain and educate, while sharing wisdom and insights into life and the complexity of  human existence. Reading has been a great blessing to me and I am grateful to those with the talent to write.

Of all the books I’ve read over the past 6 months the 10 listed below are my favorites. I’ve given all of them a 4 or 5 star rating.  If you would like to see the books that didn’t make this list (and there are some great ones) you can check out my reviews on Goodreads by clicking here.  Not a Goodreads member? It’s easy to join and totally free. I get a ton of book recommendations there. It’s a fun place to share books! Click here to join if it sounds like something you would enjoy.

To enter to win the $100 Amazon Gift Card  all you need do is leave  a comment below telling me one (or two or  twenty) of your favorite books. Something you would recommend to the rest of us as wonderful and fabulous. The giveaway will be open for 1 week, ending on Thursday June 12th. Winner will be announced on Friday (June 13th)  bright and early with the sunshine.

Now, let me tell you about these books! Oh, these books are fabulous. I hope some of you get a chance to read them. 🙂

Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers
5 stars

I don’t quite know how to explain how amazing, touching, emotionally charged, uplifting, joyful, heartbreaking and remarkable this book is. It’s based on the story from the Bible about the prophet Hosea and his prostitute wife Gomar. The author chooses to set her story in the early 1800’s during the gold rush in California. The main character, Angel is a prostitute who has fallen into her circumstances through no fault of her own. I’m not going to lie to you here–it’s really sad, frustrating and down right maddening at points. However, the author is tactful in her telling and keeps the harrowing details at bay.

Angels journey to repentance, forgiveness, healing, love and happiness is absolutely stunning and very, very beautiful. It made me think of Christ and the atonement in a different way than I had before. I loved this book and will be thinking about it for a long time to come. I’m so happy to have found this author. Not sure how I have walked this green earth for near 40 years now, and not heard of her before!

The Invention of Wings: A Novel by Sue Monk Kidd
5 stars

The Invention of Wings is Sue Monk Kidd’s newest novel. She also wrote The Secret Life of Bees which I know many of you have read and loved (myself included). This new novel is just as wonderful (if not better!) than The Secret Life of Bees. 

The story is based on two sisters who grew up in a wealthy family in Charleston, South Carolina during the early 1800’s, well before the Civil War.  I didn’t realize it was based on real people until I got to the end and read the authors notes. What a surprise! It made me love the book all the more and helped me to appreciate the freedoms women have in today’s world.

This tale is told through the eyes of one sister, Sarah and one of the many slaves the family owned named Handful. They share a unique friendship when they are young girls that shifts and grows throughout the 35 years of the story. Both girls seek freedom from the lives they were born into.  Not only is the subject matter captivating and inspirational, but Kidd’s  narrative is absolutely gorgeous. This is the most beautifully written book I have read in a long, long time.


The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
5 stars

I loved this book. My daughters 9th grade English teacher recommended it to her, so I thought I would give it a go as well. I figured it would be sad, it is about two teens who have cancer, after all. So, I had expected that. What I hadn’t planned on was the depth, wisdom and charming personalities of both the main characters. I loved their insights into life, love, pain and death. I believe it has been made into a movie that comes out…today, June 6th. Looking forward to seeing it.

PS…it’s a love story. Just sayin’.


The Aviator’s Wife: A Novel by Melanie Benjamin
4 stars

Wow, I really like this book. It was truly remarkable from beginning to end. It’s about Anne Marrow Lindbergh who was married to Charles Lindbergh (the first man to fly across the ocean). I came to the book without any preconceived notions or much knowledge of Anne’s history. Maybe I wasn’t paying attention during US History class in high school! I can honestly say I didn’t know a thing about her before I read this book and thus found her story very captivating, surprising and impressive. I so enjoyed reading about her because she was such a courageous, brave woman who valued being a mother and was able to over come so many challenges. I will be thinking about his book for a long time to come. Loved it.


Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh
5 stars

After I read The Aviators Wife (pictured above), I went on a quest to find out more about Anne Lindbergh and came upon Gift from the Sea, which is a book she wrote about the many roles of women. Though it was written 50 years ago, I really loved it and felt like she was describing me and my life in many ways. I chatted with my Mom about this book, she said she and many of her friends read it when they were raising kids. I thought that was cool. 🙂 I suppose that means this book is a “classic”, right! 


Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
5 stars

This is the autobiography of two  men whose lives cross paths in an unlikely way. One is a homeless black man and the other a wealthy white man. It touches on modern-day slavery, charity work, kindness, personal growth and trust. I was very intrigued by this book and so impressed with the growth both men have had in their lives.

Seeking Persephone by Sarah M. Eden
4 stars

This book is not as heavy and emotionally charged as the other books I have recommended thus far. Ahhh, that feels nice once in a while, right? Sometimes I crave something light and fun. I have to admit that I checked this book out twice from the library and returned it both times without reading it because the cover is so gosh darn cheesy. What does that say about me? I’m not quite sure. Once I got over it and actually read the book (in less than 24 hours, mind you) I really, really loved it. Darling love story that kept me turning the pages well into the night. Loved the characters and enjoyed the squeaky clean/perfectly proper romance of it all. It’s kind of like Beauty and the Beast. A fun read! Would be great for teenage girls.

A Voice in the Wind (Mark of the Lion #1) by Francine Rivers
4 stars

This is the first book in a three-part series of historical fiction taking place about 40 years after Christ’s death. I haven’t studied this time period much, outside of reading the New Testament, and found it to be absolutely fascinating, shockingly brutal and very eye-opening. It helped me visualize more clearly the world as it was when Christianity was just beginning. Man, that was one gory time period! Some parts were hard to get through. However, the message of Christ’s teaching and pure love kept me reading. The author  creates a main character that is both lovely and endearing. The story line is a little bit slow at first, but picks up a lot towards the middle. And don’t even get me started on the shocking ending! If you choose to read this book, be sure you have the second book in the series handy…you’ll want to dig right in.


An Echo in the Darkness (Mark of the Lion #2) by Francine Rivers
5 stars

I liked this book better than the first in the series. I felt like it focused much more on the teachings of Christ and less on the horrible evils that were so abundant during the time period (about 40 AD). I liked the twist in the plot at the beginning and LOVED the character development throughout. This series is really amazing, and different from any other I have read. Because of these two books, I have much more appreciation for the early leaders of Christianity and what they suffered to proclaim the gospel.

PS…this is a love story, too. I know some of you like that kind of thing. Just sayin’…again.


Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen
4 stars

This is cute, light-hearted romantic young adult fiction at its best. It’s about a boy and girl who grow up living across the street from each other, their love-hate relationship and their quirky junior high experiences. I loved the voicing (it’s told from both perspectives) and the little tid bits of wisdom interjected through out. A fun quick read that will have you laughing right out loud. At least I did. 🙂 

Hope you enjoy one or more of these suggestions. Can’t wait to get my hands on some of yours!

 



Post a comment!

50 Comments

  1. 1
    RaNae
    June 6, 2014 at 11:23 am

    Just finished The Fault in Our Stars.Good book. Follow the River by James Alexander Thom is a favorite.

  2. 2
    Heather King
    June 6, 2014 at 11:24 am

    My all time favorite is Wuthering Heights. It’s a classic!

  3. 3
    Debbie
    June 6, 2014 at 11:25 am

    The “Walk” series by Richard Paul Evans is wonderful. The main character’s wife has died, he loses his home and business, and decides to walk from Seattle to Key West, Florida. He meets many hardships as well as many memorable people on his journey. Lovely series.

  4. 4
    Stephanie Gibson
    June 6, 2014 at 11:29 am

    Seeking Persephone was the first Sarah Eden book I read. It was so good; I’ve now read all the rest of her books!

  5. 5
    Melanie
    June 6, 2014 at 11:35 am

    Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky

  6. 6
    Michelle Smith
    June 6, 2014 at 11:44 am

    I always look forward to your book recommendations. My favorite book series, Outlander, has book number 8 coming out next week, so I am excited for that! (This is not a wholesome book, my husband refers to it as my “trashy Scottish romance”.) I do enjoy reading all types of books and am looking forward to reading Redeeming Love.

  7. 7
    Keshia
    June 6, 2014 at 11:48 am

    I’m the mom of a busy 21 month old so most of my reading recently has been parenting related… I’m definitely going to be reading some of your suggestions!

  8. 8
    Ashley C
    June 6, 2014 at 11:49 am

    I enjoyed “What Alice Forgot.” My favorite book is “Little Women”. My favorite early summer read is “Dandelion Wine” by Ray Bradbury. I read that in early June every year and Bradbury’s “From the Dust Returned” every October.

  9. 9
    June 6, 2014 at 11:55 am

    I totally agree with Michelle
    on the Outlander series. I also agree with her husband!!!

  10. 10
    libby clement
    June 6, 2014 at 11:57 am

    I just finished Under the Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan, a very good read! Thanks for the suggestions.

  11. 11
    Ann
    June 6, 2014 at 11:58 am

    I don’t read much fiction, but I read a lot of non-fiction and history. I loved The Snowball (about Warren Buffet) by Alice Schroeder.

  12. 12
    Cindy Wade
    June 6, 2014 at 12:04 pm

    Recommend “The Well Spoken Woman” great self help book with multiple great women showcased.

  13. 13
    Debbie
    June 6, 2014 at 12:11 pm

    Sounds il I’m going to have to hit the library soon! Two good books I’ve read recently are, “Woman of the Flames” by Kim Stoke (historical fiction about Deborah, a judge in the Bible); and “Love Amid the Ashes” by Mesu Andrews (also historical fiction; this one is about Job). I found them both intriguing and very interesting. I hope you get the chance to read them. I think you will really like them!

  14. 14
    Natalie
    June 6, 2014 at 12:17 pm

    I am reading hound of the baskervilles right now and one of my favorite books is the time travelers wife.

  15. 15
    Cheryl Newton
    June 6, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Loved “Gone Girl.” Expected more of a definitive ending, but it was still good and I’d definitely recommend it. Plus, I guess an ending such as I would have preferred would probably have been the easy way out for the author.

  16. 16
    Wendy
    June 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I loved The Book THIEF, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and, most recently, Burial Rites by Hannah Kent.

  17. 17
    Olivia Strout
    June 6, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    I really enjoy reading and look forward to your book suggestions. I love looking at suggestions from other people to find new authors and books. My favorite book has to be The Help!!

  18. 18
    June 6, 2014 at 12:25 pm

    I just finished reading The House Girl and loved it. A Prayer for Owen Meany is one of my favorites. The Host, The Black Jewel series, Game of Thrones series and Alan Bradley’s Flavia de Luce books are some of my all time favorites. I LOVE to read!!!

  19. 19
    Sharon Davis
    June 6, 2014 at 12:32 pm

    One of my favorite books is The Blue castle bu L.M. Montgomery.

  20. 20
    Holly
    June 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    It’s All True by Jeff Slaughter is an incredible TRUE story of faith & family. He was the writer for Lifeway Christian Stores’ VBS for MANY, MANY YEARS (16, I think)and is from my current town of Greenwood, MS. Check it out!

  21. 21
    Stephanie
    June 6, 2014 at 12:35 pm

    I recently read “A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness and really enjoyed it. It is a fast read.

  22. 22
    Linda
    June 6, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    Just got done with The Book Thief, sad but very good

  23. 23
    Sally Smith
    June 6, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    Must agree with The Fault in Our Stars. Just finished Moon Over Manifest, I loved it and have bought it for many friends.

  24. 24
    Carrie Claffey
    June 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    Can’t wait to put some of these on my list!

  25. 25
    Andrea
    June 6, 2014 at 1:23 pm

    I love a good book! One of my favorites is Sunshine by Robin McKinley.

  26. 26
    Amy Goodwin
    June 6, 2014 at 1:24 pm

    Loved reading Half Broke Horses and The Glass Castle, by Jeanette Walls

  27. 27
    Mary
    June 6, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    ALL Books by James Patterson. Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown,
    Jeffery Devers…

  28. 28
    Melissa DuBois
    June 6, 2014 at 1:33 pm

    I actually just finished the Divergent Series, read all three in about a week. I’m about a quarter of the way through Inferno, the third one in the Da Vinci Code Series. My favorite of all time though is Watchers by Dean Koontz.

  29. 29
    June 6, 2014 at 1:34 pm

    I am reading the book called, “My Life From Scratch” by Gesine Bullock – Prado (that’s right Sandra Bullock’s sister). It’s a fabulous read!!!

  30. 30
    Deborah Haseltine
    June 6, 2014 at 1:38 pm

    The Seasons in the Garden (The Apricot Tree House Mystery Series) by Peggy Kopman-Owens and Roger Kopman) Actually the entire series if wonderful! Her characters are so personal you will feel right along with them! i know you will enjoy them!

  31. 31
    Sarah
    June 6, 2014 at 1:42 pm

    I also enjoyed Seeking Persephone and almost all of Sarah M. Eden’s other books. I just finished ‘Longing for Home’ by her. There are two books and they are both fantastic! I especially loved the second one. The best book I’ve read in quite some time!

  32. 32
    Theresa Tibbels
    June 6, 2014 at 1:44 pm

    I read some of the comments and these books have already been mentioned-The Book Thief and Gone Girl. Both excellent! I also love Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire series beginning with The Cold Dish. Great characters!

  33. 33
    Larilyn
    June 6, 2014 at 1:52 pm

    My absolute favorite book is The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott. It is her first book….it is such a simple book, not very long, and a quick read…but I get enthralled in the romance of it every time I read it. And I read it often! I just love it.

  34. 34
    Steph
    June 6, 2014 at 1:53 pm

    I love to read…just finished The Book Thief and enjoyed it.

  35. 35
    Amanda
    June 6, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I love all the books by Sarah Addison Allen. Her latest one is Lost Lake. Great book!

  36. 36
    Jennifer
    June 6, 2014 at 1:58 pm

    I loved Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore and Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt. I can’t remember the author’s name.

  37. 37
    Laura Leseberg
    June 6, 2014 at 2:15 pm

    You liked The Invention of Wings – another must-read is The Kitchen House. It’s also about slavery and even better than Wings.
    I was surprised to see what looked like “bodice rippers” (Francine Rivers) in the line up, but now I must read them!!
    Loved The Fault in Our Stars.
    Another great read: Carry On, Warrior by Glennon Melton.

  38. 38
    Connie
    June 6, 2014 at 2:16 pm

    Yay! My favorite book made your list and got 5 stars…Same zooms of Different. I also recently enjoyed reading The Other Wes Moore.

  39. 39
    Sabrina Radke
    June 6, 2014 at 2:20 pm

    I’m sad to admit that I haven’t read a book in years! I am always reading to my kids but nothing just for me. To Kill a Mockingbird is one I was recently helping my teen with for school and I read as a child…definitely a good one!

  40. 40
    Diana
    June 6, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    I have read so many books and have passed that love of books onto my children and granddaughters.
    I would say the last I have read recently is the Harry Potter series. Next is the Hunger Games the girls tell me to read.
    I will look into your recommendations and who knows maybe go to the Library and pick up a few ! Thanks for the ideas for sure …

  41. 41
    Debbie H
    June 6, 2014 at 2:36 pm

    I am a big fan of Nora Roberts & J D Robb books. I’m all up to date, just waiting for the next. The last few weeks I’ve been reading a Coffee House Mystery series by Cleo Coyle. They’re light reading but I never know “whodunit” until the end!

  42. 42
    Holly Dennis
    June 6, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    Redeeming love by far!

  43. 43
    Kerri
    June 6, 2014 at 3:05 pm

    Some of my current favorites are The Language of Flowers and Rules of the Road. One of my all time favorites is The Blue Castle. 🙂

  44. 44
    lizzy
    June 6, 2014 at 3:06 pm

    So many good books cross my mind, and the one I always go back is Pride and Prejudice.

  45. 45
    Heidi
    June 6, 2014 at 3:19 pm

    The House at Riverton by Kate Morton was great, it almost seemed like Downton Abbey was based on it.
    I also like the Love Comes Softly series, very quick reads.
    I need to put down my phone and read more books!

  46. 46
    Beth
    June 6, 2014 at 3:25 pm

    Love several of the books on your list. Charles Martin is a favorite author, love all of his. Another “kid” series I love is Inkheart, by Cornelia Funke.

  47. 47
    Jennifer
    June 6, 2014 at 3:51 pm

    My all time favorite book is Gift from the Sea. I have read this one several times. I am looking forward to reading The Aviator’s Wife.

  48. 48
    Karen
    June 6, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I’m a kid at heart. The BFG by Roald Dahl has always been my favorite.

  49. 49
    Jane
    June 6, 2014 at 4:35 pm

    I thought the book The Secretkeeper by Kate Morton was a great book. The end is a total shock. I also enjoyed the Game of Thrones books.

  50. 50
    Michele F.
    June 6, 2014 at 4:38 pm

    I recently finished Unbroken and found it captivating and devastating. A truly remarkable story and life. Very well written.

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