2015 Summer Book Recommendations and $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

2015 Summer Book Recommendations and $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

This giveaway is now closed.

I am happy to be posting my Summer Reading List for you today. I do realize that the summer is more than half over (boo), and I  apologize that this list is being posted so late. Summertime has gotten away from me, I have to admit! I’ve been drinking in as much family time as I’ve been able, which has been wonderful. Thanks for your patience. I look forward to these book recommendation posts for many reasons, but mostly because I love to read the recommendations you leave in the comment section. So, thank you in advance for participating!

You can access previous years book lists by clicking HERE, HERE and HERE. If you love to read and are looking for something great to get you through the summer, take a look at the reviews listed below. I hope you find something that will suit you. Also, if you are interested in following me on Goodreads, you can do so by clicking here.

To enter the $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway, leave me a comment telling me one (or two or three) of your favorite books. If you are using a mobile device, scroll all the way to the bottom of your screen (past the food photos) and the comment button will be at bottom (I am working on bringing it up higher, but for now at the bottom she is). If you would rather post a comment on INSTAGRAM, I will accept them there as well. Follow my Instagram feed by clicking here. The giveaway will be open from today until Tuesday July 28th. The winner will be announced on Wednesday July 29.

On to the list…

Wish You Well by David Baldacci

I really loved this book. It was a great story of a brother and sister who find themselves in the care of their great-grandmother (whom they have never met) who happens to live high up on a mountain. I loved reading it as this time of year, when everything is in harvest mode. The novel talks a lot about farming and the hardships it can inflict on those engaged it such taxing work. It was a really sweet story line, with a lot of wonderful things said about family, God, and using what the good Lord has given us. It was very heart warming and quite lovely.

Sparkly Green Earrings: Catching the Light at Every Turn by Melanie Shankle

The Antelope in the Living Room: The Real Story of Two People Sharing One Life by Melanie Shankle

The author of these fun, memoir style books is the blogger at The Big Mama Blog. While I hadn’t ever read her blog (before I read the books), I came across her books from a recommendation on Instagram and loved both of them. Sparkly Green Earrings is a memoir on motherhood. It’s cute and laugh out loud funny. The Antelope in the Living Room is a memoir on marriage and was equally as fun. They are both lighthearted, endearing and easy to read. She had a new book come out this year called Nobody’s Cuter than You. Looking forward to reading it.

I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Young Adult Fiction)

This book was a pleasant surprise, I enjoyed it very much. For the first 30 pages or so I thought is was going to be another one of those typical boy meets girl teenage romance stories (that actually have a special place in my heart, I have to admit!). However, while the story is based on a relationship, it’s so much more than that. It’s not overly sexualized (thank goodness!), the language is clean and the characters are resilient. I found myself reading late into the night to see how it turned out in the end. Excited to pass this one on to my teenage daughters.

Counting by 7s by Holly Goldberg Sloan (Juvenile Fiction)
4 stars

This is a coming of age book, starring Willow Chance, a 12-year-old genius who struggles in social situations but is brilliant and knowledgeable in many areas. I totally fell in love with her. She is met with tragedy early on in the book and uses her obsession with gardening and botany to deal with her grief and cope with her difficult situation. I loved seeing the world through her genius eyes. This is a quick read, great for teens and adults alike.

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

This book is about a well-educated, extremely brilliant, Harvard professor of psychology that is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease at the age of 50. The story is told through her eyes which was both captivating and so sad. This disease has always haunted me, I can’t image how scary it must be to lose your memory. It was so interesting to see her relationships change with her family members and how they each cared for her in different ways. Well worth reading.

The Heiress of Winterwood (Whispers On The Moors)

This is a super clean, easy reading romantic novel with a little bit of religion thrown in. Loved it. A great summer read. Eager to read the second in the series. While this books isn’t life changing or particularly fabulous, it was fun to read just the same. I can appreciate a good regency romance now and then.

Still Life with Bread Crumbs: A Novel by Anna Quindlen

This is the first Anna Quindlen book I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I’m happy to know of this author and look forward to reading more of her work. I loved this particular novel, mostly because the characters are so realistic. The main character is a 60-year-old (famous) photographer who falls on difficult financial times, struggles to make ends meet and works to rebuild a life for herself. Great, satisfying story.

Ordinary Grace by William Kent Krueger

This is a coming of age story about a teenage boy and his family living in the early 60’s. It’s a murder mystery with a lot of religious wisdom woven into it. My favorite quote is…

“…what is left to us when that which we love most has been taken?…three profound blessing. Faith, Hope and Love. These gifts, which are the foundation of eternity, God has given to us and He’s given us complete control over them…in your dark night, I urge you to hold to your faith, to embrace hope, and to bear your love before you like a burning candle, for I promise that it will light your way.”

I loved the message of this book. I am giving it only giving it 3.5 stars because the story line was a bit predictable and sometimes slow.

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

I know I’ve shared this book recommendation with you all before (maybe multiple times!). It is, after all, my favorite book of all time. I wanted to add it to this summers list, because it’s one of those books you can read every few years and get something wonderful out of it each time. It’s the true story of two sisters who live in Holland during WWII. They are devout Christians and as such are willing to care for and look after anyone who needs help during the perilous Nazi regime. It’s a story of resilience and honor, but most of all, it’s about charitable love and forgiveness. This book is life changing, truly. I know many of you have read it, if you haven’t yet, add it to your list. It’s an amazing read.

Post a comment!


  1. 1
    July 22, 2015 at 12:46 am

    The Middle Place – Kelly Corrigan

  2. 2
    Sylvia J. Rust
    July 22, 2015 at 3:00 am

    Fave reads. I’m looking forward to meeting Brad Thor and listening to him read his newest book “Code of Conduct” this Friday.
    Also, love David Baldacci’s books. Interested in reading his newest one that’s on your Summer reads’ list.

  3. 3
    July 22, 2015 at 6:04 am

    I love Ordinary Grace. It got me excited about reading again after a long period of not being able to finish a book! I went on to read all of Krueger’s detective series, which includes a lot of Native American wisdom. Can’t wait for the next one.

  4. 4
    July 22, 2015 at 7:03 am

    Like MaryEllen, I had a long period where I couldn’t finish a book. I had that “read it all before” feeling or my real life felt far more exciting than the novel I was trying to read. Then, I read “Elizabeth Street.” That novel has introduced me to the joy of historical fiction!

  5. 5
    July 22, 2015 at 7:33 am

    I love The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan. Of your list, my sons enjoyed Counting by 7s.

  6. 6
    July 22, 2015 at 7:45 am

    Lately, I have been enjoying books that my children read. It has given me a nice “change of page” for my reading habit. I have enjoyed Hatchet by Gary Paulsen and Fablehaven by Brandon Mull.

  7. 7
    July 22, 2015 at 8:19 am

    I have been systematically reading all the books you recommend. I just finished reading These is My Words. I loved it. Thank you for a new list to pick from.

  8. 8
    Erika H.
    July 22, 2015 at 8:19 am

    I love “The Lord of the Rings” series. I

  9. 9
    July 22, 2015 at 8:29 am

    I like The Memory Garden By Mary Rickert and All The Light We Cannot See By Anthony Doerr.

    • 10
      Laura Leseberg
      July 22, 2015 at 2:24 pm

      “All the Light We Cannot See” was so good!!

  10. 11
    Robin B.
    July 22, 2015 at 8:34 am

    This list comes just in time, my teen was complaining she couldn’t find good, clean books. I don’t get to read often but Richard Paul Evans last book, “The Mistletoe Promise” was really very good. They read fast but always have little bits of wisdom in them.

  11. 12
    Chel M
    July 22, 2015 at 8:53 am

    One of my all time favorites is ” A Rose for Melinda” by Lurlene Mcdaniel. It is a very easy read but I still love it. a few other favorites are “finding June” by Shannen Camp and “The Outsiders” by S.E Hinton

  12. 13
    July 22, 2015 at 9:04 am

    I love “The Red Tent” by Anita Diamant.

  13. 14
    July 22, 2015 at 9:12 am

    I swear there must be a brain wave thing going on here. I was on your site earlier looking for a recipe, and saw your past book recommendation list – I didn’t click on it, but mentally thought “Can’t wait for the next list”. Haha…that was literally about 2 hours ago – you must be reading my mind!!! Most recent book I enjoyed was Mud Vein by Terryn Fisher – very, very different read. The cover threw me and I almost didn’t read it – I NEVER would have picked it up because it looks erotic, and that’s not my genre of literature – however a friend recommended it, so I gave it a try…it is not an erotic book. The cover makes sense AFTER you read the book, but at first it just looks risqué. Interesting read, for sure.

  14. 15
    July 22, 2015 at 9:14 am

    I read a lot of books. My favorite book of all time is “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee. Two books I have really enjoyed reading this summer are: “Before I Go To Sleep” by S.J. Watson and “After the War is Over” by Jennifer Robson.

  15. 16
    July 22, 2015 at 9:17 am

    Still Alice remains a favorite

  16. 17
    Erin Cherry
    July 22, 2015 at 9:54 am

    Here area couple of my favorites from what I have read this year.
    The Ship of Brides by Jojo Moyes
    The Year We Were Famous by Carole Estby Dagg
    A Time to Kill by John Grisham

  17. 18
    amy g
    July 22, 2015 at 10:12 am

    2 of my favorite books are still Half Broke Horses and The Glass House by Jeanette Walls. I also loved Unbroken by Laura Hildebrand (sp?)

  18. 19
    July 22, 2015 at 10:19 am

    My favorite book this summer was The Truth Among Us by Annie Barrows and All the Light We Cannot See by Anothony Doerr.

  19. 20
    July 22, 2015 at 10:22 am

    A couple of my favorite books were Star Girl – about how you can be unique and it is okay. I also like the Rosie Project. Look forward to reading the books on your list that I have not yet read.

  20. 21
    July 22, 2015 at 10:22 am

    I love all Sandra Dallas books! Quirky and usually with a twist!

  21. 22
    Margaret Matlock
    July 22, 2015 at 10:23 am

    Always look forward to your reading lists. Have read three of the list “Still Alice” is so good. My father and sister both had Alzheimer’s. The movie was great-she deserved her Oscar. The best book I have read this year was “Our Souls at night” by Kent Haruf.

    • 23
      July 22, 2015 at 7:11 pm

      I, too, found “Our Souls at Night” one of the best books I have read this summer. I also thoroughly enjoyed “The Rosie Project” (which is the book I am doing for book club) and “The Space Between Us.”

  22. 24
    July 22, 2015 at 10:28 am

    A Time to Kill by John Grisham is one of my all time favorite books. I have got to read The Hiding Place – it’s on my list. I’m currently reading “No One’s Cuter Than You” by Melanie Shankle and am really enjoying it!

  23. 25
    July 22, 2015 at 10:29 am

    One of my favorite books is “The Blue Castle”.

  24. 26
    Stacey Bachara
    July 22, 2015 at 10:30 am

    Mirror Image by Sandra Brown – it’s an oldie but it was AWESOME!

  25. 27
    Renee G
    July 22, 2015 at 10:33 am

    Just finished reading The Liar by Nora Roberts and really enjoyed it.

  26. 28
    July 22, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Looking forward to reading “Go set a watchman”

    • 29
      Susan B
      July 22, 2015 at 2:57 pm

      I found the first chapter online and really liked it.

  27. 30
    Jenny S
    July 22, 2015 at 10:36 am

    I love to re-read certain books every summer. Right now I’m into Bridget Jones Diary again. I also am a huge nerd and love reading up on my states history on architechture and crime.

  28. 31
    July 22, 2015 at 10:41 am

    I just finished reading The Girl on the Train. It was so good that I finished in 2 days while we were on vacation! I also read I Was Here this summer and enjoyed it. I just started Dry by Augusten Boroughs. I love his books!

  29. 32
    July 22, 2015 at 10:46 am

    This isn’t exactly what you’re looking for but I’ve been reading LOTS of books to my 3 year old this summer. We love all of the “Elephant & Piggie” books by Mo Willems. So fun!

  30. 33
    Linda G.
    July 22, 2015 at 10:48 am

    Anything by James Rollins

  31. 34
    Berta Luehrs
    July 22, 2015 at 10:48 am

    I just finished The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah, and To Set a Watchman by Harper Lee, both are great books!

  32. 35
    July 22, 2015 at 10:51 am

    Two of my favorite reads recently are THE NIGHTINGALE by Kristin Hannah and THE LIFE LIST by Lori Spielman. And a nonfiction one, mostly pictures, that will make you appreciation everything you have is MATERIAL WORLD: GLOBAL FAMILY PORTRAIT. Thanks for some more books on my never-ending ‘to read’ list!

  33. 36
    Becky J
    July 22, 2015 at 11:05 am

    I listen to books constantly and I never know if a great book is actually appropriate to listen to. Therefore I really appreciate all the recommendations from both you and the other comments here. Some of my very favorites are NOAH BARLEYWATER RUNS AWAY by John Boyne, THE HOTEL AT THE CORNER OF BITTER AND SWEET by Jamie Ford, and ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE by Anthony Doerr.

  34. 37
    July 22, 2015 at 11:08 am

    My daughter-in-law got me to start reading again after I retired and had the time to enjoy it. She hooked my on Nora Roberts and read one right after another.

  35. 38
    Susan B
    July 22, 2015 at 11:10 am

    I also read Still Alice. My father had Lewy-body dementia, and after he passed away, my mother, who was his sole caregiver and refused any help, also starting exhibiting signs of dementia. Her diagnosis was even more devastating than Dads. My sister and I both read Alice during my Dad’s illness, and I re-read it last winter. An excellent book. (I haven’t seen the movie). I love your book lists and also love the comments, I always make notes of lots of books to put on my wish list. If any of you enjoy cozy mysteries I recommend the Hamish MacBeth series by M.C. Beaton. If you like mysteries and westerns, I love the Longmire series by Craig Johnson. The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan is a wonderful book set both in the present, and China before WWII. Great dynamics between family members. My last recommendation is The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion. About an oddly charming, socially challenged genetics professor, Don, as he seeks true love.

  36. 39
    Kathy R.
    July 22, 2015 at 11:15 am

    I loved Still Alice and the Nightingale. I’m currently reading the Light Between Oceans. All of these books are great reads for the summer. Thank you for your list, more to read.

  37. 40
    July 22, 2015 at 11:16 am

    All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr – my favorite. The writing is phenomenal and the subject matter important. The short chapters in the beginning developed a pace that reflected the daily goings-on with the rise of Hitler. It was difficult to read for me but am very glad I stayed with it. Excellent book – Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

  38. 41
    Jennifer Gasper
    July 22, 2015 at 11:17 am

    Hello all,
    For the most part right now I read children books, for my child. We love, “Bird Song”, Dragon’s love Tacos”, and “Raccoon Pizza Party”. When I get a chance I love to read just about anything, my last book was called “Sugar”. Also, the Bible is a favorite as well. Thanks,

  39. 42
    Laura Wilkinosn
    July 22, 2015 at 11:18 am

    I love to read and will read anything. I love the Selection Series by Kiera Cross.

  40. 43
    July 22, 2015 at 11:20 am

    The Book of Mormon.

  41. 44
    L Callor
    July 22, 2015 at 11:23 am

    I still have to go with the Mitford Series. Such cute books. Who can’t love Father Tim and Cynthia. Also read the Lunar Series which is a fun series to read. Some of my favorite books ever have been. The #1 Lady Detective series.

  42. 45
    Kristi wright
    July 22, 2015 at 11:24 am

    Thanks for the great recommendations! I loved reading The Selection series by Kierra Cass…quick, fun easy read!

  43. 46
    Retha Stockton
    July 22, 2015 at 11:26 am

    Haven’t really read anything worth mentioning this summer. Waiting for my daughter to finish Go Set A Watchman so I can borrow it.

  44. 47
    Stefanie E
    July 22, 2015 at 11:38 am

    Thank you for all of your book suggestions. I’m adding a few to my list now, especially the last one. My all-time favorite book is The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton. I love the surprises in it.

  45. 48
    July 22, 2015 at 11:42 am

    Memoirs of a Geisha and The Winter Sea are two of my favorite books.

  46. 49
    July 22, 2015 at 11:46 am

    I just read Unbroken and it was just one of those inspiring books that widened my perspective on life, contentment, faith, and strength. The movie was not nearly as good as the book by the way, are they ever?

  47. 50
    July 22, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I just finished The Brutal Telling by Louise Penny. I can’t wait to start at the beginning and read all the books in the Inspector Gamache series.

  48. 51
    July 22, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I LOVE the Flavia de Luce mystery books by Alan Bradley. Such lovely little books.

  49. 52
    Lori A.
    July 22, 2015 at 11:49 am

    I like the Debbie McCOmber Cedar Cove series. My favorite book of all time is The Swan House by Elizabeth Musser.

  50. 53
    Becky Corbin
    July 22, 2015 at 11:57 am

    I love anything by Leon Uris. The classic is Exodus but all the rest a great too!!

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