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
    Karen D.
    July 22, 2015 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks for the new list. I just finished The Color Purple and have started The Girl on the Train.

  2. 2
    Kathy P.
    July 22, 2015 at 12:21 pm

    I love the Mitford series of books and also the Friday Night Knitting Club. Just nice reads.

    • 3
      Susan B
      July 22, 2015 at 3:11 pm

      Love the Mitford Series, I think I’ve read the books at least twice.

  3. 4
    July 22, 2015 at 12:24 pm

    I’m currently reading “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd and loving it. I just finished “The Paper Magician” trilogy by Charlie N. Holmberg and loved all three of the books! Another book I’ve been recommending to everyone lately is “Frindle” by Andrew Clements. Great juvenile fiction book I read with my 9 year old!

    • 5
      Laura Leseberg
      July 22, 2015 at 2:17 pm

      I didn’t like The Invention of Wings – not her best work.

  4. 6
    Karen A.
    July 22, 2015 at 12:31 pm

    I just finished Nightingale by Kristin Hannah – excellent- and am now starting the Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd.

  5. 7
    Joyce O.
    July 22, 2015 at 12:34 pm

    I love a good murder mystery. I just finished “The Melody Lingers On” by Mary Higgins Clark. I would recommend anything she writes.

  6. 8
    July 22, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    Great list!! I love Peace Like a River by Leif Enger and The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien.

    • 9
      Laura Leseberg
      July 22, 2015 at 2:20 pm

      Love “The Things They Carried”!!

  7. 10
    July 22, 2015 at 12:38 pm

    I really loved Where’d you Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple and The Rose Project by Don Tillman.

  8. 11
    Denise R.
    July 22, 2015 at 12:40 pm

    So, I’m not going to lie, I’m not much of a reader. If I had to chose one book I’d chose the book Elizabeth Smart wrote a couple of years ago. I followed that case pretty closely and my heart went out to her. What an amazing girl!!

  9. 12
    July 22, 2015 at 12:46 pm

    My favorite book is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Such an inspirational look at growing one’s own food and eating locally. Totally awesome seasonal recipes in there as well. Two thumbs way up!

  10. 13
    Sandy Steckler
    July 22, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I loved Inside the O’Briens. I can’t say enough good things about this book. What an amazing read!! I will have to check out some of your reads as I already have some of them on my list to read but others I don’t. Thanks for the giveaway and letting others shout out about their favorite reads.

  11. 14
    July 22, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    I highly recommend The Night Circus. It is beautifully written and such a great story! I loved The Invention of Wings and Water for Elephants!

  12. 15
    July 22, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    I think my all time favorite book(s) is the All Souls Trilogy (Discovery of Witches, Shadow of Night and Book of Life). there are 3 books and an amazing story.

  13. 19
    July 22, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    I’m reading Molokai by Alan Hennert. I really like it. Set on the Hawaiian island of Molokai around the turn of the 20th century, when you read the synopsis, you will think it’s sad and depressing and although parts of the book are sad and depressing, there’s also a lot of hope. Fascinating read.

  14. 20
    Maria Malaveci
    July 22, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    My favorite book EVER is The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons.It is a Historical Romance, that is being made a movie. One of the best things to happen to me was the author responding to an email of mine! It is a MUST read! Beautiful, Magical! 10 stars!


  15. 21
    Shelley Reeves
    July 22, 2015 at 1:40 pm

    I just read The Book Thief. It was great. My favorite book of all time is The Secret Garden. I might be sentimental, but my grandpa gave it to me for Christmas one year when I was little, and I know that he really thought about that gift and it was just from him, not my him and my Grandma. It was the first big book I remember reading.
    I also want to thank you for the book list. I am always looking for a good book to read and have loved the one’s that you’ve recommended.

  16. 22
    July 22, 2015 at 1:41 pm

    Loved All Girl Filling Station by Fannie Flagg and Orphan Train by Christine Baker Kline., who also wrote Sweet Water which I am reading right now. So many great books, hard to pick favorites!

  17. 23
    Becky Ethington
    July 22, 2015 at 1:46 pm

    Love too many books to count. I recently dove into some Shel Silverstein’s: Runny Babbit and one about a rhineocerous-one moment…Who Wants a Cheap Rhinocerous? Giraffe and a Half is also cute. Yes, I am an adult. It’s great to get back in touch with my youth!
    For YA and adults, Moon Over Manifest is one I LOVE. I read it a whole year ago now but always recommend it to everyone who asks. My son and I are reading Brandon Mull’s Beyonders series. It’s slower going than Candy Shop War or Fablehaven but we are into it and have to know what will happen!

    If I win, I will be using the Amazon card to get books for my classroom library. 🙂

  18. 24
    July 22, 2015 at 1:48 pm

    I really enjoyed “Still Alice.” This disease could happen to any of us. It is so real. I pray for those who have it and their families to know how to deal with it. Thank you for posting your book list. I intend to read more of your list. Also enjoy your recipes.

  19. 25
    July 22, 2015 at 1:53 pm

    I just finished rereading the Storied Life of A.J. Fikry which I really loved. I also just got done with Girl on the Train – loved all the suspense. The characters were all so miserable, but I loved it. Just started The Window Opens, like it so far. I like the author’s style. On my iphone, I have Whistling Past the Graveyard that I listen to and from work.

  20. 26
    Laura M.
    July 22, 2015 at 2:02 pm

    I love anything by Mauve Binchy, who sadly has passed away. Her storytelling was wonderful and draws the reader right in. I also loved The Shell Seekers by Rosamund Pilcher. It’s a great classic read!

  21. 27
    rachel cartucci
    July 22, 2015 at 2:03 pm

    I love classic novels….new books too but some of the classics are my most favorite.I love Jane Eyre.I also have to admit I reread the Harry Potter series…way too often.

  22. 28
    Laura Leseberg
    July 22, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    I’ve read 5 of the nine books you recommended! I had no idea David Baldacci wrote anything other than fabulous spy novels. The Hiding Place is probably my favorite inspirational book – I quote from it all the time.
    Be sure to see the movie “Still Alice” – it’s quite true to the book, and Julianne Moore won the Academy Award for it. So many good books, so little time!

  23. 29
    July 22, 2015 at 2:20 pm

    I am currently reading The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty – I just finished Elin Hilderbrand’s book Summer People. A great summer beach read!

  24. 30
    July 22, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    My favorite books are the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon. They were made into a TV series too, and I’m obsessed!

  25. 31
    Melissa Miller
    July 22, 2015 at 2:36 pm

    I just re-read Pet Cemetery by Stephen King. I am adding this list of books to my to read list. Thank you!!

  26. 32
    July 22, 2015 at 3:12 pm

    I plan to read “Still Alice.” Glad to hear it is true to the movie (which I want to see) … Hopefully before I am in that category! Love your recipes !!!

  27. 33
    Amy H
    July 22, 2015 at 3:16 pm

    The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate and The Boys in the Boat. Thanks for the list!

  28. 34
    July 22, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    For those who love historical novels and have not read Ken Follet’s “Pillars of the Earth” – give it a try. I bypassed this book for a long time because of the period. I picked it up when I had nothing at hand to read. Once started, I had a difficult time setting it down. It is begins in Knightsbridge, England in the 12th Century. It revolves around the building of a cathedral. The character development is great. It is a good read for those days when it is too hot for anything else.

  29. 35
    July 22, 2015 at 3:47 pm

    The Outlander series are my favorites to read. Jamie and Claire!!!!!

  30. 36
    Lisa Brown
    July 22, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    My favorite cozy mystery authors and their books are by Joanne Fluke, Diane Mott Davidson, and M.C. Beaton. Every one of them excellent reads and I can’t get enough of them. jslbrown2009 at aol dot com

  31. 37
    Connie Teague
    July 22, 2015 at 4:21 pm

    I am currently reading the Mitford series by Jan Karron. I know it’s old, but it’s a good one!

  32. 38
    July 22, 2015 at 4:23 pm

    I love to read. I just finished Eve by Heather Moore, but my favorite books are historical romance. I love the books by Caroline Fyffe and Debra Holland about the days of the west in Montana. One of my favorites is Montana Dawn.

  33. 39
    Maudie the Maid
    July 22, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    I just finished reading “The Girl on the Train” by Paula Hawkins. Loved it.

  34. 40
    Steph Nelson
    July 22, 2015 at 4:26 pm

    Loved the Hope by Amanda Berry. Enjoyed seeing how through hard things you can still have hope!! Hiding places is my fav too!

  35. 41
    July 22, 2015 at 4:46 pm

    Eight Hundred Grapes is a great easy read. Jonathan Tropper is my favorite author and his book How To Talk To A Widower is my absolute favorite!

  36. 42
    July 22, 2015 at 5:33 pm

    Brandon Mull is my favorite author, and his series the Beyonders are my favorite 3 books. The worlds and characters he creates are so entertaining 🙂

  37. 43
    Cheryl Newton
    July 22, 2015 at 5:49 pm

    Recently hit a library book sale (is there anything better???) and picked up several John Sandford books; am currently devouring “Silken Prey.”

  38. 44
    Amy L
    July 22, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    I’d recommend Unbroken, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society, and Atlantia. I love the Divergent trilogy as well.

  39. 45
    Tina Malinowski
    July 22, 2015 at 6:13 pm

    I just finished the Einstein Prophecy. It was a great read for summer!

  40. 46
    July 22, 2015 at 6:33 pm

    I just finished Craig Ferguson’s book American on Purpose and I just loved it.

  41. 47
    July 22, 2015 at 6:38 pm

    I love Papa Married a Mormon.

  42. 48
    Judy Harper
    July 22, 2015 at 7:18 pm

    I loved the Guernsey Literary and Potato Pie Society!

  43. 49
    July 22, 2015 at 7:22 pm

    Just finished Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. AMAZING! And I LOVE Corrie Ten Boom! Such a remarkable lady!

  44. 50
    July 22, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    I love the Game of Thrones Series and NOw i am reading the Maze Runner

  45. 51
    July 22, 2015 at 7:58 pm

    I love the Mitford series books and also Jane Austen’s books. Thank you for your book lists! They are wonderful!

  46. 52
    Christie Ferguson
    July 22, 2015 at 8:03 pm

    One of my favorites is The Rent Collector I can’t remember the author but the story is excellent!

  47. 53
    July 22, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    I love nicholas sparks!

  48. 54
    Brittany Whitley
    July 22, 2015 at 8:08 pm

    My favorite book is Julie & Julia by Julie Powell!

    I feel like Meryl Streep nailed her role in the movie they created based upon this fun book!

  49. 55
    July 22, 2015 at 8:18 pm

    I really liked Boys In the Boat.

  50. 56
    July 22, 2015 at 8:51 pm

    Boys In the Boat is great, Still Alice is great.

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