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Hey there fellow book fans. 🙂 I have my semi annual list of book recommendations for you all today! You can see all past Book Recommendation Lists by clicking HERE. There’s a wide variety of genres in this summers list, including some fantastic historical fiction (my favorite!), a fun turn of the century romance and a juvenile fiction book that will keep you laughing right out loud. I love putting these posts together for you and hope some of you enjoy these great books as much as I have. For more book recommendations (that haven’t appeared here on my blog), you can access my Goodreads account by clicking HERE. Not familiar with Goodreads? I highly recommend it. It’s social media for book lovers! 😉

To enter the giveaway simply leave a comment (here, or on INSTAGRAM) telling me one of your favorite books! I always look forward to reading your recommendations! The giveaway will run from today (July 11th) to July 21st at midnight. I will announce the winner on Saturday morning, July 22nd, along with the weekly menu plan. Good luck and Happy Reading!

America's First Daughter: A Novel by [Dray, Stephanie, Kamoie, Laura]

America’s First Daughter  by Stephanie Dray
4.5 Stars

I recently visited Washington DC and took this book along with me thinking the story of Thomas Jefferson’s daughter would make for great reading while I was there. It was a great fit and I loved the book, truly. I’ve always found Thomas Jefferson’s place in American history to be fascinating, considering he penned the words “all men are created equal” while at the same time owning a large plantation and many slaves. It was incredible to learn many of the details of his life and the vast contributions he made during it. The authors were able to use over 18,000 letters written by Thomas Jefferson himself to give direction and validity to their story, which I found both compelling and so interesting.
Now, don’t get me wrong. This doesn’t read like a boring history book. It’s full of romance, family drama, and is first and foremost the story of Martha Jefferson Randolph and is told through her eyes. If you love historical fiction, you will love this! Well worth the read.

Salt to the Sea by [Sepetys, Ruta]
Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys

Another amazing story from Sepetys (author of Between Shades of Gray). As with her first book, I was totally engrossed and amazed to read about a portion of WWII I had previously known little about. This particular book is told through the eyes of 4 different young adult characters, a writing style I enjoy very much. There was an element of mystery throughout as each character revealed past secrets while struggling to endure the final stages of the war. Beautifully written, fabulous use of imagery and prose. Loved it. 5 stars.

The Meaning of Maggie by [Sovern, Megan Jean]
The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern

This is a fantastic middle grade book that had me laughing right out loud. My mom recommended it to me and after reading several “heavy” books and amidst a particularly difficult week, it was a wonderful breath of fresh air. It’s about Maggie, an 11 year old girl, living in the 80s, learning to deal with school, life, family and two teenage sisters. The voice of Maggie is absolutely hysterical. She is bright, funny, sarcastic and over all adorable. I have been reading it out loud to my 10 year old boys and they have loved it as much as I do. Great family read. Guaranteed to put a smile on your face!

It Happened at the Fair: A Novel by [Gist, Deeanne]
It Happened at the Fair by Deeanne Gist

This was a great, quick-read. I love a good clean turn of the century romance/historical fiction novel, and this one did not disappoint. The backdrop is the worlds fair in Chicago, which was fun (and amazing) to read about. I loved learning about all the up and coming technological advances from that era as well. It also touches on the deaf community and the particular challenges they faced in that day and age. Interesting time period, page turning romance and beautiful writing as well.

Necessary Lies: A Novel by [Chamberlain, Diane]
Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

This was a super interesting read. It’s set in North Carolina in the 60s and is told through the eyes of Jane, a new bride and inexperienced social worker; and Ivy an impoverished 15 year old growing up on a tobacco farm. The plot takes form based on the Eeugenics Sterilization Program and how it affected women and families on welfare during this time period. The characters were complex, believable and I appreciated the authors ability in showing many viewpoints on this very complex topic.

Calling Me Home: A Novel by [Kibler, Julie]
Calling Me Home by Julie Kibler

Wow, this is an amazing book. As I read, I kept thinking it would make a great movie and was pleased to find that there is one in the works! It’s about a well-to-do white girl, living in Kentucky in the late 1930’s who falls in love with a black boy she grew up with. In a time when racial segregation was a severe reality their relationship causes grief both for them and their families. It’s well written, the characters are so real and so lovable… and the story…goodness. The story is quite the page turner and kept me reading late into the night. Well worth the read, I highly recommend it!

The Lost Symbol: Featuring Robert Langdon by [Brown, Dan]
The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

I really enjoyed so many parts of this book, particularly the plethora of information given on prominent sights in Washington DC. I visited many of the places discussed in the book this past winter, so it was enjoyable to learn more about them. I also loved the many references to Christianity, The Bible and our inherent ability to improve and enlighten our minds. The story line had tons of twists and turns as is typical of Dan Brown, and wow…can he really come up with a harrowing villain. I have to admit to speed reading through some of the chapters devoted to this sick and twisted character…with my eyes half closed, seriously. Some pretty dark and stuff, there. Overall a great read packing much food for thought.

Pope Joan: A Novel by [Cross, Donna Woolfolk]
Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

I thought the majority of this book was fascinating and was very intrigued to read about the Christian faith in the 800’s. The main characters were both believable and quite likable. Whether there was actually a female pope or not, is to be questioned but in reading this book I can see how it could have very well been possible. I enjoyed it quite a lot…until the last 20 pages or so…the ending, good grief. It wrapped up in such a rush!

Very lame ending, great read overall.

I wanted to share a few LDS books I’ve loved reading as well. I make mention of their content basis here so that all of you (LDS and Non-LDS alike) are aware that they are based on the principles and doctrine of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and are written with that audience in mind. All, of course are welcome to read them ;), I just wanted to be clear. They are books I’ve loved, that have assisted me in studying the gospel further.

What Would a Holy Woman Do? by [Nelson, Wendy Watson]
What Would a Holy Woman Do? by Wendy Watson

I loved everything about this short, inspirational book. It’s written by Wendy Nelson (wife of Elder Nelson; an apostle in the LDS church) and issues the challenge to face one activity each day with the the thought “what would a holy woman do?”. I have to admit, after a friend recommended it to me I was worried the book would be another long list of spiritual expectations and things I should add to an already full TO DO list. Boy, was I wrong. It’s all about listening to the Holy Ghost and how it’s guiding power can issue spiritual gifts which help us to do better the many things we have to do each day. Sister Nelson gives many examples of women who have taken the challenge and how it improved their lives. So grateful I read it!

I Will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B. Eyring by [Eyring, Henry J., Eaton, Robert I.]
I will Lead You Along: The Life of Henry B Eyring by Robert L. Eaton and Henry J. Eyring

This is a long book I’ve been chipping away at over the past year (and am, admittedly not quite finished). I generally only read a few pages per week and mostly on Sunday. To say that Elder Eyring has lead an inspiring life would be a huge understatement! Not only is he a wonderful church leader but has lived his whole life yearning to be in harmony with God, His gospel and teachings. I have loved reading about the details of his family life and have especially loved his insights into raising his children. Many passages from his personal journal are included in the book.

All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience by [Maxwell, Neal A.]
All These Things Shall Give Thee Experience by Neal A. Maxwell

In this insightful and beautifully written book, Neal A. Maxwell (served as an apostle in the LDS church) shares his thoughts on the omniscience of God, His love for us, prayer, service and many other gospel principles. It’s a short book (only 133 pages) but is not an easy read. The ideas and concepts are challenging but wonderful. I loved it. My favorite quote (though I think I could fill up every wall of my house with fabulous quotes from this book)…

“Prayer is a marvelous process that pierces the veil, and, therefore, requires much faith and persistence on our part; this is so precisely because prayer is that point where the agency of man meets the omniscience of God…where time melts as it touches eternity.”

Scripture Study Made Simple: The Doctrine and Covenants by [Gordon, Kathryn Jenkins]
Scripture Study Made Simple: The Doctrine and Covenants by Kathryn Jenkins Gordon

This is a fantastic study guide for The Doctrine and Covenants. The complete text of the D & C is included, as well as many editorial comments by the author. She shares many historical facts pertaining to each section as well as quotes from modern day apostles and prophets regarding each revelation. It has helped me understand this sacred work of scripture immensely.


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  1. I just added to my hold list at the library! I had to suspend some of the holds to give me time to read it all (still working on a quilt and already have 2 books waiting!) I always enjoy your lists; thanks for posting them!
    Our book club’s choice this month is Daring Greatly (Brene Brown) and next month is When I Found You–about a man who finds a newborn in the woods and all that happens afterwards. So many twists and turns and true to life.

  2. I really like Gone With The Wind. I will read the book and watch the movie every thanksgiving. Thanks for the book ideas, I have added them to my wish list.

  3. Hi, Jamie,

    My daughter was cooking a recipe from a recent post and saw that I had been chosen for the $50 gift certificate. She was so excited to let me know. Thank you so much. I have been unable to access new posts from your site since the July 17 post. I can’t figure that out. Also, I don’t know if you have tried to contact me but I haven’t received anything. My address is 933 E. Lehi Rd. Mesa, Arizona 85203. Thanks again for all of your interesting recipes and for the fun book lists. I look forward to trying out some of these new ones. Keep up the good work.

    My email address is [email protected]


  4. The books you share are great to read this summer. I will save it for reading. Thanks for sharing.