Great Books To Read this Summer (2020 Edition) + $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Great Books To Read this Summer (2020 Edition) + $50 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Hello dear reader and welcome to my latest edition of GREAT BOOKS TO READ. You can see all past BOOK RECOMMENDATIONS by clicking HERE. There are some fantastic reads listed below. I’ve found myself drawn towards biography/memoir style books lately and you’ll notice that in the book list this time. Also, it has taken me some time to get on board the Audio Book craze, and while I’d much prefer to read books than listen to them, it sure is a great way to immerse myself in a great story while my hands are busy doing other things. We’ve been helping my son remodel his new home and listening to books while painting and working has been so great. I’m a fan of the audio, I truly am.

To enter the giveaway simply leave me a comment telling me a book (or two or twenty) you have enjoyed reading. I LOVE reading the comments that go along with these posts and have so appreciated your book recommendations over the years. Looking forward to reading them this time as well. The giveaway will be open until June 18th at midnight. The winner will be announced on Friday June 19th. Best of luck everyone! 

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row ...

Wow! This is the amazing story of a man wrongfully convicted of murder and sentenced to the death penalty. He lives for 30 years on death row. His transformation from bitterness and hatred, to forgiveness and kindness is truly inspiring. Such a great example of the power of changing our attitude in any circumstance. I also was touched by his devoted mother, her faith and trust in God.


No matter how many books I read (or in this case, listen to) about the Holocaust, I am always surprised by the horrific conditions that human beings can create and force others to inhabit. This book was no different. However, I am always so impressed with the amount of decency, kindness, sacrifice and compassion I find in these stories as well and that is why I read them. To see light and goodness come out of darkness and despair. I was amazed by this true story. It’s one of those books you think about for a long time after reading it.


I loved this book, its strong female characters, the story line, the way it champions literature as well as the beautiful writing style. It’s about a small mining town in Kentucky and the Pack Horse Librarians that deliver books to houses throughout the county. I highly recommend this one. 



I enjoyed listening to this memoir style book very much. It’s read by the author, which is especially fun. I loved hearing about Carol Burnett’s unique life. Her sense of humor and outlook on every day situations is so charming. A fun break from the emotionally heavy books I’ve been frequenting. Yet, it was still full of inspiration and happiness. A great read.

WHERE THERE’S HOPE by Elizabeth Smart

I’ve always been so impressed with Elizabeth Smart and her resilience. I so appreciated her willingness to share her experiences in her first book “My Story”. This book is part memoir, part interviews with others who’ve faced adversity and have found hope and healing. It was a full of golden nuggets of wisdom. Highly recommend.


This is the true story of Neil White and his year long experience serving time in prison for laundering money. It’s a fascinating read. The facility he’s housed in during his sentence not only serves as a prison, but a compound for leper patients. Neil makes friends with many of these patients and is taught some amazing lessons through their acquaintance. The story is about humility, self-awareness, redemption and second chances. I loved it. Please be aware that there is some pretty colorful language. 😉

Fly Girls: How Five Daring Women Defied All Odds and Made Aviation ...

This was a great read. I’ve always been in awe of aviation. Every time I step foot on a plane I’m amazed at the miracle of it. I was drawn to this book for that reason, but was also interested in reading about what flying was like in it’s early years especially for women. My own Grandma learned how to fly a plane when she was young in the late 30’s. Can you imagine! I’ve always wondered where she came up with the bravery for that kind of adventure.  This book chronicles the flying careers of 5 female pilots through the 1920’s and 30’s. I couldn’t help wonder if they were examples for my own Grandma and how they may have influenced her decision to learn to fly. I certainly was impressed by them!

The Fountains of Silence - Berkeley Public Library - OverDrive


This book was super interesting to me and covered I time period I wasn’t familiar with. It’s set in Spain 20 years after WWII. I have loved other books by this author (Between Shades of Gray and Salt to the Sea) and while this book wasn’t quite as good as those two it was still a great read. The young adult love story, action, suspense and historical intrigue were all part of its charm.

Charlie's Monument by Blaine M. Yorgason
CHARLIE’S MONUMENT by Blaine M. Yorgason

I read this book for the first time when I was a young girl, maybe in the 5th or 6th grade and loved it then. I found a copy at my local thrift store earlier this year and found it so fun to read again. It’s about a crippled man who fills his life with service and generosity. It’s a super quick read, is a little cheesy (future readers be warned) but has such a wonderful message.

We Hope for Better Things

This is a great historical fiction read, set in the Detroit area. There are three strong female characters, three stories and three time periods. The Civil war, civil rights era and present day are all represented. It was fascinating to read about race discrimination in all three stories. A pretty timely read for the current situations in our world today. The story telling is nice, the characters are lovable and relatable.



Post a comment!


  1. 1
    June 8, 2020 at 8:25 pm

    Twice a year I so look forward to this post. It’s fun to see what we have in common and to find book suggestions. The Giver of Stars is my favorite so far this year and I enjoyed The Tattooist of Auschwitz. The Fountains of Silence is on my to read list.

  2. 2
    Kim McCann
    June 8, 2020 at 8:35 pm

    Oh man, thanks for this list! I was never a reader AT ALL until about a year ago. Now I am devouring books to make up for lost time. I recently read Ten Seconds to Dead and Ten Seconds to Total Exposure. Spy thrillers are not my typical genre, but these were too good to put down! Also, Next Year in Havana and When We Left Cuba were good historical fiction reads! If you like chick lit/romance, anything by Becky Monson and Jennifer Peel are worth reading!

  3. 3
    Kim McCann
    June 8, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    Oh man, thanks for this list! I was never a reader AT ALL until about a year ago. Now I am devouring books to make up for lost time. I recently read Ten Seconds to Dead and Ten Seconds to Total Exposure. Spy thrillers are not my typical genre, but these were too good to put down! Also, Next Year in Havana and When We Left Cuba were good historical fiction reads! If you like chick lit/romance, anything by Becky Monson, Jennifer Peel and Amy Harmon are worth reading!

  4. 4
    June 8, 2020 at 8:55 pm

    My favorite is Edenbrooke. Recently I’ve also enjoyed 1776 and Lilac Girls. Thanks for the recommendations! I’m always looking for good books to read!

  5. 5
    Diana Farley
    June 8, 2020 at 9:47 pm

    Some of my all time favorites include The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery, Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn, I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith, and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer. Thanks for the book ideas! Always enjoy seeing your recommendations!!

  6. 6
    June 8, 2020 at 9:51 pm

    I always love your recommendations! My favorite this year is Born A Crime by Trevor Noah (memoir of a South African growing up in Apartheid, sooo fascinating!).

  7. 7
    Margaret Miller
    June 8, 2020 at 10:16 pm

    My all time favorite Holocaust book is still The Diary of Ann Frank. I read a graphic novel of it a few months ago but it wasn’t as good as the original

  8. 8
    Michelle J.
    June 9, 2020 at 12:58 am

    I loved Edenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson!

  9. 9
    ShaRee Fotheringham
    June 9, 2020 at 8:56 am

    Twice a year I love to see your book recommendations and head to straight to Amazon to order a few! My newest favorite: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes by Susanne Collins (a prequel to Hunger Games.)

  10. 10
    Jennifer Gasper
    June 9, 2020 at 9:21 am

    I love reading anything and everything I can get my hands on. Right now I am reading “What We Forgot to Bury” by Marin Montgomery. It is one of the free Amazon books I receive. It is a book with lots of twists and turns. I am only about half way thru, but I recommend it!

  11. 11
    Amy Medford
    June 9, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    I love your book recommendations, thank you! I’m reading constantly and have read some good ones this year so far, Beach Read, Two Lives of Lydia Bird, How Not To Die Alone, The Dutch House (love the audio version -Tom Hanks narrates!!) Daisy Jones & the Six (amazing audio version) The Cactus, The Family Upstairs, Do Not Become Alarmed, All the Ugly & Wonderful Things, and currently reading Riley Sager’s new novel Home Before Dark (sooo creepy & good so far)

  12. 12
    June 9, 2020 at 4:43 pm

    I find it hard to find time to read between working and kids so ive stuck to Saints, vol 1. I hope to find time to read a few on this list. Some are very intriguing!

  13. 13
    June 9, 2020 at 5:02 pm

    I so look forward to your recommendations. When life is so busy I am grateful for your list of good books to choose from so I don’t waste time on any old book. My favorite so far is Edenbrooke but I loved These Is My Words too. Can’t wait to try a few of these too.

  14. 14
    Samantha Bringhurst
    June 9, 2020 at 5:08 pm

    Always looking for great reads, thanks for posting this! I don’t know if you’ve ever read Beneath a Scarlet Sky or Heaven is Here but they’re both true stories that are just crazy and super inspiring.

  15. 15
    Mindy Salisbury
    June 9, 2020 at 5:58 pm

    So excited for this as I have been looking for my next read! The last book I read was “before we were yours” I could not put it down, so good. I also recently read “silent patient” it was one of those that I don’t normally read but it was different but good. Some language though ?

  16. 16
    June 9, 2020 at 6:25 pm

    I’m not much of a reader, but I live in the middle of no where, so it’s at least a 30 minute drive to anywhere! I’ve started listening to audiobooks. My most recent books that I’ve listened to is country bride, and Mary kendo’s Tidying Up. Thank you for the suggestions! Oh, also I read “memoirs of a gaisha ” very interesting if you’re into memoirs right now.

  17. 17
    June 9, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    I read and really enjoyed Melinda Gate’s new book “Lift”, and immediately passed it on to my friend’s daughter, in grad school, studying Health Sciences. It is filled with inspiring stories of global challenges, especially in the world health area, as well as her personal lifetime story and marriage to Bill Gates.

  18. 18
    June 9, 2020 at 9:03 pm

    Great list! I am really enjoying books based on the Regency Era. I like Sarah M. Eden. She has a lot of great fictional plots.

  19. 19
    Kim Bunker
    June 11, 2020 at 4:45 pm

    I recently read Tattooist of Auschwitz and Giver of Stars which I loved. One of my favorite books is The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah. I am currently reading American Dirt which is also very good.

  20. 20
    June 12, 2020 at 9:05 am

    I always love your annual book list! Some good books I’ve read recently include If You Tell, You’ve Been Volunteered, and Daisy Jones and the Six. All three were very different but very engaging. I couldn’t shake If You Tell for a few days. It’s a true story about an extremely abusive mother and her three daughters. The other two were lighter reads.

  21. 21
    Heidi Fry
    June 12, 2020 at 2:46 pm

    I read and loved Daisy Jones and the Six, The Cactus, and The Sun Does Shine. Waiting for a copy of Just Mercy to continue learning.

  22. 22
    Christy Johansen
    June 12, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    I love to read and am going between your post and Amazon buying books. I recently read Educated and was in awe. Another great recent read was Elenore Oliphant is Competely Fine.

  23. 23
    Nancy Nielsen
    June 13, 2020 at 9:45 am

    I just read The Know World by Edward Jones. It takes place in Virginia in the late 1800’s. Excellent book. Also Louise Penny writes some great series of murder mysteries.

  24. 24
    Erin R.
    June 13, 2020 at 5:34 pm

    I’ve always loved other people’s book recommendations. It’s interesting to see what other people like to read as it’s such a personal thing. I read Here And Now And Then last month and loved it. It was on the library’s Reader’s Choice list and it was full of excellent characters.

  25. 25
    Suzanne B.
    June 14, 2020 at 11:27 am

    I love any/all the John Grisham books.
    Other individual titles I’ve enjoyed recently are: Secrets Never Die, After I Do, The Mother-in-Law, The Next Thing on my List, All the Little Lights, The Winner, and Save the Date.

  26. 26
    Kay Brown
    June 14, 2020 at 3:17 pm

    I have read both Cilka’s Journey: A Novel and Tattooist of Auschwitz. I admired that even in the worst of circumstances there is humanity and unselfishness. This inspires me to be less selfish and more caring in my very comfort world.

  27. 27
    Valerie Smith
    June 14, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    I have really enjoyed the Maisie Dobbs mystery series. Also The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie is great.

  28. 28
    Carol Ezovski
    June 15, 2020 at 1:16 am

    I really enjoyed “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” by Suzanne Collins. Also “An Elegant Woman” by Martha McPhee

  29. 29
    Judith D.
    June 15, 2020 at 9:23 am

    Thank you for the book recommendations. I’m reading This Time Together by Carol Burnett right now, thanks to you! I’ve been enjoying books by Beatriz Williams, like Cocoa Beach and others that she’s written.

  30. 30
    Savanna K.
    June 15, 2020 at 11:48 am

    The Rizzoli & Isles books! It’s also one of my favorite crime shows and has two awesome female main characters who are besties (homicide detective and medical examiner).

  31. 31
    Jennifer Petesren
    June 16, 2020 at 10:56 pm

    I love when you share your book lists! A current favorite I have been reading with my kids is the Penderwicks books by Jeanne Birdsall. We have all enjoyed this series so far and fallen in love with this family and their various adventures. I also recently read Resistance Women by Jennifer Chiaverini based in Berlin during the 1930’s.

  32. 32
    Stacy Whicker
    June 18, 2020 at 8:42 am

    I recently read A Song for the Stars by Ilima Todd and really enjoyed it. It’s a proper romance. We also read Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann for our book club. It was an eye opener for me about something in history I’d never heard about. Thanks for your book lists, I look forward to them!

  33. 33
    June 19, 2020 at 10:20 am

    Just finished “We Were the Lucky Ones” SO. GOOD. About a family during the Holocaust. Could not put it down. Go read it now!

  34. 34
    July 22, 2020 at 6:41 am

    I often use similar collections in the article, thank you for the next one. A lot of new things that immediately interested me. I read a lot and have recently started writing my thoughts and critiques for books. In my profile there is an example of the analysis of the famous book Huckleberry Finn in my most interesting and memorable Essays. Check out The Religious Hypocrisy in Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Satire in the book, you will definitely like it, I recommend it, good luck!

  35. 35
    Clarence Ashworth
    March 30, 2021 at 11:51 pm

    This is a very great topic for discussion and I would like to separately thank the author for this post. Shakespeare contributed greatly to the English literary genre with his plays. I advise you to check out here you will find some of this talented man’s greatest contributions to the development of English literature. He is as good at his writing as he was four centuries ago.

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