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
    Margaret Matlock
    June 8, 2020 at 1:40 am

    I love when you post about books- love your recipes too! I have read 4 of the books on your list. This year I have read 65 books here are some of my favorites “The Book of lost friends” by Lisa Wingate, ” The Gown” by Jennifer Robson, “Where the River Ends by Charles Martin, “The Love Letter” by Rachel Hauck.

  2. 2
    June 8, 2020 at 5:01 am

    I read The Happy Room by Catherine Palmer several months ago. It made me cry, and has stuck with me in a way few books do, which is probably why I was surprised that it has already been several months that I read it. It feels more like maybe two weeks.

    On my current reading pile is My Story by Elizabeth Smart. I have wanted to read her books for a long time already and will finally be able to dig in later this week.

    I still love all my books by L.M. Montgomery and hope to reread them all this summer.

    I enjoyed this post, and have added a few new titles to my list of books I want to read.


  3. 3
    Kristie Dittbrenner
    June 8, 2020 at 7:18 am

    I love your list! I just got so many good ideas – I want to start with the Tattooist of Auschwitz. I am reading Way of Kings because my two college boys insisted on it. and I just finished reading “Words on Fire” to some nieces and nephews over facetime.

  4. 4
    June 8, 2020 at 7:22 am

    I always appreciate when you post your book reviews so……thank you! This year I’ve been reading Lisa Genova books and have enjoyed almost every single one.

  5. 5
    June 8, 2020 at 7:40 am

    I loved The Tattooist of Auschwitz also. Amazing story.

  6. 6
    Denise Clines
    June 8, 2020 at 7:41 am

    If you liked The Tattoist of Auschwitz, be sure to read Cilkas Journey. It tells the story of Cilka from The Tattoist of Auschwitz. It was very good!

  7. 7
    June 8, 2020 at 7:42 am

    I loved reading Bridge to Haven by Francine Rivers. Also, Where the Crawdads Sing was an excellent read this year.

  8. 8
    Susan Fowler
    June 8, 2020 at 8:16 am

    I have read so many books this year it’s crazy. One of my favorite authors is J. D. Robb. I finished reading Golden in Death and I’m anxiously awaiting a Kindle library hold for Shadows in Death. Shadows in Death is #51 in the her In Death Series. I’ve read all 50 and I’m always so excited for the next book in the series.

  9. 9
    Susie Edwards
    June 8, 2020 at 8:24 am

    I used to be an avid reader and one of my favorite all-time jobs was being a Book Buyer for a magazine and book wholesaler. I got to pick bestseller lists for your region. Today, I rarely get to read, but this has inspired me to try to set time to start again. One of my favorite authors is David Baldacci. I like everything he’s written. But I see several on this list that I think would interest me. For fun, I used to read Janet Evanovich series of books about female bounty hunter.

  10. 10
    Ann Vance
    June 8, 2020 at 8:25 am

    I love a good book list! Thanks for the recommendations. Some of my great recent reads: The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek (also about the pack horse library people). And a good audio I recently listened to is The Dutch House, narrated by Tom Hanks. I think I would listen to him read the phonbook! A WW 2 book I recently listened to is Beneath a Scarlet Sky. A nice bonus at the end was discovering it was based on true events, and getting an update on all the characters.

  11. 11
    ruth w vidunas
    June 8, 2020 at 8:36 am

    I like all of the Cosy Mysteries for light reading before sleep. I find that if I try to read “heavy”or very involved books that I tend to read when I should be sleeping!!

  12. 12
    June 8, 2020 at 8:38 am

    Wonderful recommendations for next reads. I just finished Ordinary Grace and it is one I will think about for awhile. I enjoy Erik Larsens books, The Devil in White City and Isaacs Storm.

  13. 13
    Alison Kiesz
    June 8, 2020 at 8:39 am

    I just finished listening to The Dutch House also and enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I agree with Ann – I would listen to Tom Hanks read anything! He’s the BEST book narrator. I recently discovered Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series. I’ve read the first two books – and am hooked! And I just started Me and White Supremacy by Layla Saad.

  14. 14
    June 8, 2020 at 8:48 am

    Dear Jamie, I enjoy your reading lists and your recipes. You have saved dinner for me many times! I would like to recommend two books. If you liked “The Tattoo Artist of Auschwitz,” I think you would enjoy “The Devil’s Arithmetic” by Jane Yolen. My daughter and I read it together (it is historical fiction for teens about the holocaust.) The story is well-written and compelling. We couldn’t put it down! The second book I would like to recommend is “Before We Were Yours” by Lisa Wingate. It is also historical fiction, but is based on true events regarding a children’s home in Tennessee and the tragic story of stolen siblings who were split up and placed for adoption. Admittedly, both books address grim topics, but I found them enlightening and emotionally impactful, and I am still pondering them long after returning them to the library.

  15. 15
    June 8, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Hi! I love reading time travel romances, so I’m really into the Diana Gabaldon series of books! Though, lately, I haven’t had the time to read 1000+ page books!

  16. 16
    Lori B
    June 8, 2020 at 10:11 am

    Thanks for the recommendations! Two books I’ve enjoyed lately are Lovely War by Julie Berry (this is a novel) and Fall and Rise: The Story of 9/11 by Mitchell Zuckoff (nonfiction).

  17. 17
    June 8, 2020 at 10:26 am

    Always enjoy the book recommendations. Reading has been a solace in these crazy months. Two I’ve enjoyed recently have been Ordinary Grace by Kent Krueger and The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal.

  18. 18
    Linda K.
    June 8, 2020 at 10:38 am

    I love to read LDS history books, Muddy, Saints, anything Gerald Lund. River is on my list. I, too, love to ready anything about the Holocaust

  19. 19
    June 8, 2020 at 11:00 am

    I’ve needed a mental break and distraction so I read the orphan x series and they were actually very good and I recommend. Also can’t beat meg Cabot when you 100% need to disconnect and give your brain a full vacation

  20. 20
    June 8, 2020 at 11:02 am

    I love your book lists! I’ve read “The Tattooist of Auschwitz,” and loved it. I also have some of your books on my reading list already, but I’m looking forward to adding more or your recommendations to the list! I recently read “Endurance,” by Alfred Lansing. It is quite an extraordinary true story about Ernest Shackleton and the survival of his crew after shipwreck in ice near Antarctica. I loved it!!

  21. 21
    Wendy Rupper
    June 8, 2020 at 11:12 am

    Born Survivors by Wendy Holden is a must read. I also listened to The Happiness Advantage recently which has given me focus through the COVID trial.

  22. 22
    June 8, 2020 at 11:44 am

    reading night circus
    read the ten thousand doors of january
    recommend both so far

  23. 23
    GB Knaub
    June 8, 2020 at 12:05 pm

    I loved reading We were the lucky ones, Lost boy found, The tattooist and Crawdads. Jojo Moyes book is on my to read list.

  24. 24
    Karen A.
    June 8, 2020 at 12:27 pm

    I love your book lists! I always enjoy your recommendations! I am currently reading The Book Of Longings by Sue Monk Kidd. I loved her books, The Secret Life of Bees and The Invention of Wings. I recently read two Kristin Hannah books, Magic Hour and The Great Alone. I enjoyed both. I really enjoyed Educated as a memoir. I’ve read all of Ruth Ware’s books that are good suspense books. Thank you again for giving me more treasures to read!!

  25. 25
    June 8, 2020 at 12:50 pm

    My latest surprise find was The Names of the Dead by Kevin Wignall. I enjoyed it so much more than I expected, which is always such a gift!

  26. 26
    Kim Colton
    June 8, 2020 at 12:58 pm

    Our book club read “What Alice Forgot” by Liane Moriarty

    It was good, I caught myself laughing out loud in the beginning, but I listened to it on Audible. Loved the narrator’s voice. It did affect my thought process to have I changed for the better or worse over the last 10 years.

  27. 27
    June 8, 2020 at 1:02 pm

    I’m a fan of any history, or autobiography book or an historical drama. Too many books and not enough lifetime to read them so I don’t have favorites, necessarily, just favorite subjects. You have a great selection of books here. Three of them will go right to the top of my list. Seems you and I have a lot in common. Thanks for the great recipes and book recommendations! I hope you and your family have a great summer!

  28. 28
    June 8, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    Yay! I always look forward to your book recommendations! I am 3/4 of the way done with”American Dirt” and am loving it. I also enjoyed “Big Little lies” recently. One of my favorites that I love is “Kind is the new classy” by Candace Cameron Bure. So good!

  29. 29
    June 8, 2020 at 1:57 pm

    I loved so many books! The Alice Network, The Woman in the Window, Don’t You Cry, The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo, It Ends with Us, Conviction, How to Walk Away, Beach Read, Josh and Hazel’s Guide to Not Dating, and My Dark Vanessa.

  30. 30
    June 8, 2020 at 2:06 pm

    Some great books on that list-I am currently reading ‘Rescued for the Ashes’. I’t a translated diary of Leokadia Schmidt a survivor of the Warsaw ghetto.

  31. 31
    June 8, 2020 at 2:16 pm

    I am currently reading “The Royal We” and it’s fluffy and basically a fictional take on Will and Kate’s romance with a few twists. I also recently enjoyed Lady Clementine.

  32. 32
    Jennifer Beck
    June 8, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    I just finished the book, “The book of lost friends.” It is a historical fiction/1980s story about the years just after the civil war. It was fascinating to me because it dealt with family history and the need to know who we belong to.

  33. 33
    June 8, 2020 at 2:30 pm

    Some great books on your list-I like a variety of books, some i have read and enjoyed this year – Then she was gone, Corner of bitter and sweet, Where the crawdads sing, The broken girls, The hypnotists love story, The henna artist

  34. 34
    June 8, 2020 at 2:44 pm

    Thank you for all of the recommendations. For me, I really enjoyed “I am Pilgrim” by Terry Hayes. It’s certainly a large book, but it is such a good story. I also really like the beautiful story,”When All is Said” by Anne Griffin, an Irish author.

  35. 35
    June 8, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    I always enjoy seeing what books you’ve been reading. Thanks for sharing.
    I am currently reading “The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes” which is the prequel to the Hunger Games series. After that I will read “Lost Boy Found” which is about a young boy who is claimed to be the son of 2 different women.

  36. 36
    Michael Anderson
    June 8, 2020 at 3:14 pm

    I’ve enjoyed reading books about families and thrillers.
    All Adults Here and Silent Patient were awesome.

  37. 37
    Cheryl Newton
    June 8, 2020 at 3:16 pm

    I am all about Outlander! Can.not.get.enough!

  38. 38
    June 8, 2020 at 3:25 pm

    I just read “little Disasters” through NetGalley and I really enjoyed it. Thanks for the book recommendations.

  39. 39
    Chris Lindner
    June 8, 2020 at 4:13 pm

    So many good books this year! A few recent favorites are The Henna Artist, American Dirt and The Institute

  40. 40
    June 8, 2020 at 4:59 pm

    I know this is crazy, but I LOVE to read cookbooks! My favorite is the Tommy Bahama Aloha cookbook.

  41. 41
    June 8, 2020 at 6:16 pm

    I really enjoyed The Giver of Stars as well as The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek. Different books but both enjoyable.

  42. 42
    June 8, 2020 at 6:39 pm

    I love your book recommendations and look forward to them and those of your followers that leave comments. I have enjoyed reading The Only Woman in the Room. It’s a true story and I think you’ll love it. It’s from Marie Benedict. Also from this author is The Other Einstein, and Carnagie’s Maid. They are all true stories. I also loved The Spy Wore Red (another true story) and Water From the Heart by Charles Martin. I am currently reading the book Black Heels to Tractor Wheels by Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. It’s hilarious and it’s her true story about her courtship with her husband. You would love it!

  43. 43
    Peggy Sue
    June 8, 2020 at 6:45 pm

    I too, have read a couple of Holocaust books. One was A Train near Magdeburg by Matthew Rowell and First One in Last One Out by Marilyn Shimon. Their experiences were truly horrific.

  44. 44
    June 8, 2020 at 6:55 pm

    I have been reading so many books by Amy Harmon. I read them so fast, I cant put them down. “A Different Blue” and “Law of Moses” “infinity + one” “Running Barefoot” are all some of my favorites of hers

  45. 45
    June 8, 2020 at 7:19 pm

    I loved the Tattooist of Auschwitz. Here are a few I have loved, along the lines of Biography/memoir/autobiography.
    The girl who smiled beads, The Boy who harnessed the Wind, Driven (about Larry H. Miller – I was surprised how much I liked this). The Choice by Dr. Edith Eva Eger, Same Kind of Different as Me.

    • 46
      June 8, 2020 at 7:23 pm

      Also, love all of all of Camron Wright’s that I’ve read. The Rent Collector, Letters for Emily, The Orphan Keeper, The other Side of the Bridge.

  46. 47
    Debbie Causey
    June 8, 2020 at 7:31 pm

    My favorite book I have read this year is The Mountain Between Us by Charles Martin. I love ?!! Thanks for all of the recommendations!!

  47. 48
    Jana Rasband
    June 8, 2020 at 7:54 pm

    Thank you for the recommendations! My favorites have been Before we were Yours! The Nightingale by Kristin Hannah.

  48. 49
    June 8, 2020 at 7:55 pm

    I loved The Language of Flowers. I also love the Inspector Gamache books by Louise Penny.

  49. 50
    June 8, 2020 at 8:02 pm

    I’ve really enjoyed memoirs this year- Educated and Escape and also Jessica Simpson’s and Demi Moore’s memoirs. I love hearing others’ life stories.

  50. 51
    June 8, 2020 at 8:03 pm

    Thanks for the recommendations! Currently reading Where the Crawdads Sing and just finished The Dressmakers Gift.

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