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Hello there dear reader and welcome to my semi-annual list of book recommendations. I generally like to publish this post at the beginning of the summer, but here we are on the last day of July and I’m just now getting to it. Such is life, am I right? However, there are so many fabulous books on my list this time, I hope you will feel it has been worth the wait.

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY leave me a comment recommending one or two books you have enjoyed lately or ever! I love reading through the recommendations you leave in these posts and have found so many great reads through you, so thank you in advance! Giveaway winner will be announced on Friday August 6th.

Before we get to the list of great novels/inspirational books, typical to my usual recommendations…I wanted to introduce you to this adorable children’s book.

CINDY SUE and HER TWENTY TWO. It was written and illustrated by my very own aunt, and I couldn’t help adding a shout out to it here in this post. It’s an adorable little book sure to put a smile on your face.


Now onto this summers list of great books to read!

JUST MERCY by Bryan Stevenson
5 STARS (the best thing I’ve read in a long time!)
This is one of the most profound, inspiring books I’ve read (listened to) in a long time. It’s the true story of an attorney, Bryan Stevenson who spends his career helping wrongly sentenced men, women and children on death row. I was continually impressed with the level of compassion exemplified by Bryan and especially loved the last two chapters and the invitation to be a “rock catcher”. Loved it. Hoping all my family members will read it as well.

I LIKE ME ANYWAY by Brooke Romney

Oh, how I loved this wonderful book. It reminded me a lot of The Gifts of Imperfection by Brene Brown. Many of the ideas are the same, but Brooke adds her fun, down-to-earth self into it’s pages with personal stories, vulnerability and humor. I love how she ties each chapter into the gospel of Jesus Christ and highlights how accepting ourselves and others with all our imperfections leads us closer to Him. I especially loved the chapter on seeing our own personal worth as something separate from our children. Something I’m working on currently ;). The struggle is real for this gal walking ever closer to the empty nest stage. A great read, wonderful for women everywhere.

I enjoyed this debut novel from Joani Elliott very much! It’s the story of Sara Grayson, who while grieving the loss of her late mother (a famous fiction writer) is tasked with the job of writing the final book in her mothers wildly popular series. I loved Sara’s humor, her quirky expressions and the way her character developed confidence and grit throughout the book. At each chapter heading the author quotes literary scholars, writers giving insight into creativity, the power of the written word, art, etc. I loved those words and found myself nodding my head in agreement each time a chapter started. Overall a great, fun read.

I’m so glad I read (listened to) this book. It helped me understand things I didn’t before and gave me a better and more compassionate view of people who struggle with same sex attraction. It’s wonderfully written and very inspirational.

This was a fascinating read. It highlights a time and and place I’ve never studied before. I loved reading about the courageous Haenyeo (women sea divers) living in Korea during the early 1900’s. The story is about two women who become friends in childhood and their journey through the years all the way to old age. It also covers an extremely horrible time in Korean history that was devastating to read about, so be warned…there are some pretty tough parts to read, but oh what a beautiful story of love, courage, grit and forgiveness. The highlight of the book for me, and something I haven’t been able to get out of my mind since reading it was this great quote…

“To understand everything, is to forgive everything.”

THE FOUR WINDS by Kristin Hannah

There were so many things I loved about this book. The writing style is beautiful, the plot engaging and the character development so satisfying. Learning about the Dust Bowl and Depression Era was super interesting to me, and a subject I’ve not read a lot about. I loved that the two main characters were a mother and teenage daughter. Being the mother of teenagers currently, there was a lot I could relate to there. I listened to the audio version and the reader is absolutely fantastic.

Here is a favorite quote…

“A warrior believes in an end she can’t see and fights for it. A warrior never gives up. A warrior fights for those weaker then herself. It sounds like motherhood to me.”

3.5 star rating for this one. I’d have given it a 4, but felt the plot seemed unrealistic at times…like the author was trying to show every form of hardship unique to this era, and wrote every single one of them into one families story. Still, a great and insightful read.

A MAN CALLED OVE by Fredrik Backman
I tried reading this book several years ago and couldn’t get into it. (The main character is just so darn grumpy!) A friend recommended I try again and I’m so glad I did. It’s actually hilarious, and the end was so wonderful. A great, heartwarming read.

THE POWER of STILLNESS by Hess, Skarda, Anderson and Mansfield
This is a wonderful book explaining how meditation and mindfulness correlate with the gospel of Jesus Christ. Meditation is something that has fascinated me lately. We live in such a busy, high paced world. In the past I’ve thought of meditation as something that would interfere with my very important “to-do list”. Thankfully, I’ve changed my mind and have been so blessed by its practice. This book beautifully discusses the benefits of meditation and mindfulness through the lense of the gospel. There are so many great quotes and inspirational passages. I hope to refer to it many times in the future. It’s wonderful. I highly recommend it!

THE INDIGO GIRL by Natasha Boyd

Such a great read! It’s based on the true story of a young 16 year old girl left in charge of her father’s plantations, during colonial times. The writing is very beautiful, the story inspiring and the historical aspects thought provoking. I especially loved the strong female character, for her courage and resilience.


THIS TENDER LAND by William Kent Krueger

Though a little bit slow at times, this was a great read. It’s a coming of age story, with great and very lovable characters. The highlight for me, was the authors writing style. Lots of great quotes to be discovered in the pages of this book. Here is a favorite…

“If we were perfect, the light he shines on us would just bounce right off. But the wrinkles, they catch the light. And the cracks, that’s how the light gets inside us. When I pray, Odie, I never pray for perfection. I pray for forgiveness, because it’s the one prayer I know will always be answered.”


Happy reading, friends! Hope some of you found a book or two you will enjoy. 🙂

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    1. for colonial America:
      Beheld by TaraShea Nesbit
      The Winthrop Woman by Anya Seton
      A Place Called Freedom by Ken Follett
      Magic Lessons by Alice Hoffman
      Chesapeake by James A. Michener
      A Mercy by Toni Morrison